Choosing IT Support for Your Restroom Rental or Septic Service

There are several kinds of external IT support services to choose from for your portable toilet or septic service business. The kind and level of support your business needs is largely based on the size of your business, number of users, and kinds of administrative and field functions (like payroll, AP/AR, etc.) you manage digitally in-house and how much you outsource. In any case, a small to medium-sized business needs the same level of digital systems protection from emergent issues, external threats, like viruses and hacking, that larger companies have.
Why Does My Small Business Need Outside IT Support?
IT systems and equipment issues are a fact of life for all businesses of every size. So is cyber-crime. In fact, hackers find small businesses especially appealing, because their systems can be expected to be much less well protected.
Hiring a solo IT guy in a small to medium-sized septic service or portable restroom rental business typically costs more than using an outsourced IT service. Plus, you lose your IT support when the employee is out sick or on vacation. The single IT guy also does not have the abundance of technical and up-to-date IT industry knowledge resources that an IT support company brings to a small business.
An outsourced IT support company also can offer the buying volume discounts to their small business customers, who normally would not qualify for such savings.
Small Business Benefits of Using Outside IT Support
Of course, in a portable restroom or septic service business, the priority is customer service. It’s typically more cost-effective to avoid trying to being your own IT technician too. You’re likely to be better off just educating yourself on your outside IT support services options.
Having your own team of outsourced IT professionals helps ensure optimum efficiency and maximum productivity for your business. IT support services techs bring the benefit of their team’s many years of combined IT experience to work on resolving your IT issues, and they are more reliable to keep current with ongoing industry advancements in IT support knowledge.
Some key benefits of having strong IT support for your business include:
1. Reduces systems security risks
2. Reduces downtime
3. Frees internal resources
4. Better protects your customer data
5. Increases your company’s efficiency and productivity
6. Enables you to compete better with larger competitors
7. Allows you to focus on doing business
8. Enables you to implement new technologies more quickly
What Kinds of IT Services are Available?
There is a wide range of services provided by managed IT services, such as desktop support, virus protection, web hosting, user training, and others. Pricing structures vary by the kinds of services your business needs and the number of machines and users.
There are several types of outsourced business IT support available. You’ll need to determine which provides the best value for the particular IT services you need for your company’s software and network. Don’t just pick the one that gives you the most appealing price quote (whether that’s the lowest or highest).
Ask about hidden costs, and beware of lengthy contracts that lock you into a financial commitment that you’ll have to try to disentangle yourself from if the vendor’s service quality becomes an issue over time.
How are IT Services Prices Structured?
Outside IT services are usually set up in one of the three ways explained below. Some IT companies offer a choice between two or more of these service arrangements:
1. Billing Per Service Call
When using an IT support service that bills per service call, you call for IT service when you need or want to have some work performed, and you pay for the time and materials the vendor uses to complete the service request. This is commonly called “break-fix” IT services. This service is typically used for emergency repairs, to remove a virus, to undo the effects of hacking, upgrade a network, or to complete other specified work by a given completion date.
2. Managed IT Services
With managed services, the IT company operates as your business’s own outsourced IT department, doing any and all work that in-house IT employees would do for you. This includes installations, maintaining servers, networks, software, computer workstations, devices, and even your phones system. Virus protection, systems security, cloud services, web hosting, monitoring, backup and recovery, reporting, and other services are all part of maintaining performance of your IT under managed services.
3. Software Vendor’s Product Support
Many software manufacturers offer IT Help Desk support for their customers, for an additional fee. The support services are usually limited to helping customers resolve only problems specific to the product they purchased. They don’t support other applications, or customers’ networks or devices.
Comparing IT Services
Of the three types of service break-fix and Managed IT Services are the two service models that you’ll probably be comparing for your business. The point is to get the specific IT support services your team needs, without obligating yourself to pay for additional services you don’t need. Here are some of the key advantages and disadvantages of the Managed IT Services and Break-Fix models.
