Like any other specialist area, IT (or generally, technology) is not something that everyone is capable of dealing with on their own. But how do you go about finding the right IT Support company for you? Well, it’s not as simple as ‘pick a card, any card’, there’s a lot more to it than that……

When it comes to things that are outside my area of expertise I accept that I need to build a relationship with someone who can help guide me in the right direction. At home, I wouldn’t attempt to make any repairs to the plumbing (I’m so cack handed when it comes to DIY, I’d certainly need someone to come and repair my attempt at a repair!), so I have a plumber that I know and trust. This extends into many fields (electrician, TV aerial guy, financial advisor, car mechanic etc.). At work, there’s a similar group tasks that are important, of which my knowledge is limited. Banking, tax matters, business insurance; they’re all jobs I hand over to people with more knowledge than me in their particular field.

From a small business perspective I see these specialist positions as forming my own unofficial ‘board’ – a group of specialists who are able to guide me in their respective fields towards my business goals. Your board members may include an accountant, a HR person, bank manager, and for many small businesses a technology person is essential.

But, whether you are looking for a support company at home or work, what you should look for when you search for someone? There’s a few common things you should look for so let’s look at those.


First and foremost, you need someone whose opinion and advice you trust. Try and get a gut feeling for whether that person is working in your interest or their own. You may pay a higher hourly rate for someone who really pulls for you, but ultimately you’ll probably end up with better advice, which almost always means paying out less money in the long run.


Find out what their technical experience really is. Whatever your business, or home situation, you are more than likely to be somewhat unique. You need somebody that has experience close to what you need. For example, if you’re a Mac user – you need a support company that has years of Mac experience. As an example, there’s a wealth of former Windows specialists who are now seeing the increase in numbers of homes and small businesses using Mac’s that are passing themselves off as Mac specialists. While they may be able to guide you day to day, without the years of experience in this very specific field, they might not have the capability of fixing a difficult problem that stops you from working during the busiest week of your financial year, or fixing the issue you have with your personal photo library causing you to lose all those important family images (but you are backing up right?).

Find out what their niche knowledge really is. If you’re a professional wedding photographer for example, you need someone who has some idea about what it is you go through on a daily basis and how the technology can help or hinder you. Does the company have people with extensive experience of Adobe Lightroom for instance?


OK, I’m talking about my own target markets here; home users, small businesses and photographers. Almost none of these people are strictly 9am-5pm Monday thru Friday. If you fall into these categories, try and establish how flexible your technology support company is. If they won’t fit in with your working schedule (and many who do will charge a huge premium for doing it, so check that out before hiring someone).

For a home user, do they have people who can talk you through a problem with Apple Photos at 7pm on a Thursday evening perhaps? For a photographer, what happens when your Mac plays up on a Saturday morning just before you’re due to go into a viewing with a client? Look for someone who understands your potential problems and will do everything they can to help you out in an emergency.


I always find that the best people in every field have a great network of people behind them. In other words, whatever they don’t know, they usually have someone they can connect with to give them that expertise. And they also tend to know lots of people in lots of other different fields. These folks are great to know. Whether you are acting as customer or provider, the best working relationships often come from referrals. As a customer it’s good to know that the person recommending a business trusts the company they are telling you about, and as a provider it makes for a smoother introduction (and therefore less “selling” which is a positive for both parties).


Of course the most important thing is to find someone you can work with. You’ll get the best from any relationship when there’s mutual appreciation, but much of this stems from the factors I’ve mentioned above.

Whatever you do, carry out the proper research when looking for support, and try to seek advice from friends or business associates who may have people they can recommend.


As a provider of technology support, I strive to work with my clients to achieve their technology goals, and most importantly (for me) I try to do this in the least painful way for my clients. Like any technical field, there’s a lot of complex, and sometimes unneccesarily so, terminology that can have customers eyes glazing over; it’s important for me to understand my clients’ technical limits and work within these wherever possible.