Making an educated purchase of adaptive equipment requires you to understand the industry, its players and the relationship between them. The following are the five key components of this industry:
The relationship of all five comes together as follows:
You as the consumer contact a dealer(s)/retailer (NMEDA can provide you with the contact information for the dealer closest to you). The dealer learns about your needs, desires and constraints and determines the vehicle(s) and equipment choices that may fit your needs and give you pricing. You evaluate your options, possibly by consulting several dealers, and make a decision. The dealer then:
1. modifies your vehicle with purchased components from equipment manufacturers and/or internal manufacturing processes, or
2. purchases a modified vehicle from a second-stage manufacturer or a modifier and then adds the final "touches" with components from equipment manufactures, or
3. sends your vehicle to a second-stage manufacturer, or modifier for structural modifications before making the final "touches."
The Driver Evaluators and trainers fit into the process in several ways:
1. You may see them before you search for dealers and get a prescription outlining what equipment you may need. This process can include your driving vehicles with different equipment to see what suites your needs the best. The evaluator will document your needs in a written prescription. You will then take the prescription to a dealer for pricing.
2. If you have been evaluated by a driver trainer, they will commonly come to the "fitting" of you in your modified vehicle. The "fitting" is the process of positioning all adaptive equipment in the appropriate locations for your needs.
3. Once the vehicle is complete and you are going to be driving the vehicle independently, the driver evaluator/trainer will teach you how to properly and safely drive your modified vehicle.
During the process, dealers who are NMEDA members and/or participants of NMEDA's QAP Program, follow and abide by detailed guidelines developed by NMEDA that assist in ensuring that the dealer provides you with a quality product, in an efficient manner, with your and other's safety being considered.