Your Complete Guide to Signing a Managed IT Services Contract

No matter how you got here, you are reading this guide on managed IT services because you need to change how you’re managing your IT.

By contracting with a managed IT services provider (MSP), like The KR Group, you’ll take IT maintenance and support off your plate and pay for a knowledgeable team of experts to always be available to resolve your issue.

However, before you let us touch any part of your IT environment, you want to be as prepared as possible to hand your technology over to us.

Understanding what managed IT services are and why they’re right for you is just the beginning.

To help you feel comfortable signing a contract, we want to lay out everything that happens once you engage us for a contract to when that contract expires.

By the time you finish reading this guide, most of your questions about how managed IT services look in action should be answered. And, you’ll be confident talking with one of our team members about designing a contract specifically for your needs.

To get you there, we’re going to talk about the following components of a managed IT services contract.

Keep in mind, we’ll be discussing these points strictly from the perspective of signing a contract with The KR Group. If you decide to use another provider, they may not follow all of the same procedures.

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Chapter 1: Negotiating Your Contract

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Once you are certain managed IT services are right for your business, you’re ready to start thinking about the contract.

This next step means another series of questions you have about what to expect when you start working with a managed IT service provider (MSP).

Misunderstood expectations can confuse both parties, so we must be on the same page about what managed services will look like for your company. This document clearly lays out expectations between the two of us.

We’ll go over the contract with you before you sign on for our services, and we recommend you read through it in its entirety as well.

For now, there are seven components we want to highlight:

  1. Hardware and software requirements
  2. Hours of service
  3. Cost of managed IT services
  4. Length of contract
  5. Recurring reviews
  6. Exit clause
  7. Changes to the original agreement

When you formally sign a contract, we’ll review the document with you and encourage you to read through it on your own as well. However, these points should help you start to understand what a contract with The KR Group looks like.

1. Hardware and software requirements
Contracting with us for managed IT services means agreeing to use our standardized hardware and software suite.

This allows our engineers to efficiently monitor and serve customers since they use the same user interfaces and procedures for all of their customers.

Additionally, current, enterprise-grade IT is less vulnerable to cyber attacks.

If outdated hardware is currently a part of your environment at this stage, we will work with you to implement a plan to replace it. The goal is to get your entire IT environment current eventually. However, we can offer some leniency on the timeline of meeting our hardware requirements and removing end-of-life devices from your environment.

2. Hours of service
The KR Group’s business hours are between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

However, we know not all of our customers keep traditional 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. business hours, and IT malfunctions can happen at any time of the day.

In addition to our team of engineers working during normal hours, we also have staff on call to handle these requests 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.

3. Cost of managed IT services
When it comes to the contract, almost all of our customers want to know how much it’s going to cost.

Since each business has different needs, cost varies from customer to customer.

In general, all customers can expect to pay the following:

$500 per site for an audit
$750 to $2,000 per site for a firewall
$85 to $100 per user per month for software and IT support

The more users you have, the larger capacity firewall you’ll need (and thus, be more expensive). On the flip side, as user count increases, the price of IT support per user decreases.

Other factors, such as owning compatible hardware instead of leasing, signing a multi-year contract, or agreeing to remote-only IT support, can decrease the overall cost.

4. Length of a managed services contract
How long to work with us is an important decision you’ll make when we create your contract. We offer three options, each of which has its pros and cons:

1-YEAR CONTRACT

Have the least commitment but also give you the least amount of time to connect

3-YEAR CONTRACT

Require some commitment but may not be the right length for everyone

5-YEAR CONTRACT

Require the most commitment, but, in return, they offer a premium rate

If you sign for a 3-year term, you can save 10% on the cost of managed IT services, and customers with 5-year agreements can save up to 15%.

5. Quarterly business reviews

During these meetings, your main point of contact (generally your CFO or CEO) will meet with our vCIO.

For a half-hour to an hour you’ll have a chance to discuss the following topics:

Service metrics
Service quality
Future plans
Goals for the next quarter

However, beyond reviewing the past quarter and looking ahead to the next, this cadence allows an opportunity for your MSP to sit down and meet with you, which builds rapport and understanding.

