Running costs – look before you leap
Intense Pulsed Light equipment is not cheap to buy, so the cost of the machine is an important consideration in the first place. The investment you’re making is likely to be incredibly profitable for you - but only if it’s a solid investment and the machine is supplied with training delivered by medical staff, servicing provided by qualified engineers and a warranty direct from the supplier.
The initial cost of the machine package isn’t the only thing you need to think about at this stage. All IPL machines are going to continually cost you money to run – this is the part that the supplier sometimes ‘forgets’ to mention.
You may hear suppliers talk about the amount of ‘shots’ a machine will do, quoting figures of 100, 200 or even 500 thousand! You’re naturally inclined to think that the higher the number of shots the better the deal you’re getting out of the equipment.
You’d be wrong.
The amount of shots being quoted here is the amount of times the light bulb in the Intense Pulsed Light Applicator will light up before the bulb stops working. However the IPL Xenon Lamp in the handset doesn’t deliver a truly effective treatment from brand new to ‘popping point’ – it’s only effective from brand new until it’s worn a certain amount.
For instance here at High Profile Technologies we don’t quote the 500 thousand shots that a bulb will do. We quote the amount of shots that deliver a genuinely effective treatment. After all that’s what matters to you, and certainly that’s all that matters to your paying clients.
So we give a recommendation of 40 – 50 thousand shots, or an absolute maximum of 60 thousand. Any shots over that mean that while the treatment will still be effective it will not be at its optimum level. In our line of work it’s the results that do the talking – so anything less than optimum just isn’t going to be good enough!
Power delivery – is it enough?
Another reason a supplier might quote a really high amount of shots is due to the fact that their IPL machine is simply underpowered. If the machine itself isn’t powerful enough the bulb’s life span will go on and on and on.
Again when the supplier’s telling you about the amazing 500 thousand shot count it’ll seem brilliant at the time. Sadly when it comes to delivering the treatment it means you’re going to be delivering 500 thousand ineffective shots – a waste of your time and a waste of your client’s time too.
So all that glisters is not gold – make sure you’re properly informed and not being deliberately confused!
Bulb change – an ongoing activity
Something else to bear in mind at this point is that some suppliers will tell you that after this number of shots is reached that the ‘crystal’ needs to be replaced. Again we’ve got another confusing mistruth.
The crystals of an IPL machine will never wear out – as we’ve already discussed it’s the bulb that wears out. While Intense Pulsed Light Applicator Xenon Lamps are very specific (they’re not the kind available from the local hardware superstore!) and thus not cheap, suppliers often tell you it’s the crystal that needs to be replaced as this sounds like a more expensive part. They can then justify charging you more – over £1,000 a time for a bulb or ‘crystal’ change, when in reality this is much more expensive than it ought to be.
As a supplier we always aim to provide excellent quality of service but realise that it needs to come hand-in-hand with excellent value for money. A professional bulb change for your IPL Applicator Refurbishment carried out by a High Profile Technologies qualified engineer to your InteliBrite IPL will cost as little as £600.
Profit share - beware
This brings us neatly to the next point – the ‘cost per shot’ that’s so often mentioned by suppliers. As I’ve just explained High Profile Technologies cost per shot is just 2 pence. Some suppliers will offer you equipment on a ‘profit share basis’, they will then link this to the ‘cost per shot’, which will be typically around £0.50 per shot that you pay to them for every shot you deliver to your client.
Really it’s not a profit share agreement at all – it’s you being charged every time you use the machine. The problem with this (as you’ll have no doubt realised if you’ve ever been involved in one of these schemes) is that as the shots add up, so does your overhead for the equipment – it’s not uncommon to find that you’ve actually paid £500 to rent an out-of-date, second-hand IPL machine for a day! A very expensive way to deliver IPL treatments.
The second part of the problem with this ‘profit share’ system is the price you charge to your customer. Since you’re paying 50 pence for every shot you’re delivering, you have to charge at least 50 pence per shot just to break even – to be profitable you have to charge the client even more.
