The 4 Most Costly Misconceptions About Computer Maintenance and Repair
The computer/IT industry, along with many other industries, has its own share of unethical businesses who will always try to take advantage of uneducated buyers. Sometimes this is out of greed for your money. Often it’s simply because they don’t have the skills and competency to do the job right, but of course they won’t tell you that up front. Fortunately, businesses like these are the minority, but we know they exist because we have had a number of customers come to us to clean up the digital disasters these bad businesses caused.
The information in this post is provided to give you information to help guard against unethical behavior or incompetence of some IT companies.
Misconception #1: My computer network doesn’t need regular monitoring and maintenance.
This is probably one of the biggest and most costly misconceptions that many people have. Usually this is because they’ve been fortunate enough to have never encountered a major disaster; but that’s similar to someone thinking they don’t need to wear a seat belt when driving a car because they’ve never had an accident.
Computer networks are complex and dynamic systems that need regular updates and maintenance to stay up, running fast and problem-free. In fact, it’s surprising how fast a brand-new PC will slow down after a few weeks of use without proper updates and maintenance. Even the most highly advanced computers can get corrupted and need to be maintained from time to time, or they will break down pretty quickly. Here are just a FEW of the critical updates that need to be done on a weekly – if not daily – basis:
- Security patches applied – with NEW viruses and hacker attacks cropping up DAILY, this is a CRITICAL part of maintaining your network
- Antivirus updates and monitoring
- Firewall updates and monitoring
- Backup monitoring and test restores
- Spam-filter installation and updates
- Spyware detection and removal
- Monitoring disk space on workstations and servers
- Monitoring hardware for signs of failure
- Optimizing systems for maximum speed
Your computer network is just like a car: if you don’t change the oil, replace the filter, rotate the tires, flush the transmission and perform other regular maintenance on your car, it will eventually break down and cost you FAR MORE to repair than the cost of the basic maintenance – and a car is far simpler than a computer network! Also, if you think that ‘limited’ computer usage will free you of the task of maintaining your computer system, you’re quite mistaken. No matter how low your computer usage is, you will have to get your machine looked at by experienced computer personnel every now and then in order to keep it functioning in a smooth manner.
If your computer support tech does not insist on some type of regular, automated monitoring or maintenance of your network, then DO NOT HIRE THEM. Lack of system maintenance is the NUMBER ONE reason most people end up losing valuable files and incurring heavy computer repair bills. If your technician isn’t offering you these services, you need to find someone else to support your computer or network for two (2) reasons:
- Either they don’t know enough to make this recommendation, which is a sure sign they are horribly inexperienced, OR
- They recognize that they are profiting from your computer problems and don’t want to recommend steps toward preventing you from needing their help on an ongoing basis. After all, they’ll get paid MORE to remove a virus than to make sure your system is patched, updated and secured (which can be done quickly and inexpensively with good monitoring).
Misconception #2: My nephew/neighbor’s kid/brother-in-law/office manager knows this computer stuff and can take care of our computers.
Most people look for a part-time “guru” for one reason: to save a few bucks. But this often comes back to haunt them. We frequently get calls from business owners who desperately need our help to get them back up and running or to clean up a mess that was caused by an inexperienced neighbor, friend or relative who was just trying to help. We have had experiences of undoing the damages created by non-computer assistants while they were tinkering around and trying to diagnose and treat the issue.
If the person you have working on your machine does not do computer repair and support for a living, there is a good chance they won’t have the knowledge or experience to truly help you – they are a hobbyist at best. And do you really want a part-time, inexperienced person responsible for handling something as important as your data and computer network? Their limited knowledge and experience is going to prohibit them from addressing the advanced issues of computers the way a professional can. Our IT experts have worked for the industry for many years and will likely have encountered and resolved most issues from sheer experience alone.
As with everything in life, you get what you pay for. That’s not to say you need to go broke to find a great technician, but you shouldn’t be choosing someone based on price alone.
Misconception #3: All computer technicians are created equal. Your best option will be the one who offers the lowest price.
As we stated a moment ago, you get what you pay for. A cheap price usually means a cheap job. Really good technicians do NOT work cheap because they are in high demand just like every other professional service category. The only technicians that will work cheap are those who are just starting, and they are grossly inexperienced.
And unfortunately, some shops will hire college kids or newbie technicians because they will work for next to nothing to gain experience, OR they allow interns to support your network because they don’t have to pay them at all – but what you don’t realize is that an inexperienced technician like this can end up costing more because:
- They improperly diagnose problems, which means you’re paying them to fix the WRONG thing and they STILL won’t resolve your problem.
- They could take 3 to 5 times as long to do the same repair an experienced technician could fix quickly (we’re talking within minutes). Again, you’re paying for those extra hours.
- They could do MORE damage, costing you more money and downtime.
With your client data, accounting records, e-mail and other critical data at stake, do you REALLY want the lowest-priced shop working on your machine?
We take the view that most people want value for their money and simply want the job done right. Our President/CEO, Travis Mack, has decided a long time ago that we would rather explain our higher rates ONE TIME than make excuses for POOR SERVICE forever. That said, we are not the most expensive either. We simply feel that we should offer a good service at a fair price. That’s why we have been able to stay in business for over 16 years (many years previously as a subdivision under Saalex Solutions, Inc.) and have over 30 customers who’ve been with us that entire time.
Misconception #4: An honest computer support company should be able to give you a quote over the phone.
If only this were true, but it isn’t. Just like a good doctor, an honest and professional technician will need to diagnose your network before they can quote any price over the phone; consider the example above where all that was needed was to plug in a simple cable. If someone brought that to us, we would just plug it back in and not charge them; but without SEEING the machine, we could have never diagnosed that over the phone.
Also, some consultants will quote you a cheap rate over the phone to get in the door, but then jack up the prices once they get in your office by taking three (3) times as long, selling you add-ons and up-sells, etc. And finally, reputable firms don’t charge by the hour anyway – they give you a fixed fix, flat rate. Here’s why…
One of the easiest ways to take advantage of a customer is to get them to agree to a time and materials repair. Unless you know what’s wrong and how long it should take, they can soak you on the fees. And what are you going to do when they get 5-6 hours into a repair or project and then spring on you the news that it will take even longer than they anticipated to fix, costing you MORE money?
Always, always, always make sure you get a flat-rate, fixed-fee quote in advance so you don’t end up getting burned – and NEVER take a phone quote!
Call SaalexIT today for a free IT Network Assessment!
Saalex Information Technology, LLC (SaalexIT) is a trusted partner in IT support and services, providing technology solutions that are designed to take your business to the next level. No matter what your IT requirements are, the SaalexIT experts can create, implement and support a technology strategy that will fit your business and budget.
Call one of our regional offices, (805) 222-4977 (California) or (321) 604-6165 (Florida) to discover why many businesses count on us for dependable IT solutions today.
SaalexIT – The IT Experts. Why Trust Anyone Else?