There are basically two kinds of companies on the market right now selling laser marking and engraving machines – direct brands and middlemen. It’s of course the same across every industry and every imaginable niche the world over, with the vast majority of everyday products being sold via resellers as opposed to directly from the brand itself. But when it comes to heavy-duty industry machinery like this, these of course, aren’t the kinds of things that can be picked up from just any old store. Instead, they need to be ordered from specialist retailers or directly from the brand manufacturing them, but which of the two makes more sense?
Well, according to the folks at Lotus Laser Ltd there’s really no debate – buying direct or through a company’s official network of approved distributors wins on all fronts. From buying at the lowest prices to getting your order fulfilled quicker to better advice and long-term aftercare after the purchase, there’s so much more to be gained from cutting out the middleman. Logically, adding another party into the picture just complicates matters and adds further expense that isn’t necessary, so there’s really no sense in doing so.
In terms of making sure you avoid the middlemen, it’s simply a case of making a few checks before agreeing to any purchase and ensuring the seller you’re looking at is the real deal.
1 – Sparse Websites
For example, one of the clearest tell-tale signs that it’s a middleman you’re looking at rather than a genuine manufacturer is that of a rather sparse, perhaps amateurish website. The subject of laser engraving and marking can be a complex one to say the least, which is why the depth of knowledge displayed on the site you’re looking at can and should be used to gauge whether or not they know what they’re talking about. If you get the feeling that what you’re looking at is something of a web-based vending machine with little to no information about the products on offer, chances are you’re looking at a middleman selling other brands’ products and marking up the price.
2 – Vague Pricing
Another of the clearest signs you’re looking at a dealer best avoided is that of having trouble finding any real details as to the prices of the machinery on offer. Or worse still, you’re provided with estimates as opposed to concrete prices. When vague prices are offered, this is more often than not a sign that you’re dealing with a reseller who will then head out and look for the cheapest deal possible in order to maximise their own profits, rather than value for money for the buyer. There may be some delay when querying custom orders, but when looking for prices in general, they should be made clear, concrete and readily available.
3 – Questionable Contact Details
These days, it’s worryingly easy for anyone wishing to do so to set up a website from their back bedroom and claim to be a high-end laser engraving machine specialist. In reality however, all they do is take orders, bump up the price and then pass them on to the actual specialists, which in the case of the buyer means higher prices, longer waits and poorer service. One of the easiest ways of spotting these types…and they do exist…is to check the contact details they provide on their website. If for example it’s clearly a residential address with nothing more than a Gmail address and a mobile telephone number, chances are it’s anything but a real business.
4 – Inability to Answer Questions
As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to always give the seller a call prior to placing an order so as to ask a few questions. Even if you don’t really need a great deal of help and you pretty much know what you want, it’s crucial to make sure that they know what they are doing and what they’re talking about. This is one of the best ways of vetting the vendors and finding out who’s the real deal and otherwise. Simply give them a call, fire off a few simple questions and see how they get on. If they don’t seem to be able to answer anything without getting back to you later, chances are you’re dealing with a middleman.
5 – No Feedback or References
Last but not least, you should always be sure to carry out a quick Google search for the brand you’re looking into before making a purchase, just to see what past customers have had to say about them. Of course it’s obvious that you’d be well-advised to avoid any that are genuinely bad-mouthed en-masse, but it’s also just as risky to go with those that have no feedback or references and seem to a large extent not to exist. Without strong feedback and recommendations, you’re rolling the dice with fate.