For those of us in a technical industry, purchasing and maintaining equipment is a must. Whether you’re a photographer, DJ, caterer, hairstylist or chauffeur you rely on specialized equipment and tools to service your clients' events. These items need to be in great working order so you can relax and do what you do best. The slow season or a long stretch between events is the perfect time to check out your gear, make sure everything is in tip top shape and purchase any replacements or additions.
Cleaning and Maintenance
We all have a slow season, and many of us also switch from one set of equipment to another throughout certain times of the year. Whatever your off-season, that’s the time you should be thinking about maintaining the tools that keep you in business so they stay in good shape for the busy months ahead. This may be something you do yourself, or perhaps you need to call in a professional. I generally clean my equipment several times throughout the year; however, the winter months are ideal for sending gear in for repairs. I also always keep a few items in reserve in case an unexpected job arises. Don’t forget that your computer equipment needs the same attention. Keeping dust and grime out of your system will help it run more efficiently and save you from replacing it completely when a fan fails or overheats.
Repair vs. Replace
Of course it’s costly to replace broken or run-down equipment, but sometimes it just has to be done. If you’re constantly repairing an item, have damaged it in some way or it’s almost outdated, seriously consider whether it's time for a replacement. I’ve rented equipment while making this decision, which gives me the opportunity to try out different options and weigh the needs of my business. Don’t just blindly purchase something without considering other options. Sometimes you may discover you don’t need it after all, or there is an item that better suits your purposes. Thinking before you buy ensures you'll make the best decision.
Upgrades and New Products
Almost every piece of equipment today has software that requires regular updates and upgrades. While I do update automatically for most software, upgrades are done on a yearly basis - but, again, not until I research and evaluate my options. One of the benefits of attending industry conferences is to see what new products and services are available for your area of expertise. While I may be satisfied with my current online tools, I’m always on the lookout for a company that can do it better and more efficiently. My annual expo is a great place to try everything out at once and talk with professionals about the pros and cons of each product. I may decide not to invest just yet and instead stick with my current system, but I like to see what’s being developed and start thinking of future changes.
Maintaining and upgrading equipment, while not the most fun part of running a business, is definitely one of the most essential. You'll be glad you took the time (and spent the money) when you're operating more efficiently and effectively as a result.
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