Why You Should Probably Consider Switching from Break-Fix to MSP

Our series on "Understanding the Transition from Break-Fix to MSP"

Chapter One: Why You Should Probably Consider Switching from Break-Fix to MSP (you're reading this)

Chapter Three: How to Make the Switch from IT Break-Fix to MSP 
Chapter Four: How to Convince Your Client Managed Services Pricing is Best 


We need to talk. I heard you are thinking about making the switch to being a Managed Services Provider? I am not sure who told you about MSPs. Was it the guy at Best Buy down the street? I knew that guy Brian was trouble. He has totally got a thing against break-fix IT shops.




Listen -- here’s the thing.


That guy Brian, Brian from Best Buy, he is onto something, break-fix IT shops can really give you a headache and MSP shops have a lot of advantages you might want to look at.


The thing is break-fix shops are great business models in the early days, running small shops and doing quick jobs. Ya know -- something with a little freedom. But as you’ve probably learned, being a full-blown break-fix IT Shop with a big team can be hell on heels. Even with just a small team or a single technician.


We weren’t gonna spill all the trade secrets so soon, but since you asked, let’s talk.



What’s Wrong with Break-Fix?


Everyone needs an IT Shop. If you work in IT, you already know 9/10 people can hardly even turn on their computer and sometimes it is a miracle if they can even do that. So things go wrong. That's when you get the call.


When things go wrong, these crazy router breakers dig into the web to find an IT Shop who is available to solve their problem. Every problem is fixed by a different technician than last, or on occasion, relationships are built, it just depends on who has the time to fix the broken router when the call comes in.


Sometimes you have time, sometimes you don’t. Even if you don’t have time, you probably end up working extra just to service that one mother who always call you for help. Because. Well, she always calls you. You don’t want to let her down, plus who knows what type of work next month will have in store.


Unfortunately, these clients, the ones with the broken computers, never seem to believe their computer will break and they surely never think it will break a second time. And they hate spending money. They don’t listen to your preventative recommendations for their network and instead they bet on the good fortune of the universe to bring them well-being in all of their technical affairs until they forget to install a driver to their wifi adapter, then, hell breaks loose.


And you get another call.


Fortunately and unfortunately for you as the technician, everyone calls you. When their things break, you make money. But the problem is, you don’t know when their things are going to break. You want to foster powerful relationships with your customers and give them the best service but at the same time if they don’t take the preventative measures it just means they'll probably be calling you up again sometime soon with more business to fix their new problem.


Except this time they’ll blame you for not preventing it. The irony.


Your business model, well-being, and food for the week are all betting on the same hand of the universe, that their technology will or will not break. Your well-being rests upon their misfortune.


Predicting broken technology is difficult. You find times of business when you are hell-raising busy. Money is moving but at that point, you don’t care. The money in the industry is good but if that’s what you really wanted you’d go work for some big asshole corporation. They're not all assholes, pardon my french.


The point is -- you don’t want six layers of management. You wanted lifestyle and freedom. Money and overtime is not why you do what youo do, but when you have equally dry periods of your business, you don’t have an option because who knows when lots of things are going to break again and bring you income.


This makes your life within break-fix hard. Hard is okay. A challenge is fun, but when you find it difficult to budget, plan how to pay your staff consistently, and plan for the future, this challenge is less than appealing, it's actually stressful and plain out just a pain in the ass.


The Broken Fundamentals of the

Break-Fix Business Model


To be more explicit than above, in break-fix you are paid hourly, this means there is actually an incentive to take longer and do a bad job that will make something break so you have more business. You don’t do this… probably… but think about it, it makes no sense.


There is uncertainty in your work. When you’ll have work. How much work. Where the work will be and who it will be with. You make money in erratic patterns but you have to pay all of your bills and employees a consistent, predictable wage.


Without being able to actively monitor your clients’ network, you can never prevent errors. You can fix something and have an entirely separate issue arise one month later. You might be doing a world-class job but all your client sees is this guy isn't fixing my stuff well. They start to question you, relationships get rocky.


People start to wonder if you aren’t good at your job. Not only is this bad business, but it just sucks!


As an IT pro, you know all of these things. None of the above listed may be new to one, maybe one or two points, but you have been around the block. We are not here to tell you how to run your business, but you clicked on this article for a reason, you are considering making the switch to Managed Service Provider.


Whether you are scared of client buy-in, don’t have the time to make the big change or are unsure how to tackle pricing, we are here to be a support system and a resource in allowing you to make the right decision.


Let’s investigate the logistics of the MSP business model before moving on.




The MSP Way


You probably know this, but an MSP (managed services provider) is basically a subscription model for IT Support. Clients pay you a fixed monthly rates and you manage their entire IT structure. You make it work. You keep it cutting edge. You fix problems.


This is a business model that wins. Rather than having an incentive to take a long time and do poor work (not that you do that) you are paid a fixed rate. Which means any time you have to spend actually fixing things is just time out of your pocket. You have an incredible incentive and motivation to do flawless work, make things run well and prevent problems, not only will they be thrilled with their quick system and active expert support, but you will have a predictable consistent schedule to do what you love and run your business.


Plus who doesn’t want to work a job where they watch the networks from afar and play the role of the noble champion saving the village from network disaster and doom when trouble arises?


Everybody wins.


Although don't get too hooked on the noble champion thing, they will be expecting you to prevent issues mostly as well. 



Let’s run-through the benefits of the MSP model:


Predictable Business: You are encouraged to do the job as fast as possible because your revenue doesn’t come from fixing the problem, but preventing problems.


Improved Customer Relationships: In MSP, it’s actually more predictable on costs for them, they’ll have less downtime and will have no hesitation to request support. Not only this, they'll have less problems.


New Services: Your business is simplified and you can focus on new services, engaging in the latest tools. Not just because you have time and want to, but it is actually your contracted job to be on top of it.


Happier You & Happier Team: Predictable business, remote monitoring, cutting edge tech, more income. Let me tell ya. Your team will love this move. And if they get a thrill from broken technology, don't worry, it'll surely come up at some point!


As we shared, making the switch to MSP can be intimidating. If you are considering it, we are glad and happy for you. This could be an exciting decision for you, your company and your employees.


As you can imagine, making this switch will require a systematic plan as you will be changing the entire dynamic of your business for this.


We know you might not be fully convinced which direction to go. It’s your decision. But if you are seriously considering it, I recommend the next piece of our series on transitioning from IT to MSP where we discuss what type of business might want to use MSP. We talk about easy ways to evaluate your business and what key indicators might suggest MSP is for you.


Because it’s not for everyone!


This was Chapter One in our series on Understanding the Transition from Break-Fix to MSP. For Chapter Two, see below.


Our series on "Understanding the Transition from Break-Fix to MSP"

Chapter One: Why You Should Probably Consider Switching from Break-Fix to MSP (you're reading this)

SherpaDesk is the definitive helpdesk solution for all your support, project management, and billing issues. 

Ready to get a handle on your small business? 

Power your helpdesk with your Free Online SherpaDesk Support Desk Software.


Sign Up for Our Blog Updates and Stay
on Top of the Latest News and Tips


Andrew Frawley
By Andrew Frawley

Writing stuff that helps people grow their business