Frankensteining, also known as cannibalising, is my favorite part of my job. Personally I prefer using the former name because I think it describes better what I do.
The industry’s norm, when one has equipment in need of repairs, is to send it to a repair shop, which is not the most effective way of taking care of broken equipment. In-warehouse repairs have proven to be much more beneficial. They have direct and indirect advantages over sending equipment to the repair shops. The direct ones can save you a lot of time and money, but surprisingly the indirect ones can save you even more.
Who of you who are reading this article likes to send your equipment to be repaired, then wait a month or more for an estimate and then wait another month or more to get your repaired equipment back? Who likes to be charged for unnecessary cleaning and replacements of cords and hoses? With in-house repairs you can enjoy same day repairs, no schlepping required, customized to your every desire or need. Choosing the exact service you pay for can save thousands in the long run. If you don’t want an external wipe down because it’s cheaper when a temp does it, no problem! If you don’t want a brand new pump when the old one malfunctions, just clean it up, and if it’s necessary replace only the impeller or check valve inside the pump. If you want to replace the plug, when the ground is broken, instead of replacing the whole cord, you can do it if you are clear about OSHA regulations and make the right choice for you.
Getting parts on your own is not difficult and can be done directly from most manufacturers. This will save third party markups. Servpros can order from their corporate office which offers parts for very good prices. They even have diagrams and part lists on their website to make it easier for franchisees to order them.
Frankensteining is the most beneficial way to get needed parts quickly and to make use of equipment that is not worth repairing. It is only possible with in-warehouse repairs. You can always save the equipment that is not worth repairing in a “Broken Pile” or “Graveyard” and use the parts for equipment that is worth repairing. That sometimes produces funny pieces of equipment, Frankensteins if you will. If your graveyard doesn’t have the part you need, maybe your friend from another company has it in his pile. This is helpful when there is no time to wait for parts to arrive, like during a disaster or like it was in the beginning of the pandemic when new parts weren’t available.
All of the above examples are direct advantages of in-warehouse equipment repairs. They can save hundreds for the short term and thousands for longer terms. The indirect ones can change the whole way you do business.
Imagine that a dehu comes in broken to the warehouse and comes out completely functional the same day. Or even better, imagine the same dehu not even coming to the warehouse at all and instead being repaired on the job site. This will save the time for delivery of a replacement and the truck with the man power needed. It will also prevent a larger problem if a replacement dehu isn’t available until one finishes it’s job on another site.
All of this is possible for you too. Your warehouse manager can be trained to repair equipment. Afterwards he’ll make sure that your equipment is in tiptop condition every time it goes to a job. He will be able to share the knowledge with the rest of the workers, to teach proper care, maintenance and quick fixes of equipment in the morning meetings. He can be much more than just the one who organizes and cleans, but only if you let him take the role of the caretaker of your equipment. This new role will give him the satisfaction he deserves from his job, and will give you the piece of mind that your equipment is being taken care of.
To be honest, repairing restoration equipment is not that difficult. Especially the most common problems. Anyone can do it if just a little thought is put into the problem. For example, many times equipment is sent out to be repaired just because of something simple, like someone changing the settings by accident, or even many times nothing is even wrong with it. Sometimes the quick disconnect (coupling) breaks, and there is no reason to send a dehu out to be repaired because of something small like that.
Restoration equipment repairs should be accounted for in any company’s business model. Equipment will always need maintenance and eventually repairs. The way you choose to conduct your repairs will affect how much of your budget will be spent on them and how many pieces of equipment you’ll have ready to go on a job. Companies all over have already adopted in house equipment repairs and are now enjoying the benefits that come with them. I recommend that you join them.
Although it could easily be changed, too many restoration company owners still have the constant feeling that their equipment is bad and that their workers are bad at taking care of it. I’m trying to help relieve this burden. In my view of the future every warehouse manager will repair and teach how to repair restoration equipment. When this happens, equipment will last longer, look better and make everyone feel better about it. In this future the repair shops will have to be happy by only selling new equipment and chemicals.