The Optometric Minute

Buy Smart: Upgrade Economically with Used Equipment

Oct. 28, 2015

Kenneth Daniels, OD, FAAO, Dipl. ABO, owner of See Life – Hopewell & Lambertville Eye Associates in Hopewell and Lambertville, N.J., encourages ODs to consider purchasing used equipment as a cost-effective way to expand clinical services and improve patient care. He recommends that any used equipment purchased be proven to be in good condition, with an active warranty, and that it was manufactured by a company that will continue to provide servicing and upgrades. In financing major equipment purchases, consider more economical alternatives to conventional bank loans.

Purchase Used Equipment and Upgrade Services
Used Equipment: Where to Find It, How to Finance

Kenneth Daniels, OD, FAAO, Dipl. ABO, notes that the equipment you purchase for your practice is most likely your largest capital investment outside your office’s rent or mortgage. Used equipment that is still in good condition is a financially feasible way for you to expand your clinical services.

In many cases, used equipment is still in good condition, and the previous owner is just upgrading to a newer technology. “A practice owner may have had a GDX and then upgraded to a full-spectrum OCT,” says Dr. Daniels. “The GDX may not be the optimal equipment, but it is a great way for you to begin to enhance your clinical care.”

There are equipment redistributors in each region that you can tap for help in acquiring a used piece of equipment. These redistributors work with practices that are closing or moving, and purchase the equipment from them for re-sale.

The key in any used equipment purchase is to not just be sure the equipment you purchase is in good shape, but that it comes from a manufacturer that will provide ongoing customer service. You want the manufacturer to be available for any needed repairs, and for the technology upgrades that will keep the equipment in top form.

Dr. Daniels recommends purchasing used equipment through an equipment redistributor, rather than purchasing the equipment from a private seller online on a site like Craig’s List or eBay.

The redistributor will have inspected the equipment and can verify that the warranty on the product is still active. The company can then also work with you to re-register the machine with the manufacturer. This ensures a clean transfer and an assurance of long-term customer service capability.

In deciding how to pay for the equipment, Dr. Daniels says he favors self-financing whenever possible. He says that he would rather use his own, personal finances to pay for the equipment, providing a loan from himself to his practice. He can then pay himself back at a lower rate than would be required by a bank or a finance company.

Taking a loan from a bank or a finance company requires documentation and proof of collateral, Dr. Daniels says. You need to show that your practice can offer proper collateral, and that your practice is financially stable. This requires a record of your recent profit and loss statements, along with information about your practice’s demographics and potential for growth.

Kenneth Daniels, OD, FAAO, Dipl. ABO, is owner of See Life – Hopewell & Lambertville Eye Associates in Hopewell and Lambertville, N.J. To contact him: kennethdaniels@att.net

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