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Key Questions to ask BEFORE investing in an IPL or Laser Machine

Written by Ruth Nicholson on August 3rd, 2015.      0 comments

1. What am I actually getting?
  • Is it an IPL (Intense pulsed light) or a Laser?
  • Sometimes platforms have both, however they would need a decent power supply.
  • Pulsed light is used for treating superficial targets, lasers reach deeper into the skin.
Laser face treatment

2. What hand-pieces come with the machine and which are optional extras?

  • How much does it cost for replacements / consumables?
  • How many shots per hand-piece / how many treatments? (10,000 -200,000 shots)
  • What size are the treatment heads? – is that good or bad? (i.e.: How many shots to do hair removal on a man’s back?)
  • You need more energy to supply a larger head, will this mean lesser quality treatments?

3. What wavelengths does this machine operate on?

  • This will tell you what treatments you can offer and on who.
  • If you don’t know what wavelength it emits – you won’t know your risks.

4. What training is provided by the company and by whom?

  • What clinical experience do they have? Or are they reading from the brochure?
  • What on-going professional development opportunities do they offer?
  • Is it laser science or just ‘functionality training’ – i.e.: push button A for light skin etc…

5. How long has the company been around?

  • Have they changed names in the past 5 years?
  • Are they listed on the stock exchange?
  • What is there financial position? (Quarterly reports should be available)
  • Do they have a whole range of similar looking machines with different names or models, or a few long standing systems that have stood the test of time?
Laser under arm treatment

6. Can the company provide clinical studies?

(they should ideally be journal published or peer reviewed to be considered non-biased)

  • The ability to produce before & after pictures is NOT a clinical study.
  • Clinical studies is showing histology slides proving collagen remodelling has taken place if that is what they are claiming their skin tightening system does.
  • Or that after 6-12 months there is still an impressive percentage of hair removal clearance?
  • Or more importantly if they can treat dark skin types – where is the evidence of this?

7. What marketing materials / support does the company supply?

  • Client brochures, posters for the clinic, CD of images for adverts, consent forms etc.
  • What happens if you are struggling to integrate the system into the clinic and need some guidance?
  • If you don’t have a successful marketing plan and support materials – the business won’t be successful, remember you have lots of competition, so you need to stand out in results and in professionalism.

8. Servicing / Technical support:

  • How often does the machine need servicing? / does its auto calibrate?
  • Who can provide servicing in your area?
  • Will they provide a loan machine?
  • Do you need to ship the system overseas at your expense, or will the company state you need to ‘upgrade’ your system.

9. References: Will they provide customers details for you to contact?

  • Being able to see another clinic in action (Obviously not a potential competitor) is useful, you should be able to ask questions about the system itself and their results and treatment protocol. Also helpful to know about potential problems they may have encountered.

10. Upgrades: Can the platform be upgraded or would you need to trade it in and lose out?

  • As your business grows so to should your offerings to the client.
  • You only want to do hair removal now, but in 12 months’ time clients may be asking you about skin rejuvenation or facial veins and you won’t want to send them away.
  • If you pay a bit more up front for an upgradable system, you may save money in the following years. 
11. Other considerations: Rent to own / Rental only / Mobile operators in your business?
  • Access to your database / risk of clients going elsewhere if they are unhappy?
  • Commissions split / what happens if the machine needs servicing?
  • Do you take the money or does the doctor / clinic?
  • What happens when clients are booked but the machine breaks down, you both lose a client / money. Some companies have loan machines for situations like.
It is vital that you not only buy the right IPL or Laser for your business, but also to fully understand laser science, tissue interactions and skin typing to avoid risking your client to potentially permanent side effects.

Experience does not always equate to knowledge – we meet many operators who have been working with IPL or Lasers for many years who still do not understand the concepts of laser science, this ignorance will eventually cause a problem, and often does.”
Ruth Nicholson
laser leg treatment




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