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7 Questions to Ask Before Installing Used Security Entrances

Nov. 19, 2019

Purchasing used security entrances might seem like a good value and idea at first, but consider what you are getting for the money and be aware of potential problems. Learn what to ask before buying and installing a used security entrance.

Photo: SL Swing, Liberty Global, The Netherlands

The Internet has changed the way we find and purchase products. Today, it’s as simple as typing a few words into a search bar to find exactly what you need. You can find both new and used products for sale in a matter of seconds.

Used products tend to be cheaper and, depending on what they are, this can be a smart buying decision. Believe it or not, you can occasionally find used security entrances, including turnstiles, revolving doors or portals. For those with budget limitations, this might be tempting. So, should you buy a used security entrance?

The quick answer is simple: stay clear. There are many potential pitfalls. To help you navigate this process, here are seven important questions to ask before you make your decision.

7 Things to Ask About Used Security Entrances

1. Is the security entrance product under warranty?

Most security entrances are electro-mechanical, similar to a car. They require ongoing upkeep and oversight. Even a revolving door, turnstile or security mantrap portal in seemingly perfect condition may present a maintenance issue in a month or a year after your purchase.

For that reason, you should only consider buying a used product if it comes with a limited warranty of some kind by the manufacturer, if that is available.

Make sure that it is also clearly stated in your purchase contract who will hold the warranty. Most manufacturers warranty their new products for a period of one to three years, and the warranty often only covers the parts, not the labor to repair or replace.

2. How old is the entrance?

This is a simple question and there should be no confusion about the answer. The seller should be able to provide you with the model number, year of manufacture and year of original purchase. There should also be an intact serial number visible on the product.

Photo: Boon Edam Turnstiles with For Sale Sign

3. Can you be certain the entrance is authentic?

It is shocking how entrenched counterfeit products have become in the supply chain. From medications to motorbikes, websites to watches, it’s the responsibility of the buyer to verify the authenticity of whatever they purchase.

When you purchase a new security entrance from a known and trusted supplier, you can be confident in the validity of the brand. The same can’t be said of a product bought used—especially if it’s purchased from an auction site or other site that isn’t well-regulated.

If you do make this choice, there should be a verifiable chain of ownership beginning with the manufacturer. The reality is, even this paperwork can be falsified, so there’s still risk.

4. Has the product been discontinued?

It’s not unreasonable to question whether a used turnstile or other security entrance has been discontinued by the manufacturer. If you purchase a discontinued product, you may not be able to get replacement parts when they are needed or find a technician who is properly able to service it.  

If your seller is forthright and tells you the product has been discontinued, they should also be able to give you a full explanation of the model, make and year, along with information regarding how long parts will continue to be available. With that knowledge, you can make a more informed decision about whether or not you want to take on the additional risk of buying a discontinued product.

Photo: Boon Edam Optical Turnstiles Integrate wtih Elevator Systems

5. Why is the security entrance for sale?

The previous owner made the decision to remove this security entrance from wherever it was installed and sell it to a new owner. There must be a reason for this, and they should be prepared to provide you with an honest explanation.

It may be as simple as a change in utilization that required a new entry solution. On the other hand, the door may have presented numerous maintenance issues and be on the verge of failure. All the possibilities have meaning when it comes to the current condition of the entrance, so be sure to find out the true story.


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6. How was the security entrance removed from its original installation?

Uninstalling a security entrance without causing any harm or damage to any part of it requires a great deal of care and skill. This is because they are usually affixed to the ground, floor, walls or fencing, or a ceiling structure. Even reliable installers who provide a high level of installation services may have difficulty uninstalling a security entrance.

Sometimes when contractors remove this type of equipment, they cut, rip or pull cables that are critical to the future operation of the equipment. With so many required pieces of hardware such as mounting bolts, anchors and trim screws, small removed parts can get thrown away rather than gathered for resale and inclusion with the rest of the entrance parts.

When a security entrance is removed and resold it will need to be transported, almost always without its original robust crating or packaging. Ultimately, with any security entrance, there are so many precision parts which have to work perfectly, the chances might be small that the seller can uninstall, transport and reinstall without damaging something.

[Related: Security vs. Access in Healthcare Facilities]

7. What is the reseller’s reputation?

Ideally, the seller will be the original manufacturer of the product or an approved dealer or partner. However, this may not be the case with used security entrances you find on the internet or elsewhere.

Before making your purchase, ask the reseller about their relationship with the manufacturer and a few customer recommendations. Have they ever successfully removed a turnstile or door and then reinstalled that model before?

Contact the original manufacturer and ask for their opinion on the products you are considering regarding the status and reputation of the reseller and any possible limited warranty.

They may not be authorized to resell the brand at all—in which case you should stop the conversation.

Upfront Costs vs. Total Cost of Ownership

Buying a used security entrance may seem like an attractive prospect from a cost perspective.

However, while you may save upfront costs this way, you may ultimately find that your total cost of ownership is far more than what you would have paid had you purchased a new product in the first place.

When you purchase a used product, you have exposure to many potential pitfalls which could affect the overall quality and reliability of your security entrance. Further, buying a product in this way prevents you from getting the full value of the manufacturer’s and installer’s experience and expertise in customizing a solution that truly fits your business needs.

You will also be excluded over time from any manufacturer updates for service and support.

For all these reasons, think long and hard before making the decision to consider purchasing any used security entrance equipment.

About the Author:

Kevin Thomasson, vice president of Customer Experience, has over 16 years of sales, marketing and operations experience. He has managed and directed teams from ChannelAdvisor, LexisNexis, and SciQuest during that time.

With these companies Kevin developed initiatives, processes, and strategies that increased customer retention and improved customer satisfaction across multiple product lines.

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