How much does it cost to operate a Lely Robot? This is a great question, and it’s one we hear all the time from prospects who are in the research phase.  In general, Lely says you should expect an operating cost of about $7,000 per robot per year. Some years are going to be higher than that when big ticket items fail, but over the course of your robot’s lifetime, you can anticipate it will average out to that number.

In 2015 we set out to see what our robot users were spending on their robots, and we’ve been calculating the cost every year since. It’s varied year to year depending on multiple things. If we install a lot of robots one year, a lot of robots are going to be under warranty and therefore that may affect the end number. If we don’t sell a lot of robots one year, the average age of our “robot herd” increases and we may see costs go up. In 2021 we had plenty of A3’s and A4’s in the field to make a fair comparison between the two, however, our A5 robots are still new. The more time A5 farms spend in operation, the more realistic the operating cost will be, and the better picture they will paint as far as maintenance cost between the difference models.  

Each year Lely Center Mid-Atlantic sends a report to our customers outlining their personal operating cost and comparing them anonymously to their cohort group. For example, a single robot farm will be able to see their expenses and see the variation between what our other one robot farms have spent. It’s a great activity to do each year so we can plan for improvements in the upcoming year.

In 2021, the average age of our robots was 8 years old. We currently have 22 Lely A3 robots, 63 Lely A4 robots, and 15 Lely A5 robots in operation. Across all robots, our average operating cost in 2021 was $6,459.53 per robot. We are always happy to see this number be in line with our expectations. In fact, we have been running these numbers for seven years and across all the years we’ve been calculating it, our average operating cost has been $6,272.97

2021 $   6,459.53
2020 $   7,221.92
2019 $   6,493.86
2018 $   7,392.29
2017 $   4,391.21
2016 $   5,517.99
2015 $   6,434.02

We also compare the costs between the models each year. Here’s the breakdown for 2021:

Averages per robot
A3 $               7,425.18
A4 $               6,089.56
A5 $               5,453.17

Each year the A3’s come out to be more expensive than the A4’s- they are much older in many cases, are without warranty. This is a great argument for customers to consider trading up to an A5. We do expect A5’s to continue to be the least expensive robot in terms of operating cost, but they are still new and under warranty in many cases, so that number may change in the future.

If you’re currently doing your research on the cost of operating robots, hopefully these numbers give you peace of mind. It’s a great number to budget for, knowing that some years you’ll be higher, and some years you’ll be lower, but overall, you should average out to around $7,000.00 per robot per year.

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