Buying used phone systems: advice and tips
Done right, buying used phone systems can be a great way to save money on an expensive business purchase. Done wrong, it can lead to months or even years of frustration and ultimately a lot of wasted money and time. Here are some key points to consider when shopping for used phone systems.
Don't shop on price alone
Theoretically, buying the cheapest system that meets your requirements should maximize your savings - but in the real world, this rarely works out. Just like buying new telephone equipment, choosing the least expensive system inevitably means coming up short on some area - reliability, features, or expandability.
By choosing a used phone system, you're already saving considerable money. Spending a little more than the minimum can help ensure that you get a system you're happy with.
Look for full-service dealers
Some players in the "secondary market" (aka, used phone system dealers) are strictly resellers: they can sell you a refurbished phone system, but they don't handle installation or support. In general, we recommend avoiding these dealers.
Installation is an important part of your phone system purchase, and while you can hire a cable and wiring company to do the installation, it'll wind up increasing your overall costs. You also lose out on the expertise of an installer who is very familiar with the particular phone system they're installing.
Get the support you need
Another reason to choose full-service dealers is to get the ongoing customer support that's essential to keeping your phone system working its best. Think about how your business will suffer if your phones are unavailable for a few hours or a day - if you're like many companies, it's not a pretty picture.
Even when buying used phone systems, you'll want to choose a provider that offers high-quality customer support and guarantees response times if you have an outage or other major problem. Saving money on the initial purchase shouldn't mean that you have to go without top-notch customer support. A smart way to research this purchase is to first compare customer support and other services from multiple full-service dealers.
Installing your phones
When you purchase a new phone system, installation is often included in the price. This is less common with used products. Unless you have an IT team ready to install your phones upon purchase, ask about installation as you evaluate used phone systems for sale.
If installation is not included, it might be cost-effective to purchase the phones from one dealer and hire another company to install them. Make sure there is room in your budget for proper installation, as well as training and troubleshooting once they've been installed.
Just how used are those used phone systems?
Buying used also shouldn't mean that the phones and hardware are in bad shape. Any used telecommunications equipment you buy for your business should be fully refurbished and tested by the reseller. Make sure the dealer also has spare parts and phones if you need them later, or if you want to expand the system in the future.
You should get a warranty with your used phone system: while it may not be as robust as those that come with new phone systems, you should be able to get a one year warranty on your hardware.
You can expect all the standard business telephone features, even on phones that are a few years old: call forwarding, extension dialing, full-featured voice mail, and the like. Getting more advanced capabilities such as automatic call distribution and VoIP support may be slightly harder and/or more expensive, but it's certainly doable.
Things to consider
Firms seeking bids on used business phone systems must consider several factors before choosing a system. Features such as voice mail, headset capabilities, and conferencing are all important for any growing business, and are standard features on most systems - but don't take them for granted. Make sure all the important features you want are included and working properly.
Companies also need to consider their future growth when selecting a business phone setup. Expandability is an important trait for any used office phone system - after all, chances are it was sold when some other company outgrew it. It's worth checking to see if the manufacturer is still producing compatible equipment for any used system you're considering.
In addition, businesses need to consider that used office phone systems may not support complex computer telephony integration (CTI). If you need CTI, make sure the integration is included in the bid process when comparing systems.
Start your dealer search
We can connect you to high-quality used phone system dealers - you tell them what you want and compare their offerings. Just submit a free phone system quote request and you'll be on your way to a successful used phone system purchase.