Iíve been asked to look into the possibility of leasing a suite of machine instead of buying them outright. All the schools Iíve worked at have always bought their machines so I have no experience in this matter at all.
What are your views?
We aren't allowed in derbyshire but our new head who is from lancs seemed to have very positive feedback. Just make sure that the leasing includes new stations every so many years.
We have leased lots of kit without any problem. We didn't have to involve the LEA at all when we did it. At the end of the lease we just hand the kit back or buy it for a peppercorn price. We are keeping the old kit and thin clienting it now.
We took the lease 'cos it meant we could spend lots of cash in one go and get a large amount of kit. The downside is that means it is all old and potentially obselete at the same time.
Our LEA recommends leasing as "its the best way to keep up with technology", which is fine if you say i need x number of computers, the money will always be there regardless of if the budget is tight, and you will never want any more PCs.
As i work in an IT dept with an ever decreasing budget i believe buying is the best option. Buy in for the main PC suites and then "hand-me-down" the old ones to other depts and offices. That way your budget goes as far as it can possibly go; your old pcs get handed down and handed down through depts for aslong as they can last, and if you have a tight year you simply buy less/no new pcs.
If you do lease make sure you understand the buy back or return costs. Dell sent us the costs for any damages to the pcs should we with to return them rather than buy; iirc £35/pc for cosmetic damage, £40 for broken floppy drives, £40 for scratched monitors... these prices are non-negoitiable. As you can see it added up to ALOT on 100+ PCs so we were forced to buy at a rediculas fee, somewhere around £80 per PC.
We dont use Dell anymore.
iirc Stone Computers buy back is around the £20 mark, maybe less
From a business perspective a lease will always cost you more, because the leasing company buy the machines in then get you to agree to a contract between 2 to 5 years. They obviously need to make a profit somewhere!
There are advantages however. Firstly the costs are split over a number of years and not one large lump and secondly, if equipment goes wrong/faulty they have a duty of care to repair/replace the machine, providing it wasn't deliberate!
The other advantage at the end of the lease, is you'll probably get a slightly better deal (as an existing customer), but also you can either buy the existing equipment or start again with new equipment. Leasing companies will generally just auction machines off so at least they get some return on investment.
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