Investing in a non-invasive or minimally invasive aesthetic device can be a daunting task. Not to mention the cost of new equipment is exorbitant. Following some basic steps can help alleviate some of the stress and questions you may have when looking to expand the services you provide to your clients and patients. The following list contains some pointers that should simplify the decision making process and save you some money as well.
- New or Used: First of all we recommend that doctors and medspas give some serious consideration to investing in pre-owned equipment. Many of the used cosmetic lasers and other medical devices on the market today come from businesses that have closed or equipment owners with different expectations for the equipment they purchased. Banks and leasing companies wind up with majority of aftermarket lasers and cosmetic devices after they have been repossessed. In most cases pre-owned aesthetic equipment is in relatively good condition with a solid life expectancy. Savings on used equipment can be upwards of 70% off retail value. With financing tight these days and the high cost of new equipment, this can be a great alternative. To ensure your buy good reliable equipment, do your homework.Whether you are purchasing from a broker or a company that owns inventory outright, do your homework. Check their online reputation, check the Better Business Bureau or the seller’s reputation on DotMed. Unfortunately, there are some un-reputable sellers out there, but there are some really honest and trustworthy ones too. Many of these companies are small businesses, so find out who the owner is and start doing your research.
- Expected Performance: There are a variety of cosmetic laser equipment manufacturers out there, Palomar Medical, Syneron, Lumenis, Cynosure and others. Many of them sell competing products. How can you decide which unit or model to invest in? For starters, you should evaluate what types of service or services you expect to add to your practice. Some companies offer a “workhorse” type of aesthetic laser system. This means with one base unit you can perform multiple types of treatments, such as laser hair removal, skin tightening, acne treatment, by changing out the handpieces.By purchasing a workhorse base unit, you can start off with 1 or 2 treatment options and gradually add hand pieces to the unit expanding your revenue opportunities. Keep in mind if you are a small practice, one unit may be sufficient, but if you have several staff performing treatments, it may be better to invest in machines with dedicated treatment options so that you can avoid having to wait for time on the equipment and you can schedule more appointments at once. Also research equipment reviews and speak with other practitioners, are they happy with how a particular unit performs. Are the results permanent or temporary? How long is the recovery period for the patient? How long does a treatment take and how treatments are necessary to address the cosmetic issue. What are the possible side effects? Does the aesthetic laser use a lot of consumables?
- Return on Investment: What is your budget for the equipment and how quickly are you looking for a payoff on your investment? How many treatments do you need to perform, at what service fee to recoup your investment as quickly as possible? Will the equipment be financed or do you have existing capital to work with – this will save you money on interest. If you are considering buy new, keep in mind that in today’s economy, securing a business loan for a large amount of capital can be challenging or even impossible. Finally, make sure there is a high demand for these services and invest in marketing. Create demand for the new services you are now performing. Make sure you patients and potential customers are aware of your treatment capabilities.
- Knowledgeable Wholesaler: One often important but overlooked item is the knowledge base of the person or company you are purchasing used equipment from. Many brokers and resellers are just sales people. No more knowledgeable about the equipment than their customers. Find a wholesaler who will partner with your organization and provide invaluable assistance in identifying the correct type of laser, specific manufacturers and options in your price range. Ask question on how a piece of equipment actually works. The technology used in these devices can be confusing to an uninformed consumer. IPL, diode, RF – these technologies each have their own treatment parameters, side effects and requirements. Find a reseller who understands the differences in technology. This is critical to your success and a good purchasing decision.
- Inspection of Merchandise: If you are able to inspect equipment prior to purchasing, this is your best option. That way you can see how the equipment works in person, assess the true condition and again ask your knowledgeable reseller any questions you may have. If a hands on visual inspection is not possible, ask the reseller to test and record the equipment, verifying serial numbers and share before completing the transaction. As soon as receive the equipment, check it from top to bottom, make sure you have received all handpieces, foot pedals, cable, etc. Don’t wait a few months before contacting the reseller.