These days more and more companies are coming up with creative ways to save money. One way to save is purchasing used and refurbished laboratory equipment. However, buying used lab equipment can be a daunting and a sometimes frightening experience for the end user. This blog was created to give buyers a helpful insight into the world of used lab equipment. When you’re looking to purchase equipment it’s always important to know who you’re dealing with. There are many used lab equipment and pharmaceutical machine resellers on the used market, but each of these companies have a different business model (equipment broker, equipment buyer, auctioneer, equipment service company, used equipment dealer, used equipment refurbishes, etc). Knowing these models will help you understand the potential savings and risks that come from procuring used laboratory equipment from each of these vendors.
For example: an “Equipment Broker” you should be able to spot an equipment broker from a mile away, if you’ve spent enough time on the web. Most Lab Equipment Brokers will advertise a lot of equipment, but they’ll never put the actual picture of the instrument up on their website. In fact, nowadays more and more brokers are using the manufacturer’s stock image as a way to advertise. You should be cautious when seeing this. Think about it, if you had a reliable instrument worth a lot of money, wouldn’t you put the time into taking pictures of the actual instrument you’re trying to sell and promote them on your website? Okay let’s think about this from another angle. Used Car Dealers and Real Estate Broker sites: when you’re searching for a house, or a used car, doesn’t the broker advertise pictures of the item they’re trying to sell? So why wouldn’t a Used Lab Equipment Broker do the same?
Well here’s the ugly truth, most of these brokers don’t truly have access to the instrument you’re inquiring about. What they’ll try to do is quote you the used lab instrument, tell you there’s a three-to-four week turnaround time and then ask you to pay in advance. Once they’ve received your money, they’ll try and negotiate with another used lab equipment buyer/reseller. So if you’re cautious and good at surfing the web, most of the time you can eliminate the “Middle-Man Brokers” and save an additional 20-30% by going directly to source. In addition to spotting sites advertising manufacturer’s stock images, be extremely careful when dealing with sites that don’t even post any pictures at all. There are several companies in the used laboratory equipment world who will put up large lists of equipment, but won’t put any pictures up of the item. The reason for this is the same as the Middle-Man Brokers. Don’t ever be fooled by a company who tells you they have a three-to-four week turnaround time, unless you’re purchasing an analytical instrument with a hefty price tag such as a Mass Spectrometer or Flow Cytometer. There should be no need for an order turnaround time that’s more than five business days.
Bottom line is know who you’re dealing with when purchasing your used lab equipment. Look for companies that have a honest reputation, offer some sort of warranty (30-Days or More), and advertise with images of real equipment including serial numbers. If you ever ask a used equipment reseller for a serial number and they can’t provide one on the spot, ask them for a picture of the serial number. This should help you eliminate the real resellers from the phonies. Remember, buying used and refurbished laboratory equipment is an extremely resourceful way to save money, and help the earth by recycling technology. Just make sure you eliminate as much risk as possible. We’ll continue to update our readers with more use tips on buying used lab equipment. However, should you have any questions, or need any recommendations, don’t hesitate to contact The Lab World Group at 617-999-5746.