Should Your MSP Provide Hardware Support?

April 7, 2020

It can be quite confusing to try and understand how MSPs draw the line between services and break-fix hardware support, and if most MSPs are even providing real hardware support versus hardware replacement. 


How an MSP decides to handle hardware isn’t a light decision. Depending on the approach used, resources and time are the cost of being more or less intensive and hands on with hardware support in general. 


Should you be more hands on through every step of hardware support if it’s a larger cost but offers more revenue potential? Or is maintaining an airtight workflow more efficient for you MSPs bottom line? 


Firstly, to understand why certain MSPs venture further into hardware break-fix with their services than others, let’s look at some different hypothetical models of MSPs in general: 


MSP A has hardware support included in the sense that they will actively work with the manufacturer on the support/RMA process if the warranty is current. If it’s not under warranty, the general rule of thumb for MSP A is to point the client in the right directions and make some effort to help without working specifically on the hardware problem. 


MSP B does not include hardware coverage as a part of their services. MSP B provides a baseline troubleshooting service to determine and diagnose the hardware problem. Once the hardware problem has been determined, and if the hardware in question is under warranty, then MSP B will encourage and prompt the client to pay for a replacement. When MSP B takes on new clients, they don’t replace existing hardware and avoid inheriting older hardware to avoid new problems.


MSP C has hardware as a part of their services and actively sells hardware whether building workstations, reselling laptops or servers, etc. MSP C bills for RMM monthly, and interestingly enough does not offer contracts. The RMM fee is to license the software needed to do patch management, reporting, and more that the client would normally have to purchase along with hardware in house if they had an IT. Everything else is billable, and for existing equipment, MSP C takes stock and recommends upgrades and replacements as needed.


So, between the three MSPs, which one is the correct way of doing things? 


The truth is, none of them are necessarily correct, or even more optimal than the other. Giving such an answer isn’t an attempt to be evasive, it’s a grounded reality that MSPs have all different kinds of niche offerings that work for them on an individual level. MSP C, for example, is rooted in a RMM model that remotely and proactively monitors client endpoints, networks and computers, and therefore will have a much different relationship with the hardware than say MSP B who is operating on more of a straight ahead break-fix model. 


How hands on and involved an MSP wants to be during every stage of hardware support is up to them and their business model/available resources, however every single type of MSP can afford to benefit from dashboard tools that provide diagnostics and identify revenue opportunities with outdated hardware. 

With Warranty Master, MSPs can get ahead and cover their bases regardless of their structure with powerful analysis that identifies warranty status on all client assets including hardware, arming MSP partners with relevant and actionable information to increase pipeline in replacement and renewal opportunities.

– Kait Huziak

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