Yep, this is a good question that confuses a lot of Home Technology Professionals. And it confuses them so much that it makes it very complicated to write down a “Maintenance” contract. Today we are going to explore this difference and see how we can easily charge it to end users.
Service is reactive: Your client calls because something is not working, and you roll the truck. This is service. Depending on your staff, you can give service only during business hours or 24/7. You can’t predict it, and you can’t charge a yearly flat rate because you will NEVER know how many times a year your clients will need you. This is one of the reasons Home Technology Pros are afraid to make a yearly flat rate based on a percentage of the price of the job: they can be trapped and lose money if they must come back over and over. And they are right; service should be charged at the hourly rate of your general terms and conditions, each time you roll the truck. Period, end of the story.
Maintenance is related to all schedulable tasks. The word “maintenance” means “maintain something working”. When you go on site for maintenance, everything is supposed to work, and you are just here to say hello, have a coffee with the client in a relaxed atmosphere, check and improve the system. It’s like the maintenance of a car, a plane, an elevator. You proceed to a yearly maintenance visit to check and change parts BEFORE they break. Normally, there is no way to get trapped during a maintenance visit. You can easily predict how long it will take you to check the system as well as how many times per year you should come. And if you need to come back to fix something, this is a chargeable service. From my point of view, you should come at least twice a year on any job for maintenance. As you can predict how many times and how long it will take, you can make a yearly flat rate based on your hourly rate. By the way, the price of the parts you will change during the maintenance are NOT included in the price.
Here is a list of all the tasks you can schedule during a maintenance visit:
– Full control of the system, gear and all functionalities in all rooms
– Cleaning and dusting of all appliances in cabinets, shelves and AV racks
– Replacing the projector filters, checking the lamp and changing if necessary
– Replacing all batteries of the remote controls
– Checking remote control/UPS rechargeable batteries and changing if necessary
– Modification and improvement of remote control programming
– Changing Wi-Fi passwords
– Changing hard disks for NAS servers or Video Recorders
– Audit of the aging and obsolescence of equipment and proposal to replace equipment that no longer complies with electronic and software security standards or that no longer meets your new requirements and needs
These types of topics are part of our on-going weekly webinars that are free to attend. We not only discuss how to present and sell maintenance and service, but we go into details like how to deal with warranties. We even provide our attendees with maintenance agreement documentation that is easy to customize. We’re really interested in assisting the CI channel in taking a long-term view of how to deal with clients and how to keep their systems up and running – and current. Send me an email at email@example.com for information pertaining to our next session of the Krikacademy.