It’s always tempting to go with the cheapest option.
Partly, that’s because the upfront price tag is one of the easiest factors to measure when you’re making a decision. Price is a clear, hard number – and if one option is more affordable, it can seem like an obvious advantage.
You probably know from personal experience, though, that price isn’t always as clear cut as it appears. Sometimes, cheap things end up costing more money in the long-term.
From a product perspective, that tends to happen in the form of repair and replacement costs. Last year, for example, I bought the cheapest desk I could find on Amazon. It broke. This year, I’m buying another desk. I may as well have spent twice as much the first time and gotten a better model. Lesson learned.
From a service perspective, the costs of cheap decisions may not be as obvious, but they can actually be more harmful. Opt for the most affordable accounting service, for example, and you may end up with a host of bookkeeping errors that throw your business into chaos and eat into your bottom line.
The truth is that the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Sometimes, it’s not even really the cheapest.
For businesses looking for IT services in Columbia, MD, that’s an important factor to consider. Columbia (and Maryland, in general) is a great region for business, but it’s also a competitive one. To get ahead, you need to be able to depend on your IT systems; they’re critical to your success.
And going with the cheapest option can cost you.
Here are five ways that cheap IT services actually create more costs for Columbia businesses – and how you can avoid them.
Cheap IT services typically don’t have the ability to respond to issues quickly. The reality is that when you cut price, corners get cut, too, and one of those corners is response time.
Say, for example, you’ve got a part-time IT person serving your Columbia business. Maybe it’s your cousin who knows about computers. Maybe it’s an internal employee who fell into the role. Or, maybe you’ve been fortunate enough to find an IT expert to assist you, but they’re based in Rockville.
Even in a best-case scenario, a single, part-time IT person will be hard pressed to respond to issues quickly. Are they on-site, in Columbia, whenever you need them? Are they able to service multiple IT issues at once? Are they available via phone right away?
If they’re cheap, the answer to each of those questions is almost certainly “no.”
Alternatively, if you have cheap outsourced IT – say, a helpdesk – it’s unlikely you’ll get quick support for any major issue. You may get fast assistance on minor issues, but if there’s anything that requires real expertise, you’ll be waiting awhile until one of their experts is available to visit your Columbia, MD location – assuming they have an expert on staff.
Cheap IT means a slow response. And a slow response costs you, because it means lost productivity for your business.
Additionally, cheap IT services often don’t have the expertise that’s needed to properly address real issues.
If you’re using an internal employee, no matter how good they are in general, it’s impossible for them to be good in every area of IT. Think of your IT team like a basketball team. There are different areas of expertise, and in order for everything to work the way it should, you need good players at each position. Nobody can do it all (except Lebron James, and he doesn’t come cheap).
A single IT person, no matter how talented, can’t fill every need for your Columbia business. So major issues will arise, downtime will happen, and your business will pay the price.
And, as we mentioned, if you’ve outsourced to a cheap option, there are almost certainly a limited number of high level technicians available. You won’t get help on a larger issue via a helpdesk, and even if you have onsite support, there’s a good chance you’ll be sent somebody who doesn’t actually know how to solve the issue.
Cheap IT means cheap solutions – not effective responses to significant issues.
Expertise aside, though, many seemingly “cheap” IT services actually get expensive very quickly as soon as something goes wrong.
Say you’re paying an hourly rate, and you’ve budgeted out an affordable amount based on expected hours used per month.
That’s all well and good, and your IT cost may even be minimal for several months in a row. But as soon as an issue arises, you’ll be stuck paying hourly rates to fix it. If your cheap Columbia IT service sends somebody to your site who can’t fix the issue, things will take longer. By the time everything’s over, you’ll no longer view the solution as “cheap” IT – even though, by all appearances, that’s what it was upfront.
This cost is a little less obvious: cheap IT services tend to be almost exclusively focused on fixing issues as they arise in your systems. They rarely (if ever) take the time to optimize your systems.
That costs your business money.
First, optimized systems work more effectively and more efficiently. With optimized systems, your business can streamline processes and increase your bottom line.
Second, optimized systems ensure functionality for the future. There will be fewer costs going forward if your systems are designed with the future in mind, instead of allowed to sit passively, waiting for issues to happen.
Last (and maybe most importantly), cheap IT services mean cheap security.
And, as any victim of a cyberattack can tell you, cheap security means expensive consequences sooner rather than later.
Today’s world is buzzing with cybercriminal activity – just take a look at our 2018 mid-year report to get an idea of the risk. The danger is legitimate. From healthcare to manufacturing, and everywhere in between, cybersecurity is a real concern.
Cheap IT services, in Columbia or anywhere else, simply don’t have the means necessary to address security adequately. The takeaway: if you want your business to stay safe, don’t choose cheap IT.
So, if cheap IT services aren’t the answer, then what is?
At Swift, we’ve found the solution. It’s managed services – premier IT support at a fixed monthly price. And here’s the good news: it’s actually more affordable than supposedly “cheap” alternatives.
That’s because managed services respond quickly, with onsite support available when needed. They offer expertise for real issues because they have a team of high-level techs to draw from. When issues come up, the price doesn’t move. Systems are optimized. Security is prioritized.
At the end of the day, there’s a lower cost to your Columbia, MD business.
Don’t make an IT service choice for your business based only on the upfront price tag. Cheap IT might seem like the best deal, but there will be unforeseen expense. Instead, choose a Columbia IT service you can count on. At Swift Systems, that’s what we provide.
To learn more about how managed IT services can save your Columbia, Maryland business money and boost your bottom line, get in touch with us.
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IT systems are foundational to modern businesses. Too often, that foundation is unsteady. Unpredictable outages, insecure networks, and unreliable performance from mission-critical systems can jeopardize your entire business.
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