Work for an IT Support Company?

it2bit2b Member Posts: 117
I have worked in corporate IT for the bulk of my career. I may have an opportunity to work for an IT support company. Their clients are small to mid sized businesses all within an hour of where I live.

I'm wondering if anyone else here works for a support company and if you enjoy that type of work over working in a single company everyday.

Going into different places and doing new projects sounds exciting and a good opportunity to learn. The biggest downside I see is more commuting. And of course when changing jobs there is always uncertainty.

Comments

  • tkerbertkerber Member Posts: 223
    Sounds like you're looking at a managed service provider (MSP). I used to work for one and like I've told many others there are pros and cons. Take in mind that I'm just giving you pros and cons based on my personal experience and what I've seen.

    Pros:

    Diverse work experience - Get to work with a multitude of different people and various technologies.
    - This one is kind of a double whammy for me. Not only do you get great experience but it makes your job fun, therefore making the job more valuable.

    Respect/culture - Another pro I think think working for an MSP yields is often the atmosphere and respect you get. Since you're working for an IT service company and the core people are the engineers and technicians, you get a lot more respect. For example an 'IT guy' at an insurance company isn't going to get the same respect an IT Engineer would get at an MSP. They may do the same work but obviously the companies have different values and goals and to the insurance company, the IT guy is just a necessary cost.

    Cons:

    Work/life balance - Lots of MSPs have rotational on-call schedules or after hours support. Most people I know can agree that the work/life balance can be bad sometimes when you work for an MSP. Also when you're on-site and working on a hot issue, you cannot just 'leave for lunch' or take a break. There were several days where I went straight from breakfast to dinner with no in between and it really took a toll on my health. Also when I did get lunch I'd often times have to go out to eat because when you're traveling you can't really pack a lunch and sit down somewhere to eat it. Point being, working for an MSP is sometimes a hard and fast life style and is great if you're looking to get your hands dirty for a few years and move on. But I don't know anyone who wants to stay in it for life--other than people who want to get into management. There were a few too many divorce stories...

    Travel -When I say travel I'm really talking about drive times and the possibility that you'll have to use your own car (in which case I would highly consider taking the position). One thing people don't account for when working for MSPs is drive time. Sure you may have a normal 8 - 5 day. But if you have to be at a site at 8:00AM in the morning and the site is an hour away from your house, you better be on the road by at least 7:00AM. Also even if weather gets bad, you're still fully expected to go to customer sites. I've driven in blizzards and snow storms several times because you're simply expected to.

    Growth/compensation - Now this one is tricky. Depending on whom you work for and who you ask, this may be incorrect. But I've seemed to notice (from my previous employer and interviewing at other MSPs) that smaller to medium sized MSPs often times don't really compensate very well. Large corporations and internal IT positions have seemed to pay a lot more than MSPs.


    Anyways all said and done I don't want to scare you. MSPs can provide AMAZING experience.. I for one would know nothing about networking and security if it wasn't for my MSP experience and I'm so grateful they took the time and let me learn in their environments. There are a few questions I would urge you to ask if you're really interested in working for these guys.

    1) Is a company car provided?
    - If so can you use it for 'persona use' and what is it defined as
    - Do you have to pay for a PUCC (Persona Usage Company Car) tax?
    - Do you have to wait to get this car?
    - If NO company car . What is the mileage reimbursement (keep in mind the government is around 50 cents)

    2) Is there an on-call or after hours rotation?
    - How often... etc..

    3) Hours expected to work
    - This one is interesting because I've had one manager say 60 and one say 45. Either way if you're salary this should be one of your questions

    Best of luck!
  • olaHaloolaHalo Member Posts: 748 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Very detailed post tkerber.

    I did not like working at the MSP I worked at.
    24/7 On-call.
    Small team of guys, so if you cannot figure it out no one can.
    Driving around the city all day.

    But you will get exposed to a lot of stuff and learn a lot.
  • ScrawnyRonnieScrawnyRonnie Member Posts: 112
    I've been working with my current IT support company for almost 4 months. We manage small/mid size businesses just as your opportunity does. I work on the help desk and strictly do remote work on a Mon-Fri 9-6 shift. We have field techs with company vehicles who handle on-site visits. I enjoy it and it is more challenging because, like stated above already, the diversity of calls that come in.

    I previously came from a ~200 user medical facility (multiple locations) doing help desk/field work. I got a little bored there because I felt like there wasn't much more to be exposed to. Where I am now I've had to troubleshoot so many different things compared to before.
    :lol:
  • tkerbertkerber Member Posts: 223
    olaHalo wrote: »
    Very detailed post tkerber.

