The Ideal Time to Purchase New Technology & How to Budget for It

Technology in schools is growing exponentially and with the enhancement of e-learning and now-remote snow days, the need for one-to-one devices will continue to gain momentum.

Schools that successfully navigate ongoing technology investments share a single common thread: Planning. Through ongoing conversations, budgeting, and assessments, schools can exceed their tech needs for years to come. Planning for device upgrades is becoming part of everyday budget discussions for many districts. But how and when always seem to be a challenging aspect of the upgrades.

Technology will run a three- to five-year cycle for most districts, so school leaders need to plan for their next upgrade while timing the market to get a maximum return on their investment.

There is a financial sweet spot when it comes to refreshing your fleet. Don’t make a significant investment when you don’t need it, but also don’t wait until education quality is being compromised by faulty equipment.

A great way to stay in the sweet spot is to watch the technology market, know what values look like over time, and during which seasons you’ll get better buyback options. Diamond Assets can help you know when your current fleet has maximum trade-in value.

Also, consider if your district wants to take advantage of better return rates throughout the school year. Most schools opt to trade in devices in June – and for good reason. Students and staff aren’t using them, and administrators have a few months to get a new fleet up and running – not just a few weeks.

However, doing what everyone else does also means you’ll be accepting the same prices as everyone else, taking the risk that summer market fluctuations could drastically impact your values. The value of your devices can drop as much as 15% between March and June as the marketplace becomes flooded with buybacks.

Diamond Assets’ almost decade-long experience has found that a district can effectively take advantage of that increased pricing by exploring a mid-year refresh, it may be a better option to swap out devices over winter or spring breaks. Depending on the size of your buyback, even a 10 percent increase could be significant.

Assess your device buyback value and compare it to how much you still owe on the product. That will help you find an ideal time to shop for new technology, keeping your students and faculty using the latest and greatest devices while also providing a sustainable practice for years to come.

Using devices until they die is an old, inefficient way of maintaining technology. Technology isn’t a consumable, it’s an ongoing investment that has the potential for a decent return.

Innovative and forward-thinking school leaders don’t see technology as a one-time expense but rather as an operational expense, like water and lights. We recommend building IT costs into the district’s annual budget every year – not just the year you make purchases.

As a partner to schools and districts, Diamond Assets provides payment options spread out over the duration of your anticipated cycle. That keeps the money allocated in your ongoing budget but not available for use by another department. It’s an option that keeps districts fiscally nimble in a way that they might not have been in the past.

For more insight into when to purchase technology and how to make the most sustainable investment, contact us.

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