IT Support

Calculating how much IT support costs and how IT support packages are put together

In this comprehensive guide, we're taking a look at the nuances of IT support costs, exploring various pricing models and their implications for businesses. We'll dissect the average expenditure on technology in the UK, and provide expert advice on choosing the ideal IT support provider, equipping you with the knowledge to navigate the complexities of IT support and harness its full potential for your business.
A photo of Ian Welch, who is a partner & technical director for Network

Written by

Ian Welch

Ian is the Technical Director @ Network and a certified ethical hacker (CEH), security professional (CISSP) and ISO27001 lead implementer with over 25 years experience.

Updated on

February 9, 2024

A business owner researching IT providers and evaluating IT support costs

Before we dive in

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Key Takeaways

  1. IT support costs in the UK vary widely based on factors like location, business size, and specific IT needs, with a marked emphasis on cybersecurity and strategic IT management.
  2. From ad-hoc to fully managed services, understanding the different IT support pricing models is crucial for businesses to make informed decisions.
  3. Choosing the right IT support provider involves assessing your business's specific requirements, comparing service and pricing options, and ensuring strategic alignment with your business goals.

How much does IT support cost?

Understanding the cost of IT support services is crucial for your business. It's not just about finding a service; it's about finding the right service at the right price. In the UK, IT support costs can vary significantly based on several factors, each impacting your final investment.

Location and its impact on costs

In the heart of bustling cities like London, IT support costs tend to be higher. This is attributed to the higher demand and value placed on advanced technical expertise. However, moving away from these urban centres, you might notice a gradual decrease in costs. It's essential to weigh the location against the potential cost benefits for your business.

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Tailoring to your business

Every business has unique IT requirements. From small businesses needing basic remote support to larger enterprises requiring comprehensive IT infrastructure management, the cost is directly influenced by these specific needs. A small business might find value in a fixed monthly fee for unlimited remote support, whereas a larger enterprise might need a more complex service contract encompassing onsite support and strategic IT alignment.

Variety in support models

IT support companies offer a range of models, from ad hoc support to fully managed services. Ad hoc services, where you pay for support as needed, can be cost-effective for businesses with minimal IT demands. On the other hand, a fully managed service provider offers extensive support covering your entire IT estate, typically at a fixed and known rate. This approach ensures proactive management, regular maintenance, and strategic guidance, aligning IT with your business developments.

Evaluating the cost-benefit

While assessing support costs, it's essential to consider the value it brings to your business. A managed IT support service might seem like a higher initial investment, but it often translates to cost savings in the long run through preventative maintenance, reduced downtime, and improved cyber security. These services not only take care of immediate IT issues but also provide strategic insights to align IT with your business goals, ensuring a cost-effective solution in the grand scheme of your operations.

In summary, when evaluating IT support costs, consider how the service aligns with your specific business requirements, IT infrastructure, and strategic goals. Whether it's on-site visits, remote monitoring, or strategic IT alignment, the right support model can offer not just technical solutions but also a strategic partnership to drive your business forward. Remember, the cheapest option isn't always the best; it's about finding the right balance of service and cost that suits your business's unique needs and aspirations.

The different IT support pricing models

Understanding the various IT support pricing models is key to making an informed decision that aligns with your business needs and budget. Let's take a look at the common types of IT support models and their implications for your business.

Ad-hoc support

Ad-hoc IT support typically ranges from £90 - £110 per hour, plus potential call-out fees. This model is ideal for businesses requiring occasional on-site or remote support. It's a 'pay-as-you-go' approach, offering flexibility and no ongoing costs. However, it's important to note that this model is reactive, meaning you pay for specific issues as they arise.


  • No ongoing costs; pay only for the support you use.
  • Flexibility to call for support as needed.


  • This can lead to higher effective billable rates over time.
  • Lack of proactive maintenance and strategic IT alignment.
  • Potentially higher costs due to emergency call-outs.

Pre-paid IT support costs

Pre-paid IT support, at approximately £80 per hour, involves purchasing support hours in advance. This model was more common in the past and offers a slightly discounted hourly rate. Businesses buy a bundle of hours, typically 20 or more, to use as needed.


  • The upfront payment provides clarity on costs.
  • Slight discounts on the hourly rate compared to ad-hoc support.


  • Similar to ad-hoc support with limited proactive measures.
  • No strategic alignment or regular maintenance.
  • Hours purchased may expire if not used within a certain timeframe.
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Fixed-rate IT support contract

Fixed-rate IT support, averaging £50 - £70 per computer per month, includes remote support, some level of server monitoring, and potentially on-site support. It's a predictable model, often preferred by small businesses.


  • Predictable monthly costs for easier budgeting.
  • Covers reactive support without additional fees.


  • Some providers may offer limited proactive services.
  • Risk of it being merely a reactive helpdesk with minimal strategic guidance.

Fully managed IT support pricing

Fully managed IT support costs typically range between £70 - £120 per user per month. This model encompasses comprehensive services, including 24/7 monitoring, advanced cyber security, and strategic business alignment. It's an 'all-inclusive' approach, aiming to minimise IT issues and align services with your business goals.


  • Comprehensive 24/7 support and monitoring.
  • Includes strategic business alignment and proactive maintenance.
  • A fixed monthly fee provides cost certainty.


