Selecting the right Laser or IPL machine for your clinic

Cutting through the sales pitch

After all, it’s an expensive decision

Buying Laser or IPL equipment is confusing, expensive, and one of the most important purchase decisions for a clinic. We delve into making that decision the right one for your business.

After compleating Level 4 Training in Laser & Light for many people the next step is looking at what machine to buy. Without a doubt, the most important kit in the modern aesthetics practice is the Laser & IPL equipment. When you talk to the brands, the ‘salespeople,’ every machine, ‘they carry,’ is the best for you.

Speaking with people and looking into search history people often ask the wrong question. “What is the best laser machine” or “What is the best IPL machine.” When we venture into quality devices, often coined “A Gold Standard,” the technology behind the machines is substantial. Be that ND-YAG, Alexandrite, Diode Based, etc. and so forth. A better question is what treatments do I want to offer and what technology best fits my needs.

Trying to work out what is the best decision for your clients and benefits your business, is not easy. If you are looking at expanding into laser and light treatments for the first time, that is even harder. Second-hand machinery can seem enticing. However, ongoing maintenance, the cost of replacing IPL heads, lenses, optic fibre cables, and more, can quickly turn a good price, into a nightmare. For a better piece of mind, reliability and profitability, I would always have a service contract or agreement of maintaining. Make sure you have an outlined cost of consumables plus commonly replaced components.

  • What treatments do you want to offer?
  • How many of those can you treat with an IPL and how many with Laser?
  • Is it better to buy a modular platform or is a standalone machine better?

When thinking about what your IPL or Laser is going to cost, it is important to consider the ongoing costs and support. Having a reliable partner for equipment is of paramount importance.

  • What will you do if the laser or IPL machine breaks down?
  • If you have clients booked in for treatment and there is a problem with a machine, can the supplier fix it before you open the next day?
  • Does the supplier have engineers out on the road carrying parts?
  • Do they have engineers?
  • Will the supplier support you with brand specific training?

FDA or CE both adhere to a quality standard

While how much a Laser or IPL costs is not the gauge of quality all leading brands are within a similar price bracket. You will read the need to use FDA approved machines. To be fair, all leading brands will be FDA approved however, this does not guarantee a similarity of effectiveness from brand to brand. Although the CE mark “Conformité Européene” which literally means “European Conformity” also has to comply with a set of standards. Ultimately, FDA or CE, it should be local support and training that influences you the most.

What laser or IPL therapies do you want to offer?

Your number one priority is purchasing what will provide the best outcome for your clients. This may sound obvious, yet due to the fact, some laser technologies can perform multiple treatments, this can create confusion for the purchaser.

As an example: A Long-Pulsed 755 Alexandrite, 800nm Diode, and Long-Pulsed 1064 Nd: YAG Lasers can all treat leg veins. However, the Nd: YAG has the greatest clearance rates and will treat all skin types. It is important when selecting technology and matching that with the treatments you offer to ensure it will produce the best outcome for clients.

Demographics & competition is a consideration

  • What is the socioeconomic breakdown of your catchment area?
  • What competition is in your local area and what treatments do they offer?

An IPL machine could be a better choice

Lumenis M22 Aesthetics Platform

Lumenis M22 Modular Laser Multi-Application Platform

It is better not to go head to head with local competition, differentiate yourself by selecting treatments the competition is not targeting. If you have larger competitors in your catchment area that concentrate on laser hair removal, it will be difficult to compete on price and maintain profitability.

If you are starting out or expanding your salon to take in laser and light treatments it is often better to start with an IPL machine. You can offer a broader selection of treatments compared to a Laser machine, and the initial purchase investment is lower. Platform system like the Lumenis M22 Modular Laser Multi-Application Platform can be a good investment. Designed to grow, the system can be purchased as an IPL and then expand with Q-Switched Nd:YAG, Multi-Spot Nd:YAG & ResurFX laser skin resurfacing.

There is often a little silence when people find out how much a machine investment will be. IPL will set you back around €20.000 to €40.000 and Laser machines start around €40.000 with market leaders around €85.000. Buying Laser & Light equipment is a major investment; make sure it is the right investment for your clinic. Financing the machine over 3 or 4 years is often the most popular. Some companies do offer rental at a fixed monthly cost some also offer rent based on how many shots are used each month.

There is no such thing as maintenance free

IPL systems need the IPL head or flashlight system replaced after so many shots. Depending on the brand of the machine will determine the shot limit and what is replaced. When selecting an IPL platform make sure you ask what the consumables the machine will require. Is it a separate flashlamp or is the handpiece replaced, the latter being the most common. Laser machines also have maintenance and consumable need. Many require the fibreoptic cable replaced after so many shots. Handpiece lens windows constantly need replacing with a box of windows costing over €300. You would need to factor in at least €5000 to €10000 each year for maintenance depending on what machine/s your purchase.

It is easy to understand why equipment purchase can be a daunting task.

Can we talk with someone at ATAI to help us decide on equipment best suiting our clinic?

Yes, you can, because many people are looking for IPL and Laser machines after compleating their training we are more than happy to help you make the right decision for your business. We have used many different brands and we understand what is important to the clinic.

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