Today I thought I would write about something that really hits home with me: billing. GetMorePC does hourly billing for work done for clients, either onsite or offsite. This hourly rate is set at a fair market price that maintains a competitive edge while still making work worthwhile. I want to contrast this billing style with another popular billing style known as the IT contract.
The way an IT contract would work is that you or your business would sign a contract for a defined period of time, usually a year, in which you would agree to a monthly fee to be paid to the IT firm. This fee would stay the same, regardless of the amount of work done for the client. I think the idea plays off the old way of thinking which is: if your IT is working, the IT guy is doing his job, regardless of what he’s doing (which may be nothing at all). The contract may outline a number of hours to be performed per month, which may or may not expire at the month’s end.
The way I bill, I charge for actual work that is done for a client. I bill more if I have to come out, since I am pretty much exclusively working for that client, but I do offer the option to perform work in the shop, if possible, which is less expensive.
Okay what does this mean from a customer’s point of view and why am I going on a rant about IT billing? The main difference a company is likely to notice is attitude. If I am getting paid on a contract, regardless of how much I actually do, my incentive to help the caller on the other end of the phone is going to be little or none. Thus we have the classic IT guy, “You’re an idiot, this isn’t a problem, stop wasting my time.” This contract-paid IT firm may even make it harder to reach tech support or help desk, since the more time they put between you and the fix, the more time has been eaten away on their contract. They may develop more complex tracking methods and put more people in the mix, in an attempt to muddle up and slow down what could be a quick fix, thus you have the trouble ticket system.
GetMorePC, on the contrary, is more than happy to take your call. We don’t charge for phone calls under 15 minutes, so we are always getting random quick calls from clients with quick questions, to which we offer quick answers. I know I’m not going to be able to bill for that short amount of time, but its worth it to me to maintain client relationships. And if something comes up that is a bigger deal, we’ll recognize it and bring it up for discussion. In short, we get paid for what we do, so we have incentive to do all we can for you.
This may read a little like a rant, but its something I firmly believe and its a philosophy that’s worked for me for the last 7 years. So if your business is in a contract with an IT firm who just doesn’t seem like they want to help, you may want to try and keep your options open when the contract expires. You may be able to find a better deal.