christine, hope, hopes of longtown, post officeI get all excited when buying new items, regardless of cost of whether it’s £100 or £10,000. It’s the investment in the future of the business, how we will improve our efficiency on running costs or offer a better service to our customers. Sadly some of these have been my most expensive mistakes not just based on cost but time lost sorting it all out afterwards.

My biggest area for error has been with dealing with Sales representatives who offer a fantastic “deal” by phone or at shows. Naturally I invite them to show off the product or service and even get a written quote. With a massive smile on my face I pay, we receive the goods or service and then I have a dreadful sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I realised I should have known better.

The devil is always in the detail, a quote should never be based on just price alone; twice I have got excited by the offer but have been very let down afterwards. For example a product has been cost-effective but the 24-hour support line suddenly becomes an office hours only based solution, or the worst sentence ever, “yes we do, but it wasn’t in your quote, that costs extra”.

So here are my simple steps to remain excited, but not get caught out:

  • Write down why you want the product or service
  • Can it save money or time in your business model/mix
  • Get more than one quote & test the equipment if needed, use your network of friends and retailers to find out what their experiences are and of the company
  • Looking again at why you need the product or service, whilst it may be shiny & beautiful. Can it meet the reasons why you want to purchase it
  • Armed with what you want and a price negotiate to your heart’s content
  • Make sure the written quote is based on why you want the product/service and any other extra’s you presumed were in the quote are itemised
  • Don’t forget to check if VAT is applicable!