Here’s a common scenario: your business hours start at 8 a.m., and with some exceptions, your employees go home around 5 p.m. Stick around longer than that, and the phones are quiet. The vast majority of work is done in that nine-hour window—so do you really need after hours IT support for your business?
What Types of After Hours IT Support Can I Expect?
Let’s start with the basics of what after hours IT support generally includes. When you’re working with an IT provider, it’s typical to see a variety of support options with a variety of price points. Some options are purely break/fix—e.g., if something breaks, you can pay the IT provider to come in and fix it on a one-off basis. These scaled-down plans can be pay per user or pay per device, and the charges for support can vary based on what needs to be fixed and what time of day it is. For these types of plans, after hours IT support is generally pretty pricey, and you could expect to pay as much as double the cost per hour for support after 5 p.m. and before 8 a.m. Response times are often slower for these plans, too.
Some provider plans include x number of hours of support per month, and any additional hours needed are paid for out-of-pocket. These plans may or may not include after hours IT support, so you’ll need to read your contract carefully to understand if after hours support is included in the scope of hours you have each month.
If the type of support plan you have is a managed services plan, you have the benefit of a consistent set of monitoring controls that identify and alert your IT provider of any issues in real-time. With real-time monitoring, your IT provider can often identify and remediate IT issues before they cause your business a problem—which means you don’t have to reach out about an issue to get it fixed and then wait for the repair to happen. However, if something more substantial breaks or if you have a particular user who is experiencing issues after 5 p.m., you’ll need to be sure you understand your managed services provider’s after hours support policy ahead of time. Some providers include after hours IT support for their managed services clients, while others ask clients to pay extra—above and beyond their monthly contract—if they need help after hours.
How Do I Know If My Business Really Needs After Hours IT Support?
For some types of businesses, the answer to this question is obvious—if your employees are scheduled to work outside of the traditional 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday, then engaging a provider that offers after hours IT support is probably a good idea.
For all other businesses, an increasingly mobile workforce means that there’s a good chance your employees are working after hours, even if that means monitoring and checking emails from their phones. How much—or how often—your company needs after hours IT support could depend on the time of year (i.e., your “busy season”), or it could depend on whether or not you’re closing a big deal or working on a major project.
The reality of the modern workforce is that a substantial number of workers are doing some form of work after hours. In a recent 2016 SMB Insights survey, respondents said that mobile devices—and working from them on the go and after hours—helped them maintain a healthy work/life balance:
Ensuring your IT provider offers after hours IT support, or better yet, includes it in their service package at no extra cost, can help you support your team and their productivity levels.
What Can I Expect to Pay for After Hours IT Support?
It’s not always easy to know if what you’re paying is a fair price. Support prices for small and mid-sized businesses can range from a per-incident cost to a monthly fee that includes after hours IT support in addition to monitoring, maintenance, and set up.
Most managed services offerings include a variety of options that can vary from provider to provider. If you’re interested in an IT support model that includes after hours IT support at no extra cost, be sure to ask your consultant to walk you through what is included, what isn’t included, and what times service calls can be answered without an additional cost before you sign the contract.
Want to know if what you’re paying for after hours IT support is a fair price? Contact us for a free assessment.