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What should you look for when purchasing used equipment?


By Jack Metterville, Vice President of Sales & Marketing
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This question was posed by an ALN reader. We asked Jack Metterville at LABEX of MA to offer information on purchasing used equipment.

Whenever you purchase equipment for your vivarium needs, you should insist upon quality. But what is quality? What is the best quality? How do you ensure a quality purchase? Are you talking about the quality of the product without regard to the value of the purchase? What about price, manufacturer’s reputation and product consistency, product availability, warranty, customer service, and the client experience? It is my opinion that value and quality go hand in hand.

Whether you are buying animal caging or laboratory equipment, there is always an expected understanding that the equipment you are The 3 Green R'spurchasing is fit for its intended use. If it meets your expectations and if it performs to your needs and to its intended purpose, you have purchased a quality product. But have you gotten value for your purchase?

Determining if you receive quality and value for your purchase is a personal experience each time you buy. You should ask yourself if the equipment you purchased met or exceeded your expectations. That is, the experience feels good, I was told what I would get, and I got what I was told. It is the buyer’s responsibility to prepare properly to ensure the likelihood of the purchase of a quality product of good value.

Planning properly always increases the likelihood of the best quality purchase. There are a number of points to consider and if you do, you will most certainly end up with your expectations met and satisfied as a customer. Ask yourself if purchasing used quality reconditioned equipment is an option. If yes, this resource could be an opportunity to get value through competitive pricing and ordering equipment already in stock.

You will need to research the specifications of equipment being considered for purchase. It is imperative to understand completely the purpose of your new purchase. Are you replacing an existing item from a current manufacturer you are satisfied with or are you adding something new to your inventory? It may be less complicated if you are replacing an existing piece of equipment made by a manufacturer that you will be staying with. If it is a new item for your facility, you need to be diligent and perform your homework. It may take a little time, but research all your options and sources for your purchase. However, there is nothing like a referral from an industry friend. Ask about how they use their equipment and their experience with particular types and manufacturers. How did it perform, how did it hold up, and what was their experience with the sales process.

At the same time you are considering your product options, you are also narrowing down your choice of manufacturers. There are always choices of established and reputable makers of quality equipment. Know how long they have been in business and what their reputation is out in the real world. My suggestion is to select four or five makers and compare their product lines and offerings. Ask about product availability and delivery to ensure it will be there when you need it. Question the warranty policies such as coverage and duration.

A quality product can certainly be obtained at a reasonable price. You need not assume that higher prices mean quality. Price is one of many factors that you need to consider. Compare the prices of products from a number of reputable manufacturers and suppliers. Make sure you are comparing similar products with similar components made of the same materials. Know your budget. Know what a good price is for you. Know what a fair price is. Be prepared to pay a fair price. Paying a fair price will increase your chances of getting a quality purchase for good value. Pay attention to the cost of shipping and installation if appropriate.

The ease of doing business with your vendor is paramount to the outcome of a positive sales experience. You should feel comfortable with and confident in the company from whom you are purchasing. Evaluate original manufacturers as well as those that provide equipment on the secondary market. Prices on quality used equipment can be very reasonable to create great value and can be available in only a few weeks. You have a great opportunity to purchase quality equipment at a fair price by knowing your product and staff needs and planning properly.

Our thanks to Jack Metterville for taking the time to respond to this question. LABEX of MA, 100 Grove Street, Worcester, MA 01605, 508-755-2243,


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