For many companies, we get caught up in the cost of a UPS system purchase and installation. However, the real cost for most UPS systems happens after the unit is installed. We’ve covered the lifecycle of a UPS before, but it is worth repeating. The main driving factors in the cost of a UPS system include the efficiency of the unit, battery replacements and the ongoing cost of maintenance agreements.
Typically, a brand new UPS purchased through an OEM will come with a one year warranty, some may offer up to three. The downside to this though is that a normal manufacturer warranty will not cover any inspections, which leaves you open to potential load drops and unplanned downtime.
Like many contracts though, it’s the details of your maintenance agreement that really matter. Once your warranty expires, the key to getting the most out of your UPS is having a rock solid maintenance agreement.
What is a Maintenance Agreement?
UPS Maintenance is key to ensuring that your equipment will support you properly when it is called upon. While there is no guarantee that you’ll never experience a failure even under a maintenance plan, it can go a long way to keeping your business online and running.
A full maintenance agreement covers most items that might go wrong on your UPS system. It’s like an insurance policy for your business. A good agreement should cover the following:
- 7 x 24 Emergency Service
- Annual PM inspections (typically twice annually)
- Timely Field Service Reports
- Coverage for labor and parts in the event of an emergency
- System Updates
- Excellent Customer Service
These agreements can be your lifeline to keeping your business running. They provide you with an emergency contact with the ability to contact them and request emergency service 24/7. Plus, a solid agreement will give you peace of mind by ensuring that you stay on track for routine maintenance, repairs and service appointments. All of this should be scheduled out in advance with reminders sent to you for scheduled services and repairs.
Most importantly, a typical service agreement gives you priority over non-contract customers. There’s no waiting to see when a technician can be scheduled to come out. With 24/7 emergency service, a good maintenance agreement will help you avoid long waits and increased cost for emergency dispatch, parts and possibly replacement.
What Should Your Maintenance Agreement Cover?
Not all preventative maintenance agreements are created equal though. A comprehensive UPS preventative maintenance agreement is all about protecting your business . A good UPS service provider will help you budget and plan for capacitors, fans, batteries and UPS system replacements. A customer should never have to call and keep track of this information on their own. These contract items should be scheduled in advance as part of a proactive approach.
For example, UPS batteries only last 3-5 years under ideal conditions. While most maintenance agreements do not cover replacement of batteries or proactive services, your maintenance agreement should have this information stored and scheduled, delivering you a quote for a new batteries about 18 months before your current batteries end-of-life is reached so that you’re not surprised.
Also, while your original warranty may state that the OEM will cover replacement parts, the details can vary. A good preventative maintenance agreement takes any guesswork out of the equation and will provide any parts needed for repairs.
What Not to Have in Your Maintenance Agreement
There are also items that you should avoid having in your maintenance service contract. Some service organizations will put limits on emergency repairs or replacement parts, putting your business unnecessarily at risk.
Common pitfalls of some agreements include fine print that states all emergency repairs are billed at a specified rate or that certain items are not covered. A good maintenance agreement won’t charge you for the time and cost of emergency repairs.
Also, make sure to ask if your service contract provider has replacement equipment and parts on hand. Nothing can be more costly to your bottom line than having to wait six weeks for a replacement UPS to come in.
A Service Agreement Could Save Your Job
Not having a preventative maintenance agreement puts your business at a lot of unnecessary risk. Without one, you are responsible for all time and materials to cover any repairs. You could be waiting up to two weeks for a field technician to come out.
During this time, the cost of downtime could be astronomical. In that case, it’s not even about the cost of the dispatch anymore. It’s about the money lost while your business is crippled.