In today's connected world, people are increasingly choosing to make their homes more intelligent - home cinemas, distributed audio such as Linn or Sonos, control systems of all shapes and sizes, CCTV and security, automated lighting and blinds; the list goes on. But what happens when things start to go wrong? Who do you speak to for help and how do you avoid costly charges?
Fortunately, service contracts are becoming more prevalent in the AV industry and provide you, as an end-user, with peace of mind that your system will be taken care of by trusted professionals. However, there is more than one option out there, and not all companies will have this information readily available, but we're here to give you the rundown of the type of service contracts you might come across and their pros and cons.
A contract with Packaged Hours means that you have an allowance of hours for a period of time, usually 12 months, that you pay a monthly / quarterly / annual fee for. You then have no further costs to pay unless you require more than your allowance of hours or for equipment repairs or replacements outside of warranty.
Higher monthly / quarterly / annual payments
More expensive if you need less hours than your allowance
Hours used over and above your allowance usually revert to standard call out rate
Discounted labour packages are a very basic contract which, for a small monthly / quarterly / annual fee, means that you receive a preferential rate for any call outs, usually supplemented with telephone assistance.
You only pay for the hours that you need
More expensive than a Packaged Hours contract if you have frequent or long-running issues
Remote Monitoring packages utilise dedicated hardware that allow your chosen AV company to monitor your system from their offices. Remote monitoring solutions will notify your AV company when there are any changes, such as devices going offline or being added to the network, and if remote access is also available, they can usually make changes and cause reboots without arranging an engineer visit.
Fewer engineer visits resulting in fewer charges
Proactive method - issues can often be resolved before you are aware of them
Your incoming internet speed and internal Wi-Fi network are also monitored for issues
Additional hardware cost for remote power switching
Different clients and different systems may be better suited to different package types. If you are interested in taking on a service contract, it's usually best to contact the AV company who originally designed and installed your system first, as they will have the best knowledge of what is in place, but don't be afraid to shop around - your original AV company should have provided you with all the documentation that another AV company may require to provide you with a suitable service contract.
In addition to the basic offerings above, service contracts will often include additional benefits, and we include a list and description below for you to look out for. If they don't seem to be included in the offering of your preferred AV company, why not ask? Many companies will explore the possibility of a more bespoke package.
A % discount on new equipment purchases. Usually these will only apply to the contracted property, and may not include all manufacturers.
Preventative Maintenance Visits
These are annual / bi-annual / quarterly visits to clean your system and perform a list of checks. This helps to prevent future issues and extend the life of your hardware.
As a service contract client, your visits will be prioritised over other call outs.
These are guaranteed response times for engineer attendance at your property, usually varying between levels of service contract, such as 48 hours at Level 1, 24 hours at Level 2, or 4 hours at Level 3.
At Philharmonic AV, we offer a combination of Remote Monitoring and Assistance with Discounted Labour, along with other benefits. We are also happy to tailor a bespoke package for you and your system, including packaged hours if that is required. If you would like to know more about our packages, why not get in touch on 0207 887 2424?