6. Exit clause
Along with the length of your contract, you should also look at our clause for terminating services. (Chapter 8 goes into more detail on this subject.)

At The KR Group, our managed IT services clients are entitled to a 90-day trial period. During this time, if they are unsatisfied with the service, they can leave without any penalties.

After those three months, though, customers have to wait until the end of their contract or pay out the remainder of it before leaving.

7. Changes to the original agreement
Regardless of your contract term length, you’re likely to have some changes to your company throughout the duration.

We know you can’t predict the future, so we encompass possible changes in your contract.

The most common change to contracts is user count as your company grows. We account for this and include provisions for growing companies.

When you need to add a user, you’ll have to inform us in advance. Your engineer will work with human resources to learn what devices and software the new user will need and prepare them.

Setting up new devices for the new user is billed outside of your contract, but eventually, the new user is brought into your recurring charges. We allow customers to make user changes every six months.

Chapter 2: The KR Group's Differentiators

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The best MSPs share many qualities. Most importantly, they go above and beyond to communicate with you and accomplish what you’ve contracted with them to do – solve your IT problems – with expertise and efficiency.

Whether you’re considering The KR Group as your first MSP or looking for a new provider, we know how much trust it takes to hand over your IT environment.

Some of the characteristics we believe make us stand out from our competitors are:
  1. Our engineers have the expertise to solve your problems quickly. 
  2. Strong communication skills are an essential quality when hiring new engineers. 
  3. We have a technical leadership team supporting our managed services engineers.
  4. Our managed IT services include redundancy.
  5. Our managed IT services contracts include on-site support. 
  6. Proactive maintenance is just as important to us as responding to problems. 

Consistently offering managed services with the above differentiators keeps our weekly customer satisfaction score above 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Quality #1: Our engineers’ technical expertise
We try to recruit and hire engineers who have the technical expertise to address all of your problems. This quality is vital for a positive customer experience.

There’s nothing more frustrating than requesting support for a problem and being handed over to a series of engineers before you get a resolution to your issue.

We know this situation negatively impacts our customers’ experience with managed services, so we avoid employing tier 1 engineers.

In the IT industry, engineers are classified into tiers.

Tier 1 engineers know how to solve basic technology problems, such as connectivity issues, software installation, or basic system troubleshooting.

Tier 2 and 3 engineers have a more extensive knowledge base, including network and security solutions, routing protocols, and configuring hardware platforms.

At some point, all businesses have an IT problem that falls under each category. If the engineer can’t solve your problem, they’ll escalate your request to an engineer who does.

However, having to escalate can draw out the time it takes to resolve your issues.

To avoid this problem, at The KR Group, we avoid hiring tier 1 engineers and focus on recruiting and retaining tier 2 and tier 3 engineers.

By avoiding employing tier 1 engineers, the first KR Group engineer you contact should know to resolve your issues.

While there are certainly times one of our engineers may have to lean on a more senior engineer for assistance, this shouldn’t be the norm.

Quality #2: Clear communication
Reliable IT service depends on having engineers who know how to solve your problems.

As an IT consultant, we’ve heard our customers recount stories of bad IT experiences. Whether it was poor communication or lacking services, we know it is too common to have unmet expectations regarding IT services.

At The KR Group, we strive to be different. When we hire staff, communication skills are something we heavily consider before making a job offer.

We believe the best engineers not only know how to solve your IT problems but can also communicate with you in a way that helps you understand the problem and how they’re addressing it.

Quality #3: Technical leadership
Our engineers undoubtedly deserve recognition for how they go above and beyond.

The KR Group’s leaders have all had experience working hands on with IT. When a customer is in a pinch and our engineers are dealing with other issues, they are more than willing to step in and get your IT environment back on track.

Not only is this something they’re willing to do, but it’s also something that has happened from time to time.

With this technical leadership, our entire company understands the demands of IT support.

Quality #4: Redundancy
By having a technical leadership team and staffing highly skilled engineers, we can boast about another differentiator: redundancy.

Redundancy is essential throughout IT because it provides a secondary solution when the primary one stops functioning.

For example, if you have redundant servers and your primary server were to stop functioning, a redundant server would take over and keep your IT environment running smoothly.

Similarly, by having a workforce and leadership team of highly knowledgeable IT experts, we can provide multiple customers with timely service.

Quality #5: Frequent on-site support
Another distinguishing feature of The KR Group’s managed IT services is how we provide on-site support.

Unless you opt for a remote-only managed services contract, you can expect regular visits from your managed IT services engineer.

While we can’t provide the same amount of hands-on assistance as an internal IT department, we do come to your site regularly. The exact frequency of this depends on your business’s needs, but we have current customers that we visit every week.

Any amount of regular in-person interaction with your MSP engineer allows you to build a rapport. On the engineer’s side, they’re able to gain a better understanding of your business’s needs and culture.

Quality #6: Proactive maintenance
IT problems can vary from a minor annoyance to halting your entire operations.

Regardless of the magnitude of the issue, you’d rather avoid IT problems in the first place.

At The KR Group, we focus on monitoring and maintaining your IT environment.

We’ll always be there when you have a problem, but we try to reduce the frequency of your IT issues through proactive monitoring.

For example, our services require your users to have our software suite installed. This package includes security solutions, such as a firewall, antivirus, anti-spam, and DNS filtration.

Together, these layers of security prevent many malware attacks from successfully exploiting your environment.

Because of how cyberattacks are constantly evolving, we can’t guarantee your environment will never be a malware victim. However, we can significantly reduce the likelihood.

Additionally, The KR Group also has a security team to connect you with if you want to explore other security options, such as managed SOC services, security assessments, or additional solutions.

Chapter 3: Managed Services Onboarding Procedures

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Once you’re confident that we will offer a contract that meets your businesses’ IT needs and will provide the service you’re looking for during the duration contract, it’s time to sign up.

Whether this will be your first managed IT services contract or just your first contract with The KR Group, you’ll go through an onboarding process.

There are three phases in this process:
  1. An audit of your existing IT environment
  2. Offboarding your old hardware and software
  3. The KR Group takes control of your environment

The goal of these steps is to provide a clean slate for us to take over your IT environment and begin providing services.

Phase 1: An audit determines what the onboarding process will look like
Before we can estimate your contract’s price or start the onboarding process, we’ll need to audit your current IT environment.

During the audit, we’ll look at your existing hardware and software. What solutions you’re currently using will give us an idea of what you’re used to and what gaps you might have.

Auditing your firewalls and back-up hardware lets us know if you own or lease the equipment. It also gives us an idea of what hardware capacity you need.

This isn’t always as straightforward as it sounds.

If we’re going to take control of your IT environment from another MSP, we have to learn how they are running your IT environment without creating waves with your current provider.

The most efficient way to do this is to have a list of the software and hardware in your IT stack. However, if you don’t know or have access to this information, our engineer will try to uncover it.

Along with looking at your technology, we’ll also tally your user count. With this information, we’ll be able to calculate how much a contract will cost.

Phase 2: Offboarding your old hardware and software
If you’re using managed services, you’ll have to transition away from your current IT management solution, whether on your own or with another MSP.

If you are currently using another MSP, it’s important you review your out clause first to make sure you time the termination of your contract according to their policies.

Whether you’re using another MSP or managing your IT internally, you’ll need to plan on offboarding any old solutions your new MSP won’t take over.

The offboarding process is the wildcard in the transition process.

We might encounter unexpected hurdles when we gain control of your IT environment.

If you’re a current MSP customer, we’ll have to coordinate the offboarding process with your existing provider.

However, if this is your first endeavor into managed IT services, we’ll handle the offboarding of any equipment that we won’t carry over into our services.

It’s important to offboard old solutions immediately before onboarding with us to have as little impact on your business operations as possible.

Because of this, we generally schedule offboarding and onboarding on a Friday after business hours.

Once your old solutions are offboarded, we’ll immediately start installing our new hardware and software.

To complete the offboarding process, we’ll need access to the user names and passwords for your network, domain, and remaining hardware.

Phase 3: The KR Group takes control
At this point, we have control of your IT environment.

During this transition, we’ll take the burden off of you and safely unhook your previous IT solutions.

We’ll change the network administrator and remaining hardware passwords to lock out previous network administrators.

As soon as possible, we’ll also conduct a back-up of your system. This saves your most current information in the rare case your network has an issue during or soon after the onboarding process.

The onboarding window is also an excellent time to perform a security assessment. During this step, we’ll look for any security issues or even hidden gateways and remove them.

The brief security assessment ensures you are starting with our services safely and securely. We’ll catch old security issues and grant network access to the users you want authorized.

To finish the onboarding process, we’ll change computer names, patch or update tool sets, if needed, and ensure everything is up to date.

We’ll take complete control over your IT environment before your business resumes on Monday.

When you resume business for the workweek, we’ll station an engineer at your office to hand out new contact information, meet employees, and work through any kinks.

The goal is to make the transition as smooth and seamless as possible.

To further ensure the onboarding and switching process is as smooth as possible, download our free onboarding checklist.

Need help with the onboarding process? Download our free guide!

Chapter 4: How to Submit a Service Ticket

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Every day, MSPs juggle multiple service requests from multiple customers.

How do they keep them all organized?

MSPs use a ticketing system to automate how we receive and resolve service requests. It creates order in what could otherwise be a chaotic process.

The ticketing system allows all service requests to be collected and queued for resolution. It also tracks important information on what steps have been taken to address an issue.

Some of the most common questions we receive about the ticketing process include:
  1. How do you submit a ticket?
  2. What information does an MSP need for a ticket?
  3. What happens when you have multiple issues at once?
  4. What is the response time on tickets?
  5. When should you follow up on a ticket?

With the answers to the above questions, you should feel confident about requesting IT support before you even need it.

Question #1: How do you submit a ticket?
Submitting a service request ticket is how you let The KR Group know you need them to look into a problem within your IT environment.

There are multiple avenues to accomplish this.

All of The KR Group’s managed IT services customers have a desktop client to submit service request tickets and view any ongoing ticket’s status.

However, many customers prefer to email their requests instead. This method also generates tickets on our service board.

The KR Group’s first preference for sending tickets is an email. Our second preference is a desktop client submission, and our third preference is a phone call. (However, you should always make a phone call first for IT emergencies.

Ultimately, we encourage you to find the method that works most consistently for you and your users.

Either way, these requests will automatically generate a ticket on our service board. A dispatcher will review them and pass them onto an engineer capable of addressing your problem.

The exception to using your preferred method is for after-hours and daytime emergencies. If an IT issue halts production or has an associated security risk, you should call in your service request to alert an engineer as soon as possible.

When you call in, the engineer who’s working overnight will see there is a service request without having to log in to their desktop in the middle of the night to check the service board.

Question #2: What information does an MSP need for a ticket?
Along with notifying us when there is a problem, you’ll also need to include details when you submit, email, or call in the service request.

There is no definitive way to estimate how long it will take us to resolve your IT issue for many reasons:

  • Not all IT problems are created equally.
  • MSPs prioritize service requests from all
  • customers based on the impact of the issue.
    Response times can vary based on how busy your MSP is.

These details help us determine how to triage your service request ticket and what resources to allocate to resolving it.

Question #3: What happens when you have multiple issues at once?
It’s not unusual for you to experience two or more IT problems at once, all of which you’ll need to submit a service request ticket for.

This means one problem per ticket. When you submit individual tickets, we can better manage incoming service requests.

For example, your tickets may have different priority levels. Since we’ll first address the higher priority issue, this allows us to close out this ticket and keep the other one in the queue.

We can then see that while we’ve resolved one ticket, there is still an outstanding request we need to address.

In simple terms, this allows us to address your tickets one at a time and create a clean and efficient workflow on our end.

Question #4: What is the response time on tickets?
The entire goal of using an MSP to monitor and maintain your IT is to have a highly available, highly knowledgeable resource to address your problems.

We are confident in our ability to resolve your issues, but a common question we get asked is how long until we fix the problem.

