Many computer consultants operating in the current economy have a big problem… They want to make as much money as possible – and at the same time, keep their clients happy. But what they find is it’s just not possible to do both, because billing hourly rates for their support service completely controls their income potential.
If you are an independent computer consultant and work for yourself, or you own a small computer consulting business, and you’re charging for repair by the hour, you know exactly what I mean. Both you and your clients want their systems to be operating smoothly and trouble-free, yet you need problems to occur so you can generate billable hours. It’s tough to find the win/win balance in this working environment.
You might hope that your salvation lies in upgrade projects or new equipment rollouts – but because we are in a financial climate where all businesses, especially small business, are cutting costs left and right just to try to survive, more often than not, they are not going to call you for service unless it is absolutely necessary.
You may think the solution then would be to simply get more clients, but this can also be a problem. You might be able to fill up your schedule more easily with appointments, but this will also limit your availability. If multiple clients have trouble simultaneously, and you aren’t able to get to them when they need you, you will always have unhappy clients waiting impatiently for you to arrive and fix their problems.
This will lead them to eventually go elsewhere for more reliable service, leaving you stranded or always working twice as hard to refill the coffers with new clients. The harder you work to bring on new customers, the more you’ll end up upsetting your older clients – making for a frustrating cycle of limited growth.
So, the fix to this problem isn’t in bringing in more customers – or bringing in more consultants to serve them.
The way to grow is by changing your service model.
Get off the hourly-support model and move to flat-fee managed services.
Under a managed service, flat-fee billing structure, you’ll be able to provide a higher level of proactive-support, improve the reliability of your client’s systems, improve the speed you’re able to provide assistance through remote support – and you’ll have a consistent, reliable income.
Implement a reliable monitoring application, and you’ll be able to reduce problems by identifying them proactively.
By addressing these issues remotely, you’ll be able to improve the efficiency of your client’s networks, while simultaneously reducing your need to travel to the client, while also eliminating a problem that would only have reared its head at some point in the future – creating yet another inconvenient, unexpected fire for you to put out.
Addressing end-user issues remotely also dramatically increases your response time, gets the user back to work quickly, increases their productivity and increases their satisfaction with you as the consultant.
When you effectively reduce the number of unexpected computer issues through proactive monitoring, and address the issues that do arise remotely, you will dramatically reduce the number of working hours required to keep your clients systems operating at peak performance.
By properly designing your monthly flat fees around proactive, remote support, you’ll be able to support more clients with fewer resources, keep each of them happier and make yourself more profitable.
That’s a recipe for truly successful computer consulting.