Business related but off topic question

I’m investigating all of my potential sources of information especially those specific to my local area.
Since alsmost everyone on this list runs their own business and there would be a large number of restaurants in my service area that use computers in some fashion I thought this would be a good group to get some feedback from.

My background is in IT. I’m investigating starting a IT consulting business. i’ll be targeting small businesses and non-profits mainly for a IT outsourcing service as well as other offerings. This outsourcing service will be an all you can eat style of tech support for a fixed monthly price. The pricing sturcture will likely be a tiered approach with breaks either given for number of computers or signing up for more than one month, ie quarterly, 6 month, and yearly. I might try to work both breaks in somehow. I would anticipate the monthly charge to be between $100 - 170 per month per computer that is covered.

Items the service would likely include are below.

Help Desk Call Center to recieve immediate help with most computer problems and a software apps. This would have several options for covered times. Also, if a tech needs to be dispatched to resolve the issue the tech will be there within 24 hours.

Consulting services as long as you are on the service you would recieved free IT consulting. (Normally $80+/hour)

No Labor charges for servicing covered computers. Includes setup, moving, software installs, warranty claims, etc

Flexible plans for adding or removing computers from service. ie you replace yoru old computers with new ones. You can transfer the
remaining time to the new computers and have them setup free of charge.

Free Anitvirus and spyware protection if required or needed.

Free routine maintenance on a monthly schedule.

Discount on hardware and software purchased through the firm.

Discount on other services offered by the firm such as web developement, hosting services, etc. these types of service could probably be worked in to the monthly charge and be included as part of the all you can eat service.

Value to the business on service: Having a fixed known cost of supporting the IT that is in use and some control of those costs, concentrate on your business not the IT aspect, savings not needing a full time IT staff (payroll, taxes, insurance, benefits, training costs, etc)
I estimate based on just the above that a company with 10 computers on service at $125 per machine (15,000/year) would save about $5800 - 16,200 by not needing a full time IT person not including the savings on payroll taxes, insurance, training, and benefits.
Savings by hiring out to a by the hour tech company would vary but you wouldn’t be recieving any service other than exactly what you paid for and everything would become chargable. Many techs and tech company’s charge $30 - 120 hour, which $50 -70 per hour being the most common price point I’ve seen in my area.

My thoughts are still at the 50,000 foot level and really need to be vetted out completely. I would appreciate any feedback especailly why you would or would not consider such a service plan.

Thanks,
PM

I do not like to throw cold water on a persons ideas so i will just give my reaction if you came to my store with this proposal.

I have 5 computers, 6 printers, a router and a switch. You are asking to receive $100 - $150 per computer in other words $500 per month. For the cost of 2 months support I could have a complete backup unit sitting on a shelf waiting to be thrown into service at a moments notice.

As a small operation I go several months without any computer issues what so ever. The only time there have been issues it has been due to an automatic update of Windows and I have turned this option to manual.

I must confess that I have a background in IT which means I would not need your service but the cost of you service proposal seems very high to me.

Good luck with your efforts I admire anyone who looks outside the box.

Thanks for the feedback! I’d rather have cold water now than down the road. Everything at this point is basically in brainstorm stages. I know that the general model is successful because I’ve recently found a group in NY that is pulling in 5 million in revenue on a similar model (after several years).
I am suscpecting that I’ll probably need to target companies that have 10 or more computers and will regularly need one or more of hte other services included or those that will actually take advantage of the help desk call center. The simple truth to IT is that anyone can do it but not everyone wants to do it.

Thanks,

PM

I would be curious to know what cash investment & what sorts of risks you would be taking on in starting this business & also, will you be pursuing this full time or part time while working elsewhere to support yourself. You should first confront this: are you really starting a business or are you looking for some sidejobs.

Also, the majority of pizza operators who have the means to pay your fees (which are unacceptable, btw) are probably operating POS systems with proprietary software systems. And, they probably are already under service contracts with their POS company.

You raise good points and questions. I’m still researching the investments and risks. I’m also looking into various way to capitalize. This is something that if I pursued would need to be a full time support myself business. While restaurants probably wouldn’t be my main target group I know a number of them have at least one computer system in the back office, those are the machines that i would be targeting not the POS stuff since I have absolutely no experience with that and like you say are probably under a maintance agreement already.

Thanks for your input. I find bouncing ideas off of business owners much more informative than bouncing them off of your friends :slight_smile:

PM

heck were just some backwoods hillbillys up here i dont know what IT support is :shock: but i do know that since ive owned this computer since 05 i have only had 1 problem i paid 100.00$ to some guy in INDIA to fix it for me :smiley: i could not imagine paying a monthly fee.already have to many of those. :evil: