How to choose a service provider

by Jennifer Daugherty, Public Relations Coordinator, The Remi Group | July 26, 2013
From the July 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The maintenance and repair of expensive equipment is a sensitive topic. As most health care facilities begin to tighten their budget belts one more notch, many administrators are postponing facility expansions projects and delaying the purchase of any new equipment. Keeping the current equipment up and running is now more critical than ever. There are a multitude of service providers and service plans to choose from and it can be a daunting task just trying to determine which service organization will provide the best quality service at the best possible price. However, selecting the right service provider is imperative to your business and your bottom line.

When choosing a service provider, the trick is to treat each candidate like they are applying for a job at your organization, which essentially they are since the service provider works for you just not in the conventional sense. Before the interview, check out the service provider’s online reputation; look for a functioning website, blog, Facebook or LinkedIn page, or Twitter account. Are they BBB Certified, have a BBB Rating, or any complaints on file? It’s also important to conduct a face-to-face interview for two reasons. First, it’s nice to put a face to a name and you can see firsthand how they carry themselves. Second, it lets the service provider know that you are serious about who you hire to repair and maintain your equipment.

Use the following checklist as your guideline during the interview process:

  • Is the service provider a Minority/Woman Business Enterprise (M/WBE) or a Historically Underutilized Business (HUD)? Quite often M/WBEs and HUDs are overlooked because they are small businesses without big advertising budgets. However, many of these owners are ex-manufacturer technicians who decided to start their own business. It’s worth giving them a look because their rates will be competitive.

  • What types of equipment does the service provider repair? Get all of the makes and models in writing. It’s important to get this list upfront so there is no confusion or delay when a service call is placed.

  • Are they a manufacturer authorized service center? What is the typical parts mark-up from the manufacturer’s prices?

  • Do they provide: equipment repairs, repair parts, consumable supplies, on-site service, depot service, etc.?

  • If the service provider supplies repair parts, are they new or refurbished? Either can be used at the service providers’ discretion.

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