Of course, you’ll want to explain the symptoms of the issue briefly and when it started. It’s tremendously helpful if you provide us with additional details, such as:

  • How many people are affected?
  • Have there been any changes to the affected machine?
  • Is there a temporary workaround?
  • What job function is lost?
  • Who should we contact with follow-up questions?
  • We will always confirm we’ve received your ticket and keep you updated on any delays in the resolution.

Generally, we can quickly address your problem but keep the above points in mind.

Question #5: When should you follow up on a ticket?
Of course, if something changes on your end regarding your IT problem or it’s been a day or so since you’ve submitted a ticket, you’re always welcome to follow up.

This can provide insight into what we are dealing with on our end. MSPs are still generally reluctant to give an estimated time of when they’ll resolve your issue because IT is fast-paced and always changing by nature.

As a courtesy, we ask you to reach out over email only once a day for general IT requests. This allows us to directly resolve IT issues instead of answering questions about when we’ll start working on the problem.

However, if your request is regarding an emergency, we encourage you to call every hour if you haven’t heard back from us after initially submitting your request.

Chapter 5: Timeline for Service Ticket Resolution

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Now you know how to submit a ticket, but what happens between submission and resolution?

We know every IT issue is important, and we’ll address your problem as soon as possible.

However, we want to show you the process of resolving a ticket to better understand what happens behind the scenes.
  1. The customer creates a service request ticket.
  2. MSP confirms they’ve received the ticket.
  3. The dispatcher reviews the ticket.
  4. An engineer is assigned the ticket.
  5. The engineer begins working on the ticket.
  6. The engineer resolves the ticket.

By walking you through all six steps, you will better understand how we handle your IT requests.

Step 1: Client creates the service request ticket
Once you notice a problem, it’s crucial to submit the service request immediately.

Holding onto IT problems is one of the most common issues of managed IT services. The KR Group urges you not to hold onto problems because it makes your IT environment inefficient and causes more issues in the long run.

Whether you submit the request through an email, the desktop client, or a phone call, you should preemptively answer questions, such as:

  • In thorough detail, what problem are you experiencing?
  • Who is affected by the issue, and how is it impacting your business?
  • What steps, if any, have you taken to try and resolve the issue on your own?
  • Who should we contact with additional questions?

Remember, if you’re experiencing an emergency after hours, the best method to reach us is by calling our service request line.

Step 2: Ticket is received and confirmed
It can be nerve-wracking to send over your service request ticket and just sit and wait for us to get back to you regarding the issue.

We’ve set up our service request board to provide peace of mind by automatically sending an email that confirms your request made its way to the ticketing board.

At this point, your ticket is waiting to be reviewed by the dispatcher (Step 3).

You can continue to check on your ticket’s status by logging into the desktop client or periodically following up with our managed services team.

Step 3: The dispatcher reviews the ticket
Once your service request ticket hits our service board, the dispatcher is going to lay eyes on the request first.

This allows them to quickly assess if it is an emergency and needs immediate attention. If it isn’t an emergency, the dispatcher decides if the issue will require on-site or remote service from an engineer.

We can solve about 80% of businesses’ IT issues remotely, so when possible, this is the method an engineer will use to resolve your issue.

On the other hand, if your issue is related to a hardware failure, an engineer will likely need to go on-site to resolve it.

(Unless you have a remote-only support agreement, both of these types of support are covered by a managed IT services contract.)

If the type of support isn’t immediately clear, the engineer will first try solving the issue remotely. They can better determine if on-site support will be necessary after learning more about your problem.

Step 4: An engineer is assigned the ticket
Once the dispatcher gives the ticket a preliminary overview, they forward it to the engineer service board.

At this point, it goes into a queue. MSPs have many businesses they’re working with, and individual engineers are assigned multiple accounts.

Generally, your ticket won’t be the first one in line to receive support. The engineer is reviewing and triaging the requests as they hit their board.

Engineers look for factors, such as the importance of the affected system(s), how many people are affected by the issue, possible workarounds or existing redundancy, and associated security risks.

All of these factors work together to dictate where the engineer places your request in the queue.

For example, suppose an issue only impacts a few users and has a temporary workaround. In that case, the engineer will place it lower in the queue than if it affected the whole company and had no workaround.

