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Kharmela Mindanao

By: Kharmela Mindanao on September 5th, 2023

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How Much Does Onboarding at an MSP Cost?

Managed IT Services

Managed service providers (MSPs) play a crucial role in modern businesses by offering a range of IT services, support, and expertise at a value that’s hard to beat.  

But to truly get the value out of a service, you first need to know everything about the price tag.  

And one of the factors that make up the bill in MSPs is the onboarding fee. Onboarding refers to the process of integrating the MSP's services into your existing IT infrastructure, but this task is deceptively simple.  

A lot happens during onboarding, and - to many clients’ surprise - MSPs charge separately for it. 

As an MSP ourselves for over twenty years, Intelligent Technical Solutions (ITS) believes you deserve full transparency when it comes to money matters. In this article, we'll explore the factors that contribute to the cost of onboarding at an MSP and why this is part and parcel of most MSPs. We invited Craig Anderson, ITS’ Director of Client Success, and Peter Swarowski, Director of Operations, to answer questions like: 

  • How much does onboarding cost? 
  • Why charge for onboarding? 
  • What factors affect the onboarding cost? 
a person using a calculator

How Much Does Onboarding Cost? 

Onboarding costs vary per company, but a good rule of thumb is to expect it to cost equivalent to one month of your service plan. If your plan with your MSP costs $3,000 monthly, you can expect to pay a separate $3,000 onboarding fee. 

This onboarding includes (but is not limited to):  

  • Incorporating existing users into databases 
  • Adding necessary servers 
  • Creating security protocols  
  • Onboarding and updating workstations 

Onboarding fees often do not include: 

  • New workstations 
  • New software costs 
  • New firewalls 
  • New servers 

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The “one month of your service plan” rule applies at ITS. However, if you choose our secure plan, you’ll likely need to pay for remediation hours, as you’ll need our team to do a thorough remediation of your current cybersecurity setup.   

The remediation hours are highly dependent on the state of your IT network, so there’s no fixed price. The extra cost really just depends. In this case, you need to get in touch for an accurate estimate. 

It’s also important to remember that onboarding costs can go up or down depending on various factors. Each company charges differently, and it’s always best to ask your MSP for details about their onboarding fees.   

Why Charge for Onboarding? 

two people shaking hands making an agreement

The onboarding process is a separate charge because the actual managing of your network hasn’t happened yet. Your MSP is still setting up the necessary tools 

It’d be unfair for us to charge you for managing your IT when we’re still getting everything in order.  

And yet, some managed IT providers keep onboarding costs hidden, which immediately damages the trust between you and your MSP. But it shouldn’t have to be hidden.  

“Onboarding gets us all on the same page,” Swarowski explains. “It’s a critical part of the managed IT process.” 

You wouldn’t want your IT team to scramble to understand your system while they need to maintain it - that’d be a disaster in the making.   

Onboarding done right ensures you’ll get:  

1. A seamless transition 

Proper onboarding ensures a seamless transition to the MSP's services, minimizing disruptions and downtime that can impact your business operations. 

2. Maximized ROI (Return on Investment) 

Investing in thorough onboarding helps your team utilize the MSP's services to their full potential. This, in turn, maximizes the return on your investment in the MSP partnership. 

3. Security and reliability 

Transitioning to new systems creates a massive security vulnerability if done incorrectly. Well-executed onboarding keeps security protocols in place, reducing the risk of data breaches and system failures. 

4.  Minimized downtime 

Onboarding equips your team with the skills and knowledge needed to use the new systems efficiently, leading to increased productivity and streamlined workflows. 

5. A successful partnership 

A successful onboarding experience sets the foundation for a productive partnership with the MSP. The initial investment can lead to long-term benefits in terms of improved IT performance and reduced operational issues. 

What Factors Affect the Onboarding Cost? 

a person making a computation beside a laptop

So, why do we charge what we charge? Here are the factors that affect your onboarding prices: 

1. Complexity of IT infrastructure 

The complexity of your current IT setup plays a huge role in determining the cost of onboarding. If your systems are intricate and involve multiple applications, databases, and integrations, the onboarding process will require more time and resources 

This goes double for businesses with specific security requirements; MSPs will need even more time to evaluate and remediate your IT infrastructure thoroughly.   

2. Number of users and devices 

The number of users and devices that need to be onboarded directly impacts costs. Larger organizations with a substantial user base and numerous devices may incur higher onboarding costs due to the increased workload.  

3. Data migration 

If your business requires data migration from old systems to the new MSP environment, this process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. The volume and complexity of data being migrated will influence the cost. 

4. Customization and integration 

Customization and integration of the MSP's services to align with your business processes may incur additional costs. This could involve tailoring software, setting up specific workflows, and integrating with other applications. 

5. Security and compliance 

Ensuring the security and compliance of your IT systems is crucial. Implementing security measures and ensuring compliance with industry regulations may lead to higher onboarding costs. 

6. Training and support 

Training your staff to effectively use the new systems and providing ongoing support are integral to successful onboarding. The level of training and support required can affect the overall cost. 

Ready to start your onboarding with ITS? 

Overall, expect your onboarding costs to be one month of your service plan with additional costs for remediation hours. Any hardware or software is also a separate cost.  

But despite onboarding being a separate fee, it’s still an essential process. Onboarding ensures a smooth transition, maximizes the ROI of your MSP partnership, enhances security and efficiency, and sets the stage for long-term success.  

As an MSP ourselves, we’ve seen the effects of great onboarding first-hand. Schedule a meeting with our tech experts to start your onboarding process today.  

But we also understand if you want more information about onboarding before fully committing to an MSP.  

Check out these free resources instead: 

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