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What 3 Questions Should You Ask Before Hiring An On-site IT Service Provider?

As businesses rely more on technology it is crucial to have a relationship with an IT service provider you can trust.  And just as with any business relationship, the first step involves asking the right questions before signing on the dotted line. This holds true whether you are working with an onsite or remote provider; both of whom provide different levels of service for different types of businesses.   Onsite IT providers are generally contracted at hourly rates (ranging from $75-150 per hour) and make daily rounds to your place of business.  Remote IT services vary greatly but may consist of only one or two technicians that maintain systems remotely via phone calls, emails or internet video chat sessions (depending on the level of support you require).

Regardless of your choice, the questions below should help guide your decision making process.

1. How Will They Assist With My Current Business Issues?  

Service providers can be very helpful in resolving specific issues quickly and efficiently. However, if you are not sure what issues to expect, talk with your IT provider about any problems you have experienced recently (including hardware or software breakdowns), how they were resolved and whether there is a pattern that may point to an underlying issue that needs further attention. Any insight into past or current problems will help determine how much time your provider spends fixing existing issues versus investigating future potential problems. Ask for examples! Don’t just settle for vague answers like “We fix things.” Ask for specifics.

2. Do We Need An On-site Firm?  

Many businesses have a need for both on and off site IT services as each has benefits the other cannot offer. In fact, depending on your business needs, an onsite provider can often provide more value than an off-site firm since they have immediate access to high quality hardware and software which leaves minimal down time. But what if you don’t really need a full time service plan or keeping a technician in house isn’t financially feasible? Will your current provider continue to help you remotely when necessary at no extra cost? If not, ask them how much it would be for continued assistance beyond the initial contract term (e.g., additional hours, phone support only). If the answer is more than you are willing to pay, consider signing on with an offsite support firm for less money and longer contract terms. Just remember that in most cases, the further away your support is geographically, the higher the costs will be .

3. How Much Experience Do They Have?   

One of the main benefits of hiring a local IT provider is having someone who knows both your systems and business needs intimately which often translates into faster problem diagnosis and resolution. However, if you’re not interested in hiring someone full time or just need remote assistance until issues can be solved then experience may not be as important as customer reviews and/or references since they can provide insight into how responsive your vendor is at providing excellent service. Also, don’t forget to ask about their training and certifications as this can also be a sign of quality service.

Wherever you decide to take your IT needs, make sure you ask the right questions before making a final decision.  You’ll save time and money in the end!

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Do You Need a Professional On-site IT Service Team You Can Trust?

Cantrell’s Information Technologies has been providing On-site IT Services to business owners throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for over 20 years. Cantrell’s offers on-site services at your location to save you time and business interruption. Many of our customers initially work with us to help them improve the way they store, access, and protect their critical business data from cybercriminals. We also help them move or expand their offices. We support the needs of our East Bay customers including businesses located in Concord, Martinez, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, and Pleasant Hill. Contact us today for your free consultation!

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