IT Support Costs

Adam Harling 21-May-2020 00:00:00
Person working on a desk, typing figures into a calculator.

Selecting the most cost-effective solution for your business IT needs isn’t always easy, wherever you are in the UK. Here’s our quick rundown of the different ways of buying IT support, as well as average outsourced IT support costs across the UK.

How much does IT support cost?

Costs for IT support in the UK vary a great deal due to several factors, including location, exact business requirements and required technical experience. It goes without saying that IT support costs are typically highest in central London, where the need and value placed on skill level are the greatest and reduce gradually as you get further out into the sticks.

So, how much should you expect to pay for IT support? We’ll break this post up into the different ways of buying IT services, particularly for small and medium business, how the model works, and a look at the various costs you might pay per IT support model.

IT support pricing

IT support pricing can be broken down based on support type. Depending on your unique business requirements, different types of support will work best for your individual needs.

We will break these support types down into ad-hoc support, pre-paid IT support, fixed-rate IT support and fully managed IT support.

Sadly, there’s no quick and easy IT support pricing calculator! The below price list covers averages based on hourly or monthly costs of IT support from certified and experienced suppliers.

Ad-hoc IT support costs

£120 per hour (approx. + call out.)

“Reactive” or “Ad-Hoc” business IT support is the most simple model and can be delivered via on-site visit (most often, it will be delivered by an engineer coming to your premises) or even remotely.

Ad-hoc IT support costs typically start at around £90 per hour but cost around £120 per hour on average. If calling the provider out for on-site work, there may also be “call-out” fees to cover travel expenses.

Pros of Ad-hoc

The main advantage of this particular IT support model is that there are no ongoing costs, and you only pay for their time carrying out the fix.

Cons of Ad-hoc

The disadvantages, however, are extensive. They include a lack of preventative maintenance, no monitoring, a higher effective billable rate, and no absolute strategic alignment with your business needs, to name but a few. The sceptic might also say it’s also in the supplier's interest for things to go wrong and for things to take a long time to fix!

This is by far our least favourite model! While we occasionally carry out ad-hoc work, we strongly advise all customers to look at a managed support agreement – it’s a far better value-for-money service!

Pre-paid IT support costs

£100 per hour (approx. bundled, purchased in advance.)

Much like Ad-Hoc business IT support, pre-paid IT support is a “reactive” service. This was probably the most common way IT support services were sold, and the model we see a great deal of our fellow IT support suppliers use.

Typical costs for this model of IT support are around £100 per hour, with 20+ hours purchased in advance. The hours are pre-purchased to allow the supplier to provide a discount on the hourly rate and perhaps also an SLA to operate under (guaranteed response times).

Pros of Pre-paid

It’s great for the supplier! It’s nice and simple as they aren’t at risk of doing more work than they’re paid for. They also have the money in the bank up-front!

Cons of Pre-paid

It’s not so great for the customer… It’s a very similar service as ad-hoc support, with almost all the same risks attached. You won’t receive any monitoring of systems, no regular maintenance and no consultation to ensure strategic IT alignment with your business.

Fixed-rate IT support contract

£50 per computer, per month (approx.)

Most, if not all, IT support companies now offer some kind of fixed-rate support service.

Fixed-rate IT support is typically charged on a per-computer basis, on average £50 per computer. Managed IT Service contracts typically cover the “reactive” telephone and remote support, some kind of monitoring of your servers, and sometimes on-site support, should someone need to come out and fix something at your business, (but this isn’t likely to be at a £20 price point!).

Pros of Fixed-rate

The service usually covers reactive support, so you won’t be forking out for hidden costs if a problem arises. You’ll also benefit from a fixed rate each month, meaning planning around your IT budget will be far simpler.

Cons of Fixed-rate

Be cautious, as some IT support suppliers might brand this arrangement a “managed IT support service” when it’s really not much more than a reactive help desk. You’re almost in the same situation as buying bundles of hours!

With little or no real pro-active tasks, monitoring or maintenance going on in the background you still run the risk of higher downtime, poor security and an IT service that’s almost entirely reactive.

Fully Managed IT Support

£100 per user, per month (approx.)

Well-managed, secure and high-availability IT takes time to manage. Thoughtful effort and strategic awareness of your business must be in place for this to be delivered. A true managed IT service provider will have a number of delivery areas, dedicated to the various aspects that contribute to a well-managed IT system.

This model is typically charged on a per-user, per-month basis. The average fully managed IT support cost per user is £100 in the current market, with no extra costs. The price should be an “all you can eat” arrangement, as the supplier should aim to reduce the number of issues you have, taking time to analyse recurring issues and resolve the root cause. It should also include on-site visits, as they aim to deliver the service at a fixed and known rate – no matter the route to fix.

