Buyers Remorse is a strong feeling of regret that can happen after purchasing something expensive… like as a pricy microphone or studio outboard unit. This regret can spark a multitude of negative thoughts that can be difficult to process. I have suffered from Buyer’s Remorse several times. For those that haven't experienced it, let me tell you, it is not a nice feeling at all. It’s even harder to cope with if you suffer from anxieties. You end up playing a kind of blame game with yourself which is difficult to overcome.
Buyer’s Remorse can occur after we ignorantly ignore our instincts and better judgement when making important studio gear purchasing decisions. We could be several months into owning a product only to realise that the gear wasn't a good return on investment.
In this article I share a handful of tips with some personal Buyer’s Remorse experiences to help you spot some early warning signs of bad purchasing habits - Avoid setting yourself up for Buyer’s Remorse when purchasing studio gear, it’s just not worth the trouble.
Don’t Be Idealistic - Be Pragmatic
There is a world of differences between ‘wanting something’ and ‘needing something’. I’m sure many of us would like to own an expensive set of microphones or studio monitors, but in reality, those tools may not be what we actually need. It’s important to recognise if you are being in any way idealistic in your decision-making process when buying studio gear.
Years ago I borrowed a rare 1980’s Rosewood Fender Telecaster from a friend. I used it for roughly three months and absolutely fell in love with it. I tried to buy it from him but he wasn’t prepared to part with it. I searched the internet to find one for sale. Eventually, one appeared in an eBay auction. Bidding got quite serious, but I was determined to win this guitar because I really ‘wanted’ it for my studio. The thing was though, at the time I owned roughly 20 guitars and was my studio shared a building with a guitar shop, I wasn't exactly short of guitars.
I had a budget in mind which I completely blew in the final minutes of bidding. I won the guitar, but at a big cost. When the guitar was delivered to me I felt a mixed bag of emotions. I wasn’t as happy as I thought I would be with the guitar. It wasn’t the guitar’s fault, it was in better condition than my friend's Telecaster but I felt a lot of regrets because I not only blew my business’ profit for that month but also my backup funds for the following month of business overheads and rent. I was flat broke. I had to work extremely hard for months to get my business finances back in order.
I still own this guitar. It sits in my rack in the corner of my studio. It reminds me to always be pragmatic when buying anything expensive for my studio.
Considering A Loan To Fund Your Studio Gear? - Take A Step Back
In business, loans are sometimes necessary, however, if you are tempting yourself with some new studio gear based on the affordability of monthly repayments then you need to take a step back to really consider your position. These days it is extremely easy to be accepted for 12 - 24-month loans but you should never get yourself into debt if you ‘want’ some new studio gear. Think how you would feel down the line if you were still repaying debt on gear that you regretted buying? If you ‘need’ some studio gear that is part a well-planned business growth plan and you don’t have the funds available to invest then committing to a loan may be the right path to take. If you ‘want’ some studio gear it’s best to save for it.
Pressuring Yourself & Being Pressured By Outside Influences
Don't pressure yourself into buying anything new for your studio. I've come to learn that the studio gear I need in order to offer my key services are not hard purchasing decisions to make. The hardest purchasing decisions are the ones in which I have to convince myself I need "insert name of studio gear here". I've come to recognise this a pretty big warning sign for setting myself up for Buyer's Remorse.
Outside influences may pressure you as well such as promotions and deals but don't let those lure you into parting with your cash unless you are 100% sure you 'need' that gear in your studio and importantly your workflow.
Years ago I contacted a dealer as I was interested in a particular item for my studio. I'm not going to name the dealer or the gear as this was a long time ago. The salesperson took my mobile number and phoned me every couple of weeks to see if I was still interested in the product. I was in the 'I want' mindset, not the 'I need' mindset, but the salesperson didn't know that. Eventually, I caved. I purchased the product, didn't get on with it at all, sold it on eBay 6 months later and regretted the whole experience. I wasn't honest with myself or the salesperson. If I was open and honest I may have been offered an alternative product from the dealer that I would have liked or better still talked myself out of buying that item altogether.
Hindsight's 20/20. If I could go back in time and give myself some buyer's advice it would go something like this:
- Do Your Research: The point of researching a product before choosing you want/need said item helps you weigh up the pros and cons. Is this product going to really benefit me and my workflow or will it just collect dust?
- Try Before You Buy: Go to a dealer, try the gear for yourself or better still see if you can loan or rent the gear. These days I do this with Tegeler Audio outboard processors. Trying the gear in my studio really helps me to make well-informed decisions before investing sizable lumps of cash.
- Time Out - What's The Rush Aways?: 9/10 I don't need "insert name of studio gear here" in my studio for a recording session for the next day, or the next month for that matter. Put some time between choosing to buy something and actually committing to buy. I've done this several times only to discover what I thought I needed wasn't that important anymore.