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Look at your equipment maintenance agreements as a cost-saving opportunity

The maintenance costs of equipment in a law department can amount to significant sums. Here is a comment from the administrator of a very large government law office.

“Normally, we spend $750,000 on equipment each year. That includes everything from computers to digital senders to faxes to copiers and we’re going to defer $500,000 into the next year. So the money that we’re saving, not spending, on copiers and equipment, is going to save jobs.

The other thing that we’ve done is to not buy maintenance agreements on all of our copier equipment. We spend $5,000 or $6,000 every year to insure a copier that might cost $25,000, so that if it does break down we call somebody out. It’s covered under the maintenance agreement. I think that we’re taking a bit of a gamble, but we’ve decided we will buy maintenance agreements on most of our equipment, but not all, to save $100,000.”

These two ideas come from Rees Morrison, Law Department Administrators: Lessons from Leaders (Hildebrandt Inst. 2004) at 102. Deferral of maintenance is not a good long-term plan, but selective maintenance agreements, especially on lower-cost equipment, might be worth considering.