Obviously, in deciding what contracts to take on and how much to charge, it's very helpful to know what products are reliable and what products aren't. According to Yarborough, "We know what's likely to break."
The company maintains a master equipment list that lays out the maintenance history of all the products the company has serviced. Before taking on a contract, ComputerPlus gets an inventory of what the prospetive client uses, and them matches it up against that master list. That helps it determine whether to take on the client, and to set a price that keeps the customer happy and still delivers a profit. Just as important, the list indicates what particular parts are most prone to failure, so ComputerPlus technicians can stock the replacement parts most likely to be needed, reducing inventory costs and speeding response times.
"Servers have gotten much more reliable," Yarborough says, and desktops also have a much longer life. While Intel and others say that PCs should be replaced every 3 years, Yarborough says many SMBs are extending PC lifespans from 3 years to 5 or 6 years. "It's both because they can," he says, "and because they don't want to spend the money on new ones."
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Interestingly, printer reliability "depends on the make. We know within a year what our pricing will be," Yarborough says.
I tried to get Yarborough to spill the beans on which machines are most and least reliable, but unfortunately, he's not saying. Still, there is a way to get at the information. Try contacting your local support provider and get a quote on maintaining a particlar line of hardware. Then ask for a quote on a different line. Most likely, the equipment with the cheaper support costs is more reliable.
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