For organizations like schools or small businesses, it is imperative to be wired and still stay within the budget. PartStock Computer Solutions has the answer.
Although computers go on sale or drop prices to deal with competition, let’s face it: they still aren’t cheap. For organizations like schools or small businesses, it’s imperative to be wired and still stay within the budget. Minneapolis-based PartStock Computer Solutions has the answer, with a refurbishment procedure that’s guaranteed. Company president Pat Hiller talks about saving money, helping students, and extending life.
How did PartStock get started?
PartStock was founded in 1994 as a company that sold used, tested computer parts. The current owner purchased PartStock in 1998 and we have evolved into mostly selling refurbished whole systems, servers, and laptops to schools and businesses, with less of a focus on selling just parts.
Our niche today is taking older, off-lease systems, removing the old parts and installing newer, faster parts. The result is upgraded systems that perform on par with new, but cost significantly less than new. In addition, we recently introduced an upgrade kit, which includes the same parts that we use to upgrade older systems. The kit enables organizations to save even more by installing the parts themselves.
What got you personally interested in doing this work?
I joined PartStock as CFO in 1999, shortly after the new owner bought the company, and was named president in 2000. I had been working with the owner since 1996, helping to grow small business acquisitions. Working as an entrepreneur is challenging and fun, and a welcome relief after several years in the big corporate environment.
Why do you feel there’s a need for refurbished computers?
Customer segments that are challenged with perpetually tight budgets such, as K-12 education, have a very definite need for high quality, refurbished equipment. By upgrading and extending the life of existing computers we provide a cost-effective alternative to buying new and we are doing our part to curb the environmental impact of electronic waste.
How does the CPU Upgrade Kit work?
The upgrade kit includes a faster CPU assembly, high performance hard drive and additional system memory. Key components are the patented CPU adapters, which make the newer, faster processors work with the older technology systems. The kits are compatible with a variety of commercial grade Dell, IBM and Compaq systems.
Are you finding that more schools and companies are interested in buying refurbished equipment?
K-12 education is by far the most receptive market for refurbished equipment, accounting for 70 percent of our sales. Education funding is always tight and it has become even tighter over the past few years with state budget problems. However, schools are also mandated to teach computer education. Buying refurbished computer equipment helps them to close the budget gap between the quantity of computers needed and the limited funding available.
Acceptance of refurbished equipment is definitely growing with small- and medium-sized businesses as well. For first-time customers, we offer free trials of demo units to remove the uncertainty that can be associated with buying reconditioned equipment. Once the customer sees that a refurbished computer from PartStock looks and runs like new, we usually have a customer for life and they don’t go back to buying new.
What do you like best about what you do?
I truly enjoy wearing many hats. In my current role I am involved in literally every aspect of the business, including financing the growth, managing cash flow, overseeing the purchasing, setting direction on marketing and products offered, and managing and motivating our staff.
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