I am joining a company soon. They are insisting on buying me a new laptop (but they don't have to; it's my choice, and they are also completely fine with it). For personal reasons, I don't like using company laptops, so I will not agree to it (because basically they are loaning it to me, and it's company property).

My personal laptop is too old, and I was also planning on buying a new laptop. So I was thinking of suggesting that they give me a signing bonus (only if they want) so I can buy a new laptop for myself (owner is me in this case).


  • I am completely fine if they say no. I am happy to use my old laptop. Or I will later buy whatever is in my budget.

  • I am also fine with conditions like "If I quit in x months, I have to pay for it in full."

Now I am wondering whether it is a reasonable suggestion. Will I sound greedy if I suggest this as a signing bonus? (They are offering no signing bonus at all.)

Update: Thanks for the advice about security risks. I am aware of them, but it's my final decision to not use a company laptop, and I don't want to discuss it further. I also have used my personal laptop at work before. The company I will be working with will be a small startup, and they have no IT policy or anything else. They will just buy it and give it to me as-is for work.

  • 5
    Company laptops have some advantages for the company - security and software updates/requirements come to mind. A personal laptop is a pain for IT to setup, if you have security/software requirement.
    – Thalantas
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 14:52
  • 11
    I would never suggest using a personal laptop for company stuff. Similarly I would never suggest using a company laptop for personal stuff. Check the proposed work contract, it likely says anything you develop on company property is owned by the company.
    – mikeazo
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 14:53
  • 16
    Why on earth would you object to using company equipment for company work? I would object if they expected me to use my personal equipment.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:03
  • 4
    Definitely an inappropriate suggestion to make
    – numenor
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:04
  • 8
    "it's my final decision to not use company laptop." I'm not actually sure you have the authority to make this decision - or at any rate, there's no guarantee that you'll have a job if you do.
    – Tin Wizard
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 17:52

8 Answers 8


I share your opinion that I prefer to use my personal laptop on work because I own multiple softwares like jetbrains suite, linqpad, vmware workstation, etc. I also like the privacy of saving my password for differents accounts like emails, stackoverflow, etc. Something that I would be reluctant to be saved on a corporate computer.

And I also had the role of a network administrator for multiple years, I understand the need to have full access to the computer, be able to run network polices and protect the network from compromised computers. Personally, depending of the security level required by the business, the company usually cannot block data theft from employee and the dumbest user can get a ransomware.

My personal history is:

I used to work for a company of 50 employees that pay up to 2,000$ for a laptop from a specific dealer. The user were allowed to customized his laptop and pay the gap between the final price and the 2,000$. Then the laptop was amortized on 3 years, if the user quit before 3 years, he could pay the balance to own it. And after 3 years, he could pay 100$ to own it, where the 100$ were investing in a charity fund.

I also work for two companies, one of 150 employees and another of 50 employees were they do not mind that you use your personal laptop as long you it does not get your productivity down, like if you install linux and it crash, it is on your time to fix back the laptop.

And I work for a pharmaceutical company where there is no way a user will bring a personal laptop.

So my conclusion is depending of the employer, talk with them about what can be arranged. During the discussion, I would not use the word bonus because it can raise some issues with coworkers and personally it is more an expense. So after the small talk and stating that I prefer to use a personal computer, I would validate if there is any politic in place that can deny my request then my first offer would be something like: I would like to personally buy a laptop for the job, and after 12 months, I get X$ reimbursed, in 24 months, another Y$, etc. to avoid the company to work to get their money back if I leave after 3 months or I get fired, after purchasing the laptop, I will hand the invoice to the account guy so he can put that in the expense of the company. Also, projecting in 12 months, 24 months, etc. give a look that you want to invest in the company and stay a long time. I think that way it does not look greedy and in long term, you will have a free personal laptop.

I made this move multiple times for hardware, training, etc. Just talking can do a lot, like a got a pluralsight training reimbursed after a number of hours.

Good luck!

  • 2
    You are not answering the question : "Will I sound greedy ... ?". Try to focus on the actual question of the author.
    – Thalantas
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:44
  • @ Thalantas You are right, sorry, I will edit.
    – Tom Sawyer
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:46
  • Thanks! Luckily I am in company like that "50 employee" company. They don't really care about anything
    – greedy
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:55
  • Can I have more information related to the downvote please so my next answer will be better :)
    – Tom Sawyer
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 20:21
  • Your problem is that you are trying to understand how I feel instead of giving the usual advice "use company laptop
    – greedy
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 2:32

I would suggest you take the laptop they are offering and use it strictly for work. Use the work laptop for work, and use your personal machine for non-work related things.

You can get into real trouble if sensitive information gets on to your personal machine and gets compromised, especially in the healthcare vertical. You can also get into real murky water if you happen to produce a real cool program in your free time and the company claims it as theirs since it was done using their property (check your contract).

Another thing worth noting (not my area of expertise) is that the computer expense may be totally different on the books than a signing bonus. The finance department might not want to give out cash and would instead spend it on hardware.

P.S. See Ed Heal's post about other logistics of using a personal machine. The company most likely does not want to deal with those headaches as well.

  • From my experience, so it may differ from your experience and your experience can also be different from mine and the OP, the user that prefer to have is personal belonging is often a power user that is able to self maintain most of the time. I have seen this scenario with IT, accounting and sellers. I usually love users that is able to get the VPN working from hotel without calling the IT service for an hour.
    – Tom Sawyer
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 20:13

Consider the time when you will leave the company. They will insist on removing all work related items from your personal laptop. So what is their best course of actions? (wipe the lot, at best).

