That seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? If I have a motor that fails, how much will it cost to have it fixed? What could be simpler? Well, while the question is simple, the answer…not so much.
Before any electric motor repair shop can give you an accurate estimate, they should have some questions of their own that have to be answered first. And only one person can answer them. You.
Here’s what to expect when you make the “how much will it be” call:
“What’s wrong with your electric motor?”
There are thousands of combinations of what could be wrong. Maybe it’s just a “clean-up” where the motor is inspected, the bearings (ball bearing units) replaced, and the motor cleaned, baked and sent back. It could be that easy. But before you get too excited, it could also be a huge, headache-inducing pain. It could require a rewind with major machining required on the mechanical components of the motor.
You cannot get an accurate cost estimate until the motor is inspected and the repair shop knows exactly what’s wrong with it.
“What specification should your motor be repaired to?
Every EASA shop isn’t the same. Even though they may all be part of the Electrical Apparatus Service Association, different shops look at things differently. Methods of repair vary. This does not mean some lower cost repair methods are wrong – but if you’re comparing prices from one shop to another, maybe they’re not quoting the same method of repair. It’s up to you to make sure they are all reading off the same specs page
“What do you want included in a basic recondition quote?”
So you want an estimate for a recondition. Does that include bearings? What bearings are in the motor? Does the recondition include an incoming test run? Does it include vibration analysis? Does that analysis include a test run? How long of a test run? Is the test run full voltage? Does it include balancing the rotor? To what spec is the rotor balanced?
So you see, even a simple request is not that simple if you don’t know what you want. Tell the electric motor repair shop precisely what you want and you will have a much more accurate quotation.
These questions are a starting point to understanding what the cost will really be. To learn more, check out our eBook: “What to look for in an electric motor repair shop.”
Questions to avoid like the plague.
OK, you have an idea of what to ask, and what to expect you’ll be asked. But every bit as important are the questions you never, ever want to ask. Asking these questions is asking for trouble and unnecessary costs.
- What’s the repair shops hourly rate?
Seems like a simple question, but the answers can really be deceiving. Here’s what I mean:
- Motor repair shop “A” has an hourly rate of $50/hr.
- Motor repair shop “B” has an hourly rate of $65/hr.
- Motor repair shop “A” can repair a motor in 40 hours
- Motor repair shop “B” can repair the same motor in 30 hours due to efficiencies in their process.
- Motor repair shop "A" - 40 hours x $50/hr. = $2,000.00
- Motor repair shop "B" - 30 hours x $65/hr. = $1,950.00
- What does a recondition cost? A rewind? A housing repair?
You have the best of intentions. Price everything out, then make a decision. If it’s a total mess of a repair, simply go with the lowest bid? However, what if it’s not a terrible motor requiring a bunch of work?
Here then, is another example: A motor is having electrical issues. Testing shows serious problems. Your guess is that it needs a rewind. Better get some bids. You understand that judging by hourly rates is a bad idea. You also know “standard prices” are often smoke and mirrors. So to cover yourself, you have every option priced.
- Motor shop “A” quotes come back as follows:
- $1000.00 for a recondition
- $2000.00 for a rewind
- $200.00 to repair a housing
- Motor shop “B” quotes come back as follows:
- $750.00 for a recondition
- $2500.00 for a rewind
- $250.00 to repair a housing
If the motor needs a rewind, “A” appears to be the least expensive. However, what if a complete rewind isn’t needed? If all you need is a recondition with a housing repair, “B” would be the least expensive. What if “B” can save the winding through a special cleaning process and “A” would just rewind it anyway? How would that make you feel?
Pricing an electric motor repair is simple and complex at the same time. Simple because the questions you need to ask are pretty basic. Complex because the answers you get back don’t mean much unless you’ve been very specific.
The price for any particular repair is important, but it’s only one of the factors that should go into selecting your repair vendor. For more on this, please download a free eBook: “What to look for in an electric motor repair shop”.
About the author:
Justin Hatfield is Vice President of Operations of HECO, Inc. He oversees Electric Motor & Drive Sales, Electric Motor & Generator Repairs, and Predictive Services. Justin was instrumental in developing HECO MAPPS (Motor And Powertrain Performance Systems), which focuses on “why” you have a motor problem instead of simply “What” product or service should be recommended.