contract maintenance agreementIf you run an office, school, lab or any other establishment that requires a sizable number of servers, computers and printers, you might be wondering about the best way to keep your equipment up and running.

The two main approaches are to sign a contract maintenance agreement with a provider who will routinely service your machinery or to simply call in a time and material provider for repairs as necessary. Below we’ll break down the pros and cons of contract maintenance agreements to give you a better idea of whether that system might work for you.

You and the Service Provider Are on the Same Page
One thing a contract does very well is lay everything out. That means costs and time frames for projects are usually very clear, and you’re not stuck with a bill you didn’t expect or waiting for weeks for a repair when you thought the turnaround time would be a few days.

Routine Computer Server Maintenance Helps Prevent Costly Damage or Surprises
When you work on tight schedules or provide services to a large number of people, unexpected breakdowns can end up being a real headache. A contract maintenance agreement can do a lot to help prevent these by addressing issues before they become major problems. Plus, regular maintenance of servers and other IT infrastructure can help keep you up and running all year roun because no one part ever wears out to the point that it can compromise the system.

You Form a Working Relationship
Of course, you can also form a working relationship with time and material providers, but they are less likely to come when you need them and more likely to go where the money is. That makes it harder to develop the kind of connection that results in truly great service.

You May Spend Unnecessary Money
The truth is, any time you pay for ongoing maintenance, it means you’re sometimes paying for your serviceperson to discover that absolutely nothing is wrong. However, what you’re really paying for in this case is peace of mind. Even if they don’t “do” anything when they come in to service your equipment, at least they’re ascertaining that you don’t need to do anything either, and that’s a service many are willing to pay for.

Maintenance Agreements May Make Change Hard
A hardware maintenance agreement does, after all, have the word “contract” in the title. This means that if the nature of your operations suddenly changes, it might be difficult to get the flexibility you need, and you may lose money. Many good providers, however, will try to work with you if this is the case.

Bottom Line
No one can tell you which approach will work better for you. It all depends on what you need. If you routinely experience problems that need addressing, a contract agreement makes a lot of sense. If not, you may be better off hiring someone on a case-by-case basis.

Interested in learning about cloud computing and what Great Lakes Computer can do for your business? Download Cloud Computing 101
Download Cloud Computing 101