Poll: What are you charged for school tech support / consultancy?

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East Midlands Broadband Consortium (EMBC) Thread, Consultancy / Tech Support in Regional Broadband Consortiums (RBC); Yes I know most of you are in-house staff but for the few that do outsource certain tasks what are ...
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    apoth0r's Avatar
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    Consultancy / Tech Support

    Yes I know most of you are in-house staff but for the few that do outsource certain tasks what are you being charged, and does it reflect the quality of the service. Do the companies you use take into account the educational differences from business and are you given generic solutions for a specific problem?
    Thanks in advance

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    Do you really think there are going to be many votes for the first 3? I doubt most consultants would even answer an email for that sort of money! The last time I had any dealing with a consultant it was something like £500 - £1000 for a day.

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    apoth0r's Avatar
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    Well that's my point, it shouldn't be the case!!!! I'm just trying to promote a case for the rediculous prices consultants ask for.
    I'm trying to create change in Northants primaries, fed up of their small budgets being wasted when there is potential for awesome equipment instead!

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    I hate to say it and I expect a HUGE "Flame war" on this one, but I for one thing there is too much "CON" in consultancy.

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    achedgy's Avatar
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    Cost of external support has to be reasonable agreed, but frankly anyone who is self employed, or a firm putting people in place for a few hours at a time has to make a reasonable return on that time and also pay for dead time. Most primary level IT support i've had dealings with (that is worth having) has been between £25 and £50 per hour dependent on level of expertise. Don't think it is worth paying more than that for a primary. Anything less than that and they are unlikely to have the expertise necessary to do a good job.

    For reference I am a self employed techie supporting Primary schools. I think i give good support and good value for money with impartial advise tailored to the needs of the school.

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    apoth0r's Avatar
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    I charge £15 an hour depending on the schools circumstances and my travelling expenses.
    My services are not below standard, I just believe in value for money and believe schools should not have their resources taken away from them.

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    "too much "CON" in consultancy"

    With those kinds of figures you would be greeted with coffee and cakes in most schools I have been too.

    If it sets your mind at rest, the "Con" bit refers to those who feel "Add a zero" is a good starting point to your numbers, while supplying information which franlkly in most cases is worthless.

    It seems that in some corners, people turning up in a nice suit gives them greater creedance than someone actually knowing what they are talking about.

    (No, I DON'T know everything, that's why I come on here!)

    Rant over, fire extinguisher at the ready.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polski View Post
    "too much "CON" in consultancy"

    With those kinds of figures you would be greeted with coffee and cakes in most schools I have been too.

    If it sets your mind at rest, the "Con" bit refers to those who feel "Add a zero" is a good starting point to your numbers, while supplying information which franlkly in most cases is worthless.

    It seems that in some corners, people turning up in a nice suit gives them greater creedance than someone actually knowing what they are talking about.

    (No, I DON'T know everything, that's why I come on here!)

    Rant over, fire extinguisher at the ready.
    I don't agree with the add a zero bit, but assuming the average consultant is working maybe 30% of the time (highly variable, but a reasonable average to start with) then they've got to be earning triple the wage of someone who works full-time in order to survive.

    So £50/hour wouldn't strike me as unreasonable for a self-employed consultant providing basic skills. For someone with more advanced skills I'd expect the number to drift much higher, depending on demand for those skills and their scarcity.

    As another note, I've done a few minor bits of consultancy and I know others who have. Wearing a nice suit does not rule out knowing what you're talking about.

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    dwhyte85's Avatar
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    With one of my old companies, I used to be hired out on a day rate of £350.00 & half day of £225.00 - these weren't to schools, I used to be paid £21k a year, I don't think i'm worth £350.00 a day but, as said above we were normally called in emergency situations where we had to adapt to our surroundings very quickly and sometimes perform near miracles and it'd be unlikely the same business would call more than 4 times a year (some exceptions), although I do not agree with the amount my company used to charge.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    1 - There is a difference between providing tech support and consultancy
    2 - For a *good* consultant please read 'recognised expert who is able to come in, make decisions that a school is not sure about / needs advice on / needs specialist help with, complete work (or manage its completion) and leave the school happy'!
    3 - A consultant going in to primary schools does not preclude them needing tech support on top.
    4 - Those providing tech support in primary schools might already have the knowledge and expertise, but the school does not ask for it, the school is paying a minimal contract to them (or their parent company) and fil to realise that by coughing up a bit more they can get a whole heap more help and advice.
    5 - Give it a go anyway ... the worst that will happen is that it gets into a bidding war, person A (who provides support for the school already) finds out the school has made decisions about purchases and then the kit is dumped with them when they *know* it is not going to work with what the school already have or will take time to configure that the school is not paying for ... and it all leads to a break down in the relationship between you, the school, their existing tech support and money is wasted on kit and fees/wgaes.
    6 - If possible, try and work *with* existing support staff (whether on contract or in house) to make sure that the schools' interests come first. I know that sounds a tad obvious ... but when consultancy is your business you sometimes need reminding of it.

