The cost of outsourced IT support depends on several factors and will vary from business to business. The reason is that the right IT support solution needs to be as unique as your business.
Each provider will price their services differently so it’s crucial to shop around and request multiple quotes to be sure you’re balancing a high quality service with value for money. Make sure you’ve identified exactly what your business needs and how many users the service needs to cover. As with any service, the cheapest is rarely the best choice.
Generally, there are 2 main types of IT support service:
Pay-as-you-go: You pay for IT support on a per job basis, as and when you need it.
Monthly Support: You pay a monthly fee for an ongoing support service which is a bit like an insurance policy should anything go wrong.
It’s also possible to find a fully managed service which means an external company will manage your IT system completely. This should prevent issues occurring in the first place and remove the task from your day to day operation.
Why Choose a Pay-as-you-go Service?
A pay-as-you-go service is a great choice for startups and small businesses which are in need of professional support but either don’t have the need for a full time employee or enough technology to warrant a fully managed service. This option enables you to access support as and when you need it without placing unnecessary strain on the budget. The vast majority of pay-as-you-go providers will operate on a rolling month to month basis with no long term contract.
Larger businesses with their own inhouse IT support may also use pay-as-you-go providers from time to time either to cover sickness, holiday or perhaps to fill in skill gaps in their team.
Things to consider…
For businesses which need day to day support then a pay-as-you-go service will become very expensive. A monthly package may be a better choice in this instance.
There are independent IT specialists who will provide IT support on a freelance basis, but the issue here is availability. A good specialist will be in high demand and you may have to wait for their attention, but someone who is always available should also ring quality alarm bells.
If a provider charges by ‘incident’ rather than by the hour, make sure you qualify exactly what an ‘incident’. If an issue is fixed within minutes remotely, will you still be charged the same fee as something more complex?
Pay-as-you-go Service Costs
The pricing structure of a pay-as-you-go service will vary from provider to provider. Some will charge a flat hourly rate for reactive support, while others will sell ‘blocks’ of hours which you then treat as a kind of credit to use as you need it. The more hours you buy, the less each hour costs. Many will offer support hours and consultancy hours which can be used to seek advice and expertise when you’re considering new technology or strategy.
Alternatively, the provider may charge based on the type of job or service needed. For example, some companies will charge £20-30 for a job which is completed remotely but £50 for an onsite fix.
Many providers will ask for a monthly retainer fee for their service but this is not usually a big cost. It includes things like client administration costs, antivirus updates or ongoing monitoring of your network.
Why Choose a Monthly Package?
For companies which rely on IT systems everyday a fully managed service based on a monthly payment may be the best option. By outsourcing your IT via a fully managed service all the major elements of your IT systems will be supported. This could include:
- Desktop PCs / workstations
- Tablet devices / smartphones / peripherals
- Networking equipment (switches/routers/firewalls)
- Operating systems / applications
- Some 3rd party applications.
A fully managed system will usually include both remote (telephone and online) and onsite support for a fixed monthly fee. The services included in the package should be tailored to suit your business’ needs, all confirmed in writing with a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Possible services could include:
- Remote, onsite, email and telephone support
- Operating system updates
- 24/7 incident logging / server monitoring
- Sourcing hardware / software
- Annual computer health check
- System moves / changes
- Out-of-office hours
- Online data backup
- Antivirus protection.
Things to consider…
A monthly IT support contract will usually include insurance for your IT systems of some kind but this comes at an extra fee. You should, however, be able to specify exactly what it is you’d like covered so you don’t end up paying for insurance for elements that are already covered by manufacturer warranty.
A monthly contract will usually include unlimited telephone support and an agreement as to how quickly the provider will respond to a request, incident or emergency e.g. within 2, 6 or 8 hours. However, onsite visits may not be included in the monthly fee.
Many IT support providers offer more than one package with different features and services included. Be sure to ask for all the options available to you before you commit to a plan which includes unnecessary support for extra cost.#
Monthly Package Costs
The monthly price of your fully managed IT support service will be based on the number of servers, computers or workstations it needs to cover although some will also charge by the number of users. You pay a flat fee every month which will include a certain level of support, but some services will be charged as extras on top of the monthly fee. The cost per user or workstation can be as little as £8 per month to over £100 per month.
To give you an indication of what a monthly support contract might cost, we did some research and found the below figures as a starting point*.
|Number of Workstations Supported||Hours of Onsite Support Included (per month)||Average Monthly Cost|
*Figures are a representation of average prices based on research and not intended as a quote.
Compare IT Support Quotes
Some IT support companies will ask you to commit to long term contracts but this isn’t your only option. Many now offer rolling 30 day contracts which enable you to continually review the service. Your IT support contract should be focused on the crucial elements of your IT system like such as the network server, security and backup.
Remember, the cheapest service is not always the best choice. We recommend you source at least 3 quotes from different providers and be sure to look at the services on offer as well as the costs. In addition, you’ll learn a huge amount from their existing customers, reviews and recommendations.