There are 3 general models of IT support.
1. Break fix: call your IT services company when there is a problem and pay an hourly rate.
2. Managed Services: your IT services company charges a monthly fee to proactively manage everything.
3. Purchasing hours: you purchase blocks of hours at a discount and use them as needed.
Each model can have its place but not all are for the small business.
The “Break fix” model is the most traditional use of IT Services. You call your IT company when you need help and they schedule a time to come out and fix it. This works great for a larger business that has their own IT staff. Having the ability to escalate issues to a specialist or to bring in extra hands for a project is a great benefit for an in-house IT department. For the small business however, this can be very costly. Many IT companies charge anywhere from $100 - $250 per HOUR for these types of services. As a result, the small business owner tries to handle their IT needs themselves. This takes their focus away from running their business and also means their IT infrastructure may not be safe and secure, efficient, stable, or compliant. Many IT services company will also try to push hardware and solution sales above the needs of the business, just for the sake of generating revenue. Although “Break Fix” has historically been the most traditional model, it is quickly becoming the way of the past.
The purchasing hours model is another approach that works well for some businesses that have their own IT staff. Especially those with a small IT department. Purchasing a block of hours at a discounted rate helps businesses control costs and provide much needed assistance to their IT staff. Some blocks can even be purchased for specific areas such as networking or server administration so you know you will get the experience you need when you call for help. There are some issues with these blocks of hours however. They are still somewhat expensive; they can have expiration dates so if you don’t use them you will lose them; scheduling may not be guaranteed, when you call to use your hours a “best effort” is applied to scheduling meaning it could be weeks or months before you can get on the schedule for the expertise you need.
So why is the Managed Services model good for small business?
Over the last few years there has been a shift in the IT services world to Managed Services. When you sign a Managed Services contract with a reputable IT services company you essentially purchase an insurance policy to cover the IT needs of your business. The goal of Managed Services is to take care of all IT needs for the customer. All labor is included in a predictable monthly fee. Fees are usually based on the number of devices to be managed or the number of employees in the organization. A Managed Services provider will evaluate the needs of your business, gauge how much time they will spend each month proactively working for your business and provide you with an all-inclusive monthly price. Since all labor is included it doesn’t benefit the Managed Services provider to up-sell you on additional hardware or services, therefore they are only recommending the technology you need and have an incentive to ensure the efficiency and stability of your IT infrastructure. Should disaster strike, or a server crash, you no longer need to worry about how much labor will cost to get you back up and running quickly. You will no longer need to worry about spending $150 to repair that printer or to fix that annoying popup that keeps getting in your way. You also get the benefit of having access to all the resources of the IT service provider when it is needed. There is no scaled hourly rate to get access to a networking or server specialist. The IT provider utilizes all its resources to take care of all your needs.
So, what are the negatives of the Managed Services model? Large IT providers have so much overhead that they must charge a hefty implementation fee and implement high monthly minimums. I’ve heard of implementation fees ranging from $10k - $20k and monthly minimums of $2,500 - $4,000 no matter how many employees or devices the customer has.
What we offer...
At Bluegrass Computers & Technology, we understand that these prices are not feasible for the small business market and want to offer a solution. We have no monthly minimums and low implementation fees. We can think outside the box if major upgrades are needed upfront, pricing them separately to get them completed but still maintain an affordable monthly fee for ongoing service. We are flexible and agile, jumping on issues quickly and our focus on trust, communication, and innovation drives customer service excellence.
Give us a call or send us an email to see how we can work together to help you focus on growing your business instead of worrying about IT.