#1 Understand What Services You Are Purchasing
Before authorizing any services to be performed, discuss what the consultant will do and how much it will cost. If you are purchasing more than $300 in services, ask the consultant for a written estimate or a fixed-price for the project.
#2 Repair vs. Upgrade: Understand the Differences
Ask yourself how much it would cost to just buy a new piece of equipment or software instead of servicing the old one. Because of how quickly computer parts are updated, it may be less expensive to purchase new hardware or software. Ask your consultant about the maintenance costs for the old product versus the new one and whether the new product would have any features you would be able to utilize.
#3 Determine What You Should Do and What the Consultant Should Do
If you are cost-conscious when working with a computer consultant, determine which services the consultant will perform and what you can do by yourself. For example, if you are adding a new computer to your wireless network, the computer consultant may install the wireless network card and set up appropriate security for the network. You may be able to save money by installing software and configuring basic services such as e-mail.
#4 Ask Your Consultant for Advice Before Making Software or Hardware Purchases
Most consultants offer free advice by phone or e-mail. When purchasing something new, ask the consultant whether it will be compatible with your system, what the warranty options are, which vendors offer the most robust products, and where to buy for the best prices.
#5 Choose the Best Support Method Workplace relations commission
Many consultants charge for phone and on-site support, but not for e-mail. E-mail is quick and easy because you will be doing the work under the consultant’s guidance. In many cases, if the consultant charges for phone support, it may be more efficient to schedule a service call because the consultant will be doing the work and can see the problem directly instead of giving you guidance over the phone.
#6 Get Training
Many on-site service calls can be prevented if you ask the consultant to show you how to fix the problem. For example, a router may drop your internet connection occasionally. If you know how to restart the router, you can avoid having to wait for a service appointment and paying for repair service. Printer problems are often repetitive and generate many unnecessary service calls. Don’t be afraid to learn about the details – it will often be much easier than you think.
#7 Determine Who Will Purchase Equipment
When purchasing parts for service, determine whether you or your consultant will purchase the parts. Often it may not be a good idea for you to purchase them, because your consultant may have exact specifications for the product that must be purchased and often will have sources to buy at the lowest prices.