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Tool repair costs at a record high

PLANT Average maintenance bill hits £3,220

CONTRACTORS are having to factor in significant costs for the repair bills of their tools, with frequent repairs and the resultant cost of downtime adding to their woes.

A survey by Construction News of over 250 tool users, commissioned by tool manufacturer Hilti found that 55 per cent of respondents had needed repairs in the last six months, costing an average £165 a time. For 31 per cent, that figure topped £200.

Hilti product manager Walid Hussain said the costs had been a shock even for the manufacturer.

He said: 'It just goes to show that customers have now to consider the lifetime costs of a tool, not just the purchase price. That is quite some repair cost, given that the average cost of buying the tool in the first place is only £200.'

Among the respondents, who ranged widely from one-person operations to large contractors, the average expenditure on repairs was £3,220 a year, with 15 per cent spending over £5,000.

Of those, less than one in 10 said they had been able to claim all the costs back under warranty, while half the respondents had not managed to claim any warranty refund at all.

Of the tools that required repair, cordless battery tools had been sent by the biggest proportion of users, with 48 per cent. Grinders and circular saws topped the table for specific models - named by 40 per cent and 34 per cent of users respectively.

Mr Hussain said: 'Battery tools are clearly costing a lot of money. People don't talk much about the battery when they are considering the cordless tool, but I would suggest that in many of these cases it was the battery that needed the repairs, since it is often not covered by warranty.'

But the state of contractors' record keeping was also under question, with a third of those who sent tools for repairs admitting that they had kept no record of the costs at all.

But despite this, 65 per cent of the contractors said that the cost of repair was not the main impact on their business, but the downtime caused by having to find a replacement.