Computer Maintenance: Agreement and Contract Tips
I have always ignored the idea of getting a computer maintenance agreement for my laptop because I use it for my personal usage for a couple of hours a day and do not store data that is of any commercial value. But, I do believe that a maintenance agreement is very vital if you use computers for business purpose as the data that is stored in the computer is important.
If you are a home business owner and have a couple of computers under you, or for that matter if you run a business that uses computers; then getting a computer maintenance agreement that covers all your computer and network repairs, labor, preventive maintenance and replacement parts from a reputed service center is utmost important. In this article, I will include some important agreement clauses that you must ensure are included in your contract.
At the onset, insist on an initial evaluation from the service center to ensure that all the components are in a good working state. This will be beneficial to both the parties as any issues that are found can be discussed and resolved so that there are no issues later as to who has to cover the costs. Further, it is always advisable to sign a 3 month contract initially wherein you can evaluate the performance of the services provided by the vendor. If you are satisfied with the performance, then you can sign a contract for a year or more. While signing an extended contract, ensure that you negotiate for further reduction in the charges.
Service providers also provide you with the option of buying hours instead of getting an annual contract. Under this kind of provision, if you purchase, for example 100 hours in a year, then you are entitled to 100 hours of service from the provider. This option works out cheaper and is recommended when you have a robust system set up at your organization. If required, you can purchase additional hours at a discounted rate if you have exhausted all the time that you had purchased earlier. With additional clause in your contract, you can even carry over the hours bought in one year to the next year.
Computer Maintenance Contract Clauses
Some of the important clauses that your contract must include are:
- All printers, servers and workstations must be covered in the contract
- The response time after a request for a service has been placed must be agreed upon. The usual response time is 4 hours
- The service provider should agree to provide detailed service requests reports quarterly
- A very important clause that you must be very firm on is that the service provider should provide non-contract services at a discounted rate
- All preventive maintenance activities should be carried out quarterly. This will in the long run ensure that the numbers of service requests are reduced
- The service provider should ensure that all scheduled back up processed are working. The criticality of your organization can decide the frequency with which they need to check on the processes
- You should have a confidentiality agreement wherein the service provider cannot disclose your network or any data related details to any third-party
- Ensure that the agreement covers all charges for spare parts, labor, travel and everything else that is covered in the agreement eliminating the probability of any hidden costs
- The service provider should agree to send technicians who have passed some bare minimum certifications as per the requirement of your organization
Some of the clauses that no vendor will agree to in a computer maintenance agreement are:
- Equipment upgrades and new installations
- Any problems caused by power surges are usually not covered
- Hardware malfunction due to liquid spills will not be covered
- Data corruption due to virus and hackers are not covered
- Support for software applications like Microsoft Office is not covered
Proactive Computer Maintenance Contract
A new concept in the computer maintenance area is a Proactive Maintenance Agreement which can also be defined as a preventive service. Under this kind of contract, you are guaranteed monthly scheduled visits as per the number of hours that you specify in the contract. Some of the additional features that are covered in this type of contract are:
- Monitor free disk space
- Manage printers
- Monitor error logs
- Manage directory structure
- Maintain all directory and file permissions
I hope that the tips for computer maintenance contract and agreements mentioned above will be beneficial to you when you approach a service provider for the same. Just search for sample computer service agreements or contracts and you will come across templates online. You can design a similar template if you are a vendor. However if you are a buyer, just read through these templates so that you get a fair idea of how a contract is going to be, and make a list of questions you are going to ask the vendor. Good luck!