Starting own IT consultancy - Gathering list of tools required and recommendations



  • Hi all,

    So finally i am at the last stage of finalising and starting a IT consultancy company, with some investment from a partner.

    I am currently compiling a list of must have tools that i need to start supporting my clients. Planning to start 2016 with the new one! 🙂

    I know this has been discussed several times, but would like to see an updated response:

    I am currently planning to use:

    Freshbooks- using this as a free plan now, as i was doing some freelancing. This helps me to achieve invoicing, estimates, time tracking. I will move to the paid option on Freshbooks.

    Remote support: Super confused about what to use for . Currently a single tech agent (myself), and requirements would be installed agent supporting retainers and on the go support using probably a link to download the agent, install temp, support and remove for others. Screenconnect seems to be an option, but i would like to hear feedbacks. For now, i don't want a self hosted one as i nee to manage that, i would rather use that time to support clients! 🙂
    Teamviewer business edition is another one i like, its one time fee and supports pretty much all devices.

    Helpdesk/ticketing: For now I am thinking to use Freshbooks for this too, but open for new ideas.

    I would also like to have a sales pipeline/projection tool, a web based one rather than on excel as an added bonus. Can't afford/or doesnt really need a full CRM system at the point i believe.

    Did i miss anything else?



  • Congratulations!! I wish you the best of luck!



  • @MattSpeller said:

    Congratulations!! I wish you the best of luck!

    Thanks!



  • When I was a consultant, I used GoToAssist for remote support. I liked it, it always worked well for me.



  • TeamViewer is a pretty solid product, but it's quite expensive.

    You could take a look at AeroAdmin (it's completely free to use, but does have a buy option).

    Since you're looking for things you don't have to manage you're really going to want Web based providers for everything. Pipeline/projections, Tickets, Billing and Invoices etc.

    I'm not sure of any off hand, but there are a few out there, right?

    All of which are most certainly a subscription service.



  • One option with TeamViewer:
    They will work with you on pricing. I was looking at a one seat license and they came back with an attractive monthly option for me. Was like $40 if I remember.



  • Features looks good, i would like to hear more feedback on this. Good thing is it supports both MAC and Windows.



  • I would be surprised if ScreenConnect would not work with you on pricing too. And they work really well on Linux. Using it on Mint right now.



  • @Ambarishrh It works well you can divide stuff up by companies and it can keep track of notes,time spent working on a pc. There are 3rd party solutions to import thatinfo into Freshbooks as well (i've never used any).



  • I run my biz off of freshbooks and MaxFocus (formerly GFI Max) and I love it. one stop shop for AV, Monitoring, Patching, Remote Support, etc. I dig. They even have a Service Desk add in (that i dont use) that you can use for ticketing, and project management I think.



  • i'm small beans though. a large hill of small beans 🙂



  • @hubtechagain said:

    i'm small beans though. a large hill of small beans 🙂

    It's like from the first Naked Gun movie. "But this is OUR hill. And these are OUR beans."



  • If you are doing MSP style work, you might want to look into an inclusive RMM platform. Pretty sure Continuum will have some tools for you.



  • Adding @MKM8DY



  • We use N-Able and have been pretty happy with it.

    I do believe there is a lot more outsourcing available for Continuum, though.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    I would be surprised if ScreenConnect would not work with you on pricing too. And they work really well on Linux. Using it on Mint right now.

    For screenconenct, I am confused with the different types of packages. I am leaning towards to most popular package $49/month billed anually.



  • Congratulations.My small suggestion is that Dont think IT consultancy as business,just think it as an daily activity with less stress works.



  • I am currently evaluating Max Focus and having a call with their team to better understand their licensing. My mind is between screenconnect and GFI, reason for GFI is that it has almost all required modules in one place which can be very helpful on retainer jobs: patch management, av, maintenance tasks etc. Thanks @hubtechagain

    Regarding accounting, i think for now i can stay with freshbooks and don't require xero to be added.

    Another thing I am thinking is about mails, i currently have it on google apps, the free 10 user pack. Thinking if i need to switch to O365, which will give me MS office license as well, which is anyways needed for my daily tasks. If so, which O365 can i start with to just have Mails+Office online and desktop?



  • The $5 Office 365 SMB plan probably has everything that you want.



  • MaxFocus is not as great as you might think. We used it for a bit and had lots of issues with it. The remote control software was unreliable at best. The AV piece (if you use it) is also not as good as others on the market (Webroot for the win here). I would recommend ScreenConnect.



  • I am just getting started with MaxFocus. So far so good, with only a few hiccups. I have been using ScreenConnect and love it, but want to try a full RMM tool and LabTech was too expensive (they recently bought ScreenConnect.) On the other end, I am using CommitCRM and Quickbooks. They integrate nicely and I have all of my client info, records, tickets and billing in CommitCRM. It has made life much easier.

    Steve



  • i use max focus every day. like every day. i dont know what remote access issues the queen has had, but i've not experienced any of that . You can use Vipre or Bitdefender for your AV engine, and i never have any virus problems out of my clients who use either. Vipre is easier on the system than bitdefender. BD, looks nicer. once you tweak your monitoring templates it's great. as much or as little data as you'd like. Sorry you guys had problems with it if you'd like to have me consult in on the config let me know.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    The $5 Office 365 SMB plan probably has everything that you want.

    If he wants email and desktop apps he'll need to do the $12.50/month plan.



  • @BRRABill Seems like so. Only that starts with email+desktop apps. so you guys agree on the move from google apps to O365 for these reasons.

    Google apps for 10 users free for me, but then i don't get MS office. Or I stay with google apps for email, and use MS office only for $8.25. Again, nice to have all in one place! 🙂



  • @Ambarishrh

    If you definitely want to use Office, I'd go with the $12.50 a month plan.

    I personally like the hosted Exchange a lot.

    You can always start with the $8.25 and upgrade any time down the road to the $12.50 one.



  • Do you really need local office? What are you doing that requires that?



  • I would require Outlook client for sure, and good to have desktop version, but i guess even online version would work. But even outlook comes with the desktop clients and start with the $12



  • Also thinking on what laptop should i get; go with a MAC Air, so light weight can carry around and for larger display in the office, i can always hook that up to a big monitor. Or get Surface pro 4. 🙂
    With a Macbook pro 13" i7, 512SSD, 16GB, i can easily run both windows 10 and mac, which would be very useful to support both clients, test and work.



  • @Ambarishrh said:

    Also thinking on what laptop should i get; go with a MAC Air, so light weight can carry around and for larger display in the office, i can always hook that up to a big monitor. