Price per test.

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Price per test.

Postby soltdog » Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:23 pm

Where I work we were paying £7.25 per item to be tested and repaired if needed. This was in place before I started working here. I explained to my boss that if I go on a PAT course I can reduce the costs of this and I can carry out any repairs needed with my electrical background.

We have had a company on site recently who can offer me the testing for £1 an item. Is this too cheap? do you think I will get a decent service for this money? Are the testers going to be more interested in getting as many items as possible done so they can make some money? In other words become sticker jockeys.

I have seen me on this site struggle to get 5 items done in an hour on the shop floor due to access issues, equipment having to go through shut down cycles etc. They say this will be fine.

I suppose I can always give them a trial of maybe 1 area to see how it goes.
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Re: Price per test.

Postby southseas » Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:44 am

I have seen me on this site struggle to get 5 items done in an hour on the shop floor due to access issues, equipment having to go through shut down cycles etc. They say this will be fine.

Hmmmmmmmmm.................would you get covered in carbon black for 5 quid an hour

Are the testers going to be more interested in getting as many items as possible done so they can make some money? In other words become sticker jockeys.

Hmmmmmm...........Is the Pope catholic.........do bears defecate amongst the trees.......will they prove to be sticker jockeys.......Most likely, unless there are some other charges that they haven't told you about.

I quote a per tag rate, typically it's higher that my competitors, but then they add on Travelling Time to get to the job, a labour charge for waiting while an item under test goes through a cycle- very hard to get an apples for apples comparison

I suppose I can always give them a trial of maybe 1 area to see how it goes.


Sounds like a plan, probably an idea to have a sweep through first and see if you can spot any items that they should fail when they find them (that could be telling) and then once they are done and have furnished their reports, go back through and have a count up to make sure they reconcile.

One job I did, the crowd that did them before me had tagged data cables, some extension leads had two tags (with two different appliance numbers on them), pretty easy to bang the rate up with a few howlers like that.

Sight unseen, I'd be quoting about £3.50 for a single phase item, and £7.50 for three phase, maybe a bit more if items are widely scatted and are going to scoff time to test. You also have to allow for the behind the scenes report preparation
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Re: Price per test.

Postby soltdog » Mon Mar 30, 2015 4:08 pm

This has taken a while to sort out.

I started using the company that were charging just £1 per item I thought this is great. Well anyway after the initial 100 items were tested, including a couple I planted that I was aware would fail, things went wrong. It took 2 days to test the 100 items so I thought , yeah that is normal.

I told them I now want 1000 items tested. I was expecting it to take around 10 days if they were using 1 guy maybe slightly more if they had problems etc.

Well anyway they sent 1 guy and I set him off in some office where the bulk of the tests were due. I saw him at the end of the 2nd day to which he told me he had done 850 tests. BY HIMSELF. I asked how have you managed to do that many it isn't possible. He then showed me, for 4 computers he unplugged the extension lead and then tested that with all of the computers plugged in as a class 2.

So he has tested the extension lead and 8 IEC leads in 1 test. I asked how do you test the continuity of all of the leads if you are testing it that way. That is the way you do it he said. Well what about a full visual check of each of those 8 plugs. They are ok if they pass the class 2 test.

We worked out he averaged around 70 tests an hour while he was here. Funnily enough they haven't been paid. I have asked his boss to come in for a visit and I want a demonstration of how he can test this many items in an hour before I pay them. I am not paying until it is done correctly, I will quite happily go round with them while they do these tests.
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Re: Price per test.

Postby southseas » Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:26 am

Well anyway they sent 1 guy and I set him off in some office where the bulk of the tests were due. I saw him at the end of the 2nd day to which he told me he had done 850 tests. BY HIMSELF. I asked how have you managed to do that many it isn't possible. He then showed me, for 4 computers he unplugged the extension lead and then tested that with all of the computers plugged in as a class 2.


