The Managed Services Provider Blog

February 22, 2012  4:50 PM

Hiring tips for customers

mspprophet Darren James Profile: mspprophet

I never really thought about it, till I was knee deep in stuff I didn’t want. You know the stuff, calls about issues that are not related to your service agreement. Or not wanting to purchase needed replacement parts. Before you know it, you have a client or clients that never really get onboard and you wonder why you chased them so hard to sign up.

Part of your marketing plan is to define the perfect client. The success of your business model depends on it. After being in business for 2 years I realized I was spending (losing) time on 2 clients that took up way too much time. I fired them. Next step was to make a checklist or hiring list of all the things my clients should be. I also added some items into the agreements to remind the client what was expected of them. One of them was the client had to purchase replacement parts for a computer if we deemed it was needed. If they didn’t, we stopped covering that item and would no longer service it.

Creating boundaries and listing the expectations you have will create wealth. Whether it is with employees or clients, you are actually the middleman here. Your bottom line is created out of what you put out (employee) and what you receive in (clients money).

So learn how to hire the right client and you can join me for a weekend of JetSki’ing off the coast of Florida.

I can always be reached at

February 8, 2012  8:35 PM

Learning to manage your alerts

mspprophet Darren James Profile: mspprophet

When we first deploy our monitoring software, we tend to go overboard in alerting. Rightly so, most of us are making the transition from lack of notification and sometimes the painful memory of losing a client we thought we would have for the next 5 years, because of a missed alert on a server down situation.

Now that we have the tools to properly monitor and act upon critical errors, we don’t want to miss a beat. What happens is we push out hundreds of alerts and find ourselves busier than we can handle and start losing ground. As a wise man once told me, it’s better to have been alerted, than never to have been alerted at all.

The first place we need to go in getting a handle on our alerts is our SLA’s, written or unwritten. What have we told everyone we would do, and when? Now that we can follow through on our commitment to superman response, can we do it without going broke? We all want to offer the very best in system support and we all want systems that stay up and running for our clients.

It’s in the alerting process that we separate out the Do’s from the Don’ts. Making planned response templates for every level of system errors helps put the vague into the actionable. Laying out the framework for who, what, where and when separates the profitable from the bankrupt. I know you want money. Unless you won the lottery and you just want to play geek, which in that case, I would like to work for you. I got some great ideas that need seed money!

In the end, deciding what you will address, setting those monitors and setting the alert process can make or break your MSP practice. You are almost in the business of time management, manage it well. Chasing after alerts that just eat up time will cost you dearly at the end of the year. You must make a clear statement about every alert you have. You must have documentation about those processes so everyone in the organization can follow them. And always make sure the cost associated with the way you respond to your alerts can be accounted. Then you will be a wealthy MSP.

I can always be reached at

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