Before You Go . . .
The flip side to not having a service contract is paying for service on a case-by-case basis. Brooks has had the good fortune to make precious few calls to the manufacturer, another good thing, since travel time runs in excess of $100 per hour. If a manufacturer needs to trek 21⁄2 hours one way, for example, Brooks is out $500 before the tech rep even looks under the hood.
Parts can also be crippling and unreasonable for those who have limited contracts or no contract at all. Brooks has been charged $100 for screws. Specialty screws, to be sure—screws, nonetheless. There's a metaphor in there somewhere if something big breaks down on one of the units.
Can't Be Justified
Brooks hopes that the day will come where he can justify a service contract. But 10 percent and 12 percent of cost cannot be justified. "This is doing nothing but making these companies richer," he says. "The costs don't improve the quality of the machine or the reliability. It doesn't provide any value-added service for us. It just adds more of a burden for the smaller printer, and I've chosen not to go that route."
He shouldn't need to hold his breath.