Let’s get specific. Field service is big—and small—business. We know the model, and in many ways the model has not changed much. An OEM can often gain much more revenue from the so-called aftermarket service fees than from the original product. But beyond that, the need for services in the SMB, small office and home office (SOHO) markets has grown. Large OEMs generally do not seek out SMB markets to provide service. They have developed deep and complex partnerships of experts to do this.
Different products, of course, require different service models. An MRI machine—a million-dollar piece of equipment that requires certified workers who need to report each calibration of the equipment—usually means servicing from the OEM directly. Whereas computer services, printers, routers and such can be repaired by a legion of independents. This network is essential in today’s SOHO markets.
In fact, essential to growth of markets such as solar is the development of a network of service teams—many of whom are independents. Today they don’t just install, but may provide usage-based contracts, remote monitoring, help home owners with their financing, tax credits and so on. Surely, this is an enhanced image of the traditional “repair guy.”
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