When considering a new IT provider, usually one of two things has happened; your company has grown beyond its means to self-manage your IT needs, or you’ve had a bad experience with your previous provider. If either of these events has happened, you probably have some idea of what you need or what you don’t need, but there may be some things you have not considered.

Here we outline the ten most important things to consider when finding your new IT provider.

Location

The location of any IT provider is essential, even though many tasks can be done remotely. Often it is necessary to have someone on-site to perform maintenance. Ask them where they are located and if they have any branches situated in your area.

Expense

An IT provider may have a variable cost calculation, and the cost is a significant factor in choosing the correct one. While price is important, it would be preferable to weigh up the cost against the service you are currently receiving. Are there any extra services that you are currently paying for that you don’t particularly need? Ask about the price of the service and if it is negotiable.

Responsiveness

Often IT problems are time-sensitive, and other times, they are not. If your IT provider cannot meet your needs promptly, this could cost your business more than the provider is worth. Ask about response rates and what solutions they offer if time obligations are not met.

Expertise or Qualifications

IT is a broad subject covering many areas. Ideally, you want a provider that focuses on your business model, or at least one with a large enough team to cover many of your requirements. Ask about their current clients and what they can offer your business. Ask about their qualifications and what they will do if they can’t solve an issue.

Communication

Most people have a preferred method of communication, be it email, phone, video chat, or meet in person. Ideally, it would help if you had an IT provider that offers you communication practices that best suit how you like to do business. Ask about how to contact them when you need their services.

Availability

Finding an IT provider that is available when you are doing business is vital. There’s no point in a provider being available Monday to Friday if you operate seven days a week. Ask when and what times their service is available. Ideally, you’d look at an answer that aligns with your schedule and think beyond your operating hours.

Equipment

An IT provider should be able to work with your current systems. While it may seem that all systems are the same, there can be a considerable difference in age and format of the machines and software used. If you’re using an old system, they need to know how to work with that. Ask what systems they are familiar with and if they can work with yours.

Add-on Costs

Some IT providers will only cover a certain number of functions. Usually, this aligns with your current needs. They may ask you several questions regarding what you currently do and tailor a quote based on that. Ask them specifically what the quote covers and if they have any add-on costs for additional items not covered and what those costs might be.

Testimonials

Most people are familiar with looking at reviews. Examine the provider’s reviews, look for what people have been saying about the business, are there any red flags? Ask them about conflict resolution and what they will do to fix a problem client. The way they deal with demanding clients can tell a lot about how they work.

Individual Service Requirements

Some IT providers will offer base coverage. However, often there are items included that you may not need. Are they willing to provide a custom service? Selecting what you need may lower the price or garner better service for you as they can tailor their support to your business.