Managed IT Services vs Break/Fix – Which One Should You Pick?


managed it services vs break fix services

In the world of IT, choosing between managed IT services vs break-fix services can be critical to support your core business operations. Small and medium-sized businesses must choose between managed services vs break-fix to supplement the capabilities of their existing IT resources and staff.

What’s the definition of managed IT services?

Managed IT services are outsourced third-party service providers (MSPs) who share responsibility for an organization’s whole IT environment.

Rather than relying on momentary support, the managed services model allows for establishing a long-lasting partnership between a firm and its IT provider. MSPs primarily work off-site, employing their own network of systems and skilled staff to actively monitor and handle recurring issues as they arise, which is typically far before they become system failures at the buyer’s location.

helpdesk support technician
Rather than relying on momentary support, the managed services model allows for establishing a long-lasting partnership.

Pros and cons of the managed IT services approach


Predictable payments: MSPs’ subscription-based approach ensures budget stability. Clients often pay a predetermined flat rate in considerably lower amounts than break-fix monthly fees. These monthly fees result in predictable payments, which provide MSPs with predictable income streams as well as regular spending lines within their client’s budgets.

predictable payments
With the managed service model, clients frequently pay predetermined monthly rates that are significantly lower than break-fix monthly fees.

Stability: From the moment a service level agreement (SLA) is signed, MSPs have the incentive to keep their clients’ IT environments as seamless, safe, and reliable as possible. Their own productivity and profitability depend on it.

This helps to keep clients and preserve the MSP’s general reputation while also reducing staff work and streamlining processes to make them more cost-effective and efficient. The result is more actively secured and cared-for servers, desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and holistic networks for a flat monthly charge, stabilizing all operations.

From hardware updates to software patches, managed IT services have all aspects of device maintenance covered. With their proactive monitoring and proactive maintenance, business owners can be assured that their devices, laptops for example, are in good shape and maximize laptop battery life, resulting in improved efficiency and productivity for their workforces.

Streamlined service: An MSP’s internal procedures and service deliverables should be as repetitious as possible.

All monitoring and defence tasks may be optimized to be more productive and cost-effective by combining consistent staff best practices with top-tier industry technology like professional service automation (PSA) equipment goods. This allows to bill the services using flat monthly-fees, making it more convenient for clients. MSPs also save time and money in and of themselves, allowing them to better serve individual clients.

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Trust: At the end of the day, MSPs (Managed Services Providers) have access to a client’s entire IT infrastructure. All devices, applications, and server processes are included. The buyer-MSP relationship must be built on trust and openness, with both sides feeling validated.

Initial setup expenses: Compared to a break/fix approach, managed services will have greater upfront expenditures. MSPs typically charge early set-up costs to work with their off-premise hardware, software, server, and network monitoring technology for small businesses.

Costs of managed IT services.
Costs are an important factor when deciding between Break Fix vs Managed IT Services.

Contract management: For many new or small businesses, initial MSP contract procurement may be a resource-intensive task. Nevertheless, by taking this first step, the MSP may identify the potential client’s environment and provide a structure for the services to ensure success.

What are break/fix services?

The term break-fix refers to a project-based approach. When anything breaks, it is only attended to or mended. The break-fix model focuses on resolving problems as they arise while enabling business activities to continue.

For example, your organization has purchased its first business-grade network equipment. However, you need help since you were unaware of the distinctions between business-grade and consumer-grade network equipment.

This is when you call the break-fix professionals to resolve this problem you can’t handle on your own. 

A break-fix-driven managed services provider uses this strategy to supply services as needed and only bill clients for completed tasks. Repairs, upgrades, or installations of systems, components, peripheral equipment, networking, or software may be included in the service.

man repairing a CPU tower
The break-fix model focuses on resolving problems as they arise while enabling business activities to continue.

Pros and cons of the break/fix model


Fee-for-service model: The break/fix model is based on a fee-for-service premise. It implies that companies only pay for services that are provided. Break/fix IT also means businesses don’t have to undergo the process of contract procurement with third-party managed service providers (MSPs).

Autonomy: Organizations that rely on the break/fix model allow their internal IT staff to fix most system glitches or issues on their own if time and experience allow so.

Simplicity: Companies with a break/fix mindset keep most of their IT activities in-house. They get to choose when, when, why, and how often they let other parties into the IT environment and software, using a simple service that is similar to other service repair models, such as vehicle maintenance.

man using a drill
Companies with a break/fix mindset retain the majority of their IT activities in-house.