    I did not like working at the MSP I worked at.
    24/7 On-call.
    Small team of guys, so if you cannot figure it out no one can.
    Driving around the city all day.

    But you will get exposed to a lot of stuff and learn a lot.

    Thanks!

    Looking at your list I can honestly say that I had the exact same complaints. The worst thing for me is driving and that is almost 100% because we have LOTS of snow in my state. What is usually an half hour long drive can take easily an hour or more in bad weather. If I lived in a warm state and didn't have to be on-call it would have been nearly perfect.
  • RomBUSRomBUS Member Posts: 699 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I've worked for multiple service providers in my career and gotta say that the people I've worked with were very intelligent (the ones that had the most experience with the company) and I've soaked up a lot of knowledge rubbing shoulders with the ones I've became friends with eventually. I looked at that as a huge plus

    In my experience, I've never had an issue with work/life balance. Probably got lucky

    I didn't want to leave the MSP environment but figured I needed a change after being let go when I wanted to stay..

    I still look to get back into that kind of environment someday...maybe
  • tkerbertkerber Member Posts: 223
    I think this has a lot to do with the kind of clients you have. We had a lot of manufacturing clients that have plants open 24/7 365 who NEED all hours of support. I'm wondering if you being in Long Island has anything to do with the type of clients you had?
  • datacombossdatacomboss Member Posts: 303 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Not all IT support companies are purely managed service providers. It is a part of our business but we still do a lot of project and break/fix work.
    "If I were to say, 'God, why me?' about the bad things, then I should have said, 'God, why me?' about the good things that happened in my life."

    Arthur Ashe

  • it2bit2b Member Posts: 117
    Thanks for all the great feedback. This helps me with some of the questions to ask. I have an interview with the CEO tomorrow.

    From what I was told the position they had me in mind for was more project oriented. Being on site at a client for several days deploying xyz rather than just doing break/fix.

    I did stress that I do not want to spend the day driving from client to client and was told that would not be the norm. I would have to use my own car and they compensate mileage at the federal rate. All their clients are within an hour of them, which potentially means up to an hour and a half from me.

    The employees I interviewed with all seemed to genuinely enjoy working there. The company was listed in the paper as being one of the best companies to work for in the area.

    The company I work for now was just purchased and it just isn't the same. This seems like it could be an exciting opportunity, but I really need to take into consideration the experiences shared in this thread.
  • tkerbertkerber Member Posts: 223
    it2b wrote: »
    Thanks for all the great feedback. This helps me with some of the questions to ask. I have an interview with the CEO tomorrow.

    From what I was told the position they had me in mind for was more project oriented. Being on site at a client for several days deploying xyz rather than just doing break/fix.

    I did stress that I do not want to spend the day driving from client to client and was told that would not be the norm. I would have to use my own car and they compensate mileage at the federal rate. All their clients are within an hour of them, which potentially means up to an hour and a half from me.

    The employees I interviewed with all seemed to genuinely enjoy working there. The company was listed in the paper as being one of the best companies to work for in the area.

    The company I work for now was just purchased and it just isn't the same. This seems like it could be an exciting opportunity, but I really need to take into consideration the experiences shared in this thread.

    Congratulations, that's good news to hear. When I worked for an MSP the best days were project days :)

    Glad they reimburse at government rate, some don't. I wish you the best of luck and you will have to let us know how it goes.
  • --chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,516 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Tkerber summed it up with those three points.

    I work ore for a break fix place that's transitioning to MSP. I really enjoy the work, i have already seen so much and it's just scratching the surface. I would not worry about drive times if your paid for it. They make money when your working, not driving...I'm sure they will try to make efficient use of your time.


  • it2bit2b Member Posts: 117
    Had the second interview today, this time with the CEO and Service Delivery Manager. I think it went very well. I got a lot of questions answered and think it would be a great company to work for. We'll see if it goes anywhere.
  • pinkydapimppinkydapimp Member Posts: 732 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Good luck. For what its worth i have worked in similar roles for about 10 years. And for me, i love not having to sit in the same office all day every day. I love being out and about whether its driving around, taking the train or flying and interacting with many different people. I cant see myself going back to a traditional desk role.

    Plus, the more customers you work with, the more networking you can do which should help you in the future. Make sure to add everyone you work with on linkedin(i have my linkedin in my signature).
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