New Business Client Advice/Thoughts

I received all call from a potential new client (medical services company) that was a referral from a client I currently support (also a medical services company). After speaking with the owner, it sounded like what they were looking for was general user support and management of their various cloud and management services, some general user support. They had devices and services already set up and deployed and needed someone keep things patched, updated, occasionally interface with a vendor, etc.

I was quite clear to the owner that I have a 8-4 Monday to Friday job in addition to my business, and servicing aside from quick urgent support requests (15-20 min) would need to take place outside those hours. Owner said response time of within 24 hours to support requests/incidents should be fine and asked me to speak to the current IT person that they want to move on other work within the company

After speaking with the IT person today, what they actually need is 6 AM - 10 PM up to and including weekends, support for approximately 50% of incidents, hours of new device provisioning, shipping out devices after configuration, etc. For that reason, I have to walk away from this potential client as I can’t neglect my day job at it’s my stable income.

My question is how to respond to this client such that I keep the door open if they still want to hire me minus the on call support component. Am I better off just completely walking away with a friendly “Thanks for the opportunity to discuss your business means. Unfortunately, I can’t provide support within the hours you’d need.”

Thanks for any and all advice.

It could be as simple as “Thanks for the opportunity to discuss your business needs but at this time I am unable to commit to those support times, is it ok if I reach back out when my availability changes?”

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Thanks @LTS_Tom! Appreciate the advice.

I would at least throw them a budgetary number while reaffirming your availability. I have done this before and it is amazing how flexible a business will be if the cost savings make it worth it. Many of them also realize that it is better to have access to competent help even though it is limited than unlimited access to subpar help.

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Thanks @FredFerrell!

I would provide the owner with a proposal as defined on your call, and see where it goes from there. I have been on all sides of this story and can tell you what IT wants and what the company is willing to do rarely ever line up, these days even when the companies business is IT.

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Spoke to business owner again today to follow up.

It seems after talking to the current IT person, they’re back to a 24 hour turn around on support requests being acceptable. I appreciate the replies from everyone that did and will keep them in mind should I find myself in a similar situation in future.

We settled on some initial discovery to determine what needs to be done charged on an hourly basis with a monthly contracted rate to follow based on expected support hours required. Have to write up my notes on all the information I have collected so far. Then figure out how I want to transition services over gradually and what tools I want to use to manage the workstations.

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Well, the client ultimately decided not to move forward after I sent them a workbook and some follow up questions. The workbook was gathering information such as service providers, software, PCs, and other hardware they had. They had a number of deployed laptops as well as two office sites, so this had seemed prudent.

I had also sent a few more questions regarding procurement of PCs, some service specific questions, how the PCs were locked down before deployment, current remote support solution, and preference on update rollout.

I suppose I won’t know specifically why they decided not to proceed. I’m sure I could speculate for hours on it. Ultimately, I thanked them for their consideration and kept the door open if they’d like to work together in future.

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