However, this all depends on the engineer’s workload at the time you submit a ticket. Best-case scenario, the engineer and team are not overly busy and can address your issue quickly.

Step 5: An engineer starts working on the issue
After the engineer triages your request, it continues to move up in the queue. However, keep in mind that another business’s emergency IT issue might take precedence over your problem with a small impact. So, keep checking your desktop client throughout the process.

As much as it is an IT cliché, try rebooting the affected application or device before the ticket gets to this point. This is the first question the engineer will ask you regarding the request. Taking this step yourself can speed up the resolution process.

Once the engineer does start working on your ticket, our best advice is to be patient and available. We’ll need to ask questions to see if our solutions fix the issue, and not all IT problems are straightforward fixes.

Step 6: An engineer confirms ticket resolution
Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: your ticket is resolved.

Once the engineer resolves your issue, they’ll call to confirm the affected system is indeed working.

At this point, they’ll close out your ticket and send you a customer satisfaction survey. This survey asks the following questions:

  • What is your overall level of satisfaction with The KR Group’s handling of your recently completed service ticket?
  • What is your level of satisfaction with the amount of time it took the service ticket to be resolved?
  • What is your level of satisfaction with the quality of the resolution to your issue?
  • Are you satisfied with the process we used to notify, schedule, and resolve your issue?
  • What is your level of satisfaction with the personal treatment you received by support representatives during the handling of your service ticket?

You’ll rate each of these questions on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best.

It’s important you send us this feedback because it allows us to celebrate successes and see where we need to improve. It also allows us to make decisions about staffing and engineer workloads.

Our engineers do their best to triage issues and get through the queue as quickly as possible without sacrificing customer satisfaction.

If an engineer doesn’t address your ticket right away, it’s because they’re busy with other requests ahead of yours in the queue.

We encourage you to be patient and check the desktop client if you’re looking for an update on your service request’s status.

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Chapter 6: Requesting Emergency Support

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We’ve briefly mentioned that requesting emergency support has a slightly different process than your everyday service requests.

However, it’s worth spending a whole chapter talking about these differences. You want clear direction on how to alert us of an emergency before you find yourself in the middle of one.

Knowing what you need to do when you find yourself experiencing an IT emergency can help ease some of the panic.

The top four things you need to know before requesting support for an emergency are:
  1. If your contract includes support after hours
  2. What to use after-hours support for
  3. Remote vs. on-site support
  4. Response time for emergencies

By answering these questions, you’ll see not only the value of a managed services contract but also gain some peace of mind that with an MSP, you won’t be alone to handle your urgent IT needs.

1. If your contract includes support after hours
The answer to this, of course, depends on your contract.

Different MSPs have different contract options, but all should have the option for support after normal business hours.

This is something you’ll want to review with us when signing a contract.

If we settle on a contract with after-hours support included, then you can call for support at any time, and it will be included in your monthly rate.

However, if after-hours support isn’t included in your contract, you can still call for assistance. You’ll see a separate charge on your monthly invoice since your subscription doesn’t cover this service.

If your subscription doesn’t include support outside of normal business hours, we recommend you annually set aside 5% of your monthly managed services cost to cover these unforeseen circumstances.

2. What to use after-hours support for
We ask that you reserve support outside of business hours (including holidays) for IT emergencies. This means the IT problem needs to stop production, affect the majority of your users, or have no workaround.

This allows the nighttime engineer to remain available for other businesses that do have an issue that requires immediate attention.

A common example of an after-hours emergency is the failure of an imperative component of your IT infrastructure where there is no redundancy.

If the issue doesn’t affect many of your users, doesn’t halt production, or has a simple workaround, we’ll ask if the issue can wait until the next business day.

3. Remote vs. on-site support
Many software issues can be solved remotely – saving you and the MSP engineer the time of driving to your office.

However, some problems, specifically ones related to hardware, require the MSP engineer to come on-site to address the issue.

This is true for service requests during normal business hours and after hours.

Generally, the on-call engineer will try to work with you to resolve the problem remotely first, but if your support includes on-site support, an engineer will come to you to resolve your IT issue.

