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The Expert's Guide to Buying Laser Equipment
By: Louis Silberman
Posted: December 31, 2009, from the January 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
More mature clients may prefer fractional laser wrinkle reduction.
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Payment options. The average laser can cost anywhere from $50,000–250,000, which makes it a very significant asset to a business. This is why it is important to know all of the methods available to purchase a cosmetic laser. See Buying Method Equations for real-life payment and profit estimates for the four forms of payment listed below.
- Cash—Paying cash for a laser is an expensive endeavor. Although it avoids loan fees and provides 100% equity up front, it can soak up a large amount of a company’s capital, which can hinder the liquidity of its assets.
- Financing—Financing is a loan given by a bank or company to purchase equipment, but involves interest and loan fees. Because the loan is credit-based, this option is not always available to buyers with lower credit scores.
- Leasing—Leasing equipment lowers the actual monthly cost of having a laser and sometimes allows greater freedom to trade in older technology for newer lasers. Unfortunately, the money spent does not allow a business to gain any equity in the equipment. The typical lease rate for a new $100,000 laser is approximately $2,000 per month during an obligatory three- to five-year contract.
- Renting—Renting a piece of laser equipment costs approximately $500–700 per day. This method costs more money up front, but there is no financial or contract obligation. It is a great way to test out offering laser procedures in a business before making a full investment.
Warranty. As you can imagine, equipment repairs on cosmetic laser equipment can be costly. Just one breakdown can cost up to $3,000 in parts and labor without a warranty. When considering warranty options, there are two important questions to ask: If my equipment breaks down, is there a local company that can administer the repairs, or do I have to ship it to the factory; and will I receive a loaner machine to use while my equipment is being repaired?
A great way to determine whether a warranty price quote is competitive or not is to estimate the cost of repairing your equipment two times during a year. If the yearly cost of the warranty is less than the estimated nonwarranty repair costs, then this is a smart buy.
Demo. No one would ever buy a house without stepping foot in it. Likewise, no one should ever buy a laser without trying it out first. Make it a requirement during the buying process to see a demonstration of the equipment and take advantage of the opportunity to try it out in your own professional environment. Because a cosmetic laser is a large investment, it is critical to make sure the equipment is the right fit for your needs. Following is a list of things to keep in mind when testing out the equipment.
- Will the seller demonstrate the functionality, and let me try out the equipment in my workplace?
- Is the cosmetic laser equipment heavy? How hard will it be to manipulate?
- How user-friendly are the laser controls?
- What treatments does the equipment perform? Is it a single-modality machine or are there interchangeable hand pieces allowing for the performance of multiple types of treatments?
Leading cosmetic laser manufacturers are known for their customer-friendly demo programs. When shopping for a new laser, always ask about the options that are available for working with the equipment before making a final purchase.