Choosing a Computer Reseller
You need a computer system for school, your home or business. Where do you go? Choosing the right computer reseller is as important as your hardware and software. In the long run, satisfaction with your computer system depends on the reseller you choose. Let’s take a quick look at the broad categories of resellers.
Small Value-Added Retailers
These resellers range from selling only one or two brands of hardware to selling broad product lines and very sophisticated systems. The level of service and support vary among the different small retailers but are typically much greater than the service and support offered by the categories listed below. They may offer refurbished computers and thus provide a wider price range than other resellers. Sometimes, their prices might be slightly higher than other resellers, but will almost certainly include greater after-sale assistance.
Computer Superstores/Office Supply Stores
Computer superstores have either shut down or evolved into selling other products. Here you will find several brands of computer hardware and software with discount pricing. Typically the sales staff’s degree of training is limited. The knowledgeable, self-service buyer may be more comfortable here. This reseller typically promotes extended warranties as a service option.
If you know exactly what you want and can find it on-line , you can typically get a good price. But keep in mind that lowest price doesn’t always mean best value and make sure you are not surprised by high shipping and handling fees. After-sale services may be nonexistent or limited to just the manufacturer’s warranty. If you go this route be sure to save your boxes and receipts for possible returns.
Consumer electronic shops and mass merchandisers have decided to add computers to their product lineup. They generally offer a low price but their sales staff may have little product knowledge. After-sale service is typically not offered by the reseller or may be sold as an add-on through a third party.
How to Choose?
Each type of reseller has special attributes meant to fill special needs and a specific type of customer. Before you decide where to buy your computer, draw up a list of the features that you need from a reseller. Here are a few you may want to consider:
- Price-If the lowest price is most important to your buying decision, you may have to sacrifice service and support assistance to reduce the cost.
- Service and Support-This benefit may be extremely important to you. Your business will most like stop or be significantly hindered if your computer system is down. You should know exactly what service is covered under the warranty and what service is available after the warranty expires.
- Customization & Training-Does your reseller offer to customize your new computer purchase? Does the reseller offer services to transfer to your new computer your unique personal information (including pictures, music, documents, e-mail, and contacts) from you original computer? Will the reseller demonstrate the features of your new computer purchase in person, or will you receive your computer in a sealed box? Does your reseller come to your office or do you have to go to an off-site location?
- Location-Proximity to your school, home or office may be a convenience worth paying a little more for, especially if you think you will be very dependent on the reseller’s services and support.
Now you know about the types of resellers out there. You’ve decided what to expect from the reseller who will supply your computer system. What else should you take into consideration? This “Reseller Checklist” will help you make the right choice.
- References-Ask for a list of satisfied customers and call them. Question them about the reseller’s pre-sale support, installation support and after-sale support. Also contact the local Better Business Bureau for any complaints lodged against this company.
- Service- Look for experienced technicians! Certifications such as A+™ Certified from COMPTIA are a great starting point, but experience is more important. In addition, you should also know what type of service you need from your reseller. Carry-in, on-site, 24-hour turn around and LAN support are all service areas that need to be addressed. What about service after the warranty has expired? Ask if they do their own repair work or send it out. Find out the labor rate. Also, find out whether the reseller offers managed services, and has the ability to remote into your computer system to quickly solve many issues.
- Stability-Resellers that are well established, successful companies are more likely to be around to handle your future service and system needs. Find out how long the reseller has been in business.
- Comfort Factor-You may have to work closely with this reseller’s staff. Do you feel you and your employees will have a good rapport with the reseller? It helps. A computer system is a major purchase. Invest some time to determine what reseller attributes are important to you. Get to know your computer reseller before you buy because after the sale may be too late.
Follow this formula and you’ll successfully choose a reseller that will meet you current and future computer system needs. Wade Cantrell is owner of a value-added retailer, Cantrell’s Computer Sales & Service which is located in Pleasant Hill, California and been in business for over 16 years. For further advice on computers and computer-based solutions, call Wade at (925)827-1200.