If you’re looking to start an online business from home, it is essential that you be prepared with the right equipment.

This is intended to be a guide to some of the key basics of a home office.


The most essential equipment you would need obviously would be PCs. You’d need to decide how many are required for your work. Networking them would be beneficial as you’d be able to share folders and also share the other office equipment like printers, scanners or multifunction devices, as they would then all be interconnected.

I would suggest you ensure your PCs have TFT - LCD monitors as they are less likely to strain your eyes in long business hours, in comparison to a CRT monitor – and perhaps most importantly, save space.


Make sure you have a DVD or at least a CD Writer on the PC to allow for backup of important data. A DVD Writer would allow you to back up more data at a time than a CD but would work out costlier.

It is very important to backup your work on a regular basis right from the beginning to protect yourself from any unfortunate incidents. Pick up a USB Pen drive for any temporary movement of data from your home-office to the outside world. But CDs or DVDs are recommended for more permanent and safe storage of data for a longer period.


VoIP can be a very useful way to connect with customers and potential sales. You could connect a Web camera and a PC headset to your PC, which not only allows you to use VoIP with the right software, but effectively allows you to teleconference.

You could also look at setting up a wireless network, though Bluetooth devices have some disadvantages due to their limited speeds and range.

The Fax Machines

The fax machine still has its place in the internet age, and you should think whether you can do without one. It is used to transfer documents using a telephone line and is very useful in various instances like purchase orders, delivery confirmations, urgent communications, etc.

Because a fax machine uses a telephone line, you can send and receive faxes anywhere in the world. The only requirement being that the person at the other end should also have a fax machine or a device that can perform a similar task.

One of the biggest advantages of a fax machine, apart from it being instantaneous, is that it is very secure as the link is only between the sender and receiver, making it almost a must-have for the movement of confidential and urgent documents.


Also, would a photocopier come in handy? A photocopier is a device that as the name suggests, makes copies of documents. The advantage here is that one can make an instantaneous copy of any document. There are both black-and-white and color copiers, though color copiers being expensive, you would probably need only a black-and-white photocopier unless you had a regular need for photocopying color documents.


You would definitely need a printer, the only question being whether to go in for an inkjet or a laser. If you need to print color documents also, then I would suggest an inkjet as a color laser would be quite expensive.

Laser printers have an advantage in speed and quality so if these are crucial aspects, then a good combination would be to have a mono laser printer and a color inkjet printer separately. You get printers in both A4 and A3 sizes and depending on your need, you could select them accordingly.

Multifunction machines

In case you need more than one of the devices I have mentioned, I recommend you go in for a multifunction device. It would usually consist of a scanner, printer, copier and optionally also a fax, all rolled into one. One of the biggest advantages here is allowing one to save space. Also, multifunction devices work out cheaper than buying all the individual items separately.

The disadvantage here, being that individually the devices would probably be technologically superior to a certain extent than in a multifunction device. For example, a scanner separately would normally scan at a much higher resolution than the scanner feature in a multifunction device.

Also the usage cost of a multifunction device would probably be higher in some cases as it uses the same toner for printing, copying as well as receiving faxes. In case you are expecting volumes to be high in any of these features, it would definitely work out cheaper to have separate devices optimized for their individual capabilities, in the long run.

The other big disadvantage of a multifunction device is that if one aspect of the device faces a breakdown, multiple features are rendered disabled. For example, if the printing aspect of the device was giving trouble, it would affect the copying and faxing features as well.

Organizing Paper

Some of the labor saving devices you could look at are paper shredders, paper trimmers, folders and letter openers.

A paper shredder as the name suggests is a device used to shred paper. You may be tempted to ask as to why you need a machine to do this when we can quite easily do this by hand. The reasons for this are many. The volume of paper may make it quite cumbersome, for one. But the main advantage of a shredder is in preventing fraud or identity theft.

This is possible because shredders cut paper into very tiny strips or chips. This prevents anyone from being able to piece them together to make the complete document readable. Of course, this still requires a bit of attention while shredding, i.e. feeding the paper in such a way that the words are shredded horizontally into the shredder. Some of the documents that may require shredding include bills, account statements and other confidential documents.

If you have binding or laminating work, you could think about using binding machines and laminators.

Author's Bio: 

Brian Turner is a consultant with A2B Office Equipment, and also runs Office Directory, which introduces basic forms of office equipment to new users.