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Peace of Mind

Why Shops Invest in Extended Service Contracts

Part 3 of 4

By Thomas Franklin

After investing a sizeable amount on a wide or grand format printer, business owners may not be eager to keep the checkbook open when talk turns to warranties. Yet, many opt for some level of extended warranty when they purchase a printer. In the end, it all boils down to one simple phrase, peace of mind. When youíre running a large print business that has enjoyed five straight years of robust growth, running three wide format solvent machines and a UV flatbed, peace of mind is at a premium.

Itís not surprising that Dave Merrick, founder, BIGraphics, Inc., based in Nashua, NH, purchased extended warranties for his three HP Designjet 9000s and ColorSpan DisplayMaker 72UVR. The firm specializes in trade show, retail POP, and vehicle graphics. The decision to insure its productivity workhorses is one Merrick does not regret.

"The reason I bought the warranty for the HP printers is the simple fact that theyíre solvent," he says. "Solvent is very tough on printers." A previous solvent printer suffered several breakdowns and Merrick resolved when purchasing his HP printers not to fall victim to any future malfunctions. "Looking at the HPs, I was apprehensive," he admits.

Fortunately, he says, he has not called in for added service on the Designjets although he says for peace of mind alone the added warranty protection is worth it. "The warranties were reasonably priced and HP worked hard to sell them," says Merrick. He purchased them early in order to enjoy a discount on HPís extended service plan.

Merrick also purchased extended warranty protection on his ColorSpan DisplayMaker 72UVR and, again, is glad he did so. Unlike the three HP Designjets, which translates to adequate back up should one go offline, Merrickís firm has no back up for the ColorSpan and its flatbed applications. If it goes down, business will grind to a halt. And, indeed, he has called on the services afforded by his extended warranty to ensure the ColorSpan stayed up and running. "It was definitely worth it," he admits.

Under a year ago, Merrick added an Acuity HD 2504 UV flatbed printer from FUJIFILM Graphic Systems U.S.A., Inc. to BIGraphicís 9,000 square foot shop. That printer is still covered by the manufacturerís one-year warranty and Merrick is evaluating whether to extend the warranty protection.

"Iím definitely going to consider it," he says. Much of that decision will hinge on how the printer performs over the life of its standard warranty, he notes. Merrick believes the question any print shop owner should ask when debating whether to further insure their printer is, "Do I think itís reliable enough that Iím willing to take the risk to maintain it myself and put myself on a time and materials basis?"

When shopping for a wide and grand format printer, "support does matter," confesses Merrick. "Itís key, but I would only consider a product in the first place if it has good service readily available."

Next week, learn about another end userís reasons for implementing an extended service warranty.

May2008, Digital Output

Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, Protecting Your Investment.
Click here to read Part 2 of this exclusive online series, The Price of Protection.


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