Budgeting for tech support is not an exact science. Of course, there are the predictable expenses, like replacing certain pieces of equipment based on where they fall in the lifecycle. There is scheduled maintenance that can avoid expensive problems and prolong your technology’s lifespan. Then, there are the never-saw-it-coming events that can blow your entire annual budget in just one month.
Given the unpredictable nature of technology, budgeting for small business tech support has no hard and fast rules. However, being a leader in Kansas City small business tech support services since 2001, we can offer solid advice based on past experience to help you budget appropriately for whatever comes your way.
Think of budgeting for IT support and maintenance as an investment
Your small business’s technology is a system of equipment with moving parts. Like any other equipment or machinery, it requires maintenance to optimally perform. Budget accordingly for your business tech support in order to avoid preventable business-crashing meltdowns.
Ongoing maintenance is key to keeping small business tech support costs under control. Many times, maintenance and tech support visits give us the opportunity to note problems early on. Those problems with your IT equipment can be repaired or scheduled for replacement before they affect productivity. Plus, generally you’ll pay less for tech support in the long run by keeping business systems running smoothly over time. Having a maintenance page could help to let your employees, tech support and customers aware of any issues with regular up dates to keep them informed.
But even with regular maintenance, it’s important to be realistic. New threats emerge every day. Even the most cautious employee can open a dangerous attachment. The occasional virus will get through, but that’s to be expected in all business environments. Respond quickly to avoid even more damage to your systems and productivity.
Look years ahead, not months, when it comes to budgeting for your small business tech support
The farther you look ahead at your business tech support services, the better. You can safely assume that your IT equipment will last five to seven years. Of course, there will be anomalies when a server crashes or a computer dies earlier, so your tech support budget should have some wiggle room to account for the unexpected.
Plan your IT budget for equipment replacement years ahead, not months to one year in advance. To avoid big, one-time expenditures, alternate IT equipment replacements.
- Servers every five years
- Workstations every five to six years
- Laptops every three to five years
- Printers and monitors when they stop working
- And/or when your business can benefit from upgraded technology
To alternate replacements… say you have 20 workstations, replace four each year if you’re following a five-year IT budget plan.
Include time in your budget for new equipment installation, setup and any necessary training. Anytime there is a need for server upgrades, be ready to bump up your tech support budget. Beyond the purchase price of new IT equipment, budget for the ancillary services, too.
Choose a billing model that best supports your small business’s IT support needs
Small business tech support solutions have to be customized to be effective. Needs change depending on your business, the type of IT support required and your business growth. A growing team means your IT equipment will expand and require maintenance and support.
Flat rate pricing doesn’t take into account the changes that your small business will undergo throughout the year. You may wind up overpaying for unused blocks of IT support time or you may pay more for IT support and maintenance that isn’t included in a flat rate contract. Both can wreak havoc on a small business’s IT budget.
If you’d like the benefit of our experience providing small business tech support services in Kansas City, contact Invision.