4. Response time for emergencies
The exact response time for your MSP engineer for an after-hours emergency is dependent on whether the issue requires on-site or remote assistance. If you require on-site support, how far you’re located from our overnight engineer plays a role in response time since they will have to commute to your office.

While an exact response time is hard to predict, within 30 minutes of requesting IT support, your MSP should confirm they’ve received the service request.

On your MSP’s end, if the engineer has not called back the customer within the time frame, the manager then receives an alert.

Keep in mind that while your MSP employs highly knowledgeable engineers, some more technical problems may still require the on-call engineer to escalate the request.

Chapter 7: Managed IT Services Billing Details

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Billing is an important component for any service, and managed IT services are no different.

You don’t want surprises when it comes to cost and billing.

More importantly, you don’t want hiccups or miscommunication with the billing process to hinder your view of this IT solution you know will empower your business.

Transparency is important to us at The KR Group. When you clearly understand what is going on, it will only enhance your experience and our relationship.

To pull back the curtain on the billing process, we need to talk about four factors:
  1. The managed IT services billing process
  2. Understanding different types of invoices 
  3. Updating billing to reflect user changes
  4. Missed payments for managed IT services

We’ve put together all of this information to prepare you for that first invoice you’ll receive after signing up for our managed IT services.

Point #1: The managed IT services billing process
You’ll receive an invoice for your managed IT services agreement each month.

At The KR Group, we send out these invoices on the 15th of each month for the next month. The bill is due on the 30th.

This monthly, per-user fee covers our antivirus, anti-spam, DNS filtration, and remote monitoring solutions.

In addition to those services, many of our managed IT services customers choose to have us manage their back-up solution and Office 365 subscriptions. Each of these appears on a separate invoice.

You’ll receive these invoices before the monthly subscription invoice, generally between the 5th and 15th of each month.

Point #2: Understanding different types of invoices
As we mentioned above, your invoices will be for different services or products.

Subscription Invoices

Your monthly invoices will be labeled as “Agreement Hybrid IT.”

They’ll also list your full-time and part-time users. This allows you to quickly review that you don’t need to make any changes to user counts.

Recurring Charges Invoices

If you have The KR Group managing your back-up solution, Office 365, or any other subscription, you’ll receive an invoice for this as well.

These invoices are separate from service invoices, and they detail the type and quantity of subscriptions.

Service Invoices

As a managed IT services customer, you’ll generally only receive this invoice if you add new users.

In this scenario, you’ll receive an invoice detailing the work performed, length of the project, billable rate, and total cost.

Point #3: Updating billing to reflect user count changes
You’ll have staff changes at some point, and your managed IT services contract will need to reflect that.

Most customers promptly let the managed IT services department know about user changes.

To have billing reflect changes, you should also include billing ([email protected]) on any communications about adjusting your user count.

However, if you forget to let accounting know about the changes, the managed services team will pass along the information.

Point #4: Missed payments for managed IT services
As of right now, our billing process requires you to submit payment to us each month or sign up for ACH or wire payments.

If you miss the payment, you’ll receive communication about collections follow-up and the process of being placed on credit hold.

If your account is placed on credit hold, you can’t make any future purchases, but your services (anti-spam, antivirus, DNS filtration, etc.) aren’t impacted.

However, if you’ve been on credit hold for 30 days and still haven’t submitted payment, you are placed on service hold. You are no longer able to make purchases or request IT support, and your applications (antivirus, anti-spam, DNS filtration, etc.) are shut off.

You’ll need to pay any outstanding fees and work with the engineer and billing team to be taken off of credit or service hold.

Chapter 8: Renewing or Ending Managed IT Services Contract

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At this point, you know what your contract needs to include, how to onboard with us, how the ticket process works, and what to expect from billing.

You’re almost ready to sign a contract.

The last question you may have is what happens at the end of the contract. We’ll address this topic periodically during the duration of your contract. We’ll address this topic periodically during the duration of your contract.

For now, let’s review some of the most common questions about the end of a contract term:
  1. When my contract expires, do you stop supporting my IT?
  2. Will my rates change?
  3. Can I make revisions to my contract before the next term?
  4. How do I renew a contract?
  5. What if I don’t want to renew my contract?

