How to Prevent Your School from Getting Ripped Off by Edtech Vendors
When the budget is already tight for schools, you want to make sure that every penny counts. Getting a great deal on the items your school needs is imperative to preserving as much of your budget as possible. Unfortunately, schools are being misled into paying far more than they should for edtech products. According to one survey, school districts are being overcharged by more than $3 billion per year on software and hardware.
Edtech is currently a $13.2 billion industry, according to the Technology for Education Consortium. Vendors are finding creative ways to swindle school districts into paying their exorbitant prices for products. Here are a few ways your school could avoid getting ripped off by a sleazy salesperson peddling tablets.
Schools often get caught up in having the best products available to them. It isn’t difficult for sales professionals to convince you that your school needs fully customized that will work the best. Unfortunately, these extra features do come with a hefty price tag and are often unnecessary. Stick with the basic models straight from the box and your school could save tons of money.
One expert recommends asking your sales representative for their last ten sales prices per student served in districts that are roughly the same size as yours. Software costs can vary by up to forty percent with some vendors. The information should be certified by the CEO in order to verify the numbers. In this situation, you can clearly see whether you are being quoted a significantly higher price than other districts. It gives you an opportunity to understand why you are being charged more. If you have opted for add-on features, this could be a great time to drop them.
If your vendor refuses to disclose other sales prices, you can use online tools aimed at transparency to help you make a wise purchasing decision. The Technology for Education Consortium (TEC) compiled some of that data here to give you a brief comparison.
Shop around and ask questions.
Never make a major purchase without doing a little shopping around first. Before you make a large purchase of edtech for your district, you will need to price check those items with three to five different companies. Each one is bound to give you a different service plan, a slightly different price, and a different degree of customer service. Make sure you know exactly what the difference is among the companies you interview, including the differences in their service plans and exchange policies.
This is also a great time to ask for references. Check with other school districts to see how satisfied they were with their purchase, the student outcomes, and the company’s customer service after the product has been delivered. You should be able to hear from other districts that are similar to your own about how this technology impacted their academic engagement.
Purchasing edtech is a necessary way to improve academic engagement and student performance when done the right way. Unfortunately, too many schools are becoming victims of overpriced sales schemes that force them to blow their budgets unnecessarily. Be smarter about the purchases your district makes with these key steps to avoid scams.