Don’t invest in computer hardware like you would real estate.
So what is your computer worth? A few years after you buy your computer not much. Buy it to use it. Computer equipment loses value at roughly 2% per week. What does this mean to you? What you purchase today is worth 2% less this week, 2% less of that total next week, etc.
If you paid $1000 for a computer today, next year it will be worth $300 and the year after that $100. Three years from the date of purchase, it is worth about $30. This “back-of-the-envelope calculation” is close, but not exact.
Desktop computers have lost most value in the past few years and laptops have maintained the most as many people have moved to portable computers.
What produces this devaluation?
How do I get a valuation? How can I get it valued or find its pricing?
How do I sell my computer?
What is the difference between value and recovery?
Worth means that if you spent the time to prepare it for sale – moved it out of the office, cataloged it, wiped the hard drive, found a box in which to ship it, advertised the sale, warranted it, answered technical support questions as the sale went forward, etc., you can recover the market worth. If you are not willing to do this work, figure on recovering about 30-40% of the market value of the equipment less the cost of the move.
Example: 10 computers and monitors purchased for $10000 total at time zero. After two years, you phase out this equipment. Estimated total worth of the equipment is now $1000. If you do not want to sell the equipment yourself, you may recover about $300 to $400 less the cost of moving the equipment. The difference between worth and recovery is the cost to move, sell, and advertise all this equipment.
If you are a home user, the challenge is the same. Most home (non-game) users can accept a slower computer for about three years - a year longer than most corporations. Even home users upgrade and spend the money.
How about donating the equipment for a tax write-off?
While your computer may have some value, you may judge the effort to get it too high for the reward. However, donating is one of the most expensive routes you can take to liquidate your computer equipment. Here is why:
Selling to employees, selling to another firm or giving away to friends are all similar to the donation option and may likely include the cost of providing technical support as well.
Let’s just put in in the garage or lock it in storage.
75% of all firms nationwide lock their surplus computer equipment into storage. While this temporarily “solves” all the above costs, it raises the future disposal costs, does not eliminate the wiping costs, eliminates almost any significant recovery value and increases your moving and storage costs.
If you use a computer at home, chances are you have at least one piece of equipment in the garage such as an old monitor. Millions of monitors, old computers, and old printers await disposal in homes throughout the United States. Tragically, many of these will end up in land fills as owners do not spend time to manage the disposal.
The same issue of disposal faces any business as the equipment ages in storage or ages in use. Eventually, it will have to be sold or disposed in some fashion.
What can a computer liquidator do for you?
A good computer liquidator will eliminate many of the issues surrounding the costs of liquidating computer equipment:
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