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It’s hard to arrive at an accurate number for the average cost of IT support for small business due to the sheer variability of the process, but we’ll try to shed some light on the topic so that you can make an informed business decision.
When it comes to budgeting for IT services, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. An efficient and productive IT department really depends on the needs of your business; no two business IT departments are the same.
IT services can start out by providing technical support such as fixing internal hardware and software problems as well as preparing devices to onboard new staff members. However, as your small business grows, your IT needs will escalate too.
When you hire more employees and sign up additional clients, it’s highly likely that your IT department will manage some, if not all, of the following tasks:
- Cloud migration and data backup
- Remote monitoring and network maintenance
- Cybersecurity threat assessment and training
- Penetration testing
- Implementing new software and associated staff training
- Software license management
- IT procurement
- IT support
- Aligning technology with the business
At this point, you must grapple with the decision to hire more IT personnel or outsource your IT requirements to a third-party provider.
It’s almost impossible to expect a single individual to service your entire IT needs. Your business has expanded considerably and the sophistication of IT requirements has grown commensurately, too. With a limited IT team, your business could be overlooking important IT best practices which could lead to inefficiencies down the line.
A one man IT team won’t have enough time to respond to all of the challenges of your growing business, and it’ll lead to a backlog of issues. If you think one person can, you might be overlooking some critical areas.
The average IT salary in Canada is north of $70,000 so this isn’t an easy decision to make. You must also contend with the fact that employees take a couple of months to get familiar with your internal IT stack and company culture before they can start performing optimally.
Conversely, leveraging a managed services provider (MSP) can give you the flexibility you need for your small business. An MSP is well-versed with the technology requirements of a growing company and brings industry experience that an employee might not.
While you may think it’s preferable to have an employee in-house, the cost and technical advantages of outsourcing are too big to ignore.
Types of Small Business IT Support Costs
The average cost of IT support for small businesses will depend on the managed services pricing model and the type of service requested. Typically, there are three types of small business IT support pricing: recurring, one time, and self-managed costs.
Let’s examine each one.
1. Recurring Average Cost of IT Support for Small Business
Outsourced IT support costs are flexible and easy to budget for. Your MSP can work with you to determine your recurring costs and IT needs.
It’s a great way to eliminate unexpected costs in IT support since most packages include repair and maintenance costs. That means you won’t incur extra costs if a device goes down and you have access to disaster recovery services.
Generally, managed services take into account the number of devices your company uses:
- Mobile devices
- Computer networks
- Data storage
The number and type of devices that your company uses will directly influence your monthly recurring costs.
In-house IT staff get a fixed monthly salary, regardless of your existing requirements. Taking the example we mentioned earlier, this could be around $6,000 or more per staff member. However, it’s highly possible that your IT needs don’t warrant such a high pay cheque.
When you consider an MSP, it’ll first take stock of your technology stack and mission-critical services. Depending on the needs of your firm, it’s possible that the monthly fee is much lower than the figure cited in the previous paragraph. And let’s not forget, adding more in-house personnel will dramatically escalate your payroll costs.
A 3-person IT team can cost $18,000 or more on a monthly basis. Even the most comprehensive of IT support company contracts are usually less than that, for a complete team of experts.
2. One-Time Small Business IT Support Pricing
Depending on your business needs, you may only have a one-time project that requires expert assistance. Examples of these are cloud migration, SharePoint installation, or Office 365 installation, where you pay for services one time.
These one-time projects don’t require additional full-time resources. Plus, they could be difficult to manage for existing in-house teams in terms of the complexity and time involved. Hence, outsourcing to an MSP is a tenacious business decision.
Not only will an MSP cost less in terms of resources and turnaround time, it’ll bring industry best practices to the one-time project. Hence, your internal staff can carry on as usual with minimal to no disruption while having access to customer support for the technology services you signed up for.
3. Self Managed IT Support Costs
The self-managed route is preferable for companies that already employ a large number of expert personnel. If you have strong knowledge and visibility into your existing IT as well as a firm estimation of future IT requirements, you could opt for a self-managed model.
However, with this option you’re most likely choosing to forego outsourced services. MSPs might still work with you for one-time projects or if you pay them a monthly retainer, but you can’t just call them in on an adhoc basis for tech support.
A self-managed IT model doesn’t work great for small to medium-sized businesses because it’s not cost effective to have all that expertise in-house. Large enterprise clients may also forego this option, in order to free up their employees for strategic tasks. After all, non-strategic work can cost up to 69 workdays every year with almost $5 trillion in lost productivity.
Outsourcing IT support services requires careful budgeting and planning, but it offers several benefits for small businesses. By working with a managed service provider, you’ll be able to redirect your resources to more revenue-focused tasks.