A reader writes: “We are comparing an encapsulation machine to a HWE (Hot Water Extraction) machine. Do you have any suggestions for evaluating equipment so that we are getting the best value from what we purchase?”

Great question and there are some common points to consider with minor adjustments for the particular product under consideration:

1. Outcomes. If it doesn’t do the job then it is not worth much at any price. Does it work as well or better than an HWE system?

2. Productivity. Does it perform the tasks as fast as or faster than similar systems as well as difference with an HWE (Hot Water Extraction) system?

3. ROI. What is the return on investment compared to using other systems? It has to pay for itself over a period of time through labor savings, productivity, more jobs, etc.

4. Ease of use. Can your workers be trained on it easily? Are there videos, manuals, etc.?

5. Durability. How dependable is it? Does it have any weak points? Does it have strengths when compared to other systems?

6. Portability/weight. Can it be transported easily and how many people are required to lift it?

7. Tech support and warranties. Does the manufacturer stand behind their product with real support and money?

8. Stability of company. Are they stable and in for the long haul? This is key to getting replacement parts and repairs. Will the parts be available in a year or so?

9. Distributor network. Is there a local distributor that can service the unit and/or provide a backup unit if it goes down? If not, who is going to service it?

10. Price. Although ROI takes this into account, what is the total investment that includes purchase, shipping, maintenance, chemicals and accessories?

These are the top 10 questions you should ask about virtually any equipment/systems we look at. My suggestion is to develop a 1-10 scoring system and objectively grade each unit. You could develop a bar or pie chart system to make it easier to understand.

We all recognize the cheapest is not always the least expensive. Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net