Managed IT Services
MSP monitoring systems proactively detects and corrects issues in network systems and on disc drives before they grow into bigger problems that disrupt business operations. This can also often help greatly reduce the amount of down time needed to fix a problem when an emergency systems issue does occur.
Other Advantages of an MSP
• Easier budgeting due to fixed service fee
• Flat fee covers all your business’s IT support needs
• IT monitoring and maintenance usually most cost-effective
• Corrects problems before they require expensive emergency IT help
• Virus Protection, with whole-system monitoring
• Routine security updates to firewall, anti-malware, anti-spyware
• Help Desk support (usually 24/7)
• Routine data backup, and data recovery
• Email administration
• Systems user training
• Web hosting for cloud and hardware server
• Improves experience for customers, employees, and yourself
• Proactive systems optimization
• Reporting systems weaknesses
Disadvantages
• Must pay agreed fee even if you haven’t had an IT problem during the billing period.
• IT costs may be higher for a given year, than for an occasional emergency service call.
Break-Fix IT Services
Billing per service call allows you to pay only for exactly the IT services you receive for the purpose of diagnostics and fixing a problem in an IT emergency, or for updates, upgrades, installs.
Other Advantages of Break-Fix
• No locked-in regular fee for IT services
• No requirement to sign a contract
Disadvantages
• Business equipment and systems are unprotected
• Budget can be severely impacted if/when an IT emergency arises
What is the Most Cost-Efficient IT Support?
If your company simply hasn’t yet reached the size at which paying for a professional in-house IT support team makes sense, but you have multiple machines and users, Managed IT Services is typically the most cost-effective option, compared to in-house IT support.
A small company with a server and multiple networked machines and multiple users is likely to pay more for break-fix service than for an MSP over an average annual accounting period, because the rates are so high for emergency calls when customers are not under an MSP contract. Additionally, systems issues can become compounded when neglected or when users aren’t aware of a problem until it suddenly manifests in ways that cause downtime.
Note that you probably won’t find prices for Managed IT Services on any vendors’ websites. That’s because Managed Services Providers’ (MSP’s) pricing is so broadly variable, depending on costing factors unique to each business’s specific needs. So, you’ll have to call for an estimate, based on an assessment of your equipment and systems and the services you want to maintain.
Before You Commit to an IT Services Vendor
Whichever IT services type and vendor you choose, before you sign a service level agreement (SLA) with an MSP or even agree to have a break-fix tech support work on your systems, ask some key questions, such as:
• Do they guarantee their response time to Help Desk calls?
• Will support tickets be issued for Help Desk calls?
• Do live operators answer their phones, or does voicemail answer?
• How many IT support technicians does the vendor have?
• Are they adequately insured to cover errors?
• Do they have Workers’ Comp?
• Do they guarantee they’ll finish projects on time, and on budget?
• Are there hidden possible costs in their all-inclusive SLA?
• Will a rep be assigned to manage your account?
• How and when will you be billed for their services?
• Are their invoices fully detailed?
• Are all services included listed in the SLA?
• What makes their IT service a better choice than their competitors?
• What is the contact information for some of their references?
Conclusion
In comparing cost-effectiveness of hiring an in-house IT employee or of having an office worker also serve as your IT tech, to using outsourced IT support, outsourcing offers greater benefits for security and for your team’s productivity and your business’s profit margins.
Only work with a well experienced IT support company that emphasizes their awareness of your cost concerns. Find one that offers 24/7 Help Desk support, if possible. Make sure that you and your IT services contractor are in clear agreement on what constitutes reasonable expectations for security measures, access, timeframes, outcomes, and costs — all prior to agreeing to let any work begin.
Beyond that, just be clear on exactly what is really included in the service rate, before you commit to an SLA or even to having break-fix work begin. This is the best approach to avoiding unexpected service issues or spiraling costs with outsourced service.

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