Managing maintenance cost
Approaches to covering maintenance costs will vary. Some facilities prefer to perform routine maintenance of cytometers themselves and only call on the manufacturers field service engineers when parts are needed or the repair is too difficult. However, this situation is increasingly uncommon and probably the majority of facilities prefer the 'safety net' of a manufacturers service contract (either directly with the manufacturer, via a local approved agency or a third party). This is because, down-time of equipment may have serious consequences both in terms of the users who need access to this and also interruption of potential revenue!
Many manufacturers will offer extended warranty or long-term maintenance contracts on the purchase of a cytometer, up to five years in many cases. Many facilities like this approach as the outlay is known in advance and this aids budgeting especially over the short to medium-term. It also guarantees, as far as possible, a reasonable response time to instrument failures.
With the rise of 'custom-built' cytometers, especially cell sorters, it is possible to have several service agreements, for example one with the cytometer manufacturer and one with the laser company.