's Top 10 Buying Tips

  • Flush out all the fees. Very attractive pricing that is asterisked with "additional fees may apply" should be thoroughly investigated before you sign up.
  • Balance low prices with good service. Do not simply purchase the lowest price deal — seriously consider the ongoing service you will receive.
  • Check support. Make sure your provider's support hours match your business hours to ensure you can get help when you need it. Also, understand what level of support is provided.
  • Focus on what matters. Sales pitches can be rife with flashy features and technical lingo that obscure the basic purchase facts. Keep your focus on the features that matter to your business.
  • Keep long-term needs in mind. Build in flexibility to expand or decrease your system or service commitment in future years.
  • Involve the affected. Even though it can take time to involve multiple people in the purchase, doing so can help ensure your purchase becomes well integrated.
  • Make the most of references. References can be a tremendously useful source of information about your potential vendor. Ask them specific questions about what works and doesn't work with the vendor. To ensure a similar experience, speak with businesses comparable to yours.
  • Avoid long-term contracts. Think twice before signing contracts that last more than two to three years. Due to the constantly evolving nature of purchases and pricing, there are few if any purchases where securing a long-term commitment makes sense.
  • Watch out for application fees and non-refundable deposits. Before paying upfront for goods or services you haven't received, check industry practices and the company's reputation. And pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charges if necessary.
  • Authorized providers. Check whether you are dealing with an authorized reseller. If not, it can affect your warranty and access to support and parts.

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