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23. Exploit manufacturers trade-ins

Don't chuck it, trade it in

If you've been following this series of money-saving tips you'll know that I'm a big fan of redeploying and reusing network devices that are no longer suitable for front line work. Even I have to admit, however, that there will come a point at which you'll have no further use for various pieces of kit.

Don't throw those old devices out yet, though. They could still be worth a lot to you.

Any manufacturer's default position will be to sell you the best, most profitable solution for your needs, from stock, at list price – end of story. Most manufacturers have a trade in programme, however (although their sales team may not mention it if you don't raise the issue) and it's possible to make huge savings. So, while your specifying kit and negotiating prices, take an inventory of your pensioned-off devices and explore trade in options.

Out with the old, in with the new

Let me take you once again on a trip to the car showroom. Generally, when buying a new car, you have the associated challenge of disposing of the old one. There are two approaches you might take: sell it privately, or trade it in for the new one.

Usually, most car dealers will much prefer you buy your car outright, without any trade in. Disposing of your old vehicle, unless they happen to have a buyer waiting for it, means extra work for them and extra expense. They're quite happy for you to take on that work and expense.

Some car dealers, though, have recognised the fact that you and I really don't want to be spending our leisure time trying to sell our old cars, and have made the trade in offer a standard part of their service. As a result they can offer you a good trade in value on your old car, saving you a significant amount on your new purchase and freeing you of the need to sell your old car yourself. Excellent!

Don't miss the trade in opportunity

There is, of course, a parallel with your network here. I'm frequently approached by companies looking to dispose of their old network equipment. While I'm happy to make an offer for such kit, I always wonder why they didn't look into the possibility of a trade in. Were they unaware that it is an option to explore? Did they think they had as good a price as they could get on their new network equipment? Whatever the reason, had they secured a trade in, they could have ended up saving thousands.

A very attractive characteristic of trade ins is that everything is negotiable. There are, for example, no 'golden rules' stating that all traded-in kit must be under six months old, or must be returned within 14 days. You can negotiate a trade in deal that not only saves you significant amounts on your purchase, but also suits you in terms of logistics. That could be invaluable in the situation where you need to trial run your new kit alongside the devices it will be replacing, before pulling out those old devices.

Trading in is always an option

Manufacturers know that the more savvy the customer, the more likely they are to be tempted away to an alternative supplier. And if you should move to a new supplier, they know that in this industry, you could be with them for three to five years. That's a long time, and a lot of lost business – and that's before they even think about the work they'll have to do to win you back.

Because of that, while they may not mention trade ins as an option at the outset, or even at all – the manufacturer's preferred result is a straightforward sale of new kit, without the complications of a trade in, after all – you can be confident that the option is there.

Finally, if your manufacturer makes you a derisory offer for your trade in kit, give us a call at Go Communications. We'll happily quote you for the kit, and while we can't, of course, guarantee that we'll be able to make a better offer than your manufacturer, there's a very good chance that we will. Refurbished network devices are our core business, after all.

Whichever approach you take, don't write off your old kit. It could be worth thousands off the cost of your next network upgrade. That's the power of the trade in.