This article was featured in eSchool News on Mar. 29, 2022 by Mark Rand, Director of Procurement – Diamond Assets
The sudden switch to remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic caught plenty of school districts off guard, and they scrambled to find devices that were up to the task.
Now two years later, it’s time to begin planning to do it all over again.
Forward-thinking education leaders know that tech costs are an ongoing line item, not a one-time expense. Those one-to-one devices that were purchased with special funds during the pandemic will most certainly become obsolete and lose function – probably within five years.
That’s why it’s important to start planning for your tech refresh now, before you start seeing problems in the classroom, in order to make the best decision for your district moving forward.
This time around, there are more considerations at play than there were with that initial technology purchase. Not only do you have the benefit of time on your side, but you also have existing capital in the form of trade-in value from your existing fleet. That has the potential to significantly change the dynamics of your next purchase.
The way you manage your trade-in could have a big impact on your bottom line. There are ways to make the most out of your ongoing purchases, however – and they all involve planning ahead. Read on for the things you can do now to make smarter technology purchases later.
- Choose wisely. Not all technology brands hold their value as well as others. By choosing the less expensive device up front, you might be short-changing yourself out of a premium buyback price later on. Do your homework and see if the lower price tag is actually a better deal in the long run.
- Maximize your trade-in. Particularly if you purchased your existing fleet of devices with grant money, you’ll want to use the trade-in value to your advantage next time around. Any money you make with a buyback program will essentially be free money, so use it to invest in the subsequent fleet.
- Change up your timing. Everyone wants to sell their used devices at the end of the school year. But that’s when the market is flooded, and your resale value diminishes by as much as 15 percent between spring and summer. Consider instead a mid-year tech refresh, perhaps during winter or spring break, which can make a considerable impact for you.
- Don’t run your devices into the ground. If you are already experiencing tech issues at the classroom level, you’ve held on to your devices for too long. You will have missed your chance at a strong trade-in value, and your students and teachers are feeling the consequence. Rather, keep an eye on the market so that you can make a purchase of opportunity, not one of desperation.
- Set up a payment plan. Many suppliers will work with you to spread out payments over your planned device cycle. This allows you to establish technology as an ongoing operation expense, just like the cost of running water and electricity to your buildings. It also protects your technology budget from being reallocated to other departments in a financial crunch, so you know the funding for new devices is always available.
- Delay the start of your warranty coverage. If you order new devices in April but don’t intend to use them until August, speak with your supplier about not starting your warranty until school begins. You might be glad for the extra few months of protection on the back end.
Companies should communicate with you regularly about their existing and projected trade-in values, so they can find the sweet spot that will give school leaders the greatest return on their technology investment.