The average skilled nursing facility has a high demand for telecommunications and the use of modern technology. With the use of technology, the need also exists for IT support. While some IT vendors supply support with their contracts on their own software, the computer equipment is often purchased by the facility. There are several options when it comes to maintaining the local network and security of devices but at what cost?
How much are you currently paying?
Since most of us don’t have the tech vernacular to understand some of the bills, we often just look for service quality and price and hope that we are not getting taken advantage of.
I have had the luxury of working with several of our nursing homes and helped negotiate better rates. I have often found that thier current solution was not meeting the needs of the facility.
Why Reviewing Your Current IT Support Contacts Can Save You
One thing that I found while reviewing contracts is that some of the contracts did not even contain any sort of reason for the monthly charges they billed for. In one case, I found that the IT provider was billing from two different companies. There was only one IT technician who we will call Bob for this article, but the facility was billed by two separate companies for his services. A $1700 per month flat fee from ABC IT (name changed for this article) and $800 a month flat fee from Bob’s Local IT (name changed for this article) and then additional hourly charges of $100 per hour that came from Bob’s Local IT.
IT Support Contract Analysis
After reviewing the contracts, I found that the ABC IT company’s monthly rate should have covered a vast array of services within that price. They even had an exhaustive list of services included on their website and contract. After reading their services, I felt that $1700 a month was a very fair and almost competitive price.
Though after reading the single page contract with Bob’s Local IT, I found that it contained no information: actually it contained a page that said “services listed here” and nothing was written on it, save for the signatures at the bottom.
I was puzzled by this additional fee from Bob and decided to reach out to him. In our phone conversation he told me that the $800 a month fee was for server backups. I found that even more puzzling because the contract the facility has with the company he works for, ABC IT, included that in their $1700 a month contract.
In essence, it pays to look at your IT bill.
There are three main types of IT support packages that vendors offer and one option is hiring an in-house IT person that may be far beyond the budget of most facilities. An in-house IT person can cost 40k – 65k a year depending on experience and location. That equats to more than $3,333 per month that it would cost plus benefits and other expenses. Luckily, vendors offer less expensive(sometimes) options for smaller facilities.
PRN (As Needed) Hourly Support
As needed IT support can range from $60 to $150 per hour rate depending on various factors. This type of support usually has little to no monthly fee associated with it unless there is an extra service covered like server backups or email/website hosting. The hourly rates are much higher and the monthly bill is very unpredictable. I have seen charges exceed $4,000 for one month when a facility had a major server error and had to have IT support come on-site multiple times. Though the monthly rate can often be low, the unpredictability of the monthly cost can deter some from choosing this type of service.
Monthly Contract Discounted Hourly Rates
Monthly contracts that have discounted hourly rates are similar to as-needed support but comes with the benefit of getting discounted hourly rates. It can range from 10% – 20% or greater. This usually comes with a base monthly fee of a few hundred dollars. Average overall costs usually are in between $500 – $2,500/mo. The monthly cost for support is a little more predictalbe than as needed support but not by too much.
Managed IT Service Contracts
Managed IT Service is a completely different way of billing that includes no hourly fee if within the scope of the contract. Usually they have 3 tiers of support from $15 -$60 per computer. This monthly fee includes all service work and support for each machine and allows for the most predicable monthly cost for IT Support.