Break/Fix vs. managed IT services: How much should your SMB pay for them?

Break/Fix vs. managed IT services: How much should your SMB pay for them?

When it comes to external IT support, there are two options: break/fix services and managed IT services. The first one is the traditional pay-as-you-go model, where you pay an hourly rate for someone to come and fix your IT issues. The second option is a more proactive and comprehensive approach, where you pay a monthly fee for your provider to constantly manage and support your technology.

As a small- to medium-sized business (SMB) owner, you may be wondering which option will provide you with the best value. Let’s take a look at the two services and how much you can expect to pay for each.


With break/fix services, you’ll only pay for IT support when you need it. These services are typically billed at an hourly rate, and the price varies depending on your provider and the complexity of the issues that need to be fixed. You can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $250 per hour, but note that you may also be charged a service call fee just to have someone come on site.

The biggest advantage of break/fix services is that you’re only paying for the support you need. The transactional nature of this model means that you’re not locked into a long-term contract and you have the flexibility to switch providers if you’re not happy with the service you’re receiving. So if you have a good handle on your technology and don’t experience too many problems, this could be the more cost-effective option.

The downside of break/fix is that it can be very expensive when you have multiple issues or a complex problem. In addition, these IT services don’t include routine maintenance or proactive support, so you’ll likely have to pay for those services separately. And since you’re not under a contract, your provider has no incentive to keep you happy or even address the root causes of IT problems, which may result in recurring issues that lead to more expenses.

All of these make it hard to budget for your IT needs, and you may end up paying more in the long run if you have to constantly call for support.

Related reading: 6 Ways a dependable IT partner can help improve your cash flow

Managed IT services

With managed IT services, you'll pay a monthly fee for your managed IT services provider (MSP) to take care of all your technology needs. This usually entails a comprehensive package of services, including 24/7 monitoring and support, routine maintenance, malware protection, and more. These proactive measures can help prevent problems before they even start, and there’s less chance of your technology breaking down in the first place.

The monthly fee is often based on the number of devices or users you have and the level of support you need. There are three general pricing structures for managed IT services:

    • Per device – With this pricing model, you’ll pay a monthly fee for each device that’s being managed. This fee ranges from $5 to $100 per device per month, and these devices can be computers, laptops, servers, printers, and other network devices you may have. This is often the most affordable option for SMBs using only a few devices.


    • Per user – With this model, you’ll pay a monthly fee for each user who needs IT support, regardless of the number of devices they use. This fee typically costs $125 to $200 per user per month.


  • Flat fee – With this pricing model, you’ll pay a flat monthly fee for all the managed IT services you need. This usually comes with remote and on-site support, routine maintenance, and software updating and patching. Some MSPs even offer consultation services to help you improve your current IT infrastructure and plan for future IT needs.
    There’s no specific price range for this model because the cost varies depending on the services you need and the size of your business. An MSP will first have to assess your IT needs before giving you a quote. Flat-fee pricing is ideal for SMBs that want all-inclusive IT support and don’t want to worry about paying for each individual service.

Related reading: 5 Ways managed IT services help reduce costs

Which option is right for your SMB?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including your budget, the complexity of your IT needs, and how proactive you want to be in preventing problems.

If you have a limited budget and don’t experience many IT issues, break/fix services may be the more cost-effective option. However, if you want comprehensive IT support, proactive maintenance, and access to expert advice, managed IT services would be a better choice.

The best way to determine which option is right for your SMB is to consult with an expert like outsourceIT. Our specialists can assess your IT environment, identify any potential problems, and recommend the best IT Solutions to meet your needs and budget. Contact us today to get started.

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