Break Fix VS Managed Services

Break-fix servicing (sometimes called fee-for-service) is a professional IT service similar (in concept) to a pay-as-you-go plan. 

Essentially, with the Break-Fix model, you pay for an outside IT contractor to send an IT specialist on-site to fix something with your network or infrastructure when a problem occurs. 

While a managed service provider provides ongoing IT services that ideally prevents problems from happening in the first place. In the case of someone needing minor support, an MSP also offers 24/7 helpdesk services as well. 

Choosing break-fix vs managed services means you only pay for what you get, but it also carries with it a whole host of potential issues for businesses, large, small and medium alike.

If you’re on the fence about which model to go with, we’re going to break it down for you so that you can gain a clearer understanding of each choice, and then decide which one is right for you and your business.

But, while you’re doing so, you may also want to consider that recent trends all over the world have seen a steady phasing-out of the break-fix model and for good reasons we’ll get into right now.

The Pros of the Break-Fix Model 

No Monthly Fees or Service Level Agreements (SLA)

If you’re a very small business with little to no IT demands, the break-fix model could actually be a good choice for you. Choosing break-fix would mean you’re not locked into a contract (although many managed service models offer flexible contracts), and you’re not on the hook for any ongoing monthly fees.

If you don’t require any proactive support for your IT systems and want to keep your costs low, the break-fix model might just be the cost-effective solution you’re looking for.

More Control

For many business owners (small business owners especially), the idea of handing over full control of your IT to a third party 24/7, is too much to bear. Depending on your size, it’s possible that your operations and customer satisfaction rates walk a very thin line. Any disruption to that could spell disaster.

Choosing the break-fix IT services model over the managed variety to resolve your issues does allow you to keep more control over your own infrastructure.


Want to Know Why so many Businesses are Choosing Managed Services over Break-Fix? Read these Blogs.

managed it services vs break fix

The Cons of the Break-Fix Model

When comparing break-fix, to managed services especially, the cons of the former are many when put up against the latter’s proactive approach to IT service.

Break- Fix is Often More Expensive than the Managed Services Model

This is because of the inherent nature of the break-fix model, especially when looked at from the service provider’s point of view. 

Basically, they’ve got no incentive to prevent your recurring IT problems from happening. In fact, they have the opposite motivation. The more your systems break down, the more money they stand to make.

And the bigger your business, the more chances there are for IT breakdowns to occur. Unless you have a very small operation, expect to be slammed with extra costs and hidden charges if you go with the break-fix option.

Silent, Growing IT Problems

Without the benefit of proactive monitoring from a managed IT service, expect hidden IT problems to grow and compound over time, likely leading to a complete (and expensive) IT overhaul in the not-too-distant future.

Forgoing some of the more useful perks of the managed service model means conducting your business operations without any device management (mobile device or otherwise), proactive monitoring or 24/7 helpdesk support.

Saying “nay nay” to any of those service features means your IT infrastructure is virtually guaranteed to develop system-crashing problems soon and often.


break-fix vs managed services

The Pros of Choosing an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP)

For most businesses of a medium to large size, the idea of choosing anything other than a well-established managed service provider for their IT needs is laughable. Here’s why:

24/7 Helpdesk Remote Support

No need for there to be an IT expert on-premises (usually). With a managed service provider, you’ll have tier 3 experts ready and waiting to help you remotely (and immediately) whenever there’s even a minor problem with your tech.

As far as response times are concerned, right away is about as good as it gets. 

Proactive Support

Because you’re on a contract-based service level agreement (SLA), your costs are far more controlled when comparing break-fix vs managed services

The upshot, (in addition to a consistent amount on your invoice) is that the service provider is highly motivated to ensure their proactive monitoring is effective and swift. Because, if a problem with your tech arises, they’re not charging you anything extra to fix it, it’s just an extra expense that the service provider is incurring

In the long run, this means you’ll be experiencing fewer IT disruptions, less downtime due to broken tech and happier customers because your operations continue to run like clockwork.

Upgrades and Updates

If faster, more reliable IT will help your business, it will also help your IT provider’s ability to manage your infrastructure. 

Naturally, if a hardware upgrade is recommended by your managed service provider (MSP) and you decide to go along with it, the expense for the new tech is paid for by your business (which is tax-deductible anyway).

But that also means it’s installed quickly, correctly and you’ll be up and running with all the latest hardware and software in no time at all.

The Cons of Managed IT Services VS Break-Fix

The cons aren’t many for choosing a managed IT service, but include:

Contracts and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) – Again

If you’re the type who doesn’t like to be tied down (and your business size doesn’t necessitate an MSP) then going with the managed service option may not be for you. As previously mentioned, many MSPs do offer fairly flexible terms and opt-out clauses, but for some people the idea of being in a contract is a deal-breaker.

A Measure of Trust

If you partner with an MSP, your IT infrastructure is in the hands of a trusted advisor. This can be seen as a good thing because experts know what they’re doing when it comes to their field. For some business owners this level of trust may not outweigh the benefits that come from handling things themselves. However, VTC Tech offers full transparency into all of your critical infrastructure so you won’t be left in the dark.

managed services vs break fix

Selecting a Managed Service Provider

When comparing the support of managed services vs the support model of break-fix, the definitive choice will depend mainly on the size of your business and how much it relies on IT.

The smart money says that if you’re even remotely dependent on IT or are anything beyond a very small business, then managed services are the best choice.

If you’re curious about what kind of value you could get out of a managed services provider, talk to VTC Tech today and they can work with you to make a difference to your business.


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