So you’ve never worked for an MSP. You’re a bit nervous about what to expect.
Well, we can help explain to you some pros and cons of an MSP technician’s experience. We here at Support Adventure have recruited staff for over 40 MSPs on 5 continents, so we might know a thing or two!
The biggest pro and the biggest con are this: MSPs often have a stable budget to hire staff who grow with the business, which means a stable, fulfilling career for you. Great right? Well unfortunately, that may not be the case with smaller disorganized MSPs. They might lack structure with ticketing systems, documentation or procedures about communication and phone support which creates a chaotic working environment.
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More MSP Pros and Cons
|Pros of Working for an MSP||Cons of Working for an MSP|
|Thriving MSPs generate more elite clients than break-fix IT companies. This gives you a stable salary, consistent raises and promotions.||MSPs with an overflow of support issues might leave you swamped with tasks to resolve.|
|Stable MSPs create long-term customer relationships which creates long-term jobs.||Some MSP managers and senior technicians busy with projects might feel reluctant to help lower level techs with problems.|
|You can often work remotely or work from home if you are not an onsite tech.||Some MSPs might require every-minute time-tracking which means you might even have to document on a timesheet every second you breathe!|
|Entry level positions and level one positions can be easy work to get your foot in the door, as those are more of a customer service role.||Some MSPs have horrible communication policies, which means you might be disrupted answering the phone a lot and not finishing tasks in time.|
As long as an MSP is not lacking structure, it is great to work for an MSP. There will be more pros than cons as MSP can sign-up clients on a fixed rate contract.
For example, an MSP could provide support for a company that has 50 workstations for $50 for each user, totaling $2500 a month. That $2500 is recurring monthly income, which allows the MSP to have a stable budget to hire staff and evolve the business. On the contrary, break-fix IT business charge for the service, which can lead to lower income during a quiet month.
Working for a Small MSP Might be More of a Con than a Pro
Depending on when you get hired during an MSPs journey, you can have a different experience. This can affect whether you experience more pros or cons at the MSP.
If the MSP is small, and the owner doubles as an onsite senior tech with one other low level tech, chances are you will have a close relationship with that owner. You may even be dependent on the owner as they will know everything about the customers, but will have little documentation in that regard. Whenever you dont know what to do or need help with something as small as a password, you will have to contact the owner.
As this type of MSP adds more people, working for it can get more complicated because:
- If the owner is running to different onsite locations, knee-deep in installing servers and such, they might be unavailable to help you.
- The model of constantly escalating instead of healthy delegation will be tiresome to everyone.
- The constant communication can create delays and bottlenecking with tickets needing resolving.
Once the MSP reaches five or ten people, things definitely become more strenuous and chaotic as its growth has outpaced the structure that accommodates two or three, not 5-10!
Why Smaller MSPs often have a lackluster structure
The reason MSPs fail to have a solid structure with more delegation and less communication is a result of the double-edged sword of the founder’s best traits. Founders are often:
- Great at figuring things out.
- Effective at putting out fires.
- Innovative when coming up with fixes on the fly.
- Fast-acting problem solvers.
That all sounds great, right?
But when it comes to growing their business, they often think they need more people with the same qualities. In reality, they need new people who compliment their weaknesses and those of their top engineers, thus they need techs who are:
- Comfortable communicating with clients.
- Interested and excited about leading a community.
- Capable of empathizing with the motivations of clients.
- Able to thrive in an environment of teamwork and collaboration.
- Cognizant of the objectives of the team, not just themself as an individual.
- Understanding the culture and values of the company as a whole.
If you work for an MSP that is experiencing growing pains, as you might be subjected to:
- Dealing with too much work.
- Waiting for senior techs to get back to you for escalations.
- Crank founders or senior techs who resent having to help you.
- The chain of communication being so overwhelmed, that you feel like you are never making progress on all your tickets.
Ask the revealing questions during the MSP recruitment process
If you want to avoid getting hired by an MSP going through growing pains, you need to ask the revealing questions during your interview.
- How would you rate your documentation on a scale from 1 to 10?
- How do you audit your documentation and make sure that it’s in order?
- What’s your escalation policy?
- Do you have a checklist of what my daily tasks?
- Do you have a dispatcher who handles all the tickets and the assignment of them?
- Do you have a technician ring group that cherry picks tickets off the board?
- Do I have to answer calls when I am working?
- Who is responsible for documentation?
- How are tickets assigned to me?
- Will I only be assigned work within my abilities?
- How can I escalate a ticket I cannot resolve to someone who can?
Red flag responses to those questions would be:
- Technicians must answer the phones and select the tickets the want to do.
- There is a competition among technicians for how many tickets they can complete.
- The escalation policy is to leave a ticket assigned to yourself. Don’t assign it to someone else rather, reach out to a senior tech through the chat and wait for a response.
- We don’t really have documentation.
- We don’t have a checklist of your daily tasks.
You have more power than you think. If you want to be happy at the MSP you are working for, you need to learn about the structure, or lack thereof, that they have put in place.
Ideally, you can work for an MSP that has already advanced past some of these growing pains. If they have 15 technicians or more, chances are they have been there, done that! They should already have a structure that prevents:
- Clients from getting nervous from waiting and/or bad expectations.
- Technicians going crazy with work overload and disorganization.
- Disorganized ticketing system bombarding staff with random issues at random times.
- A technician ring group chaos by hiring a dispatcher.
When joining any MSP, particularly a smaller one, you must do your due diligence during the interview.