Why Buy a Computer from an IT Firm Over Going Direct

Disclaimer: We’re an IT firm. We recommend that you evaluate the data and choose a path that best serves your business’s needs. This advice is intended for business with 10+ employees.

We’ve had prospects and clients ask us if they should buy their computers from retailers such as BestBuy, Dell.com, Amazon, Lenovo.com, and other retail outfits over buying through us.

Please see below for our Pros and Cons of each scenario. 

Pros of buying retail:

  • Likely cheaper upfront.
  • Instant ordering access — add to cart, checkout, done.
  • You are able to benefit from sales, coupons, or other point in time promotions.

Cons of buying retail:

  • You are responsible for selecting the grade, make, model of computer equipment that fits your business’s needs. If mis-ordered, the burden is on you to initiate a return & ship it back. If the IT firm has spent labor during this process, it will likely be out of scope per-hour labor.
  • You are responsible for dealing with shipping issues and if the computer is dead on arrival or has other problems. The burden of submitting the return request and getting it approved for replacement is on you. If the IT firm has spent labor during this process, it will likely be out of scope per-hour labor.
  • Your IT firm will likely charge you more for the initial setup as it’s outside of their normal procurement process and not their standard make & model of computer.

Pros of buying from your IT firm:

  • Grade, make, and model are all selected by experts based on your business & software requirements. They will put in the time to research and figure out what will best fit in your situation for the long-term.
  • IT firm is responsible for the procurement process and handles dead on arrival computers or other problems. This can require many hours of back and forth with the vendor and involves shipping costs that won’t be your problem. 
  • Your IT firm likely has automated process for quickly setting up their known makes & models of PCs, reducing time and setup fees.
  • Your IT firm carries the overall unspoken burden for the expected life of the computer. For example, if it has a hardware fault two years into ownership, the warranty initiation and follow-up will likely elicit a high priority response because it was sold on their invoice and may reflect poorly on them. 

Cons of buying from your IT firm:

  • Likely more expensive upfront over buying direct from a retail outfit.
  • Your IT firm has to create and send you the quote which could lengthen the process.
  • If you’re dealing with a shady IT firm or “IT guy”, you could be taken advantage of and receive lower spec or used/refurbished equipment. We’ve seen it.

In our opinion and experience, clients buying computers direct may make sense in the short-term. However, the risks and long-term costs make this a bad deal.

Bonus Q&A, Question: I received a quote from my IT firm and found the computer online for way less. Answer: make sure things are apples to apples. Does the IT firm’s quote include software, upgrades, extended warranty, and/or labor? Likely the product on the website is only one piece of the puzzle and you’ll still have to buy the other items before the computer is live in your environment.  

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