  • Higher upfront cost compared to other models.
  • Importance of choosing a reliable and competent provider to avoid security risks.

In conclusion, each IT support model has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Your choice should depend on your business's specific IT requirements, the level of support needed, and your budget.

Whether it's ad-hoc, pre-paid, fixed-rate, or fully managed support, the goal is to find a cost-effective solution that aligns with your business needs and offers reliable, efficient IT support.

How much does the average UK business spend on IT and technology?

In the current market landscape, the average UK business is significantly investing in IT and technology, reflecting a strong emphasis on cyber security, IT management, and digital transformation. This investment varies based on the size and sector of the business, but certain trends are evident across the board.

Cyber security is a key investment area

Cyber security is a top priority for UK businesses, with a substantial portion of their IT budget allocated towards it. Recent data indicates that 70% of UK companies have either started using cybersecurity software or adopted it permanently, underscoring the critical role it plays in the modern digital landscape.

The focus on advanced cybersecurity measures is not just a trend but a necessity, given the increasing number of cyber threats and the need for advanced security systems.

Importance of IT management and service providers

Businesses are not only spending on security software but also investing in IT management services. IT management is crucial for ensuring the consistent operation of IT systems and aligning them with business objectives.

This trend is partly driven by the increasing complexity of IT systems and the need for specialised knowledge to manage them effectively. As a result, many businesses are turning to external service providers and support companies for their expertise.

Investment in digital transformation

Digital transformation is another significant area of investment. This includes the adoption of new technologies and the upgrading of existing systems to improve efficiency and competitiveness.

In this realm, UK businesses are cautiously exploring new technologies, often prioritising compatibility with existing systems and ensuring robust security measures.

Variations across different business sizes

Small businesses, start-ups and non-profits have different spending patterns as compared to SME's and large organisations. While small businesses might focus on cost-effective solutions like ad hoc IT support or basic cybersecurity measures, larger companies are more likely to invest in comprehensive service contracts, advanced IT systems, and strategic IT alignment services.

Emphasis on service contracts and agreements

Businesses are increasingly looking for service contracts and support agreements that offer predictable costs and reliable services. This trend reflects a shift from purely reactive support models to more proactive and strategic approaches.

In summary, the average UK business's expenditure on IT and technology is shaped by the need for sophisticated cybersecurity, efficient IT management, and strategic digital transformation. This spending is tailored to each business's size, sector, and specific needs, with a common emphasis on service quality and security.

How to select the right IT company for your business IT support

Selecting the right IT support company for your business is a crucial decision. Here are some tips to help you make an informed choice:

Assess your business IT needs: Before searching for a provider, understand your specific IT needs. This includes the scale of your IT infrastructure, the complexity of your technology, and the level of support your in-house team requires. For a small business, basic IT support might suffice, while larger businesses might need a comprehensive, fully managed service.

Look for relevant experience and expertise: Choose a service provider with experience in your industry. This ensures they understand your unique challenges and can offer relevant solutions. Check if they have a track record of working with businesses similar in size or sector to yours.

Evaluate the range of services offered: Ensure the IT company offers the range of services you need, from ad hoc IT support to fully managed services. Some providers offer backup monitoring, cyber security solutions, and maintenance tasks, while others might focus more on strategic alignment and consulting.

Consider support pricing and contract terms: Compare the support pricing and contract terms of different providers. Look for transparent pricing models and avoid providers with hidden costs. A fixed monthly fee can be more predictable and easier to budget for than ad hoc rates. Understand the terms of the support contract or service level agreement, including response times, on-site work provisions, and what's included in the package.

Check their response times and support availability: Reliable business IT support is crucial, especially in emergencies. Check the provider's response times and whether they offer support outside of regular business hours. This is particularly important if your business operates round the clock or has critical operations that can't afford downtime.

Assess their approach to cyber security: With increasing cyber security threats, ensure your IT support provider has advanced security services available. They should be able to protect your IT systems from various threats and offer basic solutions like anti-virus status checks and regular security updates, as well as advanced solutions like vulnerability scanning, penetration testing and more.

Read reviews and get references: Check online reviews and ask for references from the provider. Feedback from current or past clients can give you insights into their service quality and reliability.

Look for flexibility and scalability: Choose a provider that can scale their support services as your business grows. They should be able to adapt to your changing IT needs without significant disruptions.

Strategic alignment with your business goals: The right IT support company should not only fix technical issues but also offer strategic guidance to align IT services with your business goals. This ensures that your IT investments contribute positively to your business growth.

Personalised service: A dedicated team or account manager who understands your business can make a significant difference. This ensures more personalised support service and better understanding of your IT needs.

Selecting an IT support company is a strategic decision. Take your time to research and evaluate different options to find a provider that fits your business requirements and budget, and can be a true partner in your business's technological growth.


Navigating the complexities of IT support costs and selecting the right provider are key to leveraging technology for business growth. This guide offers insights into the factors influencing IT support pricing, average technology expenditure in the UK, and tips for choosing an IT service that aligns with your business needs.

Does your business face similar challenges in IT support management? How does the choice of IT provider impact your operations?

Share your experiences with us. If you're looking for a reliable IT support partner, don't hesitate to get in touch for tailored solutions that fit your business needs.