Equipment buy-back boosts sales

Saturday, May 31, 2008

SALIDA, Colo.--Provider Fred Jackson is no stranger to carving out niches for his company, Salida Medical & Respiratory. The purveyor of product lines ranging from oxygen to paintball added another niche last year, when he tapped into the used equipment market.

Jackson buys back used wheelchairs, scooters and lift chairs from families, many of whom find themselves wondering what to do with DME after their users have died.

“I give them a rock-bottom price,” said Jackson, who said he only purchases equipment in good condition.

A service technician examines each item, performing necessary maintenance or repairs and replacing batteries. The most popular used item? An electric scooter, which resells for anywhere from $500 to $800.

“I couldn’t do this without my service tech, who goes through everything with a fine tooth comb,” said Jackson.

The typical buyers for used items have no insurance, or doctors won’t approve their request for a wheelchair or scooter, so insurance won’t pay for it.

“Sometimes it’s families wanting to get one for someone,” said Jackson.

Jackson eschews radio and newspaper advertising for a 5-foot by 5-foot sign in front of his business, announcing various new and used equipment for sale.

“As soon as we started doing that, we could see an increase,” said Jackson.