Computer Reimbursement
July 3, 2007 12:06 PM   Subscribe

How do I ask for reimbursement for using my computer for my job? How much should I ask for?

Should I ask for a company-provided computer? Should I ask for payment towards my next computer?

[Simple issue made large below]

I began working at a new job while I was in a different city. My boss asked if I could use my laptop while starting up and I agreed. I haven't brought the issue up since, and am now preparing to.

My laptop is now making lots of groaning noise. It has never been moved daily as much as it has for the past two months. It is large (Dell Inspiron 9300), and not meant to be rugged. There wasn't any noticible wear on it previously. I used it for an hour a day on average; I am now on it ~14 hours a day.

I am considering leaving the job, and would not like to make sure I haven't shortened the life of my personal computer for nothing.

My boss ignores all money issues as long as possible. It is only he and myself in the company. If I ask an open ended question about what his policy is, I will not receive an answer. He is nice and a great guy, I just need a game plan going in.
posted by FuManchu to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
say your computer is broken through overuse and you need a replacement, diplomatically of course.
posted by trashcan at 12:13 PM on July 3, 2007

And make sure that they buy you a new one for you, and not that they buy one for the company and let you use it.
posted by The World Famous at 12:25 PM on July 3, 2007

All companies should provide resources for their employees. It's absurd to think otherwise.

Youre company might be young but if the guy can't afford IT supplies then he doesn't have a valid business. In that case you're wise to think about leaving.

Companies can do things like hire IT equipment, so it's not even a large outlay.

So ask him to provide you with a computer. You wouldn't bring a card table from your home in order to work on, or a fold-up chair, so why should you bring a computer?
posted by deeper red at 12:40 PM on July 3, 2007

"My boss ignores all money issues as long as possible."

How long will he ignore them for when you can't do your job because your laptop has crashed completely? ;)
posted by Solomon at 1:25 PM on July 3, 2007

Your boss should have provided you with the tools to do the job, including the laptop. You should tell him that your own laptop is wearing out, and that you're no longer willing to keep hauling it around and using it for work -- the company needs to get you a machine to work on, immediately.

As for the "shortening the life of your personal machine" -- I'm afraid this one's going to be a learning experience. It's really not OK to use personal hardware to do a job, unless you're a contractor. This is one of the reasons why.

I wouldn't expect him to contribute to your next personal machine, but if the current one is out of warranty, and you want to pay to get the noises fixed (probably fan, maybe drive), it wouldn't be unreasonable to ask him to pick up the tab on the repair.
posted by toxic at 1:35 PM on July 3, 2007

Big question: Are you a W-2 wage-earning employee, or are you a 1099 contractor?

If he's paying you as an employee but he's not providing the equipment and specific instructions on how you do your job, you are not an employee, but a contractor according to the IRS -- and should be paid as a contractor, should do your own tax withholding and provide your own benefits and equipment.

Otherwise, he needs to pony up the equipment, and pay you a prorated amount for as long as you've been working for him to offset the depreciation to your personal laptop.

If he doesn't, he might be in dutch with the IRS should -someone- report him...

Notice: IANACPA, Tax expert, or anything else. I've just been in some sucky work conditions in the past. I could totally be talking out of my ass here, do your own research.
posted by SpecialK at 1:46 PM on July 3, 2007

"I need a new computer"
"What happened to yours?"
"It broke."

The response to this should tell you everything you need to know about the company. It's not your responsibility to provide operating expenses for them.
posted by rhizome at 3:02 PM on July 3, 2007

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