The service-exchange deal

22 11 2010

Service-exchange in Zimbabwe works like this: I take along a pump (say) that is in need of repair and buy another pump of the same type for less than the price of the new because the business that repairs my pump will sell it on to someone else in the same manner. Get it?


Smart (on the left) and the pump


I took this photo this afternoon. That’s Smart on the left. He is the nursery foreman with a weakness for beer and very few teeth but he is just in the photo for a bit of scale. The pump as you can see is quite small and is a backup for when the power goes off. It is normally driven by a 6h.p. Lister diesel engine that is probably older than me but it does the job. The pump has 4 moving parts: a drive shaft, 2 bearings and an impeller (fan like thing that actually moves the water). Aside from the bearings it is wholly locally manufactured (amazing hey, we DO still make things in Zimbabwe!). My pump had got water into the bearings and they’d pretty much destroyed themselves together with the shaft and impeller.

Now about 18 months ago I had the gearbox in my Mazda pickup truck replaced (that’s it – the Mazda – in the background) also in a service-exchange deal. I would guess that the gearbox is not a lot bigger than the pump but it has LOTS of moving parts!

Guess which was the most expensive? Yes, you got it – the pump! The pump cost US$460 before VAT and the gearbox $400. Now let me explain why. The manufacturer of that brand of pump has been around a really long time so there are an awful lot of this type of pump around. He knows that most farmers who bring a pump to him for repair need it pretty urgently, especially if it’s attached to a diesel engine which is frequently being used when the power is off (also frequently). He also knows that few of us would be interested in re-arranging all the pipes to fit another make of pump as they are usually steel pipes that are not easily moved. I could probably have sourced a gearbox from a number of places.




4 responses

23 11 2010

Supply and demand?

23 11 2010

I guess that sums it up.

25 11 2010
Big Blister

So the cost of the replacement pump is “repairs x 500% or so…”? Sounds like a scam to me, but that’s what monopolization and demand can do for a market.

26 11 2010

And to top it off they’d not even checked their work properly so the pump had to go back yesterday to have one of the bolt holes modified so that we could get a nut on the bolt!

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