I’m sure this question has crossed the minds of every embroiderer, from start-up to seasoned professional. Trying to make the decision about how much money to spend/save on your largest investment (equipment) isn’t one to take lightly.
Unfortunately, the simple answer to this question is: There is no simple answer. It is a matter of considering the specific needs of your business and analyzing all the options before making the decision for your individual business. Two businesses, even in competition, are not going to come to the same decision for their company.
In this industry, machine cost will more than likely make up a significant portion of your start-up capital. If this is the case, you may feel it best to begin with smaller capacity equipment, simply to save money, and then upgrade as your company grows. Stitch It International actually has a program designed for this start-up pathway. We offer a Trade-Up Program where you can purchase a new single-head machine now, knowing you can trade up to a multi-head machine when your business grows.
On the other hand, if you have ample embroidery business and want to hit the ground running (or are looking to expand) saving a little money and purchasing a certified used machine may be the best pathway.
What To Consider When Deciding Between a New or Used Machine
When considering the differences between new and used machines, you should start with technology. The “bells and whistles” found on newer machines are going to be obviously different, but what about the hardware. An older machine may allow operating system upgrades, they will always be limited to the existing hardware. Items such as USB drives, LCD panels, and Ethernet networking may not be available as upgrades on older machines. As part of the 22-Step Certified Checklist performed by Stitch It International we do attempt to update the original hardware from Floppy Disc to USB if applicable.
2. Wear and Tear
This is probably the biggest area of concern when evaluating new vs. used equipment. In addition to the amount of wear and tear on used equipment, we also have to consider intensity. One used machine could truly be in excellent condition while another may have been literally run into the ground.
Used machines can range anywhere from excellent to poor condition. That is the benefit of working with Stitch It International’s Trade Up program. Unlike other used machine for sale that are often being sold because the user wore the machine out, Stitch It International has used machines that are still in great shape traded in for an upgrade. We also put all our certified used machines through a 22-Step Certified Checklist to insure the machines are in perfect working order.
3. Hard To Find Replacement Parts
All embroidery machine manufacturers continue to produce repair parts for some time after each model years ends. Let’s assume that time period is about 7 years. This means that some parts become obsolete and difficult to find. As a leader in the used-machine industry, Stitch It International has found the best solution for parts (new and used) to be SiiStore.com . As a division of the Stitch It International family, the Sii Store has just about anything you may need to keep your machines running including parts, hoops, accessories and even embroidery supplies.
4. Perform A Diagnostic Electrical/Mechanical Check
Do not buy any used machine without making sure it will perform. Stitch It International has a team of individuals who knows all about these machines to do the evaluation for you. On all of our certified used machines we perform a 10-point diagnostic electrical/mechanical check. This includes ensuring both the control panel and power box work properly. We test all 20-30 of the electric moving parts. We ensure the pickers are firing and adjusting properly, along with the upper thread hooks fire and adjust to move between the magic strips. The knives are checked to ensure they are opening and closing and the main shaft spins 360 degrees. During the diagnostic check we look at the X-axis and the Y-axis frame movements. The color change motor and the holding devise functions are also tested to ensure they are working properly. This is guaranteed by an added 90-Day Electronic Components Warranty Service that we provide.
The biggest concern with used machines is establishing a true value. A late-model used machine, in good condition, at the right price, could be a wonderful investment for some business models.