There are two questions that most of our prospective clients ask. I’ll explain the pitfalls of relying on these questions when selecting a Mac consultancy.
What is your hourly rate? Rates are much less important than you think. Most NYC-based Mac consulting companies charge in the same ballpark for basic support services. If you find a bargain rate, it’s likely your consultant will make up for it by taking his sweet time. Even worse, the low rate might be reflective of his skill level. There are no bargains in IT. Let’s say you find a “bargain” tech support company that charges $40 less per hour than the competition. If it takes their consultants five times longer to get the job done, where are your savings?
Are you able to do X, Y, and Z? This question should be asked, but don’t hire a company based solely on a yes answer. It’s too easy for a salesperson to say yes, without explanation. Inquire about the experience the consultants have working on your problem. Ask for success stories and details: How long did the job take? Were there any problems that you ran into? Do you recommend alternative solutions?
If you’re running a business, I highly recommend that you work with one of your technical employees when selecting your support company. (Being a millennial does not automatically make one technical.) Delegating to a non-technical staff member will inevitably result in the hourly rate being the deciding factor – the worst possible criterion. When speaking with tech support companies, make sure to ask these questions:
How much experience do your consultants have? Will you be sending your junior or senior consultants to my home or office? Expect lower bills and better solutions from experienced consultants. They’ve probably worked on your problems many times before.
What is the educational background of your consultants? Someone with a computer science or engineering degree will likely approach problems in a much more scientific way than a graphic designer who decided to become a Mac consultant. This is especially important when designing IT solutions, like backup systems and servers.
What do you know about information security? Security should be a consideration of every tech solution. In some regulated industries, security is at the forefront. Macs are not immune to malware and attacks. Your consultant should understand threats and how to properly implement security controls.
What products do you use to run your business? If your Mac consulting company isn’t using relevant technologies, as a client you’ll probably be presented with outdated or inadequate solutions too. If you see a consultant using a personal email address, e.g., email@example.com, that’s a major red flag. It’s unlikely that he or she is an expert in business-class IT.
Do you have any partnerships or ties to particular vendors? Your support company may be biased towards certain solutions because of commissions.
Will I become part of your advertising? Many tech support companies publicly list their clients and solicit online reviews.
Lastly, if it’s not abundantly clear from a consultancy’s website…
Do you specialize in Macs? Most companies that work predominantly with Windows do not have an expert understanding of macOS. It’s critical that your consultants are well-versed in macOS and Mac-related solutions.