Don't Choose A Bad IT Support Company

Avoid the bad apples by following these five simple guidelines when choosing an IT support company. Follow the list in order, it is organized to help you eliminate potential candidates in the most efficient manner possible. We hope this list will allow you to avoid common pitfalls and guide you to make the right decision.

#1 Evaluate The Sales Process

Utilizing the sales process to your advantage yields invaluable insight into the operations of an IT support company. Critique each interaction throughout the sales process, beginning to end. Are they easy to talk to over the phone? Do they get back to you when promised? Do they make you feel comfortable?

The first time you contact an IT support company we suggest submitting an online form instead of calling. By submitting an online form, you can observe their response time. If a vendor takes 2-3 days to respond to a sales inquiry, how long do you think they will take to respond when you need help?

#2 Do They Have Experience In Your Industry?

Every industry is obviously unique, processes are unique, applications are unique, priorities are unique. Working with an IT support company that understands your business is crucial to a successful relationship. We are first to admit there are just some industries that we have no business supporting. Businesses subject to Sarbanes-Oxley is an example of a client we would not onboard. If an IT support company is willing to support any industry, it is an immediate red flag.

When the whole force of the mind is directed to one particular object, as in consequence of the division of labour it must be, the mind is more likely to discover the easiest methods of attaining that object than when its attention is dissipated among a great variety of things.

-Adam Smith, 1776

IT support companies who specialize in a handful of industries will undisputedly offer better service than those who do not. They will know how to support your unique software, the caveats in your business processes, and they will speak the industry’s lingo. We cannot stress how important it is to ask for references that are from businesses operating in the same industry.

Industries Most Likely to Report Catching Resume Lies

Financial Services 73%
Leisure and Hospitality 71%
Information Technology 63%
Healthcare 63%

#3 Check Their Certifications!

We sincerely wish it was possible to assess a fee to every job candidate that listed an expired certification on their resume. We could easily start a side-business as a staffing agency. Falsely claiming a certification or competency is one of the most common lies we see IT companies tell.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to tell if an IT company is lying about which certifications their engineers possess.

All certification bodies (CompTIA, Microsoft, Cisco, etc.) issue a digital way to verify the authenticity and validity of an engineer’s certification. Do not assume an IT company is certified just because they have the “Microsoft Certified” badge on their website. Ask them to send you a copy of every certification and check their expiration date.

#4 Review Their Service Level Agreements (SLA)

Firstly, what are service level agreements? SLAs are simply promises made by the IT company. These promises will usually look like this, “High priority issues will receive a response within X hours.” Each SLA will vary and the differences between one SLA over another is really not important. What is important is whether you believe the SLA defines an adequate level of service for your business.

One other quick note about a common problem with SLAs. Make sure you understand what determines an issue “critical” or “low importance”. Many times, what the IT support company considers low importance, you may consider critical. Leaving these types of terms loosely defined is asking for a legal battle.

Finally and above all, simply make sure they have an SLA. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it! Never do business with an IT support company that does not have some type of SLA to show you.

#5 Do They Use A Modern Pricing Model

We mention price last because knowledge is indeed, difficult to price. We firmly believe if you find someone who has the knowledge you need and you can afford their services, the price is irrelevant. However, this perfect scenario is a unicorn in the business world. Therefore, forgive us for just a moment as we’ll need to briefly dive into the deep-end of economics.

Itemized Invoice


Pushing Button …………………………………….. $1

Knowing Which Button To Push ………….$999

Total: $1,000

The current pricing model trend is the “fixed price model”, which sounds sexy and unfortunately, it isn’t. It is widely supported that, “…having a fixed price is regarded as an unfair approach for customers” (Ackerman, 2011). IT support companies too often apply fixed pricing, because it is simple and easy to apply (Santos & Silva, 2015). This method is highly flawed because it is based on several unstated assumptions, such as:

  1. all competitors have the same cost structure
  2. services are undifferentiated
  3. value for the customer differs little
  4. variable costs are easy to assign to specific services
  5. and fixed costs are not important

H’ok, now that we have that off our chest. What is the best pricing model? Pricing models that include a fixed baseline cost and a variable component offer the most balanced approach. This balanced approach mitigates uncontrolled costs for you and offsets steep variations in demand for the IT support company. The best agreement in business is where both parties mutually benefit.

Are you looking for an IT support company?

We’d love to talk about your needs and see how ITA may help your business grow. Best part is we’ll still check out after you apply these 5 guidelines to our company. Contact us today and let’s get started!


Ackerman, D.E. (2011) Outsourcing Advisory: Pricing Trends in Infrastructure Services. Stanford, CA: Gartner Group Inc.
Santos, J. C., & Silva, M. M. (2015). Mapping Critical Success Factors for IT Outsourcing. International Journal of Enterprise Information Systems, 11(1), 62-84. doi:10.4018/ijeis.2015010105
Smith, A. (1776). The wealth of nations.