When a lot of people shop around for an imaging equipment service contract they focus a great deal of attention on the price; an undue amount of attention, in fact. Don’t get us wrong, pricing is a very important aspect of a service purchase, but there’s much more to consider.
Buying a service contract on price alone is like diving into a swimming pool simply because it’s full and not stopping to make sure that the contents are actually water. Before you leap head first into a hole in the ground filled with grape jelly, consider asking your service dealer the following:
What does my service contract include?
Many full service contracts come with a few caveats. Be sure that you understand clearly what’s NOT included in your agreement. Glassware, after-hours coverage, and damages caused by environmental failures are among the most common exclusions.
Where is my engineer coming from?
When your system goes hard down it’s important to know whether or not your engineer needs to hop on a plane and fly across the country or if he can pop in while your techs are on their lunch break. Generally, the closer the engineer is to your facility, the sooner you can expect to be up and running again.
What is the availability of parts for my system?
Although some of your service calls might be resolved without any need for parts, many times this isn’t the case. If parts are needed, it’s imperative that your service provider have access to them through either their own inventory or through a network of parts vendors. A side note to this question: ask your provider if they offer next-day shipping on replacement parts. The ability to get parts overnight is key to keeping optimal uptime.
What are my cancellation terms?
Don’t get trapped in a contract you aren’t confident in. Some providers will hold a customer to a contract. Others will allow early cancellation, but will assess a fee. Still others, like Block Imaging, offer simple, fee-free cancellation with the proper advance notice.
What are my options for payment terms?
Most hospitals, clinics and imaging centers don’t have the funds to pay multiple years’ worth of service for their imaging equipment up front. Whether yearly, quarterly, or monthly works best for you, ask your prospective service provider what there flexibility is in this area.
The things above are every bit as important to know BEFORE you go signing any paperwork as getting a great price, perhaps even more important. Don’t compromise features that your equipment is certain to need simply to save a few bucks. Anything you save up front stands a good chance of being spent later on as problems crop up without coverage. On top of those costs, you can also count on the additional headaches and stress that come with fielding equipment failure. Don’t dive in until you know the water’s fine!
Far be it from us to be shamelessly self-promoting, but if this article has left you with any questions about OUR service program, we’d love to answer them!
Written by Simeon Lowe
Simeon Lowe is the Customer Service Manager at Block Imaging. He loves snowboarding, playing music, Godzilla movies, and the Detroit Lions. He also loves helping customers through their toughest equipment disasters with calmness and efficiency, so they can get back to serving the patients that rely on them.