Commonly Asked Managed Services Questions

Published on 18th Aug, 2011 by Brad K

I get a lot of emails from IT providers with questions on how to migrate their business to an MSP model. Below are 8 questions that I have been asked by almost everyone who has reached out to me for some guidance. How much do I charge for managed services? This is a tricky question to answer, but I covered it here. How do I convince my clients to switch to managed services? Again, this is a very complex question.  To properly answer, I would have to take a look at your business specifically to analyze your client base and your companies technical merit and assets. (I do offer this service by the way) One simple piece of advice I can give - Make sure you hit the pain points for the client and be prepared to show the value of managed services to their organization.  Have a look at my managed services client cost analysis calculator. This can help you show your clients the true cost of a break / fix relationship.  Remember that managed services isn't a perfect fit for every client.  Sometimes, it may save a client thousands of dollars a month, other times it may cost them more.  Your client needs to be forward thinking enough for managed services to fit in their organization or you will run into a never ending stream of problems. What’s the average SLA I should be offering my clients? See the SLA described in the sample contract I linked to below. Appendix A shows some great guidelines for response, resolution and escalation times. I am not a big fan of the "ASAP – Best Effort" part for the resolution times. What I suggest is to multiply the escalation threshold by the the number of support tiers and add the response time. EG: Number of Support Tiers: 3 Response Time: 1 hour Escalation Threshold: 1 hour (1 Hour Escalation Threshold X 3 Support Tiers) + 1 Hour Response Time = 4 Hour Resolution Time. When offering unlimited support, does that include everything? For example would it include installing a new computer? Unlimited support includes maintenance and repairs to any hardware or software covered by the contract. Hardware & software installations and upgrades and any other non-covered items fall under projects and are billed separately like any other project / work would be.  Do not make exceptions to this rule! Should I do month to month contracts, or annual? I do 3 year contracts, but I would never lock a client into them (I am too nice of a guy!).  I like long term contracts because if/when you do a valuation on your business, these long term contracts make your company worth way more. Contracts can make or break the value of your IT business. If a client was opposed to a long term contract, I wouldn't hesitate doing a year or month to month contract. If you do agree to a month to month contract, I would insist you get a startup fee large enough to cover all the labour and licensing costs you have to endure to get them set up on managed services. Where I can get a sample contract to edit? This is the sample contract I have based mine off of, as well as others I have consulted for. How do you handle all the double entry between tickets, billing, knowledge base articles, etc...? Automation and Integration. A good PSA tool will integrate with your RMM and Invoicing software. Most PSA tools allow you to create a knowledge base article from a completed ticket. What PSA/RMM Tool should I use? There is no one tool that is the perfect fit for every company. PSA/RMM Software will be the lifeblood of your MSP and you will spend ALOT of time with it, so make sure you do your research and pick something you are comfortable with. It is not fun switching. MSPComparison.com is a great resource for user and expert reviews of all sorts of MSP software.   Am I missing anything?  Let me know!

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