Top 7 Strategies When Buying a Reconditioned Plotter
By Jason Ake
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Professional Plotter Technologies was founded in 2001 by me, Jason Ake, formally the executive technician of Paramount Computers for seven years. After years of experience and forty certifications in the CAD industry I decided I could offer better business solutions to CAD specialists and opened up my own company. My mission is to provide the best customer driven solution for all large-format, digital output professionals. The customer is the most important aspect to building a successful business, so I started by offering the best service I could to my customers and making sure they were pleased. Iím glad to say since 2001 Professional Plotter Technologies has grown into a success beyond my expectations. We now have a full line of new and reconditioned plotters, scanners, multi-function units, service and supplies which we ship to customers world-wide.
- When buying a reconditioned printer make sure you know where it's coming from. Many companies receive machines that have been broken, misused, out of service, or from other non-working environments. Often refurbishment for them means powering-up and running a single test page. Ask your vendor where they get their machines. Our machines all come from working environments. Many come off-lease, through asset management companies, or from end-users. Before they even enter our warehouse we know where and in what shape they're coming from. Always know the history of a used machine.
- Second, know exactly what reconditioned means to your vendor and how detailed their refurbishment process is. Has the plotter been ripped apart and rebuilt, thoroughly tested and confirmed to meet or exceed OEM specifications? Some companies run a single test print, without ever tearing down the machine to assure the internal parts are in good condition and sell it as reconditioned. Ask to speak to a technician and have him describe what goes on before the plotter is shipped. Plotters should undergo a detailed and consistent refurbishing process to guarantee they continue to perform as expected for years down the line.
- Third, in the refurbishment process, who works on the machine is just as important as how the work is done. If the technician is not factory certified it might not matter how thorough of a job is performed. Does your vendor have an Outlet ID or any way to verify their certifications with the manufacturer? What partnerships do they have? Professional Plotter Technologies has industry wide partnerships with HP, Canon, Context, Techgraf, Synnex and many other industry leaders. Furthermore, our technicians are certified by the manufacturer for over 40 models and have years upon years of experience. They've had hands on experience working on the machines for years now and have gained intricate knowledge of the models and makes.
- Fourth, once the machine has been properly reconditioned and tested you need to figure out how it will get to your location. If you are going to pick up the machine it is a good idea to bring along padded shipping blankets to protect the unit. If you are going to have the unit shipped, which is often the case, you will want to make sure it is done properly. Never ship a plotter via UPS or through the Post Office, freight is the proper way to ship a large machine. Usually we can ship a machine anywhere in the continental US for $150 door-to-door. To assure the unit arrives as expected we build a custom box and pack with professional grade filler. This means the machine is fully protected internally and externally, pertinent accessories are all included, and the freight is prepared to travel cross-country or internationally as needed. All freight companies are not equal. Some companies can take twice as long as another to ship the same unit, some are notorious for damage claims, and some work just great. Are their optional services available like residential delivery and lift-gate services for disabled customers? How does your vendor ship and do they use a reputable freight company? What is the expected transit time? Good companies choose their partners well, and shipping is no different.
- Fifth, once the plotter is in your hands how much post-sale protection is offered? We've all been in the situation of trying to set up a complicated product without any help. Is your vendor available for post-sale consultation or are they going to send you to the manufacturer's out-sourced technical support line in India? We know how frustrating this can be and to make sure our customers never undergo such disrespectful treatment we offer 24/7 lifetime technical support for all new and used plotters. There are also extensive warranty options ranging from 90 days to 5 years. If your plotter breaks down we will have a technician to your location within one business day, no matter where your located. HP's partner portal allows us to send a tech out from your city and have the charges billed directly to us. This means you have more free time to go about your job rather than making sure we're doing ours.
- You've gotten your plotter, it works great and you have a full warranty to protect you in the future. What other options are available to you now? Where leasing options discussed? What about the possibility of a trade in a couple years down the line? We offer our customers both. Beyond that a full line of supplies and service is offered to our customers. We have partnerships with the leading paper, ink and consumables distributors in the nation and offer our customers with the most competitive rates in the nation. We also offer in-house and out-house servicing on most large-format models. Even if you purchased your machine from another vendor, or if your warranty has expired there are still many options available to you before you consider buying a new machine.
- Finally, get to know your vendor beyond a strict business relationship. I believe the most important aspect of a business are the relations one builds. If vendors and customers see their job as something they must do they are less likely to do great. But, if they enjoy working with their partners and one another this will filter down to having a great work environment and great products. I take pride in running my business well and getting to know great industry professionals on a first name basis. We are all in this industry together and by helping one another out we can insure a successful future.
Professional Plotter Technologies
7617 Hidden Brook Ct
Austin, TX 78744
Article Submitted On: October 31, 2007