Saturday, November 29, 2008

Renting or Buying: Deciding Your Next Laptop

by: Ismael D. Tabije

Finding the cash to upgrade or buy equipment is perhaps one of the greatest hurdles for businessmen on the verge of expanding their businesses. And it isn’t always a good idea to purchase computer hardware using up cash flow since it often stifles the growth of potential businesses. For such situations there is an ideal solution: rent a laptop.

The reason a company rents laptop or notebook computers is the small capital investment and the tax benefits involved.

Let’s look at the advantages, with accompanying reasons on why to rent a laptop computer:

• Upfront costs are minimal: There is a major benefit for businesses that can't afford big sum expenditure as one has little upfront costs. While using a typical laptop rental, little cost is incurred as compared to an outright purchase. All you need to pay is a monthly fee for the life of the rental.

• Predictable expenses: Predictable monthly costs like a monthly rental payment are preferred by many companies since it helps with cash flow management and budgeting.

• Replacement upon equipment failure: Upon failure of the equipment most rental companies provide full-replacement of laptops .You are therefore guaranteed to have a working equipment, for every day that you are renting .The long wait for days or weeks to be back in business is over. Even if your laptop fails the hard drive would still be working and you can take the new laptop given by the rental company and switch your hard drive into it. That way you don't lose any data and can keep your business going. The laptop rental company is also responsible for maintenance and servicing, should you encounter any difficulty while using it.

• Short-term Laptop requirements: It is best to rent a laptop if your usage is on a short-term basis or when needed in bulk for training sessions.

Laptop is also rented for temporary offices, traveling executives and temporary employees by business houses.

Cost effectivity of rentals for businesses

Using the laptop on a short-term basis? You might as well rent it. It’s advisable to try out the laptops before investing money in them. With most reliable dealers you have the flexibility of choosing specific requirements within your chosen period of usage. If your dealer does not allow such an option you better watch out as the dealer might not co-operate after the lease period is over if you face any difficulty.

Next important issue is the rent. Take the following factors into consideration while paying:

• How fast does whatever you are renting depreciate in value?
• Price of the item purchased
• Duration of your stay in business
• The rental source and credit rating

Rental companies often offer better terms and rates than the manufacturers themselves. However retailers and manufacturers offer special promotions like lower-interest financing etc. To know whether you get a better deal at any point of time, compare the terms.

Inquire about the amount and check if you can return the laptops within their rental period without penalty. Flexibility in renting is important. For example if you have a six-month contract and after 3 months of using a laptop, find out if it is possible to rent a newer model if you wish to. Always choose a plan wherein you can avail of newer technologies.

Finally, make sure you clearly understand all the terms & conditions of the contract and whom to contact for repairs or troubleshooting.