The next time you find yourself resurfacing from underneath your piles of work, take a moment to look around your lab. Start to make a mental list of all the equipment you see sitting idly on a lab bench collecting dust or squirreled away in storage. If your lab is like most in the world, then you will soon find your mental list stretching on past 5 items, to 10 items, and so on.
Fortunately, all of that surplus lab equipment that once had a purpose now has a new role – to provide cash to your organization through resale on the used equipment market. Turning your surplus lab equipment into cash is a relatively simple process, however ensuring that the equipment your lab has neglected for months or even years at a time, is in ideal condition for resale, is a slightly more complicated matter.
This post will share with you an overview of why it is beneficial to maintain the condition and functionality of your surplus lab equipment, how to properly do so and lastly, how to select a quality vendor to help you make it all happen.
Reasons to maintain your surplus lab equipment
There are essentially two main reasons to keep your surplus lab equipment well maintained and in a fully functional condition (1) in the event that your main equipment goes down, it is always great to have a suitable and fully functional backup machine ready and waiting. (2) If recovering some of your initial investment is paramount, you will want to keep your surplus equipment updated and well-maintained in order to sell it for the highest possible amount.
When it comes to maintaining your surplus lab equipment, it is critical to keep your equipment as close to factory condition as possible. This helps to stave off depreciation and prevent the need to purchase new, should something in your lab break unexpectedly. Right about now you’re probably nodding your head in hesitant agreement, finding it difficult to argue the benefits of selling surplus equipment or maintaining a reliable back-up machine, but are simultaneously wondering, “That all sounds good, but what exactly do I have to do to maintain my surplus equipment?”
How to maintain your surplus lab equipment
As every lab tech in the US knows, state and federal governments enforce strict regulations to ensure that lab equipment is within compliance of all safety rules and regulations. As a result, it is likely that you are familiar with what it takes to keep all of your lab equipment in compliance with the governing bodies’ rules. If that is the case, then you are aware of how to maintain your surplus lab equipment too! Simply put, the best way to ensure that your surplus stays in as great condition as your non-surplus equipment, is to treat both categories of equipment the same. Just because your surplus is stored in a warehouse, or closet down the hall, does not mean it does not need to be cleaned and maintained in order to remain functional and salable.
The following is a short list of activities you need to have performed throughout the year on both your surplus and non-surplus lab equipment:
- Preventative maintenance services (including general cleaning) by both the lab techs using the equipment and an expert vendor
- Equipment calibration
- Lab equipment repair (when necessary)
- When prepared to make the transition from in-use to surplus, proper equipment decommissioning
Selecting the right vendor
It is critical that you perform your due diligence when selecting a lab equipment service vendor. With the right vendor you can minimize downtime, get efficient and affordable service, and also acquire up-to-date information to help you make practical decisions for your lab. When it comes to choosing a vendor, a good place to start looking is the list of vendors recommended by your colleagues and industry peers. Service vendors thrive off of not only the quality of their work, but also on the quality of their references.
Once you have narrowed down your list of vendors you will want to compare service packages and pricing, at the very least the vendor you select should offer the following:
- In-house servicing
- Lab equipment repair
- Preventative maintenance services for lab equipment
- Extended warranties
- Pipette calibration services
- Laboratory equipment outfitting and sales
- Contracts for lab device repair
- Storage facilities and/or storage consultation services