Hardware Maintenance Agreements

Hardware maintenance agreements can cover a wide range of different maintenance and support services. It is important to have your hardware maintenance agreement carefully drafted by a legal professional to ensure that you are protected from liabilities and to clearly outline the services offered to your client.

What should be included in a Hardware Maintenance Agreement?

First and foremost, it is important to include a detailed list of the services that you will be supplied to the client. By having a detailed description of what you are providing to the client, it will be clearer to the client of the resources that you have and whether you will be the appropriate person to fix their hardware. It also allows you to charge an adequate fee for the services that you are providing.

Below are some further considerations that may be necessary to include in your hardware maintenance agreement:

  • When are the services available to the client? Are you available 24/7 or only within certain hours to attend to the maintenance?
  • Are your services limited to fixing faults or do they include upgrading services when upgrades become available?
  • Do you only provide services through technical support or does it also include customer assistance?
  • How are faults in the hardware classified?
  • What happens when there are disputes in the service provided?
  • Will there be regular maintenance visits to maintain the hardware?

Your hardware maintenance agreement may include the above plus many more considerations depending on how extensive your services are, where you are providing your services, and what is involved in maintaining the hardware.

Common clauses contained within a hardware maintenance agreement

As you will often use the same hardware maintenance agreement for all your clients, the agreement will generally be drafted in your favour as you are providing maintenance services to the client.

Depending on your industry and the services that you are providing, the clauses contained within your agreement will vary. With that said, below are some of the most commonly used clauses found in hardware maintenance agreements.

Maintenance Services

This clause sets out the maintenance services that you will be provided to the client under the agreement.

There are three main types of maintenance services, these are:

  1. Preventative Maintenance: where you pre-empt any potential problems with it, and also repair any equipment which has failed or is not operating as it should.
  2. Corrective Maintenance: where you repair the equipment in response to a client’s request or call-out.
  3. Emergency Maintenance: where you repair the equipment outside normal business hours. You will often charge an additional service fee when maintenance falls under this category.

Services Level

As hardware maintenance agreements are essentially service level agreements, you need to ensure that you include a clause in relation to your service levels to measure your performance under the agreement. In a hardware maintenance agreement, the most common service levels included are the response times to a request and how long it takes to fix the fault. These response times will vary depending on your capacity and the severity of the problem.

Replacements

It may not always be in the best interests of your client to repair the hardware as sometimes it may cost more to repair than it is to replace. Therefore, it is common for these agreements to include a clause which considers the financial consequences of replacing a part in the hardware. You will need to consider whether this fee is additional to your maintenance services or whether it is included in those services. Most businesses will base the fee on the former.

Excluded Maintenance

This is one of the most important clauses to include in your hardware maintenance agreement as it essentially defines the scope of your maintenance services. As the name suggests, this clause contains a detailed description of the maintenance services you will not provide to the client. It will set the expectations for your client and will prevent unnecessary callouts of which you are unable to assist.

Fees

As you are providing services to clients, you will need to outline what fees you will charge and whether there will be an additional cost for certain types of services provided. There are three main types of fees that you will need to consider, these include:

  1. Standard Maintenance Fees – what you will charge in respect of maintenance (preventative and corrective) during your normal business hours.
  2. Additional Fees – this generally refer to fees in respect of emergency maintenance and services where you conduct maintenance on excluded maintenance items in this agreement.
  3. Fees for spare/new parts

Conclusion

If you are providing maintenance services on hardware and need a contract drafted up to reflect these services, please contact our office today. Our lawyers have extensive experience in reviewing and drafting service level agreements on hardware maintenance and can provide you with expert advice.