Managed IT Service Plan or, Pay-as-you Go?

How do you expect me to answer that question? Before I get to that, a little analogy…

I liken most IT consultant visits to my visits at the dentist. When you go to the dentist—unless you’re having a toothache—you’re mostly expecting to have a normal visit and move on with the rest of your day. Most people don’t particularly like going to the dentist, where they poke and prod at your teeth, generally make you uncomfortable, and ask you questions that you are incapable of answering. (Though, in the case of the dentist, it’s typically because they have their hands in your mouth.) When you get to the end of the visit, you get one of two conversations…  The first one sounds like this: “You’ve been taking care of your teeth and coming to see us regularly so, we’ll see you in six months.” The other conversation usually includes something about cavities or other things that you don’t want to hear, and typically the words “I haven’t seen you in a while…” are spoken at some point. (You’ll want to make sure you have dental insurance at the end of this conversation.)

The reason that I relate the two experiences is because there are some really strong parallels between them.  To my dismay, people don’t like IT departments and/or pros, unless they’re helping you on the side or for free. There’s actually at least one book written about how much people do not like us!  Several reasons for this exist, the first being that we ask questions that are hard to answer. Orm in some cases, questions so vague that the answer may be written in the stars, but you don’t have the legend.  Another big reason is because when you start your visit with your IT pro, you know that they are going to “clean some things up” and you should be on your way.  However, if you are simply paying for hourly tech services, you may not call when you get a “toothache,” because you’re worried about having the budget to fix the problem. So, your computers may not be receiving the proper maintenance that they require. (There are some things that you can do yourself, but I certainly wouldn’t try to give myself a dental cleaning.)  In this scenario, often when you get to the end of the visit, the IT pro will tell you what he found.  This conversation, like the dentist conversations previously mentioned, will really indicate where you are at with your IT services… If you’re a managed services subscriber or are really cloud heavy, you’re probably going to get a few pointers, and perhaps a typical maintenance update or similar.  If you’re paying someone by the hour to come in and do break/fix work, you’re probably going to have the “cavity” conversation, in which case you’ll want insurance, so you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for repairs.

To sum it up, treat your computers like your teeth: take regular care of them and they’ll last longer.

Worried about the costs of a managed IT service plan? Chances are, if you’re using hourly break/fix services, you are probably paying too much. In those scenarios, the inevitable downtime needs to be considered. During these periods, your employees cannot be productive, which can lead to lost clients or customers, not to mention diminishing confidence in your company. In some cases, data loss due to lack of, unmanaged, or misconfigured backups can cost you your business.

When you decide that the cost of regular tech maintenance is worth it, be sure to consider a few key points when selecting your provider:

  • Do they include service setup, unlimited helpdesk, and project work in their monthly pricing, or do they charge extra for those?
  • Do they manage your systems and perform maintenance during business hours, or during non-peak hours?
  • Do they have the experience that will keep your business technology well oiled, or are you hiring a relative or friend to be your IT guy?

At Manage Infinity, we actually lose money on new clients for months while we get them up to peak productivity. We don’t charge extra to get you going, answer your support calls, or for upgrade labor—it’s included in the monthly plan you signed up for. And, our experienced team will work on your systems when it’s best for you, so your day isn’t thrown off.

If you’re a “numbers person,” this is for you:

If you haven’t been on a maintenance plan within the past year, I am estimating that it will take around five hours per computer and server to eliminate malware and/or viruses, secure and back it up, and to harden your network. Let’s say you have a network of 10 computers and 1 server… That’s a total of 55 hours to start.  Using the industry average of $100/hr, you would pay $5500 for hourly service.

On our Manage IT plan, you would pay $1200/mo, saving you overage charges and getting you back to work, while securing your data and network in a fraction of the time and money that hourly contractors can.

But, don’t get me wrong—if you want to keep overpaying an hourly contractor, feel free to give us a ring. We do that too and, we like money.