Even though 95 percent of survey respondents indicated price was important, cost alone is not enough to sway a purchasing decision. In fact, custodial managers interviewed for this article agreed price is vital when making a major machinery purchase; however, they also indicated that the cost of floor care equipment is not as significant as its level of performance.

“Price is important, but effectiveness and efficiency is also very important,” says Dumouchel. “If two machines are within $1,000 of each other, for example, but the one with the higher price tag is more efficient and easier to use ergonomically, we would purchase that one over the cheaper one.”

Van Reeth, agrees: “Between price, performance and user friendliness, we would place a higher value on the performance of the equipment and the degree of user friendliness over price,” he says. “Price would probably only come into play if there were two different manufacturers that offered virtually identical products.”

Even though budget constraints may restrict floor care equipment purchases, facility managers warn against sacrificing quality for bargain prices.

“You can pay today or you can pay tomorrow,” says John Vogelsang, facilities services director, Illinois Central College, East Peoria, Ill. “If the boss of the purchasing department says you have to buy the cheapest thing it’s our job to tell him what we want the machine to do and write those specifications. We have to prove to our bosses that buying a cheap machine will cost them in the long run.”

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