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Used Medical Laser Buyer’s Guide
Nobody denies that aesthetic medical devices are a significant investment. Device manufacturers and researchers spend millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours performing clinical trials to develop safe, effective devices and treatments for the aesthetic practitioner.
Buying used may seem cost-effective for several reasons, but in the end, it may not be. Either way, the decision to purchase a device, new or used (and if used, then from whom?), must be carefully considered. Factors such as your expected return on investment (ROI), the need for disposables, your understanding of the therapy, and trust in the science behind it, and your belief in the manufacturer’s reliability is much more important than the cost to buy or lease the laser itself. In fact, the very same decision-making process applies whether you’re looking to buy new or used, although there are a few different factors to consider with each.
You are responsible for the successful treatment of your patients. You are responsible for the smooth operation of your practice. You are responsible for the profitability of your business. And the consequences for ignoring these truths can be very high for you and others as well—namely, the people you treat.
The Problem with 3rd Party “Used”
Everybody wants a safe, effective, and reliable medical device.
We all want to feel smart and save money, but in the end, are we willing to assume the risks that come with buying used that hasn’t been certified from the manufacturer? They may outweigh the rewards. After all, would you give your child a used car without first being totally sure it was safe? Is what you lose buying used worth the cost of simply buying new?
An Answer to the Grey Market – Certified Pre-Owned
Coined by the automobile industry, the phrase “certified pre-owned” (CPO), fits perfectly when you are talking about another complex piece of machinery where you need to be sure you can trust it with the lives of people that are important to you. The laser device was owned by someone else before you bought it, and its maker cared enough to make sure it works like new for you as well.
As to your bottom line, the cost of trusting a used laser can quickly and easily exceed the savings you may get upfront by buying a cheap device. Dealing directly with the manufacturer gives you the peace of mind that you are getting a quality device. What do you think your patients would want you to do?
The Buying Decision
Whether considering a new or used laser, the aesthetic practitioner must weigh the same basic factors. These can be broken into a few categories; ethical and practical considerations abound within each.
By enlisting a reputable manufacturer in your effort to purchase a previously used laser device, you may enjoy the benefits (and comforts!) that come with buying a new device.
A reputable manufacturer lives or dies based on your satisfaction, and the entire aesthetic medical device industry suffers every time a product is misused. Dealing with the laser manufacturer means that you can answer positively to all the pertinent questions.
The Seller – do you know who you’re buying from? Yes.
- Who is selling the device, and why? The manufacturer, because they have a stake in my success.
- Is the marketplace really a safe environment for the laser buyer? Nobody is more reputable than the proven company that made the device.
- Does the seller or broker have all the important information, documentation, and references to give you confidence in them? The manufacturer will have all that so make sure you get it. If your seller does not, beware!
- If there is a problem with the sale, who do you go to for help? Any highly regarded laser manufacturer won’t abandon you after the sale, and they can always be found at the same corporate address.
- Does the seller provide extensive, ongoing clinical training with certified medical professionals? Yes, a respectable manufacturer will be staffed with highly trained medical professionals to support you and your staff for the life of your device.
Performance – How confident are you that you are getting a quality laser device? Very confident.
- How do you know the device will work as expected? The manufacturer will put the device through a rigorous process to inspect, clean, refurbish, and test its products better than anyone else could.
- Are you properly educated to make informed judgments about the device you’re considering in the first place? A reputable manufacturer will make sure you know everything you need to know and more.
Hidden Costs – do you know what you’re really going to be paying long term? Yes.
- How soon might you need to replace parts? A manufacturer certified pre-owned device will be furnished with new wearable parts to ensure the life of the device.
- What accessories normally available with a new unit will need replacement? The manufacturer should provide you with all the peripherals normally available with a new unit.
- What about a recertification fee? There is no recertification fee when you buy from the manufacturer. By definition, all CPO systems are certified by the manufacturer.
- What marketing materials, normally provided by the manufacturer, will you have to develop to attract clients? The manufacturer will give you access to all the marketing materials that would be provided with a new device. This can include patient pamphlets, counter cards, social media assets, and much more.
Warranties – are your out-of-pocket expenses truly less when buying from a 3rd party seller? What is peace of mind worth to you and your patients?
- What does a warranty cost, and what does it cover? A reputable manufacturer will leave no doubt in your mind and explain everything thoroughly because they can’t win if you lose.
- Who is backing the warranty? The one entity most capable of backing it.
- What conditions must you meet to obtain a warranty on a used laser? Not a problem, because the manufacturer will make sure you’re taken care of.
Maintenance – will you get the service you deserve before you’ve lost too much money? A respectable manufacturer will do everything in their power to make sure you have minimal downtime.
- Who will service your laser? The best people for the job, fully trained by the manufacturer.
- How quickly can your service provider respond to you? Quicker than anyone else.
- Where will the service provider get their replacement parts? From the source.
- If regulatory bodies require that the manufacturer modify or upgrade their systems, or there are useful software or hardware upgrades, how will they know where to find you? They’ll be right on top of things, working hand-in-hand with you.
While it may seem obvious that buying new should be your first, best option, it is equally obvious that economic factors, at times, make this difficult. Going with CPO from a trustworthy manufacturer provides you with the same level of confidence in your new-to-you device that you would hope for from a new device, with savings to boot. Candela manufactures FDA cleared devices within strict FDA specs for optimal results; purchasing from 3rd party sellers who may have tampered with the inner workings of a device may, in fact, cause harm to your patients and increase your liability exposure.
A new device is the all-around best bet, but if you want to buy used, go CPO.