Recently looking for a low-cost C-Arm seems to be the most popular question from my customers. Perhaps this is due to economic uncertainty or maybe because of changing insurance reimbursement, but going cheap seems to be one of the trends. So when a doctor asks me what are low-cost C-Arms, it makes me think. Now everyone has their own value of money so what is cheap to them? And why are they looking for a cheap unit versus practical or units with good value? So I usually ask ‘what’s the price range you are looking for?’ By the way, this article does go hand in hand with the other question about [Article: Can you fit my budget?]. Unfortunately, most customers either don’t have a budget or have a price range that doesn’t fit well. There is one common agenda among these customers. They’re all looking for a nice like-new BMW that’s priced alongside of used Camry. [Article: C-Arm Price Range Guidelines]
This one customer wanted to purchase a C-Arm for under 20K. Is it possible? YES! but will I do it? NO! And unlike your first thought in your mind, my answer is not based on money. In fact, there are broker-style reps out there who will sell you a unit at under 20K and make a very good profit. I, on the other hand, am committed to supplying a unit that’s functional, reliable, and is well supported. My principle comes from the simple fact that I only sell what I would buy myself.
Units that can fit within the 20K price range (low-cost C-Arm) are older Phillips BV, OEC 7700, OEC 9000, and others in that range. (And these are generally made in the 1990s) I sometimes get these units as a trade-in but we do not sell them to end-users. We made that decision a long ago because these units cannot be maintained well due to their old age and lack of availability of parts = cannot be supported well. So instead of just selling these off with cash margin in ‘As-Is’ condition, you simply won’t find these in my price book.
You might still think I’m naive to turn away customers if they’re willing to take the risk. Consider this. If you were looking for a used car for under $5,000 and you knew that you’ll be only getting 2 weeks guarantee and bought a 1998 Corolla with 130K miles from a local car dealer. And Corollas are known to last 10+ years but you’re buying a 16-year-old car. Let say, unfortunately, it only lasted 3~4 months before the car’s transmission blew out, requiring a $3,000 repair. Some people might just walk away saying it’s expected from a 16-year-old car. But there will be those others who will be furious that they have to spend more than half of the cost of the car to fix what they just purchased. We all know how this will go. You can yell all you want at the used car shop, but the store will simply point to the purchase agreement that stated ’14 day warranty’ in bold. And at the end of the day, you will end up angry and without a running car.
‘Believe or not, this is what I’m trying to protect you from’
If you spent a bit more and got a $10,000 car that comes with a 6-month warranty with an optional warranty you can purchase, this probably wouldn’t have happened. The seller knows the car probably won’t break in the next 6 months to a year and that’s why they can offer that warranty to you. And yes, your sales rep knows how long roughly your unit will last. And I do my best to convey this obvious fact to my customers who might be looking for a low-cost C-Arm.
So, back to the main question. I can get you a low-cost C-Arm that I feel safe knowing that this unit will last you a while with warranty coverage. And yes, I will do my best to find you the best-priced unit and sometimes we can find better deals if we have serious buyers + time to search. But just because I’m not offering you a $15,000 unit with 30-day warranty, don’t think I’m just being greedy. Whether you believe me or not, I’m just trying to help you to find a good, reliable product at the best price possible. As the old saying goes; You get what you pay for.