rhino_logo_blogD-Tools Partner Keith Smith, RCDD from RHINO Professional Labeling Tools offers this article on warranties and when to offer them.

Warranties – “Is there a value and what will it cost me [or pay me]?”

I find it interesting that the Security and Pro AV channels haven’t caught on to the marketing advantages of installation warranties.  Warranties you ask? Yes, I said warranties.

Most of your customers are very uncomfortable with what lies within the wall, behind the panels, etc.  There’s no way that your customers would mess around with all of those wires & connectors in the more sophisticated systems.  They don’t want to take that chance.

So where lies the advantage?  Well, let me ask you something … when’s the last time one of your wire/cable installations went bad by itself?  Doesn’t it need help to go bad?  Let’s assume that you’ve done your traditional wire pulling, connector terminating and [hopefully] connectivity testing.  If everything checks out OK, there’s simply no reason for it to fail from this point forward.  Unless the customer nails your wire [literally] with a hammer, etc.  Everything behind the wall will continue to function.

So what I’m saying is actually pretty basic … why not offer your customer a simple, extended warranty that covers your installation from connector to connector.  Doesn’t necessarily have to cover the electronics … that is often a manufacturer deal.  But that’s your call.  Now, how do we capitalize on this warranty?

Whether you decide to charge by the month, by the year or by the job … it depends upon your specific industry and what’s the norm.  All I’m saying is that you’ve stumbled upon a weak spot in the world of the user.  They don’t know, don’t understand the logistics of structured cabling.  If you do it right, there’s no reason not to stand behind your work.  So get paid for it.

One more thing, in the commercial datacom segment of structured cabling, manufacturers have discovered the same thing.  They extend the warranty on the entire system, based upon the following:

Ø  The installer is trained & certified to do it right

a.      They use the right components [specific wire & connectivity brands]

b.      Cable handling and installation techniques

c.      Testing of every wire pull, along with submittals that verify each link

Based upon those requirements, installers can offer 10, 15, 25 year and lifetime warranties on the entire cabling system.  That’s a pretty cool thing to advertise.  What do you think?

I don’t know … How do you Sign Your Work?

Keith I Smith, RCDD
National Accounts Manager
[Security and Pro A/V channels]
RHINO Professional Labelers