Despite being one of the most important factors in deciding between one service or another, the price of IT support can often be difficult to nail down. If you’re considering investing in Polk or Hillsborough County Managed IT Services, you should know how much you need to budget.
When researching a potential service, there’s a lot that you need to know about it. What it includes, how effective other customers have found it to be, how it stacks up against the competition, etc.
But there’s one bit of information that’s often as important, if not more, than the rest.
Unfortunately, it’s common practice in many industries, including the IT world, to keep from explicitly stating the price until it’s absolutely necessary.
The thinking is that, the more a potential customer learns about the service before knowing the price, the more likely they’ll keep an open mind once they finally do find out what it costs.
It feels like this stems from an antiquated sensibility, which dictates that you should never be too forward about money – but when it comes to finding the right Managed IT Services, you obviously need to know what it will cost you.
Budgeting for your technology can be difficult enough without having to do in-depth research to actually find the price tag.
So, without further ado, let’s talking pricing…
Before getting to the numbers, it’s important to understand the model that Managed IT Services pricing is based on.
The vast majority of Managed Service Providers (MSP) in Polk or Hillsborough County and across the country operate on a “per user” or “per device” basis. Therefore, charges are based on the number of users or devices on the network.
The MSP incurs the cost for the agent (a management device that is installed on all devices), anti-virus, any extras, and of course the support for each endpoint. Therefore, this flat number should cover their expenses and provide a level of profit that allows the business to grow.
This is compared to, for example, “Break/Fix” services.
Break/Fix service is the traditional style of outsourced IT services, which works by fixing your computers once they’re broken. In a nutshell, when something goes wrong — data loss, hardware failure, virus, etc. — you then get in touch with your Break/Fix support provider and have them fix it.
This is the last disclaimer before getting to the prices, but it’s an important one.
If you’re currently using Break/Fix IT support in Polk or Hillsborough County, or perhaps relying on a tech-savvy employee at your business to fix problems when they happen, then yes, Managed IT Services will definitely be more expensive.
That’s just the cost of doing business – if you want to overcome issues that you’re currently experiencing with a more limited form of IT support, then you’re going to have to invest more, simple as that.
With all that out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks.
The cost of Managed IT Services can range from $10 to $250 per user/device per month.
If you think that’s a wide range, you’re correct – the reality is that the level of support included from one end of that range to the other, and therefore, the type of business that those levels of support are designed for, vary greatly.
Does $10/month sound like a good rate? Of course, it does.
Is it the same quality and level of services as those that charge $250/month?
There are some business owners that happily pay $250 per user a month to eliminate the worry of hardware cost, additional bills, and a long response time, guaranteeing effective service for what could be a multi-location business or an even larger enterprise.
Generally though, most business owners prefer the $10-$100 per user range. They are okay working with a smaller IT business, additional bills for projects, onsite work, and sometimes even remote support.
Before you make your decision on what you are willing to pay for support, review the types of agreements below. This will help guide your expectations going into a new agreement or help to evaluate the comprehensiveness of your current agreement.
T&M – Time and Material – $75-200 an hour
The first plan is the old-fashioned time and material. Some MSPs stay away from this plan entirely. One-off projects and ongoing hourly support typically fall under this domain.
In this plan, the IT business gets paid when things break – not unlike Break/Fix. Generally, this isn’t necessarily considered “managed” services.
Monitoring – $10-$30 per user/device per month
A remote monitoring and management tool is the foundation of what is generally considered Managed IT Services.
This allows MSPs to manage computer/server patching, provide alerts for any troublesome areas on the network, and ongoing network optimization.
This typically runs between $10-$30 per user/device per month. Any remote support, onsite support, projects, consulting, hardware, or applications will incur an additional expense. This allows a low barrier to entry, but makes budgeting for ongoing IT expenses much harder for business with over 5 users.
If you’re looking for a monitoring plan, do not consider any that are quotes outside this range. The cost and time commitment of these agents cannot justify charging outside of this range. Any less than this range and you can guarantee things are not being managed correctly.
Remote Support – $30-$100 per user/device per month
This type of agreement is one of the most common in the MSP community.
It includes everything in the remote support plan, typically a certain level of consulting, and unlimited remote support. Most IT businesses don’t want you to know this, but 90-95% of tickets are completed remotely, so this is a practical option for the price conscious business owner.
The best way to describe this plan is “a la carte.” Most things are included, but you are left with additional bills for firewalls, backup, Microsoft Office 365/G Suite, projects, and onsite support.
This is a budget-friendly option, but be prepared for some variations in your monthly IT expenses.
The “All-in” Model – $100-$300 per user/device per month
Most MSPs offer some variation of this model and come up with some sensational marketing term for it like “MSP Premium,” “All you can eat,” or “MSPness.”
This model is perfect for the thriving business that likes to have a defined budget for their IT expenses and high expectations of their outsourced team.
This model can contain everything including:
Some MSPs will still tack on additional charges for hardware, projects, or applications, but, for the most part, this is a completely comprehensive IT plan.
Budgeting is easy, response is quick, and downtime is very low. That makes this plan very advantageous, despite the hefty invoice each month.
The model that is right for your business is up to you to decide, and it depends heavily on 3 key factors:
Typically big cities house MSPs that charge on the higher end of the spectrum detailed above.
If you are in Tampa, Miami, New York City, or most other major cities, prepare to receive slightly higher quotes for the cost of service. Because after all, you must have your outsourced IT team right next door, right? Not exactly.
Given that 90-95% of tickets are completed remotely, MSPs have been able to expand their geographic range significantly. Therefore, it may behoove you to consider a well-established MSP in a smaller market. Their support and response time will be comparable to a big city but at a better rate.
For example, let’s say you are a 50-user business. Anything over 25 users is a sweet spot for most MSPs. Yes, that MSP has a set price per user per month cost, and they will likely refuse to budge or offer a discount.
However, if it’s clear it could cost them your business, you could provide a reasonable adjustment and they will almost certainly relent.
It may only be $5 per user per month, but that will quickly add up over time.
Type of Agreement
As explored above, the agreements and costs vary greatly, but each MSP will have set services in each of their agreements.
For argument’s sake, let’s hold the monthly cost and location static in this example and only focus on the agreement. Let’s say they are pitching you the Remote support plan. It includes everything except onsite support and the extras.
You could, in theory, ask them to include some onsite work for the first month or start with room to negotiate and ask to include 2 hours of support each month in the agreement.
While they may not agree to that specifically, it’s likely that they’ll budge on the agreement to get you onboard. Most MSPs have a yearly client retention of around 95%. When a client comes on board, they are typically there to stay. Use that to your advantage.
As mentioned several times, it’s important to keep in mind how greatly all this can vary. That’s why it’s necessary to examine what you’re currently paying for IT services in Polk or Hillsborough County, and how satisfied you are with them.
Look at your own MSP agreement and review the factors that are leading your bill to be higher/lower than expected. If it is too low, it’s likely that you are not happy with the support on the front end and things are absolutely being left undone on the back end. If it is too high, review the factors and advice we’ve explored above.
Ask yourself these questions:
In the end, it’s all about finding the lowest rate you can pay to have all your IT problems solved. Depending on your business and your location, the cost can vary greatly – but more often than not, there’s going to be a way for you to either save a bit of money and get the same level of support, or invest slightly more and get those pesky IT problems squared away once and for all.
Like this article? Check out these blogs to learn more: