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This weeks case, The case of no boiler maintenance

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RayWohlfarth
RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,519
In this weeks case, I was talking with the Facilities Director about a service agreement for his boilers. He scoffed and said, "Service agreements are a scam" Then he said, "Besides i have insurance." I was just curious what you would say to the customer. I will share my response on Friday. Have a great week
Ray
Ray Wohlfarth
Boiler Lessons

Comments

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,754
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    Your insurance may be void if the equipment isn't maintained, especially larger boilers and insurance won't shield you from criminal liability if someone gets killed or seriously injured as a result of your negligence.
    PC7060
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,655
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    I think I'd say "have a nice day" as I jetted outta there as fast as poor manners would allow. Not all customers need to be our customers. When you see big glowing neon letters like that, you just know that even if you sign him up, he's not going to pay.
    GGross
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,349
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  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,635
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    "don't forget to pay the insurance company every month"
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,113
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    Possibly the break and react service agreement processed and circumvents the standard service agreement . As for service agreement being a scam depending on the provider it’s a possibility it all depends on the weather the service guy is will to really going to do the maintenance and willing to work other wise he will just a look at and leave it alone . On the commercial end they’re always what is required yearly by the state inspection pressure vessel bureau, and the insurance company which I kinda believe you not can bypass without some price to pay sooner or later . It s funny that just about everybody's looking for the cheapest way out only to bite their nose down the line and spend even more on either maintenance or replacement but some are smarter than the rest to later find out they weren’t to smart . Personally I ve left the break and react customers and businesses in the rear view mirror I really have zero tolerance ,time ,breathe or a single brain cell to waste on them being they want the truth so you tell them and they chose to do nothing until it’s a emergency . Way funny stuff I m really glad I rarely waste my time these days I shuffle it to some one else .
    Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 915
    edited August 2023
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    Since you are from my area in Pennsylvania, I will address what my reaction and statements would have been before I retired in 2007. Now, I am addressing this as if the boilers were steam and not hot water. Periodic boiler inspections, both internal and external, are required by both the state and liability insurance carrier for this facility. We could do this for you which would release your employees from doing work that they are probably not used to doing. This is a dry inspection requiring the boiler to be drained, all man-ways and hand holes opened, all water line controls disassembled and cleaned, all the piping holding these controls cleaned and inspected and all water sides cleaned and flushed. Also, at this point we could inspect the condition of the whole boiler, and the waterline controls and recommend any action that should be taken to facilitate any repair.

    Next, I would explain to him that a maintenance contract would keep his boilers operating at their peak efficiency controlling the cost of operation. We would advise him in writing of any upcoming or necessary repairs that we see during our inspection. Also, a maintenance contract could split the liability in case of a boiler accident if we are found to be at fault or partially at fault. ( I say this because in 1978 just me being in the boiler room in a building in New Castle where there was a boiler explosion, that I had nothing to do with, my employer was found to be 90% liable for that accident).

    Lastly, A safe running boiler could prevent an accident that would be very costly to the health and safety of you, your employees, and any other person that could be affected by that accident.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,519
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    Thanks everyone. What I did was ask the customer to see his policy. He showed me the insurance policy and I flipped through to what the insurance company didnt cover. When I read the list of things they do not cover, he was amazed. It pretty much didnt cover anything. While we didnt get a service agreement, we did start checking his boilers twice a year doing what we would do under a service agreement but we didnt have anything in writing.After all service agreements are a "scam" Here is the link.
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=wI85alqimlI
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    GGross
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 915
    edited September 2023
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    If anyone is interested in seeing just what can happen to a boiler that has little, expert, "preventative maintenance", just search for "the Dana Plant boiler explosion" Paris, Tennessee and read the report and look at the pictures. Remember, in my realm this is a medium sized boiler. The explosion started with poor or non existent service and a worn out water line control which would not have covered by the insurance that Ray's future customer had. I saw 5 of these explosions in my career and in the boiler room of one in 1978. It opens your eyes as to why you have to be careful, always do your best job and have your head on a swivel.
    Larry WeingartenSolid_Fuel_Man
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,592
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    I kinda agree with the facility director. Boiler companies can't find workers, how can they provide timely and reliable service?

    We had a service contract for a while. Every year, for tear downs and inspections, we would get a new kid,every year, a different kid, who looked at the job as if he never saw a boiler before. And when done, we would have to redo a lot of work because the boilers leaked.And when a boiler wouldnt light, or burners went out of tune, we would wait for weeks.

    We brought 90% of boiler work in house. I would love to contract out all boiler work but the experience is not out there. There arent enough service providers.

    GroundUp
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,926
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    I'm with SlamDunk on this. Having worked over a decade as a construction fitter for a company that also employed several dozen service fitters and prided themselves on their service division, their service was awful. Somebody showed up, but nothing ever got done properly right away. They'd send whoever was available to a job, so always someone unfamiliar with that particular system. We were supposed to let our service fitters do startups and combustion analysis, because construction fitters are too dumb to use electronics like an analyzer. Not once did I ever see a service tech make an adjustment regardless of what the CA said, they simply printed out the reading and taped it on the boiler for the inspector. Great "startup".
    SlamDunk
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 915
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    I will agree with @slamdunk to a certain degree since for the 35+ years I had with the company I retired from I only found maybe 5 service techs that could be trained to do an excellent and complete job. Most guys just came for the $ but did not want to work hard or be "on call" as required.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,592
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    We do a lot of maintenance and repairs on our boilers. It isnt as if maintenance is ignored.

    We try hard to keep our contractors in the loop by giving them business, even if we have to wait.
    Right now, I have 1 boiler down for at least five weeks. I can fix it. But I really want to maintain relationships too because it is really my employer's boilers. I wouldnt be doing my employer any favors if I left with all that knowledge and there was noone familiar with our plant.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
    edited September 2023
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    Ya! I'm a big believer in no maintenance. I save a lot of money. I only have to replace my boiler every 10 yrs.
    Seriously, you have to show the customer how it will save him money in the long run, the boiler manufacturer's warranty recommendations ( the insurance company can deny a claim if the manufacturer's recommendations are ignored) , and the safety issues involved with no maintenance.
    The only time a person think about his heating sys is when it fails in the depths of winter.
    You have to use the training method used on training mules called the "two by four method".
    You hit the customer square between the eyes with a two by four and that will get his attention, then talk to him about the necessity of maintenance.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
    edited September 2023
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    There's an old saying, "If you want honey, you don't kick over the bee hive." First, never point out the belief of the customer as being ridiculous. You always agree with his point of view "they're all scams". You put yourself as a ally. "Yes, that's true, but this is different. This saves you money. Who doesn't want to save money. And, you point out how he will save money. When I was selling, I was always told, "You sell the sizzle not the product." My take on it.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,519
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    Wow lots of great comments since I was here. I can understand the feeling of the facilities director because some companies will take the work and know nothing about the equipment. I follow Cline Eastwoods advice, A man has to know his limitations.
    I believe a hybrid approach works best and I strongly suggest to my customers that they accompany the boiler service techs when they are there if possible. They can learn from the tech and also know whether they are knowledgable or not.
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons