Hidden costs lurk in every possible purchase. They lie in the shadows waiting for the unsuspecting. Suddenly that product or service that is supposed to save you money, suddenly costs you double. We have all experienced the torment of fees, costs, taxes, fines, honorariums, markups and surcharges. Know before you buy and you will avoid these nasty surprises.
Hidden costs include changes to your business processes. This means you will need to change how you work in order to use the new product or service. There are always significant costs involved with a process redesign so make sure you map out all the necessary changes and the associated costs before you make a decision.
For example, large software purchases are typically laden with hidden costs. The implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software can quickly turn into a neverending money pit. Hidden deep in the fine print of all ERP product literature is the warning that a significant redesign of company processes is a fact. If you don't plan ahead and include the costs of these changes, you will be in for a nasty surprise. You would think that the steep price tag on ERP systems would be all inclusive. Don't get caught by surprise!
Hidden costs come in all shapes and sizes so you must spend the necessary time examining all the elements involved in implementing the new purchase into your business. If you are cautious and work dilligently, you will find them and know what you are getting into. Don't rush in blind and never let someone force you into an untimely decision. The best salesmen are experts at forcing an early decision. The more money you are looking to spend, the longer you should study it. Take your time; if it's a good buy today, it will still be good tomorrow.