Remember that the "lowest price" is not the "lowest cost" in many cases. If you pay more for a unit from one dealer as opposed to another, you should have a value-added reason for doing so. If you are a loyal customer, you can believe the dealer will pay for itself in the long run.
Once you decide you need equipment, get into the process as soon as you can and expect to pay market rates.
Garry Bartecki is director of dealer/distributor services at BDO Seidman, LLP of Chicago, as well as a consultant to the AED. He has also worked as an independent CPA and consultant to equipment dealers. He can be reached at (312) 616-4677 or firstname.lastname@example.org.