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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Why Service Technicians Are A Worthwhile Expense


Equipment failure is a big deal. Motors and bearings fail, and rubber components melt. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mini-fridge in an office or a commercial espresso machine in a café. Equipment is expensive to maintain and repair, and it’s understandable when you want to fix things yourself to save money.


In our DIY world, tutorials are available on YouTube and other platforms, describing how to fix just about anything. Fixing a piece of equipment at home is fine when you’re willing to risk further damage and aren’t afraid of potential injury.


At work, it’s a different story and a more substantial risk. You or an employee might have experience fixing the appliance that needs repair, but unless one of you is a licensed contractor, don’t try to fix it. In fact, your workplace policies should include a clause that prohibits employees from fixing equipment.


What you don’t know can hurt you (or your employees)


Without professional experience, unknown details could lead to improper repairs or injury. For instance, a person without professional training as an electrician should never perform work that involves electrical wiring. The vast safety knowledge a professional electrician has isn’t something you’ll find on YouTube. Misunderstandings about how electricity works are prevalent in the DIY world.


For example, most people think an electrical current will only move through a conductive material. That’s not true. When the current is strong enough, as it is with power lines, current will flow through any material, even something non-conductive like a kite string.


An innocent attempt to replace a fried electrical outlet could result in electrocution. Even if an outlet gets replaced correctly, there are multiple components involved in electrical work that can pose a danger to someone outside the profession. If your employee becomes injured during the attempted repair, you could be forced to pay workers’ compensation. If they don’t survive the accident, the family of the employee might sue you for wrongful death.


Another instance where a DIY repair can go wrong is when a device has a simple mechanism, but requires specific tools or has hidden parts that become dangerous when taken apart. Garage doors, for example, have a mechanism anyone can understand after careful observation. They’ve also got torsion springs full of mechanical energy that can launch in any direction and cause serious injury.


Take the potential for DIY injuries seriously


In 2006, The Telegraph reported that more than 200,000 do-it-yourself enthusiasts are seriously injured each year. Power tools and knives cause most of the injuries, but that year, over 1,500 people were injured while hanging wallpaper.


The article describes the top tools responsible for causing accidents in the UK:


  • Knives and scalpels – 20,000 accidents
  • Saws – 15,000 accidents
  • Grinders – 6,5000 accidents
  • Hammers – 6,000 accidents
  • Chisels – 4,000 accidents
  • Screwdrivers – 3,500 accidents
  • Power drills – 3,000 accidents
  • Axes, planes, and welding equipment – 2,000 accidents each


The article also describes the top materials that cause accidents:


  • Wood, chipboard, etc. – 30,000 accidents
  • Paving or concrete blocks – 20,000 accidents
  • Nails – 15,000 accidents
  • Metal bars, sheets, etc. – 13,000 accidents
  • Bricks – 8,000 accidents
  • Paint and paint pots – 4,000 accidents
  • Glue, paste, etc. – 3,000 accidents
  • Screws and floor/wall tiles – 2,500 accidents
  • Wallpaper – 1,500 accidents


Call a professional when you know it’s best


It’s frustrating trying to troubleshoot an unfamiliar appliance. When you know how to repair one piece of equipment with a motor, that doesn’t mean you can fix anything with a motor.


Ask yourself if your time and frustration is worth saving a couple hundred bucks. What if the equipment fails again in three weeks?


Sometimes you can get away with simple workarounds and DIY fixes, but if your repair job looks a little off, call a professional to fix it and show you how to perform proper maintenance.


If you rely on the equipment to serve customers, they’ll be thankful, too. Nothing’s worse than having to tell customers your primary machine is broken for weeks on end because you’re trying to save money on repairs. When you can’t serve your customers, you’re losing money.


In addition to avoiding lawsuits and serious injury, you’ll have peace of mind knowing a knowledgeable professional repaired your equipment. The work will be done to code, and will likely come with a warranty or guarantee.


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