How Do Your Maintenance Plans Look Like?

How do your maintenance plans look like?

We provide one year warranty on labor. But we have been asked recently for a maintenance plan. What is your pricing, and what does it include? Is it just troubleshooting/training or does it include changes/moves? Does it have an SLA?


That is a complicated subject. Here are some of the common questions that spring to mind every time this comes up at my office:

Who is handling spares?

Are you required to have a stock of spares on hand? If so, is that spares pool pre-paid or billable as it is used?

If a spare is used from the pool, who is paying for replenishment?

What kind of response time does the client expect?

Do they expect 24/7 service calls? (follow up with response time again)

Are holidays included?

Do they want monthly / quarterly / annual preventive maintenance checks?

Is the site able to provide internet access for remote support?

Is there any back end cost to you from your manufacturer/ supplier for extended warranty or licenses that needs to be included?

Mr. Napier's list includes some very valid questions, almost all of which are negotiated between you and the customer. You really should ask them what they are looking for, and what they are willing to pay; then understand you will likely write more than one revision.

Our starting point(s) are: (but open for negotiation)

1. We provide the pools of parts (loaners) but I often see this in original bids (owners buy spares).

2. We provide 24/7 service, but they pay for it; typically 4 hour emergency, next business day and non-emergency (usually 72 calendar hour response). Anything after normal working hours is time and 1/2, and must have prior approval of the owner.

3. Yes Holidays are included. Crime does not take a holiday.

4. Monthly, quarterly, annual can be determined by the type of equipment, but is also up for negotiation. Maintenance checks are typically annual.

5. For back end cost from the manufacturer, none that I am a aware of, but in all fairness, if we offer extended warranties, and we do, we don't bother asking the manufacturer. It is not his concern. We run our business, they run theirs.

6. If we write SLA's or Maintenance Contracts, we already know and take into account not only remote access, but physical access after hours. (Some of our customers put the equipment in the vault and it is time-locked after hours.)

7. Physical access to the sites: Again some of our customers have sites on Military bases. You need prior approval or a standing authorization for access to the base. You have to account for that, and so does the customer. Most are reasonable about it.

8. If a customer asks for a MC, we typically offer a percentage off of replacement parts after the warranty period.

Maintenance Contracts are generally not the windfall for either party that they used to be. I read a short piece on MC's recently and less than half of all businesses now have MC's on anything, and my guess is that the majority of those are on copiers. ;)

I spoke with some other integrators about their service and maintenance plans.

From what I've seen, I don't think there is a "standard" approach to this, each integrator has a slightly different tactic.

Some topics that were common to most plans:

  • Contract price is a percentage of system price, usually around 10-20% per year.
  • 24/7 availability was common, but lower priced plans were usually M-F/daylight hours only.
  • Response time is usually a selling point. Same-day is common with windows of 2-6 hours.

Changes/moves were not mentioned as covered, the plans were generally based around keeping a system running as-installed.