For many businesses, laptops offer the ideal balance of portability and power. The UK’s digital economy is booming, and remote workers are making up a bigger proportion of the workforce every year.
You can pick up a basic laptop from a high street store – or even a supermarket – for less than £300. But while these machines are fine for email and surfing, you’ll need something more powerful for specialised applications or business use, simply because speed and reliability are more important.
So: is it really worth leasing a laptop for your business when you can buy the same machine outright? Let’s look at some typical figures.
PC Advisor put together a list of the best laptops available in 2014. The top ten looks like this:
10. Apple Macbook Pro (15” Retina) – £1699
9. Alienware 17 – £1699
8. ASUS RoG – £1770
7. MSI GS60 2PE Ghost Pro – £1317
6. Gigabyte P35W v2 – £1399
5. Dell XPS 15 – £1499
4. Schenker XMG P304 – £1100
3. MSI GE70 2PE Apache Pro – £1299
2. Chilliblast Helix – £1250
1. Aorus X7 V2 – £1725
These prices are based on RRP at the time of their review, and are inclusive of VAT.
There are two obvious things to note from the PC Advisor top 10. Firstly, it’s unlikely you’ll find these laptops at your local supermarket. And secondly, none of them are available for less than £1000 brand new.
Remember: the idea of a ‘best’ laptop is subjective, so we aren’t suggesting that you use this list as a buyer’s guide. However, it does illustrate that high quality kit does not come cheap.
Kitting Everyone Out
If you look at total spend, the cost of IT procurement is potentially a five-figure sum, even in a small business. Additionally, once you’ve bought a laptop for everyone, you will need to pay someone if something goes wrong – unless you shell out on an extended warranty, or you have time to support everyone yourself.
These are the first two reasons to lease. Spreading the cost is certainly sensible when you need the very best equipment, and leasing also gives you the benefit of advice when things go wrong.
Time to Refresh
Once you’ve bought your laptop, you’ll need to dedicate a certain amount of time to maintaining it. That might include setting up anti-virus and malware, upgrading and patching the OS, updating firmware and installing drivers.
Occasionally, you might need support with a more serious problem. As a laptop ages, it’s more likely to develop major faults – such as hard drive failure – that can seriously dent productivity or cause you to lose data.
If your laptop is ageing and its parts are physically failing, you’re going to spend more and more time fixing problems. Eventually, you will need a new one.
How long is a typical refresh cycle? Businesses used to refresh desktop PCs every 3 years or so, but the market is changing, and the rise of mobile devices has altered spending habits.
Apple’s sales of Macs are actually growing, despite the fact that Macs have a long life span. That means businesses are reusing old PC hardware and redeploying it elsewhere in the business.
Leasing supports this approach to refresh cycles. At the end of a leasing agreement, you can opt to buy that machine for a very affordable price, so you don’t lose the benefit of your investment. You can still refresh while building a stock of ‘spares’, or you can redeploy old laptops to hot desks and remote workers.
If we still haven’t convinced you to lease, consider some of the other benefits that come as part of the package:
- Collect and return warranties for your business laptop for the entire lease period
- Worldwide theft cover available for a reasonable cost
- Predictable monthly instalments
- Cloud storage and backup tools to protect precious data
- Freedom to lease multiple laptops
- Freedom to add additional laptops to the same agreement
- Leasing of compatible peripherals, like printers
- Tax relief on your purchase
- Part exchange on your old laptop
- Loan equipment if something goes wrong (selected deals only)
What’s more, you get a single point of contact for everything, which is worthy of a mention.