By Marco Hernandez – Chief I.T. Guy at TEK IT UP I.T. Services
The world is slowly recovering from the monumental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), businesses are starting to (slowly) get back to the office and remote workers are now requiring similar levels of pre-pandemic IT services.
Many small businesses were forced to downsize or (sadly) shut down. Right now, hiring is coming back up, but so are costs. It is estimated that professional services’ price tag has increased an average 20-30% the last 12 months in the GTA.
You see it and feel it when you shop for groceries, fill up your car tank or go out for dinner. Everything is more expensive now!
A question I am getting all the time when I attend a networking event, get a referral, or meet a new prospect is how much does it cost to get IT services now?
In the past, I always answered with an “it depends” or “let’s book a meeting and talk about your needs”. Although buying IT services is not the same as buying a sweater, I had to retrain my brain and put myself in my prospect’s shoes… I know how much my services cost, and I know I could provide a range or even an idea, but I was afraid to “lose the sale” or undersell myself.
After servicing the GTA West area for more than 14 years (and working in IT since way before Y2K), I realized playing coy with providing prices upfront (and heaven’s forbid to publish them on my website) made little to no difference, and people really appreciate when you answer the cost question sooner rather than later.
In Oakville, Ontario, there are various IT service providers offering a range of services tailored to meet different needs. The cost of these services can vary depending on factors such as the scope of work, complexity of the project, and level of expertise required.
There are two ways IT services are delivered these days:
- The Break/Fix model: on-demand services – something needs fixing and clients pay either an hourly fee or a flat rate, depending on the service provider. A one-and-done.
- The Managed Services model (also known as MSP): for a monthly set fee, the IT service provider will manage all the tech for the client including monitoring, antivirus, data backup, cybersecurity, onsite or remote service. It’s sometimes called “All You Can Eat” because this brings a huge level of predictability in IT costs and superior services not available for break/fix clients.
It’s important to note that while price is an important factor, it should not be the sole determining factor when choosing an IT service provider. Quality, reliability, and customer support are equally crucial considerations.
A reputable IT service provider will offer transparent pricing with no hidden costs and provide clear communication throughout the process.
In addition, it is also very important to clearly communicate what you need so you can qualify the best provider for you: there are some IT providers in Oakville and the GTA that won’t touch any client with less than 50 employees, simply because it’s not cost-effective for them… and that is ok.
Others (like me), only service family-owned businesses with up to 20 employees. We all have our market targets and niches (also known as verticals), and we should not take on work we cannot deliver.
How Much Do IT Services Cost in the Greater Toronto Area?
And now to answer the question, “How Much Do IT Services Cost?” At this time (July 2023), these are the cost averages for IT services in the GTA West (Oakville, Burlington, Milton, Mississauga, Etobicoke, Hamilton, and surrounding areas):
- For on-site services (the technician goes to your place of work or home), the average hourly rate goes from $100 – $250, with a minimum service time of 1 hour. Some providers also charge mileage.
- Drop-off services (you take your computer to your local computer repair shop), prices are usually based on flat fees from $30-$50 for a diagnostic and goes up to whatever, depending on the issue.
- For remote services (services are delivered online), the average is $50-$125 per hour, or a flat fee that ranges from $29.99 for a quick software installation all the way up to $250 for a severe virus/malware removal.
- Managed Services Providers (MSPs) usually charge per device, others charge per user. A typical monthly fee goes from $35-$65 for the basic Tier-1 service (24×7 monitoring, antivirus, Windows updates and maybe cloud backup and remote service) all the way to $250 for an “all-you-can-eat” service that includes hardware (desktop or laptop) and unlimited remote services.
- “À la carte”: some providers customize packages based on their client’s specific needs; it is usually a Tier-1 + add-ons, but not more than the all-you-can-eat.
What Solution is BEST for You?
The purpose of this article is to give you a dollar sign idea of how much you are expected to pay for professional services in Oakville and the GTA. It is very important to shop around and get different quotes and ask all the questions you want. It’s also crucial to assess the range of services offered by an IT service provider. Do they offer comprehensive computer services that cover all aspects of your business’s technology needs?
- If you are a home user or a solopreneur and only require occasional IT support, know your way around tech but not enough to fix complex issues, a Break/Fix solution is probably the best fit.
- If you run a business, have employees and don’t have neither the time nor the knowledge to deal with IT trouble, you should consider partnering up with a Managed Services Provider (MSP). These strategic partners will help you unload a ton of tech worries for a monthly flat rate.
Additionally, look for testimonials or reviews from other clients who have used their services. This will give you insights into their reliability, responsiveness, and overall customer satisfaction.
Moreover, convenience, confidentiality, and trust are also major factors you should consider:
- Do I need to pay for Disneyland when I only want a Ferris wheel?
- Am I comfortable letting a stranger connect remotely to my computer?
- Do I prefer taking my computer out for service or having somebody at my place?
- How fast do I want this thing fixed?
Finally, please keep something in mind: don’t call IT providers with “how-to” questions – we don’t appreciate it when we get cold calls like “how do I remove this thing just popped up in my screen, can you just tell me over the phone?”… we have bills to pay, and we don’t like to work for free.