Planning for the end of the contract is just as important as planning for the beginning of one. The answers to the above questions will provide you with clarity and reassurance when your contract is up for renewal.

FAQ #1: When my contract expires, do you stop supporting my IT?
Our vCIO will review when your contract expires during each quarterly business review. This means you’ll have ample time to plan for renewal.

But, before you even officially agree to a managed services contract, we’ll start talking about the end of your agreement.

In your contract, there is a section that discusses automatic renewal.

Together, we will decide if auto-renewing on a monthly basis or for another term (1, 3, or 5 years) is the best fit for your business.

Monthly auto-renewal allows you to make decisions about your provider without having to pay the term in full before leaving.

Auto-renewal for a full term, on the other hand, allows you to continue with a similar contract as you previously had.

By having automatic renewal included in a contract, you won’t be without IT support or your MSP’s software suite as soon as your contract expires.

This continuity is important in IT because, without timely support, IT issues can have severe consequences, including cost.

FAQ #2: Will my rates change?
While we’d love to tell you that your rates won’t change from term to term, that isn’t always the case. We’d rather prepare you for the possibility of a price increase than be misleading about this topic.

How rates change for your next term is dependent on many factors, including internal pricing decisions The KR Group has made since the last time you signed or renewed a contract.

Additionally, how your business consumes managed services compared to when you started can affect your price.

The KR Group bases monthly rates on user count. Your new contract price will reflect the changes to user or device counts.

FAQ #3: Can I make revisions to my contract before the next term?
Per-user changes are the most important revisions you should make in your MSP contract. Updating your contract to reflect current information allows the cost and service to reflect your environment accurately.

However, you can also make these changes every six months during regular cadences with us.

When a contract is up for renewal, another change you should consider is if you want to continue the type of agreement you currently have.

This is a common consideration for customers who have a remote-only managed services contract but want to switch to a traditional one.

You could also adjust your traditional contract to a remote-only or move to a co-managed agreement.

FAQ #4: How do I renew a contract?
Now that you know what happens when your contract expires and what you should keep in mind when renewing, let’s talk about how to renew your contract.

When your contract automatically renews, you don’t have to worry about any lapse in coverage. However, you should confirm with us that you want to continue using our services. And, if your auto-renewal is set for month-to-month, you’ll want to sign for a 1-year, 3-year, or 5-year term.

The process for renewing is similar to signing the initial contract.

We will review the new contract line by line with you and pay special attention to the start, term, and expiration of your renewed contract, as well as what services fall within and outside of the agreement.

We will also highlight any changes you made from your previous contract to your current one. Essentially, our goal is to ensure all expectations are clear before you renew your contract.

FAQ #5: What if I don't want to renew my contract?
While we hope you’ll stay with us, we have been offering managed services long enough to know that’s not always the case.

Whether you’re switching providers or starting your own internal department, you’ll need to notify us if you want to end your contract.

You are required to pay your term in full if you want to end your contract before the contract expires. If your contract is nearing expiration or has expired, you’ll still need to notify us of your departure, so we can enter the 60-day out clause.

This window allows us to schedule the transition from our services to the successor.

Chapter 9: Managed IT Services for Your Business

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Are you ready to sign a managed IT services contract?

To recap, you should know the following components of signing a contract with The KR Group:
  • What to look for when creating a contract
  • Why our services are different
  • What to expect during our onboarding process 
  • How to submit a service request ticket
  • The lifecycle of a service request ticket
  • How to request emergency IT support
  • What our billing procedures are
  • How to renew or end your managed services contract

Now, it’s time to talk about how all of these components apply to your specific organization.

However, to do that, we need you to schedule an appointment with one of our team members.

We’ll meet for a half-hour, review any additional questions you have, and start talking about how we can create the ideal managed IT services contract for your business.

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Turn to The KR Group to develop a plan to strategically guide your IT environment as your goals change. From expert advice on designing or implementing the latest technology to taking on the responsibility of your IT infrastructure, our team is ready to help.

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Downtown

678 Front Ave. NW
Suite 300
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Lakeshore

424 Oak St.
Spring Lake, MI 49456

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