A Waste of Money

Don’t waste your money !!!!

Quite a bold statement, but please read on – I am NOT saying carrying out PAT testing is a waste of money, however there are a few hidden aspects I think I need to make clear.

The main reason behind this post is that being relatively new to the industry, my pricing is VERY competitive. When pricing I do however need to make sure I am bringing in an income and covering all the business expenses – without these basics it is pointless me running the business.

Whilst searching for new clients however, price seems to be a huge focus point. Nothing at all wrong in that, it would be silly to pay more for the same service. However, the catch here is ‘the same service’.

I have had replies back from companies telling me they have had a cheaper quote and I would need to beat that price to secure the job. This is fair enough, companies work in different ways and expenses (travel costs being a major one) can differ from person to person.

The real puzzling factor though, is for me to match, or beat, a lot of quotes I would not even be earning the minimum wage – not to mention expenses that would be incurred. Hardly worthwhile running a business to earn less than being employed which bring additional benefits like holiday pay, sick pay, no expenses to mention a few.

So, the next thought process was how do these businesses manage to quote so cheap ? Am I too slow ? Am I expecting too much ? Am I doing too much when testing ?

I am still looking at the above questions however speaking to other PAT testers my pricing structure is competitive but at a manageable level.

So how are other companies charging less ?

Right, this is what happens – I do not want this to be a ‘negative’ post as most testers do not operate this way, however there are some who do ! Also, there are a lot of larger companies employing staff and work on quantity which again is absolutely fine.

‘Sticker Jockey’ is a phrase used by PAT testers for people who do not actually test anything, instead they just have a look and stick pass stickers on.

Quite a pointless exercise and if you are happy with this service you may as well go onto ebay, buy some stickers and stick them on yourself – there you go I have saved you money !

Another thing I have noticed is testers doing too many tests. A lot of the time you will genuinely have more tests than you realise. The main reason behind this is if you have a device (printer, monitor, computer) that has an IEC lead (or kettle plug as it is commonly known), 2 tests are required – one for the lead and one for the device.

What I have noticed though is a lot of testers are testing for example a 4-way extension lead and putting 2 stickers on – one on the plug and one on the socket end, 2 tests as each sticker has a different number on it.

If you are paying an hourly/daily fee this will be of no concern, however I will put money on the fact people doing this will be charging per item.

Your cheap PAT tester now isn’t so cheap as they are charging you double for a lot of items.

A big bugbear of mine is testers not actually testing items correctly. A lot of people think PAT testing is simply plugging things into a machine. However, the majority of failed items fail on the visual inspection. Any plugs which can be rewired (it not moulded plugs) should have their top removed, wiring and plug checked for damage, and terminals tightened. You will be amazed at how many plug tops we remove to find incorrect wiring or fuses inside.

Obviously this could have happened since the previous PAT test. It is a bit of a coincidence though when the previous tester was maybe a bit cheaper together with other tell-tale signs (double testing, not removing the card on new plugs) etc.

My Advice

When enquiring make sure your PAT tester is actually going to test the items correctly, if they are not carrying a screwdriver, they are not checking the plugs, if the item amount is really excessive, check how many tests are carried out on an item……….

This is not a bitter post about being beaten on price, that is competition and healthy competition is great. Just make sure you are not being ripped off by what sounds to be a bargain, but in fact is a total waste of money.

For a cost effective quote, or any queries please contact me