I will be leaving my current employer soon, they provided me a company laptop (as they do everyone), and I am considering just making an offer on it rather than returning it.

It's a non SOE controlled device (They don't have a system for Macs, just Windows devices) and for the sake of this discussion let's leave aside the consideration of work/customer data that is on the device. I am a trusted employee and they will be fine with my word of it all being scrubbed.

The device itself is only a few months old, its a 2016 MacBook Pro purchased from Apple and under my account (making it easier for everyone if I just buy it back).

So the opportunity is there, and I feel all parties are willing, however I am unsure how you would price this deal.

Thoughts? :)

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    Is the number of employees who need laptops decreasing? If so, you may be able to make a deal. If it is staying the same or increasing, they would have to buy a new laptop to replace it – Patricia Shanahan May 1 '17 at 2:54
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    Impossible to judge price with the information given. Macbooks come in many different configurations. Have you looked up the retail price on the model you have? It will probably be close to that. Why not ask IT how much they want for it? – Seth R May 1 '17 at 2:55
  • Which country are you in? If you're in the US or Canada I would check craigslist or kijiji (that one's Canada only I believe) for prices on similar used laptops. – Mel Reams May 1 '17 at 3:20
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about appraising a laptop, not about navigating the workplace. – David K May 1 '17 at 12:52

"Fair price" means third party buyer and third party seller - you have neither. So most likely, your best offer is full price (or a slightly lower amount). If that's worth it to you, then go for it.

That probably sounds wrong, but here is the reasoning:

As the "buyer" what is the highest price you are willing to pay? At what point would you rather just buy a new laptop rather than keep the one you have in your hands now? Most likely, it's higher than "third party" because you've been using it. So don't think of this as a way to get a good deal - there is a convenience premium for you. You are asking because there is a cost for you to switch to a new machine.

From your employer's side, after they replace you would they prefer to have to buy a brand new computer? Or simply hand the next employee yours? Either way the new employee will need to 'customize' it to meet their new job. The advantage to the employer is the warranty terms, maybe less "wear and tear," and technology obsolescence (which on a Mac laptop is pretty low for the timeframe you mentioned) and that's about all. So they have little incentive to offer you a good price on those terms. And if your laptop has sensitive data on it, it might even be a liability to let you keep it.

So, if you're thinking you can "pick it up cheap" then that's possible, but only if your employer is short-sighted and/or under-educated. Since that's entirely possible go ahead and try a low-ball offer. However you should be prepared to offer a near full-price amount for your convenience.

If you were my employee, I'd probably not give you the option to buy - unless you paid full price. If you had a clear "market value price" that was slightly below full price I'd consider it. But the warranty discount is offset by the complexity of the paperwork, corporate data risks, inconvenience of having a new employee spend time shopping for a new computer, etc.

If you came to me and said, "I like my computer, I'll reimburse you the cost for it" that might convince me if I didn't pause to think about the challenges I just mentioned. Maybe there are other factors you didn't mention, but that's the take I get from what you asked.

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The best way I have found is to search on eBay using the "Completed Items" search criteria. As others point out, a market price is set by the highest price someone is willing to buy for. eBay is a transparent marketplace in that regard.

Remember that in your case, your company does not have to pay transaction fees to sell to you, so by some rationale, they get what amounts to a discount.

Don't try to "get a deal". It will come off as shady. The company might already be hurt that you are leaving. And if there are others that are waiting for a laptop like this, they may be more inclined to rotate your laptop to someone else who is sticking around. They absolutely have to reward loyalty internally or more people will naturally try to do what you are doing. It's not sustainable for the company and they simply won't do it.

But once you've done the research on eBay with the "Completed Items" flag turned on, you shouldn't be too worried if they will sell you your exact laptop. You know there are more of them out there for the same price!

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As this is a company asset, it will be listed on the company's accounts. Most companies will depreciate the computers value over several years and then write it off when disposed.

Some companies also have a policy which allows old computers (typically when warranty expires) to be purchased at the depreciated value.

Rather than make an offer, simply ask what they company would charge for you to purchase the laptop - if they're willing to sell, they will likely just ask for the depreciated value so they don't end up with a hole in their accounts.

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  • And whether they offer it to you very much depends on whether there is a successor for you who will need a laptop, or if this laptop is surplus to requirements. You wouldn't be sold a company laptop if the company then has to buy a new one. You would be sold a company laptop if it ends up in a cupboard otherwise. You won't get it if someone with connections wants a laptop. – gnasher729 May 1 '17 at 10:56

So the opportunity is there, and I feel all parties are willing, however I am unsure how you would price this deal. Thoughts?

Do a quick internet search, looking for the prices of the same version of a used computer.

Offer whatever it would cost for you to purchase the same computer on the open market.

The company may or may not be willing to sell their equipment (in my experience these days, most are not willing to sell). But if they are willing they will tell you if your offer is fair or not.

The company may have to nuke the computer first. Depending on their licensing arrangements for the software, they may not have the right to pass it on to others.

And if they aren't willing to sell, at least you now know where to go to purchase one yourself.

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