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The Cost of Not Having an Elevator Maintenance Plan


An elevator is often a part of a building that doesn’t receive a second thought until something goes wrong with it. And should a problem arise – like a malfunctioning door or a broken cable – it disrupts the entire flow of operations and can become a nightmare to deal with. That’s why an elevator maintenance plan is so important.

Although the cost of a commercial elevator maintenance plan might be intimidating, it’s one of the most practical investments you can make in your building, considering how much unexpected service calls and repairs can cost.

To give you some perspective, below is an overview of typical elevator-related costs both with and without a service plan.

Without an Elevator Maintenance Plan
Without a maintenance plan, a malfunctioning part can go unnoticed until a major problem occurs. Dealing with a last minute, major repair then becomes incredibly costly and creates inconvenient downtimes that lead to frustrated passengers.

Here’s a quick look at some of the costs that can be expected:

  • Service calls: If you’re requesting a service call during regular business hours, you can expect to pay at least $300/hour. But if you need service after hours or for an emergency, this cost will be even higher.
  • Code violations: Nearly every state requires commercial elevators to be inspected on an annual basis to ensure they are up to code and safe for riders. A maintenance plan will typically include this service. But if you don’t have one, you could be fined for code violations. For reference, Massachusetts has a $100/day fine for each day an elevator is operating without applying for the annual inspection.
  • Full modernization: Elevators that don’t receive routine service will eventually require a total upgrade – often much sooner than systems with maintenance plans. This usually includes a new motor, piston or other expensive parts. The specifics of each modernization will depend on the size and type of system, but the ballpark figure for cost will likely be between $150,000 and $1,000,000.

There are also other costs to be aware of. Service calls and code violation fees won’t include the price of any replacement parts, and these can run high. A new motor, for example, can cost over $5,000.


With an Elevator Maintenance Plan
Opting into an elevator maintenance plan with a service provider is the best way to make sure your equipment is reliable and provides a safe ride for all passengers.

The high costs associated with unexpected service and repairs is often controlled when you’re under a regular maintenance plan. Maintenance plans will typically include monthly system checks by certified technicians, during which they can catch and solve small issues before they have the chance to grow into serious concerns that can disrupt your operations.

Your maintenance plan options may also include 24-hour emergency service and monthly safety checks. This provides a much-appreciated peace of mind that your equipment is in good hands.

Maintenance Plan Costs
Elevators in small buildings usually require maintenance contracts that run between $3,500 and $5,000 per year. For high-rise buildings, the cost may get closer to between $8,000 and $10,000 a year. The exact price of a yearly maintenance plan will depend on the number of elevators you have and what types of systems they are.

Since regularly maintained systems have much longer lifespans than those without service plans, the annual cost of a service contract proves to be well worth the investment. Equipment that is cared for and routinely maintained can last about 20 years or longer, depending on the type of the elevator, usage and other conditions that can contribute to regular wear and tear.

But keep in mind that even the most well-cared for systems may still require part replacements in their lifetime. Some common issues any elevator can face are:

  • Worn chains/cables
  • Malfunctioning doors
  • Ruptures in hydraulic systems
  • Electronic glitches in an automated system

These common problems can be a hassle to resolve without a maintenance plan.

There are many elevator service companies that offer maintenance plans that can fit into a variety of budgets. You should check and make sure that the service company you want to work with is familiar with your specific type and model of elevators and that they have technicians who are close by to help when needed.

Always remember that elevators are complex pieces of equipment that require extensive training to fully understand. Non-professionals should never attempt to service an elevator – eave it to the professionals!