I’m asked this question very often. I repair restoration equipment for about 40 restoration companies in the San Diego area, which are about a third of all the companies here. I work under the business name Born To Repair and I’m the only restoration equipment technician that I know about that makes a living from repairing in the clients’ warehouses. I found that my business model is a great way to get to really know the companies’ people and innerworkings.
My clients know that except for power distro boxes I don’t sell equipment. Because I have nothing to gain and I know all of the different brands and models inside and out, people ask for my advice about which brands they should buy. Here are some quotes that I hear all of the time: “I like the expensive brands because I want peace of mind”, “Are the made-in-China brands any good?” and “Which brands break less?”. My short answer surprises most people I speak with, it is simply: “I recommend the cheapest”. Unfortunately any dehu, scrubber or air mover no matter the brand, will eventually develop problems, especially in companies that mistreat their equipment. I can write a whole article about mistreatment of equipment, but meanwhile here are 3 examples:
-When stacks of untied garbage bags full of splinters, nails and pieces of drywall are regularly thrown in trucks on top of the equipment.
-In many companies equipment is always dirty.
-Filters not only need to be replaced often, but the filters need to be the type that won’t let fine dust pass through.
If your equipment is treated properly your equipment will last longer, but to really have peace of mind from your equipment you should accept the fact that equipment breaks and take the precautions to deal with that fact, like putting your dehus in pans, having some extra dehus just in case or developing a relationship with another company and sharing equipment when needed.
Every time I repair a dehu I document the details of the repair and the data I collected shows a very clear correlation between the cleanliness of dehus and their longevity no matter the brand or where they were made. Therefore, if you never use the remote functions, just like none of my clients do, investing in an expensive dehu is an unnecessary expense in my opinion.
I have nothing against the expensive brands. I just wish they offered some entry level models. Today their equipment has touch screens and Bluetooth, bells and whistles. While I make more money repairing them, it is an extra expense for you. I have one client (hi Will!) that his guys regularly smash his cheaper dehus’ control panel and the cost of replacing it is only $41.25 plus tax and 15 minutes of my time. Compare that to a touch screen control panel that costs hundreds of dollars to replace and also require updates every so often. Sometimes I get a broken dehu to repair and the only thing wrong with it is that it needs an update, because sometimes dehus with touch screen control panels stop working properly when they are not updated. Now you can even get a scrubber with a touch screen instead of a dimmer switch and an indicator light. When the inevitable happens and you’ll need to replace it, instead of just replacing a dimmer switch, you’ll have to pay $299 plus tax and labor for a new screen. Every switch will eventually fail and when the switch is a touch screen, you’ll pay more to buy it and then more to maintain it.
Let’s say you have a budget for purchasing equipment. Let’s say that the expensive dehu is twice as expensive and let’s even say it lasts twice as long as a cheaper one with the same specs. This is a simplified example to prove a point, as you remember longevity does not depend on price. Just do the math and you’ll see that for the same amount of time and budget you can have twice as many dehus, you can take more jobs and get paid the same per dehu, so overall you’ll get paid more. In reality you’ll have more equipment for the same amount of time, I just like to give this argument in this way because of the misconception that cheaper equipment doesn’t last as long.
Most of you who are business owners are probably thinking of how to make more money and my favorite way of increasing profits is by cutting costs. It is the heart of my business, for myself and for my clients. Choosing the right brand of equipment to work with can keep a lot of hard earned cash in your pockets as well as give you the ability to make more. Remember that when it comes to restoration equipment, spend your money on what you will actually use. fancy inclusions if not needed or used properly, will cost extra money to purchase and to maintain. Lastly, equipment care is a must, regardless of the brand you own.
If you have any questions, comments or compelling feedback on this article, please contact me. I am always open to opinions and ideas. You can reach me by sending a message through Instagram @borntorepair OR Facebook at Born To Repair.