By Joel Montgomery // 29 March 2011 // Related Categories: Tips

Here are five ways to avoid the most common price traps when buying I.T. for your business.

1. Don't pay retail for Microsoft

Microsoft software is expensive. Some small businesses spend over $1,000 per PC on Windows 7 and Office Professional and larger businesses will regularly pay more for server-based software than the box itself.

To save money we suggest that you purchase pre-installed Microsoft software (known as "OEM"). OEM software can halve your license costs, but beware that this software is not transferrable to other computers. You can also consider cheaper alternatives to Microsoft such as the Linux operating system or Google Aps for your word processing and spreadsheet work.

2. Shop around for your I.T. helpdesk

Like servicing your car, it's hard to know if your I.T. service provider is ripping you off. We hear stories of very small businesses paying over $500 per month for basic phone support.

You needn't over-pay for basic I.T. support. In fact we don't think you should pay more than $50 per computer per month. Your I.T. provider should answer your technical queries promptly and any problems should be fixed the same or next business day. We always recommend getting 3 quotes before you sign-up to an I.T. provider, and you should compare against market rates every 2 years.

3. Don't over-invest in your PC

It amazes me how many computer users pay extra for a PC that far outdoes its intended use. Windows 7 and Intel's new processors mean you only need a very basic computer for everyday business use.

OK, you may want to pay a premium for a durable laptop case but there's no need to over-invest, just like you wouldn't buy a Ferrari to drive to the corner shop.

4. Focus on the toner, not the printer

Many PowerBuy members think buying a cheap printer will save them money. But, the general rule is the cheaper the printer, the more you pay every time you print. Over the first 3 years it's reasonable for toner to cost five times what you paid for the printer, so think carefully before you buy.

You should compare the price of toners and look at the number of pages each toner cartridge will print (the "yield"). A $200 cartridge that prints 5,000 pages is better value than a $50 cartridge that prints 1,000 pages. We recommend genuine toners because we hear too many stories of printers that are damaged from non-genuine cartridges.

5. Don't spend millions on your phone

OK, so it's unlikely you'll buy the iPhone 4 Golden Rose for a cool $5 million, but if you do then don't tell me I didn't warn you. The Golden Rose comes with 500 flawless diamonds, platinum navigation controls and a single pink rose diamond as your menu button. Only two of these models were ever made and there's an obvious reason for that.

But seriously, if you want to reduce your phone bill then you should consider VoIP. VoIP uses your broadband connection to make calls and by 2018 it is predicted that all homes and businesses will dial this way.

Are you getting ripped off?

The average Australian business spends $700 per employee per year on hardware, software and services. Do you think you're paying too much for your I.T.? If so then feel free to call us on 1300-955-523 or visit www.powerbuy.com.au to access discounts on a range of popular I.T. products.

Can you think of any other common rip-offs to share with our readers?

Comments: 3 // Share:

dell laptops // 27/05/2011 8:48 PM

The best electronic item to purchase would depend on buyer personal needs. Laptops are all around sufficient and reasonably priced but the key factor is that buy from relaiable source.

hp pcs // 03/08/2011 7:30 PM

I currently use a Dell laptop it is refurbished and have had no issues. I believe Dell are very reliable. Thank you for the information on the Refurbished laptops.

Elza // 19/01/2013 7:40 PM

I bought this from a retial OfficeDepot outlet. OfficeDepot and OfficeMax are the only websites that seem to carry this printer at the moment and only OfficeDepot would actually let me order it and it turned out my local OfficeDepot store actually had exactly ONE of these in-stock, which I promptly purchased. Why? It's perfect for what I needed: - Wireless to eliminate cable clutter, enable locating it in the most convenient spot, and enable printing from my girlfriend's laptop from anywhere in the house. - It's a laser printer, so it prints faster and cheaper than an inkjet of course there's no color, but if we need that that's what a specialized graphics/photo printer is for. This is just for text and things that don't require color or extremely detailed graphics, which is 99.9% of what I print (the text and graphics are perfectly crisp though, don't get me wrong). - It's got auto-duplexing, so you don't waste half (the blank back-side) of your paper when you don't need to and don't have to waste time manually flipping the paper with printers that only do manual-duplexing. Saves space, time, and money. - Easy to set-up via the included CD, assuming you're not totally clue-less with computers. You'll need a USB cable to go between your computer and the printer, or an ethernet cable to go between your router and the printer, to set up the wireless for the first time. No, there's no LCD screen or any way to set it up without your computer, but you can't expect things like that in this price bracket. - It's cheap. Only printer in the ~$150 price range I could find that's laser with wireless and auto-duplexing. The only reasons I docked one star from the rating: - No third-party toner is available yet. Brother made new toner cartridges for these 2200-series models, and finding even that toner is tough. So, there's no ultra-cheap third-party toner available yet (that I can find), but even with the Brother toner cartridges it runs about 3.5 cents per page with the regular cartridge or about 2.5 cents if you get the high-yield. Still pretty good. - OfficeDepot is the only place you can seem to find this printer anywhere at the moment. I dunno if they got it early, if this model is delayed or discontinued before it's even really come out and I'm a bit afraid I'll end up having a printer I can't find toner/service for at all. But, assuming I'm supposed to have it, this is the perfect home/home-office/small-business laser printer. Highly recommended (once you can actually find it)!

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