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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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Hiring Best Practices: Why Spending More Will Cost You Less in the Long Run

Posted November 13, 2014by Ben Barker

 hire-it-techs-with-degree

Finding true IT talent is no walk in the park. 

As Continuum’s CEO, Michael George said in his Navigate 2014 keynote, it can often feel like all managed service providers (MSPs) are competing for the same thirteen technicians. With that kind of demand, an educated and skilled technician can be an expensive hire for your MSP business. How expensive? An average IT generalist is making more than $62K a year on base salary alone. What’s that? You need a cloud-based expert? Well I hope you’re ready to shell out a base salary of $132K.

Often times, bringing on a less qualified technician can feel like an easier and more cost efficient option in the short-term...


Higher Education for Higher Value

While less expensive up front, this is more of a Band-Aid fix than an actual solution to the problem. Investing in an educated employee with a legitimate degree and a wide range of skills and knowledge will be more cost efficient for your business in the long run.

An article by CBS Philly examined the importance of education in the IT field. C. Joseph Keesey, President of SystemsNet, one of our partners, was interviewed and asked about the impact that educated IT generalists can have on an MSP business.

Keesey refers to education as the “stepping-stones” necessary to constantly evolve and learn with an ever-changing industry. Keesey goes on to explain that certain concepts learned in higher education lead to that ability to change with the industry and new technologies.

In other words, someone without a solid education may be a cheaper technician today, but while technically qualified, is far less likely to grow and adapt with an industry that is in constant motion.

You may be saying, “Okay, well then I’ll just hire another technician with the skill set that I need at that time!” 

Again, this sounds like an easy fix, but when you add up the time and money that it takes to find, interview, hire, and onboard a new employee every time an old one can’t keep up, you can see that it’s not a sustainable solution. Not to mention the effect that employee churn can have on your client base. How will your customers feel if they have to re-build a relationship with their technician every year?


So How Do I Recruit These Super-Techs?

While there may not be a one-stop shop to find truly robust technicians, they are out there. The best way to lead them to your front door is to make the job desirable for them. Someone with a good education and the particular set of skills that you desire isn’t going to want to spend their days re-setting passwords. Make it clear that their job will utilize their training and expertise.

In many cases, this isn’t possible. As menial and monotonous as it may be, these small IT tasks still need to get done. On one hand, you could fill the void by hiring multiple, less qualified technicians to handle the “easy stuff.” However, you'd have to spend more time and money recruiting employees that can merely complete tasks, not push your business forward. 

By offloading the low-value aspects of your business, you avoid having to make expensive new hires. Additionally, you enable your “super techs” to demonstrate their value by placing the tougher, more involved work on their shoulders. Let them do what they were hired and trained to do. We recommend leveraging a help desk service!


This Sounds Too Good to Be True

It’s true.

Basically you need to decide between two options. You can hire technicians that are more affordable and in larger supply, but will most likely need to be cycled in and out of employment as the industry changes. Or you can employ a small pool of more expensive, but educated and extremely qualified technicians able to spend their days focusing on the big picture and growing your business.

The choice is yours.


Considering a help desk solution, but not sure what to look for?

Ben is a member of Continuum's marketing team. He specializes in blog content as well as video production. Ben is a graduate of Emerson College and a huge Boston sports fan.

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