Do you really need a formal written “Maintenance Contract” after all?

It seems that one of the main things stopping home technologists from selling service is the fact that they do not have a formal maintenance contract that they can present to their clients.

However, the simple fact is that you may NEVER get a maintenance contract for your job as a home technologist. There are three reasons for this…

First Reason: The systems you install rely on way too many third-party products and services to work: From counting on internet and cable TV signals, to relying on manufacturers to produce compatible components, to software updates you can only hope won't mess up all your careful work. This maintenance contract you envision would look nothing like a plumber's. He only has to rely on the water company to get water to the house. Then he simply shows up once a year to replace the seal taps.

Second Reason: As soon you put the word “contract” on a document outlining your service policies, you'd better be ready to hire a lawyer as this document now has legal value. You really, and I mean really, must be ready to deliver on everything you put in this document. So here you are, in front of your $400 an hour lawyer trying to explain (or complain?) about your everyday job. Good luck! For real, you'd be better off talking to a psychologist, confessing about how you ended up in this position, giving away service labor for free!

Third Reason: No one seems able to describe the job of a home technologist, or whatever we're calling it these days. “Custom Installer”, “TV Guy”, “Brave Handyman (who works for free)”, or any other title you like. Our job has never had a solid identity in the eyes of consumers and end-users. So, explaining what we do in a formal contract is very difficult.

Can you imagine how many pages it would take in your maintenance contract just to explain your job, and all the special reasons why you're not responsible when something breaks? Because if you want to get paid for something that you're not responsible for, you better describe it clearly, read the EULA of all the gear you install and be aware when these terms change. This is serious business, and only companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple have the power to do this. (See what I mean? Here is the real danger for you).

For example, let's just list some of the different cases when something breaks, and you are not responsible…

  • ISP modem needs reboot, internet is not working -> You're not responsible
  • TV cable box locks up -> Clearly, it's not your business
  • Electrician did sloppy work with the Cat5 cables and connections -> Don't care
  • Sonos releases a new firmware, breaks everything -> Tell your client to yell at Sonos
  • Neighbor installs a new WiFI AP and jams everything up -> Go kick his ass!
  • Network guy did a terrible job, making the AV system unstable -> Sabotage! You're not responsible
  • Etc, etc, etc
There are hundreds of cases you face every day where something breaks and it's simply not your responsibility. To sit around a table and try to describe this in detail to a client would take months. Even if you succeeded in making them understand, it wouldn't matter! You may not be responsible, but in the eyes of the client it's your system that isn't working, and you're the only one smart enough to fix it anyways, so who else would he call? Why on earth would we need contract if it's full of nothing but rubbish? A true maintenance contract in our industry is pipe dream. It will cost thousands to develop, will make no one happy, and in the end you won't want to show it to your customer anyways. This is why 99% of the home technologists who have tried to develop a contract surrender after two hours and say to themselves, “OK fine, I'll continue to do it as I'm doing it now… for free. And if I'm brave enough, I'll ask for money the next time.” Here is Your Solution: Don't worry, there is a simple solution to this problem. From now on, every quotation you do will have this at the bottom: -> Service & Maintenance for one year: $XXXX (3 to 10% of the total amount of the quotation) End of the story. Just one line, one price, and it's not an option. It's mandatory or you won't accept the job. What's beautiful about this method is that you don't have to change anything. You'll still run to your client's venue every time there is a problem, but no longer for free. You'll lose less money right away, and eventually your service might even be profitable! Got it? Sometimes the simplest things are the best. What do you think? Just give a try! You have to start somewhere, and I bet you'll be surprised how many clients accept it with no questions asked. After all, we are talking about the same clients that already have a service and maintenance contract on the swimming pool, the air conditioner, their car, the alarm system, and an Applecare plan for their phone. Go on! Or you'll never know. PS: Do not forget to add a line for a Krika remote supervision device as it is now mandatory in your new business model :-) More infos about Krika :