The Fixed-Cost IT Support Fallacy

The Fixed-Cost IT Support Fallacy


  • 16 Apr 2015
  • Written by David

As business owners or budget controllers we all like the comfort and predictability of a fixed price service. However, we should take care not to be overly influenced by this comfort and allow ourselves to sacrifice getting value for money.

IT Support Services

I recently had a discussion with a business owner who was fairly happy with their IT support provider (not us!) but was reluctant to change to any support plan that wasn't a fixed-cost. Now, this business owner told me that she rarely used more than 1 or 2 hours of labour per month. Bear that in mind.

Here's the breakdown of what she was paying:

£20 per PC x 14 = £280 per month

£90 per server x 1 = £90 per month

Giving a total of £370 per month or £4,440 per year.

I explained that our equivalent managed support service would save £2,966 per year. Sure, this isn't a fixed cost service and the customer would pay an hourly rate for labour. However, if we convert that saving into labour that's the equivalent of 3 hours per month more than she has been using. The likelihood is that this customer will recognise a significant net saving by being on a metered support plan.

Choosing Technical Support

Now, don't get me wrong, fixed-cost IT support can be great depending on the particular customer and Nimbus Blue do also offer a fixed price option but take care not to ignore the long-term figures.

Whilst we're on the subject of fixed-price support, take care to read the small print. There are always exclusions and these vary wildly between providers. These exclusions can make your fixed cost almost meaningless. Look out for exclusions such as:

  • Support that requires a technician to come to your office (very likely to happen!)
  • Support for any 3rd party software, such as Sage, SolidWorks, CRM etc.
  • Installation or configuration of new hardware, such as laptops or wireless equipment
  • Virus removal
  • Hardware or software upgrades
  • Support for peripheral devices, such as printers, monitors, scanners etc.
  • Non-business hours support

If you're in any doubt about the level of support you require and whether you're being best served by your current provider get in touch with us for a chat.

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