Yeah, old story, if it sounds to good to be true, then........ Down this way, we have a crowd who use Engineering students to assist their "technicians", the students do a basic visual exam and the item is working and "looks OK" it gets a pass tag, if they think it has an issue, then the tech "tests" it- they are around the 1 pound mark pricewise.

Creative test regime though, if a full visual was done on each plug/lead (you guys have fused plugs don't you), then it could tick at least some of the boxes- does your standard require a current leakage test? Love to be a fly on the wall when they do a demo of their technique for you
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Re: Price per test.

Postby soltdog » Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:02 am

I'm still waiting for the boss to get in touch with me to see when he can come for a chat.

I was taught to use the insulation resistance test for the majority of items. However some of the IT and lab equipment are really sensitive here so I carry out the current leakage test.

I am currently looking for a new company to come in and carry out the testing. When I first mentioned to the boss that I had concerns with the tester as I had found a broken lead that had passed. He said well he is still on site now so I will send him over. He wasn't on site he was sat in his hotel room.
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Re: Price per test.

Postby southseas » Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:45 pm

What sort of post test reports does this crowd produce? I try to help potential clients spot the "smoke and mirrors" merchants by getting them to compare the reports that I generate post testing, vs what they do- generally if the client is genuinely interested in the safety of their onsite appliances, it's no contest.

PG3's Detailed Test Report- I run all tests appropriate for the Class of item and as "best practice" both IR and Current Leakage, so they get the actual values of each test (I use SuperNovas and have just brought an Apollo 600 (rebranded as PrimeTest Elite down here)- typically opposition give a spreedsheet with "pass/fail" beside a list of items tested, occasionally these may have a few values listed- so pretty easy to "fake test" items and pocket a clients cash for doing sweet Fanny Adams.

But if you are dealing with a box ticker, as far as they are concerned, the gear has pass tags on, here's the results and it's only cost 50P a pop- they don't care. Unfortunately, unless there are some consequences and they get a good bitch slapping because of their penny pinching, they never will care.
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Re: Price per test.

Postby soltdog » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:10 am

Well after a few weeks and several emails and phone calls without any response we have decided to use a different company for testing. I can't wait for these cowboys to pull up on their horses demanding to be paid.

We have had offers from 50p an item up to £7.25. We have settled on £3.25 with a company we have used to carry out a lot of lighting maintenance in the past.
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Re: Price per test.

Postby Calmore » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:15 am

Many moons ago I went for an interview for a PAT testers job as it was something I had been doing as a side role elsewhere. This was at a "proper" testing company, one that I'd always envisaged were professional.

I was asked how many items I'd normally test an hour, to which I replied "about 5 to 10". This was an honest answer based on finding the item, inspecting it, testing it, repairing if needed, logging it, putting it back where I found it, etc.

The interviewer replied: "Well, we don't employ anyone who can't do 50 or 60 an hour". Needless to say I didn't get the job!

It's worrying, though, that there are these companies out there doing this sort of job. Not only do they fail to test properly and possibly miss dangerous appliances, they give the client a false sense of security "My appliances must be safe, they have been tested" sort of thing.
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Re: Price per test.

Postby soltdog » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:07 am

50-60 an hour is unbelievable. Who would be responsible then if it goes wrong and someone gets a shock off a piece of equipment they have just passed.

I tested our health and safety office recently. Everything was accessible and I did around 15-16 in one hour. Usually it is around 10. We can't use the Seaward stickers where I work. We use a lot of carbon black which seems to make the stickers fall off. So I use scafftags. It involves 2 cable ties and a plastic tally. Office computers are ok with stickers though. So if you take that into account you just can't test 60 items.

One of our engineers brought me a 110v ext lead. The socket was cracked and the protective cover was missing. It had been tested that day and hadn't been used since.

I wish I could name and shame them.
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Re: Price per test.

Postby Calmore » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:00 am

They were just after someone that's go round and tag everything and compile a report so they could get their money. Looking back I can see how their pricing structure (low!) would only support this method of working.

I wish I could name and shame too!
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