Whether you’re just delving into the industry of non-invasive cosmetic treatments or a seasoned veteran of the trade, you’ve no doubt experienced a bit of “sticker shock” when shopping for a brand new laser to add to your practice. Because of this, many laser professionals begin to explore their options for a less expensive alternative. But is buying a pre-owned laser truly a better decision than buying new?
There are certainly benefits to buying a brand new laser:
- Your machine will be under warranty so if any problems arise during the warranty period they will most likely be covered by the manufacturer.
- You may receive training and marketing support from your sales representative as part of the package.
So what are the disadvantages of buying a new laser?
- Cost of Ownership: The “pros” of buying a new laser come at a hefty premium. When you buy a new laser you are paying not only for your machine but also for the commissions for the sales people involved, marketing, and possible service that may be required in the future. If you are financing the laser you’ll pay tens of thousands in interest over the life of the loan. You may also end up paying for a very costly yearly service agreement.
- Consumables: It has become the practice of many laser companies to continue to take a sizable portion of your annual profit by requiring yearly re-certifications, hand-pieces that only allow for a certain number of pulses, or disposable tips that “time out” after a certain amount of time or number of uses.
- Resale: Eventually you’ll probably want to sell your laser for one reason or another. But some companies try to “block” the sale by charging the new owner a re-certification fee that can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars, thereby prohibiting the new owner from using the laser or receiving parts or service.
- Depreciation: Buying a new laser is much like purchasing a new car. Once you drive it off the lot the value depreciates significantly.
Are there disadvantages to buying a used laser? It’s possible! There are no guarantees in life, but if you do your homework you can walk away with an amazing deal on a laser. Here are some of the possible things to watch out for:
- Know who you’re buying from: Every week we receive calls from people that got mixed up with a disreputable seller and ended up paying for a lemon or for a laser they never received! (See our first post: Guide to Buying Pre-Owned Lasers, Part 1 :: Private Party, Broker or Dealer?) Do your homework, Google the name of the seller you’re buying from, ask questions, visit the laser or do a live Skype inspection, etc. Make sure the seller has the laser you’re looking at and is not just brokering it.
- Service: Make sure the company you are buying from can offer parts, service and support after the sale.
What are the advantages of buying a used laser?
- Saving A LOT of money: Our customers typically save 50-80% on pre-owned lasers. By paying less, the business owner will have less overhead & more profitability. For example, the service provider can charge the same $200 for an aesthetic treatment whether it was performed on a $100,000 or a $30,000 laser!
- Benefits to slightly older technology: As we stated earlier, many laser companies are suddenly requiring proprietary consumables and costly re-certifications. This was basically unheard of just a few years ago, so buying a laser that doesn’t require these “extras” can preserve a lot of your profit.
- Technologies haven’t changed much in the last several years: There is always the lure of owning “the latest & greatest” technology. Nowadays, however, certain technologies are basically the same thing…they’re just re-introduced every few years in a new “package” and resold to the unknowing customer who has been convinced that they must have the latest model.
- Adding / Changing Technology: With a smaller initial investment you have more options for your business. If you specialize in a certain treatment, you can add more than one system to allow for the ability to schedule more patients at a time. Or you might opt to diversify your practice to offer other types of laser services. Either way, less overhead equals more profitability.
- Service & support: When you buy from a reputable company they will be able to provide you with the resources to obtain third party support for service and parts, and the cost will be a fraction of what it would be directly from the manufacturer.
- Training: There are many certified trainers available to travel to your location to perform the same training as you would receive when buying a new machine.
Buying a new laser vs. used really comes down to dollars and cents. If you love always having the newest, shiniest equipment and don’t mind paying for it at a premium, then new is probably for you! If you prefer to focus on profitability and lower overhead, a pre-owned laser is a great choice.
Remember to do your homework about the company you’re buying from! Google their names and company name and check eBay & dotMed to read reviews. If you can’t travel to see the laser in person, ask to see the laser in their warehouse in real-time via Skype or FaceTime. By spending a little time on research and opting to buy from a reputable company, buying a pre-owned laser can save you a ton of money and help you grow a financially healthy practice in a much shorter amount of time.