What is a Performance Guarantee / Service Contract? In its simplest form, a service contract acts like a warranty package for the generator.
Simply put, there are two basic schools of thought when it comes to generator service and maintenance:
- Pay as you go - Service guarantees: For this customer, we offer simple maintenance and repairs that come only with a one year guarantee that our work will be done with excellence. However, generators are not infallible and, when they have an issue unrelated to our work, it would then be the responsibility of the customer to pay for repairs.
- Performance guarantee that warrantees that the generator will actually run: In addition to our service guarantee, we offer these customers greater peace of mind with three levels of service contract choices. This way, especially with our 'gold' level service contract, when the generator needs repair, the repair is covered as if the generator was still under warranty. So if this customer's generator has a problem and fails to run during an outage, they needn't be concerned with the cost of an expensive emergency repair - even at midnight on New Year's - they are covered by their service contract.
Either type of service has limitations and exclusions, with either guarantee only covering problems that are known to be our responsibility. Obvious issues like vandalism, tampering, false alarms, theft, etc. are not covered by any of our warranties/contracts, of course. Also, when there is doubt as to which party is responsible for a problem, the cost for a diagnostic visit must be approved in advance. If it turns out that the mistake was ours, there would be no charge for the diagnostic and repair. However, if the problem was not related to our work, the diagnostic and on site repairs would then be billable. Some common examples that should be checked before calling us out (may save you time and money):.
- The generator came on and will not turn off. Cause: the utility power is out and the generator was just doing its job. :-)
- Cranky neighbors vandalize or disable the generator.
- Often, an electrician, handyman, PG&E or someone else will simply turn off a generator for safety during a project, not tell anyone and forget to turn it back on when their work is done.
- Natural gas is turned off for a project, the line opened and, when done, the line is not purged or a valve is left closed. Without fuel, the generator would then fail to start.
- Battery charger power lost because a circuit breaker or GFCI external to the generator trips, causing the battery to eventually drain and die.
- It is a strange feeling when you open a generator enclosure and see all the copper has been 'liberated'...
Many have asked why we promote our pay-as-you-go service primarily. The reasons we do this are numerous:
- We maintain lower pricing than our competition. Offering service plus a full generator warranty invariably adds expense, often making our offering appear more expensive and possibly even cause misunderstandings.
- Our service contracts come with a real guarantee backed by the most conscientious company in the Bay Area. When comparing our offerings to many of our competitors, it is important to note that a guarantee is only as good as the company backing it as well as the penalty for their failing to perform. Please see our blurb here for more information about how our emergency availability warranty is superior.
- We only offer warranties to generators that are properly maintained. So many of our customers will, each year, decline maintenance, repairs and/or upgrades that are critical to the generator's longevity, effectively prohibiting us from providing them with a service contract option. These issues range from refreshing paint (to prevent exterior damage) to changing coolant (to prevent internal damage), etc.
- Most have not seen our purchasing advice before they purchase their generator. Often, the only metric used to choose the generator is simply its delivered price. Whether the generator was well designed and built greatly affects its reliability. As we look at expected reliability when we set service contract pricing, service contracts for low quality generators cannot be offered at the same price as high quality, reliable generators. The higher prices, in turn, often motivate customers to take their chances with a pay-as-you-go service rather than purchasing a service contract.
- Generators become less reliable as they get older. Near the ocean and in humid locations, problems often start after just a few years. Again, warranties for older generators cost more than warranties for newer generators. Keep in mind that we specialize in older generators - some of our customers have generators well over 50 years old.
- We are not life insurance salesman. We do not hard-sell anything - ever. Even if we're convinced this or that is the absolute wisest thing for a certain situation, we allow our customers to make their own decisions and most people (not all) will not purchase any warranty without a hard sell. When was the last time you offered to buy an extended warranty without being asked -or- went out looking for life insurance? The average person, whether or not they admit it, believes they are lucky. In our area, the fact that someone can afford a generator at all sort of lends to that belief. However, their generators usually don't get that memo. So when this otherwise lucky person believes that their generator will work forever, despite all odds, who then wants to be the one to go to this person and tell them their luck has to run out sometime?
Still, because these questions come up, we have published details of our service contract offerings below. All contract levels include regularly repeating maintenance (as detailed in the custom proposal we provide with each) with annual maintenance being the minimum. Also included is our two hour response time guarantee 24/7/365 for any emergency (i.e. generator offline) as well as discounts (as noted below) on any additional repairs that may be required during the contract period. Again, these prices are quoted only by request.
- Bronze:Includes a 20% discount on any additional labor required.
- Silver:Includes 100% labor costs, with an annual cap of 25% of the retail price of a new equivalent generator.
- Gold: Includes 100% labor costs and 100% parts costs with an annual cap of 50% of the retail price of a new equivalent generator. Also includes battery, belt, hose and coolant replacements as needed after 3rd contract year.
Note to Service Contract customers: If we determine that a part on your generator is not reliable, we reserve the right to modify or otherwise upgrade that part (i.e., should the OEM controller fail repeatedly, we may require an upgrade to an aftermarket controller). If not approved, we reserve the right to cancel the contract or otherwise revisit the service contract pricing.