Proprietary vs. Non-Proprietary

Q: What is the difference between a Proprietary Elevator and a Non-Proprietary Elevator?

A: All equipment is not created equally! We have created a questionnaire for you to complete to help you decide on which style of elevator equipment is best for you.


Proprietary Equipment

The purchaser of a proprietary elevator must purchase replacement components directly from the manufacturer….only. Sometimes the replacement parts can be reasonably priced, other times they are surprisingly costly. As the equipment ages other vendors do start offering replacement parts though.


  • Initial Cost; due to manufacturers mass production of the components to be sold and installed as a package, “Packaged Units” can be quite reasonably purchased.
  • The manufacturer’s personnel are trained to repair this equipment and
  • have technical support through their network for problems that they are not familiar with or are unable to resolve. This will theoretically provide better “return to service” times.
  • Proprietary equipment has as good of a reliability record as nonproprietary if maintained properly. Sometimes proprietary equipment has excellent reliability histories. There are many variables with this type of assessment.
  • Owners are typically reliant on only the manufacturer to maintain that equipment.
  • Cost of proprietary equipment has been historically high with certain components.
  • Companies are hesitant to bid maintenance contracts due to the difficulty in acquiring components from a competitor.
  • Some proprietary equipment has not been operational for a long time and there are usually revisions to the equipment for the first few years in order to address the operational difficulties that arise after the equipment has been installed.


Non-proprietary Equipment

Non-proprietary still has patents and copyright protections and is typically defined as equipment that at least three elevator companies can work on without the use of special tools, passwords, or any more technical expertise then is normally possessed.


  •  It is usually quite reasonably priced and there is technical assistance available when the need arises
  • Supply is plentiful and there are many reliable suppliers and manufacturers
  • ALL companies are familiar with the non-proprietary equipment that exists on the market and all bid on maintenance contracts that have this equipment. For those that purchase their elevator maintenance, this equipment will likely provide the most competitive bids from all bidding contractors.
  • Lower maintenance contract costs due to all companies, independent and major manufacturers, being familiar with this equipment. All companies can bid the contract with confidence which theoretically makes the bids much more competitive.


  • The owner/purchaser has more up front work to do on specifications to ensure the equipment that is specified is correct as there are no cut and paste work scopes for this type of package. Bid specifications have to be developed, but once they are they can be re-used and tweaked as needed.
  • The up front construction/installation cost is usually higher