Budget uncertainty: Break/fix services provide no way for organizations to predict certain IT expenditures. Businesses cannot budget ahead of time because break/fix IT management relies on case-by-case transactions as problems happen.

The break/fix model implies significant cost unpredictability in the short and long term, as different IT environment fixes or malfunctions have varying price tags. Organizations with issues have no choice but to pay the technician’s fees, putting their budgeting in jeopardy.

Reactive, not proactive: Break-fix IT services are designed on a reactive approach rather than proactive or ongoing solutions. The whole fee-based paradigm provides technicians and break-fix services with little external motivation to deliver long-term system solutions. Companies who pick break-fix IT suppliers choose short-term convenience over long-term system sustainability.

Risk mitigation: In general, firms take greater chances when they regularly engage a break-fix IT specialist. They trust these specialists to solve problems holistically and in their best interests, resolving the occasional network fault rather than solving problems before they arise.

Problems with the break/fix model

While break/fix servicing may be appropriate for specific clients and situations, managed services have undoubtedly emerged as the leading business model.

Although break/fix can be effective and profitable, its inherent nature can create scenarios where you are always faced with harried clients who have a knack for sucking away your weekends and ruining your nights, all while being unwilling to pay for your services.

This creates an environment that can dampen the spirits of both your techs and clients and negatively impact your cash flow, thereby making your life miserable.

Reasons why the break/fix model can be bad for clients:

The break/fix model may seem like an easy solution to sudden IT issues that arise from time to time, but it actually creates more headaches than it solves. Let’s take a closer look at why.

First, the incentives are misaligned. Service providers only make money when there are problems, creating a dynamic where they profit from your losses. This can lead to an oppositional relationship that isn’t conducive to positive outcomes.

Second, there can be unpredictable costs. With break/fix work, clients have to deal with reactive, case-by-case problem-solving, making it difficult to budget ahead of time. This can have a significant impact on your business’s finances.

Additionally, the burden is on you, the client. The break/fix model requires you to be the decision-maker, even if you’re not qualified or don’t want to be in that position. This adds an unnecessary layer of stress to an already frustrating situation.

Downtime is another issue. The reactive nature of break/fix means you’re dealing with active fallout from problems while you wait for your service provider to respond, leading to lost productivity and dissatisfied clients.


Moreover, the break/fix model is short-sighted. Because work is billed hourly, clients are incentivized to choose quick fixes over long-lasting solutions.

Likewise, service providers are incentivized to provide temporary fixes again and again instead of solving issues for good. This only leads to more problems and expenses down the road.

Don’t let the break/fix model drain your time and money. Choose a proactive approach that focuses on prevention, not just remediation.

With our team of IT experts, you can trust that your business will be in good hands. Embrace the benefits of social media for your business and reach out to us today to learn more.

Why Managed IT Services Are Better at Keeping Up with Technology Trends

Technology is continually evolving, and every industry needs to keep up to stay relevant and competitive. When things go wrong with technology resources, break/fix services are available to fix them, but they cannot match the services provided by managed IT solutions in keeping up with the trends. With the proactive approach and comprehensive monitoring capabilities of managed IT, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and remain relevant.

Managed IT providers are always there for businesses, monitoring their IT environment around the clock, and quickly addressing the potential challenges before they become severe problems. They also keep the businesses informed about new technologies and help them implement these technological solutions in their businesses.

The insights provided by managed IT solutions are valuable and informative, enabling business owners to make informed choices about the ideal pathway to take in implementing technology trends to watch out for in 2024.

Businesses in Burlington opting for managed services benefit from a proactive approach to technology. Their IT environment remains efficient and competitive, putting them at the forefront of the competition. It is essential to keep up with the latest trends in technology in today’s ever-changing industry, and managed IT solutions offer a surefire way of doing so.

Managed IT Services vs Break-Fix? You Decide

Finally, each company must decide which option is best for its operations and employees. There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” IT management solution; instead, changes must be tailored to each firm.

Try the following to decide whether an MSP or a break-fix approach is better for your business:

Employees should be polled on existing IT security, and workloads and capacity should be monitored.

Compare your company against others in your field with comparable size and scope. Which method do they employ?

Assess your company’s total risk tolerance. Consider how each alternative could help or hurt the company’s strategic goals.

If you need help deciding which is the best approach to IT services for your business, please contact us. We’ll be happy to help.

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