Do startups provide laptops? 4 reasons they're essential

The vast majority of startups provide laptops to their employees and 20% even provide allowances for other home-office equipment. Laptops are a crucial tool for software developers so it makes sense that a company would provide them for free. Their work simply would not get done without a laptop.

Nearly two-thirds of startups have less than $25,000 of cash flow during the initial startup phase. However, they must put money aside to provide equipment for their staff members. Providing employees with the right tools for the job is essential to the long-term success of a business.

With 4.7 million people working remotely, having your own laptop for work has become more important than ever. The only time a startup is not likely to provide laptops to its staff is if you are one of the founding employees or know the founders on a personal level. If you are starting a business it is unlikely you’ll buy a new laptop without the business bringing in revenue.

Let’s explore why startups provide employees with laptops and look at the reasons why it's essential to success.

Do most startups provide laptops?

Top down view of people sat at a round table with laptops

The vast majority of startups provide laptops to their employees as a standard part of the onboarding process. Having your own laptop is a crucial part of working at any startup or in an office environment. You simply won’t be able to perform your duties properly if a business doesn’t offer a laptop.

Only new startups who have only hired one or two people outside of the founders would even consider not offering a laptop. Some brand new companies have no cash flow and usually offer shares or ownership in the business to attract people they know into the company. Typically, these early positions are filled by friends and acquaintances who buy into the business vision, rather than random people looking for a new job.

If a business refuses to supply you with the tools you need to complete your work, it should serve as a warning sign. Ideally, they should be sending you a laptop, keyword, monitor, money and anything else that enables you to work. It also lets them know you have the equipment to produce good work.

Most startups and other companies provide laptops alongside a range of other office equipment. It has become commonplace for companies to offer a yearly stipend to allow you to purchase new equipment for a home office.


If you join a company as a contractor for a fixed period you may be expected to bring your own equipment. Most companies have it written into short-term contracts that they don’t need to provide extra training or equipment for short-term workers.


All companies write in their contract that you have to return your laptop when you leave the company. It would be too expensive to give everyone a brand new MacBook Pro only to not ask for them back. However, the furniture you purchase with your yearly allowance can sometimes be kept. Returning them can cost the business more than letting you keep them.

Why do startups provide laptops?

There are plenty of reasons why startups provide laptops to their employees. Having your computers makes completing your work more manageable, and you become more productive because you get used to your own setup. Productivity also improves because you can install add-ons and apps that help you boost efficiency.

However, the main reasons why startups provide laptops are:

For Productivity

Employees simply can’t be productive if they don’t have their own laptops. Startups need their workers to be especially productive because they are working on a shoestring budget. Software developers don’t need high-performance computers to do a good job but being familiar with a machine in getting things set up the way they like drastically improves productivity.

For control

Allowing people to use their own devices at work can open the company up to a variety of issues. People use out-of-date software that hasn’t been patched by updates and can install anything they want.

Providing laptops to employees allows startups to have a greater degree of control over their worker's devices. It also means they can implement group security policies and ensure a base level of protection for each computer.

For quality

By providing laptops and other accessories, a company guarantees their employees at least have their most basic needs met. It enables companies to ensure a baseline level of quality can be provided by their staff because they have the tools to get the job done. A slow computer can really break your rhythm as a developer and trying to fix random computer issues can easily. eat up hours of time.

For privacy

If you require your staff to use their own laptops it is impossible to guarantee privacy. They will end up mixing private and personal usage of the device which can lead to privacy concerns. If the employee wants to view information on their computers, they might worry that the employer will be able to access their financial, health, or other personal records.

Should a startup provide a laptop?

If your daily work revolves around using a computer then a startup should be providing you with a laptop. In a tech-focused job, it isn’t acceptable to make employees bring in their own laptops to work. The only exception to this is if you are a contractor working on a short-term basis at a business. Or if the business is incredibly new and you are either a founder or someone who knows them personally.

It should raise some red flags if you interview at a startup and they don’t provide a laptop. Even companies that don’t have a lot of cash, will always offer a laptop for software engineers. It is nearly impossible to code without a laptop, so if they don’t give you one, no work will get done.