This is going to push up your prices, in most cases making the treatment too expensive for your client base and also making it impossible for you to be competitive on price in your local area. If you can’t be competitive your success is once again going to be severely limited.
Most suppliers offering ‘profit share’ schemes are happy enough just to charge you the 50 pence per shot, then sit back and let you do the work. Amazing I’ve heard recently that some suppliers are not content with this and are actually charging a monthly fee for you to have the machine too!
Obviously this kind of agreement will ultimately only benefit one person – the supplier! After all they’re getting money from you to rent their equipment, and then when you use it they’re getting money from you for all the hard work you’re putting in!
Again I’d recommend avoiding any of these so called ‘profit share’ schemes, as ultimately the success of them is weighted so heavily in the favour of the supplier you’re not going to get a good deal.
If you are seriously considering an IPL machine – make sure you’re going to lease or buy good equipment from a reliable supplier, who is going to provide the right device, the right training and support to enable you to make the profits from the work you do.
Limited shots – limited success
The last point that raises its ugly head when it comes to the ‘shot count’ of IPL machines is the limiting of shots. This is where a supplier has deliberately designed the software on the IPL machine to stop the machine working when it reaches a certain shot count.
This is usually done by limiting the amount of shots the bulb unit will deliver or having a card reader on the machine that limits the amount of shots the equipment itself can deliver, until you buy more credit from the supplier.
Once more we’ve got a situation where the supplier is purposefully limiting how you are able to use your IPL machine, and hence how successful you can become. Selfishly the supplier is doing this to benefit himself – but sadly it’s you their customer who is going to pay for this!
Again I’d recommend that you avoid any supplier or machine that is going to restrict you in this way – look for a machine which will allow you to deliver excellent results, safely and that won’t in anyway limit the way you want to use your equipment.
So, in summary:
What to avoid!
- A supplier quoting a huge number for their ‘shot count’ – they’re likely to be misleading you into thinking you’re getting a great deal when you’re not.
- A supplier quoting a huge ‘shot count’ number with a low powered machine – you’re likely to be looking at a machine that’s going to be totally ineffective.
- A supplier who tells you that the ‘crystal’ needs to be replaced, or is charging in excess of £1,000 for a bulb change. Both are methods of taking large sums of money from you (repeatedly!) after you’ve bought an IPL machine.
- A supplier offering a ‘profit share’ arrangement (especially if it comes with a monthly payment too). The supplier is looking to profit from your hard work.
- A supplier with an IPL machine that automatically stops working when it reaches a shot count of 25,000 or so – which can only be reactivated by purchasing a new bulb unit or top-up card from the supplier. The supplier is deliberately limiting your success to increase its profits!
(To know which suppliers to avoid google 'IPL machine profit share' and you will be on your way to being well informed of such suppliers)
- A supplier who uses medical staff to deliver a properly certified training course – this way you’ll be properly supported after the training course and you’ll be able to get insurance.
- A supplier who uses its own specialised, trained engineers. Should anything go wrong then problems are fixed quickly and properly – if a company doesn’t have proper technical staff you might find yourself without a machine for weeks or even months!
- A supplier who provides a warranty themselves – that way it’s up to the company who supplied your machine to look after it, a warranty supplied by a 3rd party (sometimes overseas) can be difficult to call upon should you need to.
- An IPL machine that develops at least 35 J/cm2 of light energy – that way you know it’s got enough power to ensure you’re going to get good results from the treatments.
- A supplier who is going to help you to be a success – the supplier should service the IPL machine, make sure it’s reliable and provide bulb changes at a fair cost. If the supplier isn’t doing this they aren’t working with your interests in mind!
I hope this information has been useful and interesting and wish you luck if you choose to go ahead with Intense Pulsed Light. Any decision you make is going to be better if you’re well informed and the supplier you’re dealing with is transparent with their information and works to suit your needs.