We always recommend replacing computers every 3 years and maintaining a next business day (“NBD”) onsite repair warranty on them for those 3 years. It’s one of the core principles of successfully delivering managed services and IT support for small business. Why?
On average roughly 1 in 5 laptops fail in the first 3 years (1 in 3 if you include failures due to accidents). Desktops are typically more reliable, but these days more of our clients in Atlanta are opting for laptops than desktops.
After year 3 the failure rate goes up about 20% per year, and the likelihood of downtime from malware and viruses goes up even faster. Not to mention the headaches involved when trying to upgrade a piece of business-critical software on an older PC that doesn’t meet the new minimum requirements.
When your computer fails, and all of them eventually do, if you have no warranty you’re looking at either a potentially expensive repair or an emergency replacement. Even with overnight shipping it’s a couple business days of downtime and disruption to your work. With a mail-in warranty, you’ll get a box from the repair center (1 business day), send it off for repair (1-2 business days), the center will repair it (1-2 business days), then they’ll ship it back to you (1 business day). How many days of business did you just lose? With NBD onsite repair service, a repair person trained by the manufacturer will be at your place of business the next business day, and they can almost always complete the repair in a couple hours.
So given the average failure rates, and the process involved in repair, we think NBD onsite service is a wise investment. It typically adds about $180 to the price of a business class laptop, and for some business laptop lines a 3-year NBD onsite warranty is the standard service (you have to opt out of it if you don’t want it). For folks who travel often or are accident-prone, NBD onsite warranties with accidental damage coverage can make sense too.