Nail your IT budget: tips on predicting costs for your small business

21 July 2019

The average cost of IT support for small businesses

With IT becoming a critical part of running a small business, many businesses are looking at ongoing technical support to keep their business humming. But if you’ve ever delved into the realm of IT support, you may have noticed something: paying for it can be costly, especially if you don’t know your options. In this post, we’re going to take a look at how much IT support costs and guide you through how to plan your IT budget and ongoing investment for the new financial year.

The costs of IT support 

The first thing you need to know is that the cost of IT support differs depending on the source. Say, for instance, you decide to hire a full-time IT technician. Current estimates indicate that the average Australian IT support technician’s salary costs anywhere from 52-100k per year. When you hire people in-house, you’ll also have to budget for things like training, super, insurance, holidays, etc. The expense of supporting your in-house IT operations could run into extra tens of thousands of dollars per year. Having internal IT support is a great option for a growing business, but it’s important that you can forecast for the extra headcount over the long term. Alternatively, the cost of outsourcing IT support services is usually much lower and flexible to turn on and off as you need. When you outsource IT support, you access experienced professionals who can quickly problem solve, offer suggestions and help make the IT side of your business a breeze. 

How to plan and budget for investments in the new financial year

As you plan your IT support budget for the following year, you need to consider two kinds of expenses: one-off and recurring. Recurring costs repeat over time, such as monthly subscriptions to cloud providers. One-time fees are those that you pay just once, such as when you first set up Office 365 or new staff computers. Once you’ve split recurring costs from one-time costs, it’s time to estimate the real monthly cost of your IT operations. 

Things to consider when putting together an annual IT budget for a small business

Understanding your requirements

IT service providers will often scale their prices along three dimensions: the number of users using their product, the total data to be stored, and the number of servers on your premises or at a third-party site. So, if you’re in charge of planning a budget you’ll need to ask yourself how your business needs will change over time.

If you’ve won new business and are on a hiring spree, then the number of unique users will go up, increasing your monthly subscription costs. Likewise, if your business is undergoing a transformation, your data needs may also change. Predicting just how much server space or bandwidth you need can be a challenge, but if you’re stuck, you can use past data growth to estimate future trends.

Finally, you might need more servers if your website traffic goes up, you need more storage and backup, or you need more concurrent users. Just as before, the cost you pay will scale with the quantity of hardware you need, whether in-house or external. 

Ongoing support: do you need external IT services or an in-house team? 

Whether you need the support of external IT services or an in-house team depends on the operational requirements of your business.

Many smaller businesses find that it is much more cost-effective to outsource IT services which free up their small team to focus on the important stuff. In-house IT staff are popular for larger businesses, but they also cost more over a longer period.

For small businesses, external IT services are flexible and easy to budget for. Depending on your budget, Mac support services can work with you to determine your ongoing costs and needs. With flexible pricing and no markups on software and hardware, the team at The Mac Mechanic can support you any way you need. 

Major projects such as moving office or transitioning to cloud services

Moving to the cloud or new offices could involve substantial disruption and require the assistance of external IT specialists.  Take into consideration any major projects you want to undertake this year, like:

If you’re planning any of these things, you’ll need to think about how much time your existing staff have to run the product versus outsourcing your IT support. Other factors to include are hardware and software costs of changing your existing setup.  

Like any business, yours is unique, with a unique set of challenges. For IT advice, budgeting for IT support or to get a quote, contact us today. 

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