While every laboratory would love to have the latest, most innovative equipment that’s on the cutting edge of research and capability, it’s something that’s not always possible. If your budgets are somewhat limited, then you may have to look at purchasing used and refurbished equipment instead.
That said, surely the most essential elements of laboratory equipment are its reliability and accuracy? Buying new, high-quality equipment must be the only way to achieve that then? Not quite. If it’s purchased carefully and inspected regularly, it’s possible to find efficient, cost-effective used lab equipment
And while going the second-hand route might seem counterproductive, if you know what to look for and the right questions to ask, you can minimize the chance of risk in the process. Though pushback at the idea exists, the principle is no different from buying a used car or purchasing something from eBay. There are plenty of organizations that have measures in place to redistribute used equipment between departments, divisions, and even different countries.
Healthcare workers often need access to laboratory equipment as part of their work in clinics, laboratories, and hospitals. One problem they may encounter is when the laboratory equipment they need is too expensive to buy firsthand. However, one budget-friendly solution that could be acceptable for them is buying used laboratory equipment.
Buying used lab equipment can be a minefield though, especially when the equipment is a delicate piece of machinery. To ensure you’re still getting a high-quality purchase, you need to look for a reputable seller of used lab equipment
Most manufacturers offer an option to lease or to buy second-hand; this can be a much more desirable option than buying new for various reasons, including but not limited to time efficiency, the condition of the equipment, saving money, and minimizing your lab’s carbon footprint.
The following are six benefits to buying used lab equipment for your lab.
Having to wait for a manufacturer to create new equipment is often time-consuming, and you may end up waiting for up to eight weeks before receiving what you’ve ordered. Labs often don’t have that much time to waste; they have deadlines to meet and are often dealing with projects in which time plays a significant factor. This is especially true of labs that work for other companies, such as big pharmaceuticals, research facilities, and medical practices.
Buying lab equipment can help to bypass this wait-time, or at least to cut it back substantially. This is because you only have to wait for the instruments to be sent, rather than built as well.
2. Refurbished equipment is intact
When you’re buying second-hand equipment, you can almost usually trust that it’s going to be very clean and extremely well-refurbished. Many suppliers that deal with second-hand equipment want to gain and keep clients, so they offer top-notch services; if the quality of the equipment suffers, then so may the quality of their work and the satisfaction of the clients.
Places that sell new but lower-quality equipment don’t always offer the same effort or guarantee. Used lab equipment usually goes through more vetting than regular equipment, as many distributors will double- and triple-check it to make sure that it’s still working properly.
3. Financial reward
Saving money is gaining money, and the best aspect of buying used lab equipment is probably the difference in cost. As you’re not paying the premium amount for items that haven’t been used, you could be saving between 50% to 80% off the initial price. Lab equipment is expensive, and in choosing second-hand, you may acquire equipment that you couldn’t have otherwise afforded. In other words, you can experience the extravagance and advantage of wealth, but it may be more short-lived than if you’d purchased high-tech equipment in the traditional way.
Buying second-hand equipment is making a compromise; you opt for the more decently-price but used equipment, to help your company to produce more and possibly even better work.
4. More opportunities
By saving money, you are allowing your lab to invest in other areas, and even to take on more work. Buying new equipment can tie you down, and the last thing that you need is extra pressure, on top of all that which comes from deadlines and expectations. Saving money could mean many great things for your lab, including opening it up for more research and experiments. It can also allow you to hire more staff, save up for larger investments, allow for salary evaluation and improvement, and to offer training and development for lab technicians, scientists, and whomever else is working in your lab. While new equipment has its merits, there are arguably much better ways to spend; one of those which allows for more money left over, and thus more opportunity for your lab, is buying second-hand.
5. Reducing waste
What happens to all the equipment that becomes outdated, or breaks, or simply isn’t recycled? It certainly doesn’t just vanish. In 2018, 146.1 million tons of MSW were landfills, and of this number, 18% was plastic. Many labs use plastic instruments because they’re cost-effective and durable. Supporting an industry that’s promoting sustainable practices is not only ethically sound but also works to make your laboratory’s carbon footprint smaller. All industries that deal with raw materials and manufacturing should understand that waste reduction may factor into overall corporate sustainability.
6. Nuclear Radiations
Many are familiar with the ways in which you can turn your workplace into an eco-friendlier environment: reduce, reuse and recycle. By using second-hand lab equipment, you’re pretty much applying the same rules and principles, by minimizing the usage and wastage of raw materials. If you’re buying used instruments, it means that less manufacturing is happening, and if labs are recycling, then the number of raw materials used will be less as well. It’s generally important for all businesses and homes to do their best in terms of waste reduction.
7. Minimal depreciation
If you purchase a new instrument over second-hand equipment, it is likely to depreciate much more quickly. Depreciation is when the value of something that you’ve bought for your business goes down. Instead of calculating second-hand equipment’s depreciation with your regular taxes, you write off parts over time; when you do this, you can have more control over how much money is written off each year, leading to better financial management. Essentially, you don’t want to lose much more than what you’re spending. If the purchase price is less, then it’s more likely to not go down so much, but if the price tag is high, depreciation can hurt your company’s bottom line. When you purchase second-hand, your resale value may actually stabilize for at least a year; this gives you the option of replacing it with a new model if necessary, helping you to avoid losing money
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