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Budgeting for Unplanned Maintenance


Could anything be more difficult, more vague, and more ambiguous than trying to budget for unplanned maintenance? Trying to plan specifically for the unplanned occurrence is no small order, but it can be done. Unplanned maintenance may be unplanned, but that doesn’t mean that it is unfounded, or not based in historical evidence or common sense. Let’s look at a few different ways you can plan for unplanned expenses in next year’s budget.

Look at the Past

The first place you should look to plan for the future is often the past. It can be a great place to draw conclusions of how things will look going forward. Of course, the past doesn’t always indicate what things will look like in the future, and sometimes things may be completely different. In most cases, however, the past can give you a rough idea of how the future will go. So, in trying to plan how much you’ll spend on unexpected maintenance, look and see how much you spent in each of the last 5 years. If you’re a new company and you have a lot of equipment, call up some other similar companies and see if they can give you any information. If you only have two pieces of equipment, there isn’t much room for maintenance anyways and you probably don’t need to spend much time planning.

What is the State of Your Equipment? 

Is your maintenance going to come from machinery, facilities, vehicles, or elsewhere? Pinpoint where your maintenance cost will come from, and then look at the state of that equipment. Do you have brand new, proven equipment in your factory? That will probably require very little maintenance. Do you have a fleet of 12-year-old vehicles that are all rusting and having transmission issues? Then you should expect higher maintenance costs.


Unplanned maintenance in your facility doesn’t mean you have no idea it’s coming, it just means you don’t know exactly where it’s coming from or what it will look like. If you look at the past and look at the condition of your equipment, you can get very close in your planning of unplanned maintenance.

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