You are correct! You can buy two way radios off the web cheaper, but at what cost?
To find out, let's compare buying off the web vs. buying from a radio shop, by walking through what typically happens in this situation. Let’s say there is a business—doesn’t matter what kind of business, it could be public safety, it could be manufacturing, and it could be education or hospitality. One of the employees at this business is designated to purchase some new two way radios to improve communication efforts. As with any good mandate, the employee starts to educate themselves on what a radio system is and what it can do for the company. This person becomes known as the official “expert” at the company. It may be the person already responsible for technology and technical aspects of the business or it may be a new role added to their job that's very unfamiliar to that person. (Warning: Either way, by educating only one person, it leaves the company vulnerable if/when that person leaves!)
Anyway, your employee starts his/her search on the web, and OMG! There are thousands of sites with thousands of radios!! Here is a snippet of some phrases and terms they’re bound to come across:
"2 channel, 4 channel, 64 channel, 256 channel, 1000 channel, low power, high power, VHF, UHF, 800Mhz, Trunked, Analog, P25, Smartnet, EDACS, Smartzone, LTR, Capacity Plus, Connect Plus, Linked Capacity Plus, IP Site Connect, LMR, MOTOTRBO, IDAS, FleetSync, MDC, NexEdge…" Not to mention tons of brands, manufacturers, abbreviations and specific models.
In other words, there are tons of choices out there. It looks overwhelming... how do they know where to start?
Meanwhile your so-called “expert” has now spent countless hours researching something on the web so you can save some money….justifying it with, “Why buy it from a radio dealer when we can go online? IT’S CHEAPER!”… or so they think. Cheaper is almost never better in the two way radio world. And there are countless customers out there who can attest to this.
Now let’s look at the option of working with an authorized radio dealer. A quick phone call gets the process started with a person experienced and fluent in two way radio and communications for businesses. This discussion prompts a meeting in which you become more educated on the options out there and which solutions will fit your needs. Then you speak with your colleagues to understand their needs vs. your options further to find the ideal fit. By this point you’ve only spent about 2 hours tops and you're already nearing the end (compared to the 'expert' who's still doing aimless research on the web). You decide to request a quote at the end of the meeting. In the next step, a quote is sent or delivered to your desk. You review it, opt for two more quotes and find out that they are all relatively close in price. You did your due diligence and can now budget for your radio solution. You left what can be a difficult, confusing process to people who handle this type of situation everyday.
What makes more sense, self-education or a partnership that helps you stay on top of the technology that's relevant to you? Radio is changing so fast that your business will continually require spending too much time and money using your “expert”, who’s also spending their time on things that do not pertain to their job. Today’s radio systems are solutions based and not unit based. This means that trying to go after a few things spotted on eBay and throwing them together usually won't get the job done. There's a better chance a solution exists customized to your needs that can address other parts of your businesses operation's at the same time. Consultation and analysis are typically no charge. So why not leverage the available tools?
It's up to you. You can figure it out on your own or you can...