By Joel Montgomery // 16 October 2008 // Related Categories: Tips

I'm in the market for a new 24" digital widescreen flatscreen monitor because, let's face it, when it comes to monitors those extra inches really do matter. This morning I did a price search on Samsung SyncMaster 2443BW at shopbot and I found prices ranging from $444 to $547 for the exact same model with the equivalent warranty.

In times of economic turmoil it makes sense to be frugal, providing of course it doesn't cost you more time and money searching for a better price than the discount itself. Having worked for IT vendors for the past 10 years I can tell you that it is most definitely worth doing your due diligence on price before you buy. As a rule of thumb I would guess that by shopping around the average small business could save $100 per employee per year.

Here are a few of my tips on how to save money on IT if you're a small business:

  1. Get 3 quotes. Take the cheapest quote to the other suppliers and ask them to better the price. It's an obvious tip but it's very effective and you don't need to be a great negotiator - just ask the question.
  2. Always check the price comparison sites first (e.g. shopbot, pricespy, staticice). I think they give you a great benchmark that you can use as part of your negotiation.
  3. Don't settle for the web price. Call up the sales team after you've found the online price. After all, you can't haggle with an online store. In bigger companies the sales rep. may only get paid if they take the order, so they will likely better the price to keep you from ordering online.
  4. If you buy regularly from your trusted supplier, make sure you review their price competitiveness every six months. It pays to double-check every now and then.
  5. If you are buying services with the product (e.g. installation and training) then ask for pricing for the hardware/software separately. Sometimes the price of hardware or software may be hidden in the total bundled price so get them to separate it out.
  6. If you're buying IT hardware, don't lock in a fixed price for an extended period of time (e.g. 3 years). You'll find with the cost of many components in constant decline you'll end up paying way too much.
  7. Consider buying at auction (e.g. graysonline). You can pick up a great price on a near-new or second hand item but be wary that many items have no warranty or support attached, and it's unlikely you can benefit from any further discounts (coupons and cash-backs). I only consider buying at auction if I can save 40% or more off retail.

This is just a start. There are many more great tips (e.g. buying OEM, reviewing the price of print consumables) that we can discuss in a separate blog. I also found some more great tips on the flyingsolo website.

Please share with us what money-saving tips you've learnt from buying technology.

Comments: 1 // Share:

James // 19/10/2008 5:01 PM

I need reminders like this because I often feel too busy to get more than one quote, but Im definately paying too much for my IT!

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