Let me share a moment I had last week. The phone rang and a young lady asked me if we would collect 2 nice Xerox printers. I said yes and started a fairly normal fact find. Do they work? Not sure. How old are they? Don’t know. She pressed me for a price and I gave her one for collection but before I could get into my spiel about possible resale value and all that sort of thing she said...and I quote...'someone else has already quoted to do it free' and slammed the phone down.
Two things here. Firstly printers have memory too, and some of them are rendered useless if that memory is wiped, as it really must be to keep our clients fully data safe. Believe me or not, but we get some amazing things out of old printers and fax machines. But anyway, if the memory wiping process damages the firm-ware, replacing it wipes out any market value, so the printer is scrap. C’est la vie but there you go. Secondly, I am not psychic; I cannot value something if I don’t know what condition it is in, or how old it is.
So, what one has to ask oneself is this...is the person who quoted free collection going to deal with the memory and render the goods scrap? If so, I would not want to be their bank manager. Scrap for a printer is around £5 and for that he would have to pick it up (2 man lift), transport it, provide waste transfer notes and wipe the memory. So they would lose money on the deal for sure.
Alternatively, if the printers were actually re-marketable, the ‘free’ collection might end being quite expensive to the client. But I needed to see the condition first, and check the firm-ware situation...but as I was competing with free, I did not get the chance.
And how the hell do you compete with free anyway? What sort of ludicrous sector is this if people really do expect you to cover their backsides for free? And I know, before some smart arse tells me, it is not unknown for some so-called suppliers to buy old IT equipment sight unseen. They are usually the ones who have been involved in several businesses all operating from the same place, if you get my drift.
As you can probably tell, I am feeling a bit liverish. Yes, there are circumstances when any ITAD supplier would offer cash up front for some great kit. And I am sure lots of people have lost out on a lot of revenue that way, because they are never going to give you a share of market value. They will start at that figure, deduct arbitrary costs, profit and a bit of contingency. But if you pay for the collection and the data wiping and then share revenue after reasonable (defined) costs, based on actual sale prices, you will end up making more.
But no, we live in a world where free is great, even if it costs you more, and risks even more.