What is meant by the “total cost of ownership” of a laptop?

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009 | Implementation Issues, laptops, resources

The phrase Total Cost of Ownership – often referred to as TCO – means exactly what it says.  When the term is applied to a laptop, it refers to the accumulated costs incurred from the time you purchase the device until you dispose of it.

It is a mistake to think only about the purchase price of a laptop.  There are many other costs that must be considered as part of the total cost of ownership of the machine.

An analogy may help to explain the concept of TCO.

A ten year old boy, Thabo, wanted a dog.  He saw all his friends walking around with their dogs but his parents could not afford to buy one for him. 

Then they heard that puppies were available at no cost from the animal welfare society.  Thabo’s father rushed out to select Fluffy, a cute puppy with some Labrador blood in him. The boy was ecstatic.

At first the puppy ate leftovers from the table and slept in the house.  As he grew, his appetite increased and he became too big for the box in which he slept in front of Thabo’s bed.  The family could not afford a kennel, since their resources were already stretched to the limit by the dog food that was required by the growing dog.

At this time the municipality passed a by-law demanding that all dogs be neutered or spayed, or else a tax would be levied for permission to keep the dog.  Thabo’s parents could not afford either.  A distemper epidemic broke out among the dogs in the neighbourhood, and the cost to vaccinate Fluffy was high. The family realised that they were faced with a dilemma: the boy and the dog were inseparable, but they could not afford to keep the dog any longer.

What went wrong?  Simply: they did not consider the total cost of ownership of a dog before they took Fluffy home.

Owning a laptop is similar.  A teacher may acquire one at no cost, or at a fraction of its normal purchase price, but could forget about the cost of keeping a laptop.

Before rushing out to bring a laptop home, do the wise thing: calculate the total cost of ownership.  Then consider if you can afford one.

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4 Comments to What is meant by the “total cost of ownership” of a laptop?

Fortune
Monday, 11 May, 2009

I fully agree that people all too often acquire something simply because it seems they can afford it at the time of purchase. There are many other costs involved especially when buying a laptop for instance. It will serve you well to thouroughly researce the maintenance cost of the laptop you are planning to buy and also make sure that parts are readily available for the model you are interested in. A replacement battery can easily set you back something in the region of a thousand rand and if not budgeted for, can come at a most inconvenient time. So think carefully before you fork out your hard-earned cash.

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Stephen McBridew
Sunday, 30 October, 2011

What is the point in putting the questiion and not giving the answer.
How to find the replacement cost of batteries/cost and date and general trends in cost.
Anti-virus costs
Internet costs
Maintenance costs
Electricty costs
any other

Teachers, especially those not not internet literate, do not have the time to look up alll this so spoil us and tell us!!

Sidney
Saturday, 25 February, 2012

If I get the laptop from this scheme, surely there I have to take out insurance for it, the risks of losing it or being robbed are there since I work in a township school and don’t have a car. Is short-term insurance my responsibility, is there a prescribe group scheme by the Department????

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