Comprehensive vs Non-Comprehensive Maintenance Contracts and Pitfalls to Avoid

by Oct 15, 2020

A maintenance contract generally is a contract between two parties of which one will maintain an asset of the other. It is a standard agreement across many industries. Such agreements can exist for equipment, building systems or landscape, vehicles, computers and many others.

Do note that a Maintenance Contract is different from Maintenance Plan/Strategy. A lot of customers and service providers mistake them as the same. To find out more about maintenance plans, read our article here.

In the security systems industry, we usually come across such agreements for CCTV, access control and other security systems. There are two common contracts in the industry. Firstly, the Comprehensive maintenance contract. Secondly, the Non-comprehensive maintenance contract.


Usually refers to the upkeep of equipment or assets. Such contracts generally include equipment breakdown, spare parts replacement, engineering services and labour charges.


Generally refers to the upkeep of equipment which includes engineering and labour charges. Spare parts replacement will be charged to the customer only upon confirmation.

However, it would be wise to note that not all comprehensive contracts are preventive, and not all non-comprehensive contracts are corrective. There is no legal standard or technical guideline to govern which contract qualifies as which. The only general rule of thumb is that parts are usually not included in non-comprehensive contracts. This also does not mean that parts would be significantly cheaper under a comprehensive agreement. There are some client’s we’ve come across whose previous provider was billing them hundreds per faulty camera. Needless to say, they were getting robbed from right under their noses.

maintenance contract confusion

How do I avoid maintenance contract pitfalls?

Firstly, one must fully understand their contracts. You should not automatically assume the type of agreement only by the title on the document.

Secondly, have a list of all your equipment and accessories that make up the entire system. If your CCTV has Cat 6 cables, trunking and connectors then include that in your list too.

Thirdly, floorplan and drawings of equipment are a plus. It’s best to be aware of the type of equipment and their location. This should also be a part of your maintenance plan documentation.

Fourthly, ask for a scheduled rate (SOR) to be included in the agreement. The SOR would mean the vendor will disclose the prices of equipment and labour up-front. The SOR also opens up the contract for negotiation.

Be aware of your equipment end-of-life (EOL). Equipment EOL refers to the manufacturer no longer providing support for such equipment. Ask your vendor to include clauses to navigate such incidents.

Lastly, you should conduct a periodic review with your service provider. This review could be on an annual basis. The idea here is to renegotiate specific terms or equipment costs etc. in your contract.

bad maintenance contract

In conclusion, we can be sure that no maintenance contract is exclusively comprehensive or non-comprehensive. As with all legal documents, the devil is in the details. Feel free to reach out to us if you are unsure about your maintenance contract and wish to understand it better. We also review SOR prices as part of our cost-cutting consultation. Schedule a brief 15-minute call with us and we can review and compare your scheduled rates for you.