Also - what happens if the laptop breaks down? Will you be liable to loss of data, etc.?

Just use the work laptop for work, person laptop for personal stuff.

  • 1
    In the past, it was mostly based on trust for me. They asked me to delete all their stuff in front of them and I did that. And we never had problem after that. In case of break/theft, obviously I am responsible since it's my laptop.
    – greedy
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:52
  • @greedy - theft - Are you prepared to say that your PC is secure enough so no work material can be retrieved from the stolen PC?
    – Ed Heal
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:54
  • 1
    Yes. Also the laptop they will give me will just a completely new laptop with a different OS I don't use and will have no security policy or anything. I feel much safer with my current computer.
    – greedy
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:58

Yes, you can ask. Very big chance that you will get a short "no". I don't think any reasonable company should take you as a greedy, rather a greenhorn, unless you try to press the issue.

You follow a quite common fallacy, that it doesn't make a difference, and is convenient. I have seen many people in IT, especially fresh ones sharing your sentiment and POV, but they forget about all the "virtual" scenarios and liabilities.

There is zero pros for the company in your proposal. Other answers and comments explain it.

One alternative that might be possible, and I don't see proposed yet. They allow you to use your laptop for work, and they buy a new laptop for you, which they allow you to use for personal stuff. It's still their property, job is done., budget is the same. It's still a bit murky regarding the legal stuff when you do some illegal stuff on company property, but I guess they could protect themselves.

One another thing I have seen. It's similar to your proposal. You get a bouns to the salary if you use your own device. For a company it's basically a (cost of hardware)/(time of warranty). It is the same as the amortization cost for the actual laptop. But that meant giving up some rights over the device, it was treated like a company device.

Of course there is also standard way, they get you a laptop for work, and give it to you after like 3 years, whenever the warranty ends, and computer without fault coverage is a cost rather than value.

  • "There is zero pros for the company in your proposal" Can we say it is a perk for employees?
    – Tom Sawyer
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 18:34
  • I think if the company is able to allow because of their business and the employees are reasonable, it can be a good think for the company because "the more you use your tools the more you are proficient". Example, Windows 10 removed some features like image viewer, there is some chance that the use will find an alternative while he face the issue at home instead at work, so the company may save hours of settings. Also, the user may buy multiple tools like beyond compare, sublime text, etc. that will make him more productive without the company paying anything.
    – Tom Sawyer
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 18:41
  • Thanks! I know of one advantage of this. I use a lot of productivity tools (mostly personal closed source), so I am much more productive on my personal device. Also managing one device is much easier than two. I am also allowed work from home. A personal laptop make more sense here too.
    – greedy
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 19:01

Now I am wondering is it reasonable suggestion. Will I sound greedy if I suggest this as a signing bonus (they are offering no signing bonus at all).

I'm not sure I understand your reluctance to use a company laptop for company work and your personal laptop for non-work, but it sounds like the company will allow you to make the decision either way.

It is reasonable to ask the company to buy you a new laptop (since that's basically what you are asking for with your "signing bonus". If you explain that you prefer using your own laptop, but that your current computer isn't up-to-date enough for the job, that doesn't sound too greedy to me.

Still, if they aren't in the habit of handing out "signing bonuses", then the answer will likely be "No".

But the only way you'll know is by asking.


I'd be reluctant to ask for any special treatment when I'm just starting with a company like this. First impressions are important. The company might see you as greedy, or oblivious to security issues, or as just being annoying, asking for special privileges that nobody else gets.

When you've been there five years and have a reputation as a capable person who makes valuable contributions to the company, asking for some special consideration is unlikely to be a big deal. They might say yes and they might say no, but unless your request is outrageous -- "I'd like the company to let me use the corporate jet to take my girlfriend on a date to Paris" or some such -- they're unlikely to hold it against you.

But when you haven't even started the job yet, it has too much potential to look bad.


This answer may be totally irrelevant to your case, but on the off-chance that it's not...

If you are doing creative work (say software development), and if you do that on your own time with entrepreneurial aspirations, be careful. If you come up with valuable IP on your own time and computer, you might be weakening your claim to that IP by intermingling that work with your company work, just by muddying the waters. It won't help your case that they tried to get you to separate the work and you refused.


The basic premise of your question "will I sound greedy" depends entirely on how you frame it.

If you want to purchase a laptop, and then have the company pay for it. There are few ways to do this:

  1. Request them to purchase a specific laptop for you. You can provide them the model, make, configuration, etc and they will purchase it and deliver it to you.

  2. You purchase the laptop, and provide them the receipt - and they will reimburse you the amount.

In either case - you need to be absolutely clear who owns the laptop; in other words when you are to leave the company - do you need to return the laptop or not?

As others have noted above - a sign on bonus is completely different than a hardware purchase (there are many different things that have to be done - from the accounting and audit departments) for these two different kinds of expenses.

I understand you are working for a startup that doesn't have a formal business environment yet - but this is even more risky for you because there are no rules defined. They can, at any given time, ask you to hand over your personal laptop as a result of an external audit, a security check, during a round of financing as part of due diligence or any number of reasons because you are using it for company work.

If you have specific software requirements, or other such needs that will assist you in your work - you need to ask the company to provide you the same.

You may also be putting the company in danger if you use software licensed for personal use in a commercial environment - the entire works created may no longer be appropriate for sale, and you may end up causing the company financial liability as they would be in violation of software license terms.

Everyone has touched on the very real, and very bad idea of using a personal machine for paid work - or using a paid machine for company work.

Be smart, don't do it

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