Approach paying for technical support services like you do your annual health check ups
Maintaining the health of your technology is much like maintaining your personal health, you need to spend a little on preventative medicine and have a bit tucked away for the occasional trip to the ER with a broken bone. The same goes for small business tech support. Support a healthy IT environment and anticipate expenses for the unexpected emergency.
Preventative technical support services are worth a pound of cure.
Prevention is key to keep small business tech support costs under control. You’ll pay less for tech support in the long run by keeping business systems running smoothly over time. Basically it’s the same thing as paying a little more up front to spend less down the road.
But even with regular maintenance, it’s important to be realistic. 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.
Don’t look months ahead. Look years ahead when it comes to budgeting for your small business tech support.
There will be tough (read: more expensive) years than others and things will go better if you plan for them. Anytime you upgrade your servers be ready to upgrade your small business tech support budget too. Server upgrades take time.
Another good trick is to stagger your workstation upgrades. For example, if you have 10 workstations, replace two a year so you won’t get hit with a lump sum all at once. A good rule of thumb is to replace servers every five years, workstations every five to six years, laptops every three to five years and printers and monitors when they stop working or you want to get your hands on new technology.
The one hard and fast rule about tech support budgeting is that there is no hard and fast rule.
If a universal metric existed, say a math equation, for small business tech-support budgeting this article would have been much shorter. Needs change depending on the business and largely by how savvy the users are. It’s why flat rate pricing is a thing of the past. Small business tech support solutions have to be customized to be effective. And that’s where the smart money is spent. So look at expenses over time and do the math. Math is your friend – and so is a good solid, well thought out tech support budget.