Why Businesses Save Time And Money By Saying “No” To Break/Fix


Is your business looking for ways to save money and increase revenue? What about the time and money spent on technical issues? Even setting up a workstation for a new employee, or running updates on the software in your office can cost you time. What if you had a team to do all of your IT-related work for you? What if they were less expensive and more valuable than even a single in-house IT technician?

One belief that all businesses can agree on is that no one wants to deal with technical issues during peak operational hours. Yet many are still waiting for major issues to arise before relying on a “break/fix” PC repair shop to resolve the issue. You know, the ones who you call only once you have a problem. The Geek Squad. Or perhaps the neighborhood PC Repair guy. I used to work for one. The problem is, by the time a business has called one of these services to fix a problem, their productivity is already suffering. It doesn’t stop there –  the hidden costs associated with using these companies to repair and support your devices are typically much higher than those from a dedicated managed service provider! We’re going to answer why in today’s blog.

What Is Break/Fix?

The term Break/Fix refers to the common method of providing IT repairs to businesses, in which a customer calls up a service provider to do an upgrade of a computer program, computer, or a repair of something computer-related like a printer or drive array that is broken. The IT provider offers a solution or repair, and bills the customer for the work performed. In the Break/Fix model, the client contacts the vendor when they suspect (or know) that their equipment is not working. Break/Fix relationships don’t often offer proactive remediation of problems and therefore are subject to a less efficient IT infrastructure and are often subject to downtime.

The Hidden Costs of Going Break/Fix

What I am seeing more often is the tendency for those who have relied on break/fix in the past to develop a tolerance to problems that they might perceive as minor, and they may put off making a call to their IT provider until it is absolutely necessary. The truth is, even minor problems diminish productivity and create frustration. In the tech world, minor issues tend to escalate into major issues over time, causing further expenses, loss of productivity, even more frustration and a greater lack of confidence in the system. For example, perhaps your accountant had grown accustomed to their PC taking 30 minutes to boot up every day (which shouldn’t happen), but little did they know that it was a sign that their hard drive was failing. You can see how prolonging the existence of the relatively minor issue of the slow boot time can turn a small problem into one that is much worse, such as complete hard drive failure.

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Waiting on a Break/Fix company may give you more than enough time to sleep off the headache it gave you

If you have no IT staff, and you can’t physically take your PC into the repair shop at the time of need, then you will likely be charged extra for a technician to come onsite. Be prepared to work with the tech’s schedule, which could be backed up for the day. Also, be prepared for some downtime as the typical turnaround for a repair can be 3-5 days. Since these companies are not integrated with your business they may insist on performing a diagnostic test on the machine first. Chances are you will not be able to avoid this diagnostic and the fee associated with it. This is because the diagnostic report can be the primary incentive driver to sell the user on additional services that they may or may not need.  Even if the original issue ends up being a very simple fix – such as user error or changing a setting – the company will still net the diagnostic fee, and will typically use that fee as an incentive for you to purchase more than you need.

Their sales strategy works like this: You pay the $70 diagnostic fee, and the tech will explain that he will run tests to determine if there are any issues with your hardware. If they find an issue, they will apply the diagnostic fee you paid towards the cost of the service you need. So if a virus removal costs $200, and the $70 diagnostic finds a virus, they will only charge you an additional $130 to remove the virus. However, the diagnostic is usually setup to present the results in a slightly biased manner to help push the sale of additional services such as more memory or a new hard drive. Even if the diagnostic does not find a problem, the tech may still attempt to sell you on services by proposing something like “you paid $70 for a diagnostic and you could probably use some more memory, which costs $100. Since you’ve already spent $70 towards the diagnostic, you may as well spend the additional $30 and get the new memory.” If you do agree to this type of upgrade, expect the technician to tag on an additional installation fee as well. My point is that these people are focused more on sales – their primary source of revenue – and less on what matters to you – getting back to work ASAP.

If Not Break/Fix, Then What?

Before I answer the question, we need to take a very pragmatic approach to understanding the issue. The moment that a computer used for business operations stops functioning efficiently, time and money are being lost. The business may be losing out on potential revenue, and they are also expending time to try and solve the issue (more lost revenue). If other people in the office get involved, they are then spending their paid time to fix the issue as well. On top of everything else, you get a bill for the repair of the computer. A Break/Fix company may not be able to fix your machine immediately, which means that computer sits with the company for perhaps days on end while you delay your meetings and are unable to access the data you really need. Prompter service may mean a more premium cost.

Hiring an IT staff in-house may be too expensive for most small to medium-sized businesses. We need to look at  a more proactive approach. We want a whole team of technicians available to help us at a moments notice, and we want them at a fraction of the cost of a single in-house IT technician. We want something tailored to our needs that not only provides peace of mind and ongoing support, but can also show us how we are increasing our revenue and reducing our pain points as a result. It’s not too much to ask because it already exists. What we’re looking for is a Managed Service Provider.

Managed Services

Managed Services allows a business to offload IT operations to a service provider, known as a Managed Services Provider (or “MSP”). The managed service provider assumes an ongoing responsibility for 24-hour monitoring, managing, and problem resolution for the IT systems within a business.

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A Managed Services team will eliminate frustration and increase productivity in the workplace

An MSP is a team of IT technicians who will take responsibility for the entire technological needs of a business. They actively monitor, secure, and maintain servers, computers, and other technological devices used by businesses to ensure that they avoid any potential downtime. Updates, backups, and security of your data is handled by the team behind the scenes, and they will alert the business to important information such as a failing drive. Your MSP will also come to you if need be to handle installations or any other technical issues you may have around your office – even to clean the rollers on your printer. Even small annoyances such as a forgotten password can be easily resolved with a quick phone call to your MSP.

MSP services are typically setup through a contract between the MSP and the company. What is important is that a MSP will coordinate a contract tailored to what the business needs. Prices are based on the devices being serviced, and the costs may always be lower than staffing even a single in-house technician to do the same thing. Also, you are receiving support from an entire team of talented individuals who contribute a collective of combined knowledge and experience. This means that the chance of encountering an issue that is unfamiliar to your MSP is exponentially less than the more-expensive in-house IT technician.

A contract with a MSP provider can create a rewarding mutual relationship. It is not in a MSP’s interest to do anything less than save your business time and money. If they can’t, there is nothing stopping the client from deciding not to renew their contract at the end of the term. Because of this, it is in the MSP’s best interest to efficiently service the customer, ensure prompt support, and provide a service of the best possible value in order to maintain that relationship into the future.

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Andrew Lopez

Project Manager at Zuma Technology
A project manager for Zuma Technology who specializes in managed services and web development. Zuma Technology is a managed service provider that specializes in ​technology solutions for small and medium businesses. We proactively manage the customer’s computer​ and network​ infrastructure to maintain a​ secure​, functional​ and efficient​ environment.
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