“Do I spend a little more for a better-quality product? Or do I go for the cheaper option and save some money, even if it means replacing it sooner?” These are the perpetual questions people ask when it comes to just about every purchase consideration that they must make, including the cost of lockers. Everyone wants to know which option gets you the most for your money.
Of course, the answer is different for every product and every scenario. In every case, it can be a hard decision to justify spending more when a lower cost option is available. But that’s why it’s important to follow through all costs that will be incurred by the product in its lifetime, not just initial purchase price, to find out how long lockers really will last.
When we say lifecycle cost, we are factoring in:
● The initial purchase price
● The length of time before the product wears out and must be replaced completely
● How much is spent on maintenance within that period
When choosing between products you should always conduct an analysis of both the cheaper and the more expensive products, and compare the end results.
It’s also important to consider the cost of time and energy that are required to replace the product. Add in the hours spent researching, purchasing, and installing the product. In the case of lockers, ordering time, scheduling set up around users, and actual labor hours must be included.
With some products, you'll need to consider advancements in technology. Is it more beneficial to replace this product sooner to take advantage of upgrades? However, when it comes to lockers, it’s safe to say that not much will change in the next few years. This is different from your cell phone, for example, where technological improvements happen more often and it makes sense to upgrade every couple of years.
How Long Will My Lockers Last?
It’s important to note that we cannot say for sure how long your lockers will last or identify exactly what maintenance will be required. That’s what has always made providing lifecycle cost estimates hard to project.
Perhaps Product A is 30 percent cheaper than Product B but it's also a lower quality. What will be most advantageous economically? The upfront cost is less, but how long will it take for A to become more expensive over its lifetime?
One way to estimate the cost over the lifetime of the lockers is by considering the warranty given by the manufacturers themselves since the point of the warranty is to indicate how long the locker should last.
For instance, the warranty on a knockdown locker can be between zero to three years, although they have been known to last for 30 years or more. However, this lifecycle includes regular maintenance on doors, hinges, frames, and locks, with parts needing replacements, material expenses, and labor costs, etc. -- so while they might last longer than their warranty, they can begin to cost money very soon after their initial purchase.
In one case study conducted by DeBourgh, our technicians went to a location and completed a full-scale maintenance on a series of knockdown lockers until everything was working like new. Then we waited to see how long it took those same lockers to fall back into disrepair. For our experimental case, it was less than two years later that the lockers were reported to us as being just as dysfunctional as they had been before. In all likelihood, many of the lockers had already started to become unusable only 12 or 18 months after that comprehensive maintenance. So consider this, even if the cost of that maintenance was less than the more expensive locker, the work was still insufficient to keep the lockers in working order for very long.
Welded lockers, on the other hand, will usually come with a lifetime warranty because their workmanship is supposed to last for however long they are in a specific building, sometimes from 70 to 80 years or more, unless they are moved around to different buildings. DeBourgh offers a warranty of 40 years for welded lockers, and most of these lockers will go for 10 years without needing any maintenance whatsoever, at which point you may need to look into minor upgrades for your hinges or locks.
In comparison, throughout that same period, knockdown lockers will likely need to be maintained and fully replaced around four to five times.
The Factors of Cost
The important thing to understand is that more factors than just the purchase price should dictate the product you buy.
Approval: How hard was it to get budget approval for this locker installation? Maybe a superintendent is planning to be at the school for only a few years, and is more concerned with saving money over that shorter timeframe? Maybe it’s a brand-new building that you will want to keep new and in prime working order for as long as possible?
Labor: Every time you need to replace the locker, you must hire a full team to execute this installation. Every maintenance must also be conducted by a paid expert.If you’re in an urban area or need help during the summer months, maintenance becomes more expensive and harder to come by.
Specifics: There are also many outside details that affect the longevity of the lockers, from placement, usage, geography, products supervision, humidity levels, what material was it made of, and much more. What about your environment may affect cost and life of the lockers?
In our experience, we have seen high-quality locker purchases be far more cost-effective than simply buying the less initial expensive option. You can expect to replace knockdown lockers 10 to 20 years later -- after several rounds of maintenance -- and may only need to replace welded lockers when you move locations. They may even outlast your building!
While there are budget considerations to keep in mind; if it is at all possible you should be thinking of the long-term. Locker renovations can provide your school or business with a huge upgrade, one which will be far more compelling if the lockers are still going strong years later than if things start sticking and breaking after only a few seasons.
For more information on how long lockers can last in your building, contact DeBourgh Lockers and our team of experts will meet with you to discuss all the best options for your location.