All business contracts are important because they serve as a formal record of the commitments made by both parties. Maintenance contracts, however, are particularly significant because they can offer solid business benefits including financial savings, quality assurance, and peace of mind.
Indeed, maintenance is vital to the smooth running of any business that operates machinery. Good preventative maintenance will cut running costs and reduce the likelihood of potentially expensive breakdowns. It can also extend the lifetime of your equipment and provide peace of mind that you are doing everything you can to keep your process running and downtime at a minimum.
Maintenance agreements help reduce an organisation’s legal liability. And handing the responsibility for maintenance to an expert third party can help to cut inventory costs because it negates the requirement to hold tools and spare parts.
But beware. Not all maintenance contracts are equal – it pays to be selective when it comes to choosing the right one for you.
Choosing the right maintenance contract
Essentially, there are four maintenance contract options – an in-house service and maintenance team, OEM (original equipment manufacturer) specialists, a third-party maintenance provider, or a blend of these.
The outlay for employing an in-house maintenance team can be high when considering staffing and training costs and the expense involved in managing inventory. Engaging an OEM specialist does not necessarily allow you the best opportunity to capitalise quickly on the latest innovative products.
Typically, the third option – a contracting a third-party to perform maintenance tasks as and when necessary – offers the best value for money because expert technicians can offer the best in terms of preventive maintenance and, should there be any equipment problems, they can ensure they are fixed efficiently the first time every time.
Maintenance or repair contract?
A maintenance contract is an agreement between the customer and service provider which outlines the tasks, schedules, and service frequency intervals. This differs from a repair contracts, where maintenance providers offer what seems like a good deal where they will complete repairs under a certain value (say £1,000) within the monthly retainer.
The reality is, however, that small jobs tend not to get done, or they get over-inflated, so the client pays for them. On top of this, the cost of ‘off-plan’ call outs can be prohibitively high if equipment is not properly maintained.
Having said that, repair/refurbishment does offer the opportunity to upgrade the existing system to boost performance and reliability. The resulting increase in efficiency can head in lower operational costs and reduce the likelihood of breakdown.
And refurbishment (and therefore reuse) is almost always more environmentally friendly than renewal and is consequently good for the ‘green’ reputation of those who undertake it.
Besides, breakdowns are sometimes unavoidable, so a well thought out combined maintenance and repair contract with a trusted third party is the best option. This applies particularly to heat pumps and chillers, whose reliable operation is critical to the health and wellbeing – as well as the productivity – of building occupants.
LH is often asked to investigate chillers that have either failed or are operating unreliably or inefficiently. The company offers a world-leading chiller refurbishment and repair service designed to extend the lifespan of existing chillers, increase their operating efficiency, save energy, boost performance, and typically reduce running costs.
But LH also goes further, providing a comprehensive range of services that support chiller maintenance, including fault finding, commissioning & decommissioning, and specialist maintenance. It does so by employing cutting-edge technology to diagnose faults, including sophisticated infrared thermal imaging cameras which help identify and quantify heat sources. Our team of experienced and qualified service engineers are trained and capable of servicing all makes of chillers from leading manufacturers.
Contact us to see how LH can help with your HVAC maintenance needs.