IT Support Costs Demystified

IT Support Pricing Demystified (Part 1 of 2)

In the intricate world of IT support, understanding how service providers charge for their services is crucial for making informed decisions. This article aims to shed light on the two predominant pricing and service models employed by IT support companies: Time And Materials (Hourly) and Managed IT Services (MSP).

Time And Materials (Hourly) – The Break-Fix Approach

Often referred to as “break-fix” services, the Time And Materials model involves IT companies addressing issues as they arise, essentially fixing things when they break. The pricing for these services is typically based on an hourly rate, with the cost varying depending on the complexity of the problem. From resolving specific issues like slow WiFi or email problems to undertaking more extensive projects like software upgrades or office moves, the scope of work can vary widely.

Negotiating a discount by purchasing a block of hours is common under this model. Additionally, Value-Added Reseller (VAR) services, a subset of break-fix, focus on IT projects for organizations with internal IT departments. However, a noticeable trend in the industry is the shift from VARs to managed IT services.

Managed IT Services (MSP) – The All-Encompassing Solution

In contrast, Managed IT Services (MSP) represent a fully outsourced IT department for businesses. Under this model, the MSP takes on the responsibility of managing the entire IT infrastructure, providing comprehensive services such as:

  • Troubleshooting IT problems (help desk support)
  • Setting up and supporting devices for employees, both on-site and remote
  • Installing and configuring applications like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace
  • Managing network security to protect against cyber threats
  • Data backup and disaster recovery assistance
  • Phone system setup and support
  • Monitoring and maintaining the overall health and security of the computer network

A reputable MSP goes beyond day-to-day operations and offers strategic planning, budgeting, and compliance assurance. They provide an IT roadmap, ensuring the stability, security, and compliance of the client’s IT systems.



Time And Materials (Hourly) – The Pros and Cons:


  • Pay only when you need support, without a long-term contract
  • Easy provider switch if dissatisfied with services
  • Cost-effective for microbusinesses with simple IT needs


  • Can be expensive with multiple issues
  • Payment structure favors the IT company
  • Increased likelihood of major issues
  • Difficulties in budgeting for IT services
  • Lower priority for issue resolution compared to managed clients

While suitable for microbusinesses with minimal IT needs, the drawbacks of the break-fix model become apparent for larger enterprises or those handling sensitive data.

Managed IT Services (MSP) – The Comprehensive Solution:


  • Proactive issue prevention
  • Predictable monthly costs for budgeting
  • Priority status for issue resolution
  • Comprehensive IT support and strategic planning
  • Peace of mind


  • Locked into a monthly or multiyear contract
  • Potentially higher upfront costs

The MSP model offers a proactive, holistic approach to IT management, preventing issues before they arise and providing long-term stability.

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice for Your Business

Choosing between Time And Materials (Hourly) and Managed IT Services depends on the specific needs and size of your business. While break-fix services offer flexibility, MSP provides a comprehensive and proactive solution for businesses seeking stability, security, and efficient IT operations.

If ongoing IT problems, downtime, and ineffective systems are causing headaches, consider reaching out for a free initial consultation. Discover how responsive, quality IT support from experienced professionals can transform your IT landscape and improve your business productivity.

Schedule your 10-Mintue phone consultation here or call us at 505-792-2375. Let us address your unique IT needs and guide you towards a more secure and efficient future.