This is a continuation of a blog series I started back on April 2013. You may want to start reading there if you're new to this blog series. Part 1
Part 6 ... Mac Repairs and Extended AppleCare
This week marks the 1st time, since early 2011, we've had to pay for a mac repair. Though this particular air was still under it's 3yr applecare, it had water damage. $800 later and Apple replaced virtually all the components...so it's kinda like a new refurb LOL. We've also had very few instances where we've actually needed applecare...11 times in almost 3 1/2 years.
So this has raised the question:
Is it worth buying the 3yr applecare warranty at $199/air and $279/mbp15???
Let's look at the data...
2011 - 25 Macs purchased
1st year repairs = 2 (1 was an accidental screen break miraculously fixed at no cost!)
2nd year repairs = 2
3rd year repairs = 3
** All Macs from 2011 are now outside their 3yr applecare **
2012 - 29 Macs purchased
1st year repairs = 0
2nd year repairs = 3 (1 was the accidental water damage at $800 repair cost)
3rd year repairs = 0
2013 - 9 Macs purchased
1st year repairs = 0
2nd year repairs = 0
2014 - 9 Macs purchased so far
1st year repairs = 1
Leaving out accidental damages our totals are
1st year repairs = 2
2nd year repairs = 4
3rd year repairs = 3
So as you might expect, especially for laptops, we're seeing more repairs AFTER year 1. 2 repairs were covered under the included applecare that comes with each Mac, and 7 repairs covered by the extended 3yr applecare we purchased. Now let's do some rough math.
We've purchased 72 macs (mostly refurbs) since March 2011 (Production Arts purchased their own Macs prior to 2011). They were not all airs, but for easy math we'll say they were. 72 macs times $200 for 3yr applecare = $14400
Let's say our 7 extended warranty repair jobs would have been $800 each (they were usually much lower) ... 7 x $800 = $5600.
$14400 - $5600 = $8800 = at minimum 12 more repairs before matching what we've spent on applecare.
Granted, we didn't buy all 72 Macs at the same time so a chunk of them can still fail inside their 3yr window and incure no cost to us, but how many more will likely fail?
Since the macs bought in 2011 are now outside of their 3yr applecare, we can make some predictions. Out of those 25 Macs, 5 required repair after year 1.
25 Macs times $200 3yr applecare = $7500
5 repairs at $800/ea could have cost us at most = $4000 (Again, this number is an overestimation)
In other words, we spent about twice as much for applecare than what repairs would have cost us. Boo! Of course that's a risk you have to weigh. We had no data to go off of at the time, so we err'd on the side of caution and bought the 3yr warranty. Now that we have over 3yrs of data to go off of, we can make some much better decisions ... meaning the data is telling us we should no longer be purchasing 3yr applecare :-)
However, there is a slight catch. In 2011, had we NOT purchased applecare we would have saved $7500, BUT you have to accurately budget for future unknown repairs ... which for those 2011 purchases we estimated the repair costs (see above math) to be $4000 2-3 years after their purchase.
Again assuming a repair would cost $800 and had we NOT purchased 3yr applecare for any Mac
2011 repair costs = $0
2012 repair costs = $0
2013 repair costs = 3x$800 = $2400
2014 repair costs = 4x$800 = $3200 ... and 2014 isn't over yet
Moving forward I should probably keep a $4000 budget line for mac repairs each year, especially since we now have 25 Macs with expired 3yr applecare.
Another factor in the equation - self repairs. I keep using a high estimate of $800 for our local Apple Store to do repair jobs. The reality is that we could do many of these repairs ourselves for much less $. For instance, I have an estimate from the Genius bar for $567 to replace a 256GB SSD. WHA? We can buy several SSD's for that cost and it's pretty simple to swap them. Now for stuff like screens and logic boards, we'd probably let Apple take care of those and just bite our tongue at the premium they'd charge. The easy stuff we'd handle in house.
Apple does have a self service program which we signed up for years ago, but we've yet to actually DO anything useful with it. Guess it's time to dig back into that and see how we can leverage it :-)
Summary? So far, for our environment, our data is telling us to STOP buying 3yr applecare. Instead we need to budget about $3000-4000/yr to cover repairs. This will save us several thousand dollars each year, which if our purchasing and repair trends stay the same, we'll end up saving $10,000-15,000 in 3yrs time. Yeah, that's a lot of dollars we can invest in other projects!
I'm very curious who else has done a similar exercise and do your results match up with what we're seeing?
That's it for Part 6. I'll plan to do one more final post to wrap up this blog series. Stay tuned :-)
** I decided to close comments on this blog post and direct folks to comment over here.