    Please note I am not making any reference to any existing member, and existing supplier of support in Northants ... just a few worst case scenarios that jumped to mind based on previous histories of some schools in the area! I am sure similar could be said of other areas too!

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    PS - I'm £750 a day, or £2000 for 5 days. It all depends on your area of expertise and specialisms. I am cheap compared to others I know.

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    How I worked out my charges

    Though I wasn't a consultant, I was self employed, and this is how I worked out my charges.
    1. What equipment did I need to complete the job=depreciation+insurance+replacement costs
    2. Did I need a car=depreciation+insurance+replacement costs+fuel+servicing
    3. Cost of commercial premises (office etc)=rent+council tax+electricity/gas/phone (services)
    4. Someone to answer the phone/manage my diary=salary+insurance+NI
    5. Accountant (someone to sort out the vat etc)
    6. Ibuprofen/Paracetemol/Asprin/Health Insurance
    HTH
    Last edited by beeswax; 26th May 2009 at 09:47 PM. Reason: appaling use of the english language

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    achedgy's Avatar
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    £15 per hour, fair enough, if you can survive on that kind of money good for you. I wish i could offer my customers that kind of rate, but frankly i'd be bankrupt pretty quickly. I enjoy what i do very much, but it is a job and i need to make a living out of it.

    Most Primary schools with a good support structure are unlikely to need consultancy, a good technician with a good relationship with the school 'should' be able to cover 'most' scenarios. Perhaps for a wireless survey, advice on a managed setup etc, which a lot of Primary Tech's are not going to be familiar with.

    Good luck, I hope you do well

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    apoth0r's Avatar
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    I work full time also and my business involves a full service.
    I work with the head to come up with an action plan, see what they have already in place, where they would like to improve and what would be a sensible and realistic achievement for that school year. Sometime it moves fast, sometimes it moves slow.
    Like many top dogs on here have said in the past, theres more to tech support/consultancy in schools then just knowing the I.T side of things. Having taught ICT for 2 years in primary schools I know far too well the problems that come with pushing technology into schools. It's not about pushing it's about finding a need and generating a positive attitude towards technology, you can setup as many PC's / Laptops / Gig networks / whiteboards / projectors / spotless servers. If the teachers aren't on board it won't benefit anyone.
    Generating the motivation for technology is my job and by giving good examples of how it can benefit is the reason I do this. I can't make people use technology in schools but I can certainly generate enough interest for people to give it a really good go!

    On a side note - I do charge businesses a lot more for my services, but my passion remains in education and I want schools to see this in my fee's.

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    I think schools and small businesses suffer from IT-itous, they're scared to argue with IT costs as it's this mystical beast that they've never had any real experience with.

    Personally, I am not at a consultant level, I think i'm fairly adept but nowhere near a consultant should be. However, I think this argument has to be realistic... hiring a sole individual for tech support and/or consultancy is very different to using large consultancies... I worked for a fairly large consultancy and was hired out as a consultant, the people i worked for could hardly do anything with computing and didn't know where else to turn, larger companies abuse this fact.

    I think it's unfair to say all consultants overcharge, it depends on what they're being asked to do/advise on, within a school I don't see the IT ever being insanely difficult to implement... that's a different story... however, consultants are hired to step in to perform manager/directing duties and give IT wisdom, stuff a headteacher, IT Technician etc might not have.

    Tech Support on the other hand I think is fairly well priced, having worked with outsourced IBM in Germany and receiving first line duties @ €8 per ticket and SL/SysAdmin @ €15 was pretty fair considering they may have not been called that often, although was frustrating when reporting to see people calling in because they couldn't work out how to change their password, add attachments to e-mails considering they were given training on it!

    Everyone has to earn a crust, if the costs are too great you have to shop around, plenty of sites like oDesk, RentaCoder which offer out sourced consultancy/solutions.
    Last edited by dwhyte85; 27th May 2009 at 10:19 PM.

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