This Outsource IT Support Costing and Pricing guide is designed to help you develop and initial budget, as well as plan for the costs associated with Outsourcing your IT Support.
Outsourcing IT Support Cost: A Couple of Things to Consider
There are two things to consider when researching IT Outsourcing costs:
- Are you looking to outsource the whole IT Support role?
- Or are you looking for Outsource support to cover and assist your existing, employed IT staff?
In this article, I will talk about the outsourcing your IT, cover IT help desk outsourcing costs, and help you to get an idea of how much budget you will require. Keep in mind that these prices will vary greatly from region to region.
Outsourcing Full Time or Part Time IT Support
Outsource IT Support has a number of great benefits over employing someone yourself.
- Absence due to Sickness or Holidays are a thing of the past. Your outsource IT provider should be capable of covering any absence. This has one exception, when you are dealing with 1-man-band IT firms where sickness or holiday's can become an issue.
- Cost - You have a simple flat fee / or hourly/monthly cost for the IT Support functions. No National Insurance contributions or PAYE to arrange.
- HR - No need for HR, only a simple contract. If you're not happy with your IT provider then you can change. It's not quite as easy to do that once you have employed your IT team, who have passed their probationary period.
Hourly Rates for IT Support
Rates will again vary by region, but from our experience there seems to be a distinct difference between cost vs quality, so please do keep this in mind when choosing the right Outsource company.
£25-50 per hour - These are typically smaller or less experienced, less qualified IT firms. These are great if you're looking for 9-5 IT support on a budget.
£50 - £75 per hour - This is a reasonable average for cost vs service. Don't expect the world from them and you won't be disappointed. Delay's will be expected and the service won't be perfect, but then if you're really on a budget then these would be better suited. 9-5 Support with a possible 24x7 Out of hours option that might be available.
£75 - £100 per hour - These are the firms who have the staff, knowledge and expertise to provide a great service. They might not come cheap, but they will have your back. Here at Tekkers IT Solutions, we fit into this bracket. Contracted Service Level Agreement's (SLA's / How quickly do they respond) are met consistently, projects are well planned, executed and well thought through. If you are a growing business, you will want someone in this bracket to help you grow with solid, reliable advice. 24x7 Support should be available with proper SLA's.
£100 - £150+ per hour - These are typically the bigger 'corporates', more designed for nationwide or global firms. They will typically be slower to react than the lower brackets, and typically not able to meet their SLA's as reliably as the next bracket down. Expect to pay these kind of rates for Consultancy for when you are looking for specific IT expertise on a project. These rates are also typically charged by London IT firms, or by IT firms providing consultancy to other IT Firms or departments.
The closer you get to London, then adjust your figures upwards accordingly.
Per User Per Month Rates
A very common way to price support on a fixed, monthly basis, is to work on the per user per month basis.
Many software platforms that IT Companies use have been designed to operate and bill on a per user per month basis, which has a number of benefits.
- Budget all IT costs for new staff members with a simple cost per head per month
- Can scale up and down with the business as it's requirements change
- Includes all support, both on-site and remote with no cap, providing nothing is being abused and issues are being addressed.
Costs for these can hugely vary, due to most IT Companies bundling, or not bundling, products within these rates.
For your per user per month cost, you may be getting IT Support, but you may also be getting a number of other services built in to that cost:
- Office 365 Licensing
- Disaster Recovery or Online Backup
- Cyber Security
- Many other products!
The downside to these businesses who bundle the products, is that you may be paying for them even if you aren't using them. So be aware that you may either be paying for some hidden costs, or you might not be utilising all that is available to you as part of your agreement.
Because of this difference from company to company, we have seen costs as low as £15 per user per month, but as high as £100 per user per month.
My advice would be to look through proposals in detail, and if you are comparing a number of companies together, make sure you are comparing apples for apples - however difficult it may be.
Don't disregard a proposal because it seems expensive on the face of it - because it may actually bundle in all of the extras which are being charged separately on other proposals.
Likewise, don't disregard a lower cost proposal because it seems cheap and cheerful, it's likely they will come to a similar value once you add on the additional products which are hidden in the more expensive proposal.
Other Costs for Outsourcing IT Support
There shouldn't usually be any other IT Costs, and it should be clearly presented to you by each individual firm on how they work.
Aside from the hourly fee, you should be able to agree a fixed monthly fee that covers all of your IT Support requirements.
The only things that may be separate from these fee's are new requirements, such as projects or new equipment.
This typically means the support agreement will either be capped to a certain number of hours per month, or may be 'unlimited' with checks at regular intervals to ensure hours are not being over used.
What sort of service should I expect from Outsource IT Support?
Outsource IT support should have a good system and detailed processes in place already to deal with the day to day support function.
Monitoring should be installed to ensure any potential hardware or software issues are picked up before they become a problem. For example, a server running low on disk space should be identified and an actioned upon before it runs out completely, thus keeping the business running efficiently. Anti-Virus and Windows updates regularly installed, email spam filters and backups and disaster recovery processes are all monitored to ensure
Reviews should be scheduled for both initially checking over your IT systems, to put a future plan of action in place, as well as regular catch-up meetings to discuss the on-going IT issues. Without regular communication with your Outsource IT, the two can quickly become separated with each side not knowing what the other one requires of each other, and will leave you starting to wonder what you are paying for each month.
Projects should be planned, designed, and delivered to full expectations. Depending on the project, if they are using their own expertise, knowledge and products then ideally they should be able to commit to a fixed fee installation. The number of projects I've seen go in from other IT firms where parts have been forgotten, or timescales have been underestimated - and then a large bill is handed to the client is far too often.
Proactive Recommendations are something many modern IT companies strive to assist with. With technology changing at such a fast pace, there are many advancements that businesses could benefit from. With the likes of AI (Artificial Intelligence), AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality) and developments with the likes of Business Intelligence and Automation platforms, there are a huge range of products and services out there which can benefit your business by streamlining processes, reducing mistakes, improving accuracy and increasing output speed. Typically IT businesses can only advise on these technologies when they have a deep understanding of your business, it's operations and processes. Only then can they advise on systems you could use to push your business forward.
To sum it up, outsourcing can work out to be more affordable than employing someone directly. Many of the costs behind employing someone are hidden, whereas the costs for Outsourcing should be simple and known ahead of time.
Even if costs are similar, the benefits you get from outsourcing to an external company are significant with the sheer amount of knowledge you'll have access to when compared to employing in-house.
Be sure to check out the links below for other articles we've produced around the cost for IT Support.