How to select an IT Service Provider (FOR SMALL BUSINESSES)

Finding someone trustworthy enough to offer the keys to your digital kingdom is extremely challenging – and distinguishing that company from the crowd of IT professionals eager to win your business is an even greater challenge. That’s why in this blog post, I’ll walk you through selecting a new IT Service Provider for your business. 
Naftali Hardhian
written by Naftali Hardhian posted on December 21, 2023

Outsourcing some (or all) aspects of the IT department makes sense for a lot of organizations… but searching for and selecting the right partner is a daunting, potentially high-risk task that needs to be taken seriously. Finding someone trustworthy enough to offer the keys to your digital kingdom is extremely challenging – and distinguishing that company from the crowd of IT professionals eager to win your business is an even greater challenge. That’s why in this blog post, I’ll walk you through selecting a new IT Service Provider for your business. 

Free photo financial concept with wooden cubes, magnifying glass on grey background flat lay.

Before I make any recommendations or give you any advice, let’s set the context. First off, let’s look at and define the different types of IT providers: 

Break-fix IT Support 

Break-fix is a legacy business model in which IT professionals offer services on an hourly basis. Break-fix operates exactly as the name implies; if something is broken, you call, and they fix it. It’s not an ideal approach for businesses given how reactive it is, but it’s still being offered by many small IT businesses to this day and it’s out there if you want it.  

Ideally, you’re at least maintaining things and not waiting until they break. With this option, you’ll be paying very little to your IT provider… but you’ll also be substituting that cost with technical debt. You can save money in the short-term and drive your car for years without an oil change, but eventually a big problem will occur… and fixing the big problem will be ten times as expensive as just getting the oil changed. 

IT Outsourcing / Augmentation 

IT Outsourcing & IT Staff Augmentation is a less popular model, often used by larger organizations having trouble recruiting for certain roles. If you have an existing IT department internally and need more qualified IT resources quickly, this can be a great approach.  

Managed Services 

Partial Managed Services is engaging with an IT firm with a limited scope of management. Perhaps the IT firm manages your servers and windows updates, while your internal helpdesk does the rest, for example. The key component here is that they are managing assets based on a scope of work, proactively maintaining the environment, which is superior to a simple break-fix relationship. 

Full Managed Services 

Full Managed Services is engaging with a single IT firm to deliver on the full scope of the organization’s technology needs. When possible, this is often the ideal setup for small and medium-sized businesses. The flexibility and simplicity of this plan results in aligned incentives and a generally easy-to-understand and budget-for service. Results can vary widely depending on your provider (and how they defined Fully Managed IT Services), so be sure to choose wisely. This is what Resolved IT specializes in. 


Which type of IT firm is right for my business? 

Free photo businessman under stress and pressure

There’s no way I can tell you which kind of service your specific business needs in this article – but I can give you some pointers: 

If you’re running a micro-business (less than 10 employees) or working with an extreme budget, you generally have no choice but to use a break-fix provider. (Expect to pay between $90 and $200 per hour).  

If you have a large internal IT team, outsourcing, staff augmentation or consulting might be a good way to get your feet wet with an IT firm. I do not recommend staff augmentation if you haven’t built an existing IT operating system that this person can slot into. Their role needs to be well-defined to have a successful outcome. 

If you value flexibility, reliability, and keeping your business operations smooth sailing, you really do need either a Fully Managed Service, a well-oiled internal IT department with strong, qualified leadership, or some combination of the two.  


Ok great – I know what type of IT firm I need. Now, how do I find them? 

When searching for providers to assess, I recommend starting by reaching out to your network. Ask other business operators that you trust about their experiences with their IT provider. 

Use search engines to find IT firms that specifically talk about supporting your industry. Whether it’s an “Industries” page, detailing clients in your industry that the firm works with, or they’re a firm totally dedicated to one industry. Why work with a generic IT firm when you can work with one who is specialized in your industry? 

Look for companies with video testimonials. It’s not easy to get someone to go on camera and talk about how great you are – and if a company has video testimonials, they’ve managed to do just that. Credit where credit is due, if an IT firm has video testimonials on their website, they’ve proven that they have some very happy clients. 

I recommend you assess three to five providers: 

  • One or two from your network 
  • One or two that are specific to your industry 
  • And the highest-rated company within 1-hour of driving from your location  
  • And Resolved IT, of course (Just kidding! 😊)


OK, I’ve found a few providers – I’m about to sit down with them and listen to their pitch. What things should I look for? 

Come prepared with notes on all the IT problems your company is facing and simply let them take it from there. If they are listening intently and responding with relevant information, that is a good sign. If they’re overly eager to regurgitate their sales pitch all over you – you’re safe to mentally check out for the rest of the meeting (and you will) and make a lame excuse.  

The first thing you need to assess is communication. If they can’t listen to your problems and give you some highly relevant answers from the get-go, then it’s safe to say things aren’t going to magically get better later in the relationship. There should be little or no tolerance for the provider being unsure about something – they need to have fast, clear answers to your problems and questions. 

Second: do they have the correct background and proven track record working with companies like yours? If not, expect a learning curve that directly correlates to the competence and communication skills of the people working at the firm you’re engaging with. Talk to multiple people at the company, not just the sales rep, and gauge their competence and communication skills closely. If you can, request a visit to their office in-person. 

And third: are they the right fit for the business? And I don’t just mean is the price right, I mean culturally, economically, and strategically.  

Ultimately, by nature, you’ll be placing an immense amount of trust in someone you likely don’t know very well. If you’re working with a firm, it might be many, many someone’s. Choose a firm that checks all your boxes and provides you the strongest communication skills… and make sure you like your Account Manager.  

If you’re interested in talking to us about our services, you can visit our “Contact” page or click one of the many calls to action on our site. Cheers, and thank you sincerely for reading. 

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