Is cheaper better or simply cheaper?
In the current market, there seems to be a large emphasis placed on “value for money”. But what is this? Is it the best value item you can get at the lowest price or is it, simply, the cheapest price you can get.
This applies to all purchases in life and can be applied to the most important investments like your property or even down to the most basic of goods like milk. Yes, there are cheap items in the commercial world but are they really worth consideration. I have this battle with the cost of milk being as low as $1 per litre, but my principals are urging me to invest in local farmers with milk at $2 per litre.
This is the same when buying commercial equipment. If we keep buying lower end products, this may potentially lower the benchmark for what we perceive as a quality product.
But how do we define quality? With complex and precision based equipment, quality usually equates to reliable, long lasting, and easy to use. For these, we are usually willing to outlay a bit more for. Support for the product, however, is the only unknown variable.
Support is the one single item that can differentiate between a good quality product and a poor-quality product. On top of this, having poor support for even the best-branded product can come across as “cheap” or poor quality.
Each company sprouts having the best support, maybe even throws in trinkets or discounted consumables/support but in the end how do we place a value on this? Does this really contribute to the true cost of the equipment? And how can we say if what the sales rep tells us is truth prior to investing large amounts of capital?
Support is something everyone claims to be the best at but how can you tell when you have never used the company before? Will they be there when you need them? Will they have parts available, so you have minimal downtime?
If the equipment contributes to the main source of your income, it makes sense to buy a quality product that will be reliable and well supported, while still trying to negotiate the best price available. Having increasing competition obviously helps with this negotiation as companies constantly compete to win your business.
It is important to conduct thorough research on support companies for equipment we are looking at investing in. One well-branded company may outperform the rest in one area but may be behind others in other areas. Ask around, check review sites and ask lots and lots of questions.
My final question is if it is cheap, how well is it supported? If it is well supported, how cheap could it really be? Finally, which is more important to you?