FAQ: What is the Difference between a Break/Fix Vendor and an MSP?

red support button on keyboard

When it comes to IT services, there are generally two types of companies – break/fix vendors and managed service providers. Read on to discover the difference between the two.

break/fix IT vendor waits until you report a problem and then fixes it, billing you for remediation efforts, usually by project or hourly. Services could include repairs, upgrades, new installations, and more. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” is basically how this type of vendor operates, meaning they aren’t actively looking for or trying to prevent issues, only providing support when it is necessary.

managed services provider (MSP) takes a more proactive approach, charging a monthly fee to provide ongoing IT support and prevent issues from happening in the first place. Things that a customer may call a break/fix vendor for (such as repairs, upgrades, etc.) are already included in the monthly managed services fee.

Break/Fix or MSP?

While the break/fix model may have been popular in the past, business owners are increasingly looking to actual MSPs over break/fix vendors. Customers without a managed services contract are realizing that once they need to call a break/fix vendor, it’s already too late. The equipment or system is already broken, which means downtime and money loss. If this cycle continues, it can get costly quickly. Along those lines, break/fix vendors only make money when there are issues so they have no real motivation to prevent them from happening.

On the other hand, instead of simply waiting for a problem to occur, MSPs are in the business of actively trying to avert them with continuous monitoring and maintenance. In the case of an issue, an MSP can get systems up and running quickly because they are usually aware of the problem early. Overall, an MSP can generally offer more robust and reliable services which can take the hassle out of IT management and translate into serious cost savings.

Beware . . .

Many break/fix vendors have added the MSP label to their services as a way to upsell their offerings without actually providing the same services that a true MSP does. When choosing an IT company, be sure to gain a clear understanding of exactly the type of services the company will provide. If there is too much emphasis on break/fix, they most likely aren’t really an MSP.

If you’re looking for a partner who will provide consistent, ongoing IT support and preventative maintenance, look no further than Warwick. Learn more about our managed services.