Mapping Out Investments And Maintenance Needs For Tech Business

Are you planning on starting a business based on computer technology? Do you need workstations, wireless internet, Voice over IP (VOIP) and other Information Technology (IT) department-powered systems to bring your ideas to fruition? A few tech investment details can help you understand the initial costs, maintenance costs, upgrade costs, and other financial key points before you take out a loan or lock in a budget.

Workstation Extended Costs

A computer's cost extends beyond the retail price, but can be managed to keep that maintenance and upgrade costs as low as possible. Here are a few key cost areas:

  • Physical maintenance. Computers must be periodically cleaned and checked for any loose components. This is usually as simple as blowing dust out of the system with an electronics-safe canned air product and tightening screws, but the task can lead to absolute damage if a non-technician attempts the maintenance or interferes.

An example of costly shortcuts would be a novice trying to use a standard vacuum cleaner to remove dust, which leads to static shock and can short out electrical components inside the computer.

  • Software system maintenance. Virus removal, cache cleaning, software upgrades and different software-based tasks need to be performed by a skilled technician to ensure effective maintenance. Untrained use of automated cleaning software can leave some traces of viruses or slow bulk files while eating up costs.
  • Component-level upgrade. Not all upgrades involve buying an entirely new computer. You may want to simply buy a bigger hard drive, add more random access memory (RAM) or add a video card to a workstation. This can be more affordable as long as you or your IT department knows how to install the components. Contracting an outside technician is required if you have no technical staff members.
  • Full Replacement upgrade. If the computer completely breaks down and either replacements or repair are more expensive than a new system, purchase a new system as well. Be sure to have a technician review what went wrong with the old system to hopefully avoid similar failures in the future.

Internet Service Costs

Purchasing internet service for business is about getting the right speed at the right price, but at a higher threshold than many residential customers.

There are a few high-tech households that have higher Internet demands than some small or medium businesses, and the same techniques can be used. The goal is to figure out how much internet capacity use (bandwidth) happens at the company.

Bandwidth measurement looks at how many resources are being pulled by all devices connected to the business network at peak times. This means accessing websites, downloading bulk files, streaming video, using VOIP for voice communications, and uploading files from the workstations to a destination across the internet.

A network technician is necessary to make more than just a ballpark guess at the requirements. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) make it bit harder because their plans are sold in set bandwidth cap sizes (30, 50,100Mbps or Megabits per second, for example) with your needed speeds anywhere in those ranges.

You have to pick a plan that exceeds your needed speeds to avoid internet access failure because of traffic, and you may need a network technician on staff or under a service agreement. 

Understanding these costs can make it easier to explain the needs of your business with financial planners and lenders. Contact a financing service professional to discuss your business plans and the costs associated with running a tech-powered business.