Pros of Fully managed

  • 24/7 monitoring of your entire IT estate. Your IT supplier should be investing in the best possible monitoring systems, that constantly check for hardware faults, software issues, patch management, anti-virus status, and backup monitoring and this system should alert your supplier as soon as an issue is detected. They should also be checking your backups and making a test restoration regularly. Your supplier should have a dedicated team running this area, and ideally not outsourced off-shore (a worrying trend in our opinion!).
  • Well-staffed helpdesk team. Your IT supplier should have a well-staffed, knowledgeable and qualified helpdesk team, and this should be delivered inside a suitable SLA (service level agreement)! This team should have a well-documented record of your systems, with easy access to your details to enable fast resolution of any issues. They should value your feedback, so customer surveys and a thermometer of customer happiness should be a key KPI.

  • Regular proactive technical visits, administration and auditing. You shouldn’t only ever see your IT suppliers' people when something breaks! To stay on top of the complexities of your IT infrastructure and your estate, records need to be kept, maintenance tasks must be carried out and regular and important cybersecurity audits must be conducted. This is one of the key differences with a truly managed IT supplier, and if this only happens in an ad-hoc manner, you aren’t getting a fully managed IT service.
  • Strategic guidance. You should be having regular meetings with your supplier, these meetings should happen at least once a quarter to keep your supplier in the loop and up to date with your business developments. Your IT infrastructure provides the foundation for your digital systems and, therefore, your business. If your supplier isn’t trying to stay on top of your business requirements, they aren’t keeping your IT one step ahead of your needs!

Note: Don’t confuse these meetings with a salesperson or account manager coming to sell you the latest big shiny box. Is your account manager also commissioned to make sales? Perhaps ask that question? (Pssst… Our Virtual IT Directors are not paid a sales commission, and really are only motivated by giving you the best advice and seeing your business grow!)

Cons of Fully managed

We’re not ashamed to say there aren’t any! Our only tip is to be wary of the provider you choose, as some, ironically, are not well protected themselves and, therefore, are more vulnerable to cyber security threats as they are more prone to hackers.

It’s also worth doing your research to make sure you’re receiving the best value for money.

Average small business IT support pricing

If you’re a small business, we understand that the costs of IT support can be a troubling thought. Yet, particularly in the current circumstances, when many of your employees are likely working remotely, IT support has undoubtedly jumped higher up on your priority list.

Even if your daily operations didn’t heavily rely on technology before, we guarantee that this dependency has increased in the past few months. If this is the case, fully managed IT support offers a far more cost-effective solution to your business IT needs, as it covers remote working costs. If not fully managed, remote IT support is calculated differently. With the fully managed model, you’ll receive around-the-clock support, and across all sites, for a fixed monthly fee.

It’s worth remembering that fully managed IT support is charged per user, so the pricing of small business IT support in the UK varies greatly. But, this way, if you have a smaller team, you will naturally be paying less!

We are of the strong opinion that truly good IT can only be delivered when all 4 delivery areas listed above are working well, proactively and pre-emptively looking after your business’s IT requirements. This is why, at Netitude, we only choose to work in the true Fully Managed IT Support model.

In Value for Money terms, a fully managed IT service delivers a far higher return on investment, no matter the size of your company. Even if you're just starting out, there are plenty of ways to find cost-effective IT solutions for your start-up that can set your business up for success, right from the outset. The higher up-front price is justified by a great deal of work in the background that ultimately delivers higher security, higher uptime, higher availability and happier users. Plus, your business will be making the best use of technology! If you need more advice on small business IT support pricing, our webinar on how to reduce IT costs your business might be a helpful resource for you.

Our pricing is personalised to each client we work with, blending our services to create a bespoke solution, meaning there are too many factors to list them all on one page. However, we believe in totally transparent pricing, so you can fill out our pricing form to receive our complete IT support pricing guide. If you feel our service might fit your needs or serve your business better than your current arrangement, please get in touch or book a meeting – we would love to talk!


How much does IT support cost?

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, in general, IT support pricing ranges between £80-£150 per hour or £50-£100 per computer.

Which support type is the best for small to medium-sized businesses?

At Netitude, we believe that fully managed IT support offers you not only the best support but also the best value for money.

What’s the advantage of ad-hoc IT support?

The main advantage of this particular IT support model is that there are no ongoing costs, and you only pay for their time carrying out the fix.

How does pre-paid IT support work?

The hours are pre-purchased to allow the supplier to provide a discount on the hourly rate, and perhaps also an SLA to operate under (guaranteed response times).

What’s the advantage of fixed-priced IT support?

The service usually covers reactive support, so you won’t be forking out for hidden costs if a problem arises. You’ll also benefit from a fixed rate each month, meaning planning around your IT budget will be far simpler.

What’s the advantage of fully managed IT support?

With fully managed IT support, you’ll enjoy 24/7 monitoring of your entire IT estate, a helpful helpdesk team, and regular proactive technical visits, administration and auditing. Every part of your business IT will be looked after.