From the Web site Wheel Chairs R US, a customer can link to a Redman Power Chair site, call an 800 number and purchase the $30,000 power wheelchair.
Although the customer may have a quality wheelchair, if any parts are needed, or something malfunctions, it could be months until the part arrives from its company warehouse.
Wayne Bachand, owner of Nevada Seating & Mobility, said this is a problem he has found with many of the power chairs brought to him for repair.
"Most companies selling scooters or lifts on TV or the Internet say they have repairmen in the area, which usually means as far away as Sacramento," he said Monday. "When this equipment needs maintenance or repair, most customers cannot wait for weeks to have these things done."
Bachand, 49, builds, designs, repairs and modifies wheelchairs, scooters and lifts in his Carson City shop, and sells them at his 1475 Old Hot Springs Road show room. He came up through the metal fabricating field to operate the only Northern Nevada company that provides this range of services. His business has three full-time technicians.
"We work with anybody who has a mobility issue, every age, type of injury or illness," he said while sitting on one of his show room power chairs, a dark blue Victory by Pride, an electric wheelchair manufacturer.
Bachand said some out-of-state companies even suggest to customers the chairs are free. A disabled person could qualify for a chair through Medicaid and Medicare, which Bachand takes, but that doesn't mean it's free.
"Nothing is free," he said. "Even if it's just insurance, you should still spend the money wisely."
Power chairs and scooters are a hefty investment. He said on the Internet you can find scooters ranging in price from $1,000 to $2,500. Power wheel chairs are $2,500 and up.
After 15 years in the business, Bachand said he has learned which manufacturers are the easiest to work with. He is a dealer for Invacare, Pride Mobility, Harmar Mobility and Bruno. Bachand tries to deal with companies that have a parts warehouse on the West Coast.
In the Conestoga Drive shop, machinist Adolfo Rizo, a Western Nevada Community College graduate, changed out the tires of a $10,000 power wheelchair.
"I like this job because everyday I get to do something different," Rizo said while clutching an air gun. "I notice it helps a lot of people when I do modifications on a wheel chair. It makes them really happy."
A pack of about 20 power chairs were waiting for repairs or modifications. One is a wide-seated scooter used by a rancher to haul hay. They're also storing a Radio Flyer red wagon scooter for the Carson City School District.
"Wheel chairs don't have to be ugly, they can be fun," Bachand said.
He said that one Carson City student liked the Radio Flyer scooter so much that it helped expand his vocabulary.
"The child only spoke in one-syllable words, but after he started using this scooter he spoke his first two-syllable word - 'wagon.'"
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.
If you go:
Nevada Seating & Mobility
1475 Old Hot Springs Road, Carson City
Open: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, and by appointment