Flat Rate IT services started out as a wonderful IT solution for small businesses. But over time, some people have grown to understand flat rate IT as a way to cheat customers, which happened when a few less-that-moral companies went rogue and started delivering less for their flat rate IT. The common misconception is that when you purchase a flat rate IT plan, you’ll be paying for those services regardless of if the IT company is doing any work or not. However, if you choose a decent, honest IT company, this just isn’t true. Typically, flat rate IT plans mean that you have a dedicated IT team monitoring your network at all times. When you choose a reputable IT company to manage your flat rate IT services, you’ll receive the following benefits:
One of the most obvious benefits to flat rate IT services is the peace of mind you’ll get from paying the same fee every month. You don’t have to worry about a ridiculous jump in prices from an extended amount of hourly maintenance, and you still know you’ll have the IT response you need in case something does require maintenance. It’s predictable and it’s reliable, and you know you won’t have to scrounge or scrimp to pay your IT bill every month.
When you sign up for a flat rate IT services plan, you know that competent, well-trained IT professionals will be monitoring your network 24/7. They’ll be running updates and making sure they know all the latest technology, so they can apply it to your network as necessary. Those IT professionals will also be there in case something does go wrong. A decent flat rate IT services plan will ensure your site is up and running as much as possible, because even though no one’s perfect, a good IT company can exponentially shorten your network’s downtime.
Forget Performance Evaluations
One of the most difficult parts of having an in-house IT team is that you have to hire all of your employees. And when you don’t know IT inside and out yourself, it’s hard to judge who’s good and who isn’t. By outsourcing your IT, you can forget about the lengthy interviews and the performance evaluation, and simply rest assured that the professionals monitoring your network are trained and licensed to service your IT system. You won’t have to worry that the person you hired is under qualified or unprofessional since it’s your provider’s job to employ only the most skilled IT professionals to monitor your site.
Avoid Break and Fix Mentality
Finally, good flat rate IT service plans should move your company away from the break and fix mentality of service. For example, businesses that hire IT companies on an as-needed basis wait until something is clearly wrong before they call an IT tech. When you have a permanent IT service provider, they’re going to catch most of those issues before your company’s network fails, which limits your downtime and increases productivity. While no IT service provider worth their salt will guarantee zero downtime, with a flat rate IT service plan from a great provider, you’re going to see far less downtime. Trained IT professionals will be running constant updates and regularly backing up and servicing your site, so that you don’t have to worry about unexpected or lengthy downtime.
With all of that said, it is important to remember that there are IT service providers out there who are giving us a bad name. A flat rate IT service plan should function to make your life easier, not more costly. So here’s a few things to watch out for when you’re deciding between providers:
A major IT red flag is a provider looking to lock you into a lengthy contract. If you’re working with a company who refuses to negotiate short-term contracts or will only settle for a binding, year-long flat rate IT service contract, you might want to keep looking. The companies trying to lock you in are often the ones who simply want your money. Once they have your signature on a binding contract, they’re likely to only handle your network when something goes wrong. This is the type of company to avoid, so make sure you find another company who will tell you exactly what they’ll provide each month, and who is willing to negotiate a shorter contract.
Providers Who Aren’t Flexible
Most reputable IT service providers are flexible with their clients. If your company really doesn’t need much maintenance, they’ll often let you bump from a flat rate IT service plan to an hourly plan, where you just pay for the time they spend maintaining your network. Some companies will even work out a plan that best fits your company, where you pay a small flat rate for regular maintenance like backups and upgrades, and then just pay hourly wages when you need more intensive site maintenance. This choice should be at your discretion, so a company that refuses to be flexible is a bad sign. If they’re unwilling to negotiate with you or work with your plan at all, it might be time to find a new provider.
IT That Keeps Breaking
Finally, if you’ve already signed a contract for a flat rate IT service plan, and your network is consistently down, it’s time to start looking for ways out. A good IT service provider works to limit your network’s downtime by taking preventative measures to ensure it doesn’t happen. Sure, any network is bound to go down once in awhile, but if it’s happening frequently, it’s your provider’s fault, not your networks. If you’re locked into a contract, there are ways to get out of it, and there are instances where other IT service providers like Red Five IT, will even buy you out of a bad contract.
If you’re considering flat rate IT services, or if your current IT service provider isn’t offering decent service for your flat rate IT service plan, give Red Five IT a call! We’re more than willing to sit down and talk about your options, and we’ll even buy you out of a bad contract, if necessary. At Red Five IT, we take our jobs seriously, and we work to create an IT plan that works for your company and your budget. For more information, give our office a call at 1-877-890-7335, or contact us online today!