Break/Fix Vs. Managed Services

Break/fix or managed services? An age-old conundrum for businesses looking to get the maximum value for their IT dollar. So much so, there’s even a Reddit thread talking about just that.

The reality is that no two businesses are alike and what works well for one may not for another. So which is better for you and how do you go about deciding which to choose?

Before Getting Into Managed Services Vs. Break/Fix, Let’s Recap What They Are

Break/fix servicing (also called ‘fee-for-service’) is a professional IT service similar (in concept) to a pay-as-you-go plan. It’s as you would expect: you pay an IT contractor to fix your IT issue once a problem has occurred.

On the other hand, a managed service provider (MSP) provides ongoing IT services to manage your IT systems and proactively address issues. Of course, in the event something goes wrong, the MSP will provide support too.

Small and medium businesses often debate break/fix vs. managed services to maximize ROI on IT spend. After all, you don’t want to pay for professional services you don’t need.


Choosing an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP)

Managed Services Vs BreakFix


For medium and large-sized businesses (and many small businesses) managed services are the only way to go. Here’s why:

24/7 Helpdesk & Remote Support

With suppliers, employees, and customers spread worldwide, round-the-clock IT support is a tool that can give the business a competitive edge. There are multiple tiers of support professionals who can resolve issues minor and complex.

An MSP’s response times can be comparable to that of in-house IT staff, meaning you don’t have to wait hours or days for support tickets to be resolved.

Proactive Support

When comparing break/fix vs managed services, you are in control of your costs in an MSP relationship that’s governed by a service level agreement (SLA)

The MSP is incentivized to ensure maximum uptime for your business; every problem you face will mean they’ll have to devote extra expense to fix the problem. That means you and the MSP are both working towards the same goal – reliable IT systems.

In the long term, this proactive approach will also yield a virtuous circle of uptime as your IT company irons out recurring issues and implements root-cause fixes.

Upgrades and Updates

Your MPS will understand your business and your IT infrastructure, meaning they’ll be able to recommend cost-effective IT investments that deliver the value and utility you expect. Your new technologies will be implemented by experts who will help your team acclimatize and adapt to them.



The cons aren’t many for choosing a managed IT services, but can include:

Long Term Contracts 

Some MSPs will try to bind you into long contracts with limited performance clauses. You need to be wary of such SLAs because they can lead to poor quality of service. Instead, work with an MSP that offers opt-out clauses and flexible terms.

Loss of Control

For some business owners and administrators, any loss of control is too much loss of control. Even if you aren’t “handing over” your IT, you will have to hand over the day-to-day running of your IT systems.

One way to address this is by entering into a limited-service contract with an IT company you trust. That can be an effective icebreaker, letting you get used to outsourced IT services and allowing you to make an informed decision about whether you want to take the relationship further.


Managed IT Services Vs. Break/Fix: Less is Less

Think you’ll save with break/fix services? You’ll get less bang for your buck too. Learn about the services MSPs provide and how they maximize ROI on your IT spend.

Learn More


Choosing the Break/Fix Model

Managed Services Vs. Support Model of Break/Fix


Break/fix services are being phased out by organizations, but there are still good reasons why you may want to choose break/fix.

No Monthly Fees or SLAs

For those wary of incurring a recurring fee for services or entering into a formal agreement, the break/fix model can be an effective choice. You aren’t locked into a contract (although many managed service models offer flexible contracts), and you’re not on the hook for any ongoing monthly fees.

Lower Costs

For businesses that have a simple, static IT setup, break/fix can be an effective means of keeping it running. If you are certain you won’t need assistance more frequently than, say, once every quarter, break/fix can save money.

That said, since break/fix usually works on an hourly basis, recurring issues and complex problems can quickly become an expensive proposition (more than what an equivalent MSP would cost).


Find Out Why Businesses, Even Small Ones, Prefer Managed Services:



It’s when you compare break/fix to managed services that it becomes apparent why businesses prefer managed service providers.

More Expensive Than the Managed Services Model

Surprised? Don’t be. If you read the Reddit thread we included above, you’ll know break/fix services are priced by the hour. That means when serious problems arise or even when problems recur your IT bill goes through the roof.

There’s also the issue of motivation – or rather the lack of it. Not to suggest that a break/fix provider isn’t going to resolve problems, but due to the inherent nature of the arrangement, they won’t share in your priority of fixing IT problems for good.

Growing IT Problems

A break/fix provider is not able to offer device management, ongoing IT support or proactive monitoring. You’ll only call for help when something has already gone wrong in your IT systems, meaning smaller problems will continue to accumulate over time.

Your business will also lack the ability to make informed decisions about IT investments (or deploy new technologies under expert guidance).

Managed Services Vs. Support Model of Break/Fix? It’s a No-Brainer

Managed Services Model

If your business has no more than a handful of workstations, mobile devices, a small on-premises server and basic cloud services, you can make do with break/fix services. Any more complexity than that, and managed services will make far more financial and business sense.

Find out how Tenecom helps small, mid-sized and large businesses enhance IT capabilities while reducing IT costs. Discuss your IT needs with us today.

Join Our Newsletter & Learn

Get our latest content delivered to your inbox.

Looking For IT Support That You Can Depend On?