Information technology changes and evolves so quickly today, even the most carefully planned investment in PCs and equipment can be lagging behind the times in a matter of years. That often leaves small business owners facing a big question—what to do with all this old gear?
The resource website SmallBusinessComputing.com offers these suggestions:
Sell it. Selling old gear can help offset the cost of your new system. Research the value of your equipment and set a reasonable asking price, then offer it for sale. An online auction such as eBay is another option. You may have to pay for the ad or auction, any online payment processing fees, and shipping.
Donate it. Numerous charitable organizations take and refurbish old systems for their own use, or for groups desperately in need of computer technology. If you don’t know of such a charity in your area, ComputersWithCauses.org and organizations listed on Microsoft’s Refurbisher Registry can help. Not only does your equipment go to a good cause, you can also deduct its un-depreciated value from your business taxes.
Upgrade it. Just because a PC isn’t the latest model doesn’t mean it’s not still serviceable. In fact, most computers, particularly desktops, are designed to be upgraded with newer, more powerful components. One of the easiest and most cost effective upgrades for a laptop or desktop PC is to increase the memory. Doubling RAM from 2 to 4GB will dramatically increase the machine’s overall performance.
Repurpose it. A computer no longer suitable for one task may still be ideal for many others. Older PCs make ideal general purpose workstations for simple tasks like printing documents, email checks, or web browsing. Another option is to convert an old PC into a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, which can be used to can easily add additional storage space to a network environment without the need to take down or open primary servers.
Recycle it. A growing number of municipalities and waste handling companies now collect PCs and other electronic devices to salvage metal and plastic components, as well as the trace, yet still valuable and occasionally hazardous materials they contain. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website (www.epa.gov) and Earth911.com can help you locate nearby recyclers. Note that some may charge fees for pick-up and processing.
To learn more about small business technology, contact Raleigh SCORE. We provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners. To schedule a free appointment with our experienced counselors, go to http://raleigh.score.org, or call us at 919-856-4739. Or, sign up to attend one of our local small business workshops by going to https://raleigh.score.org/localworkshops.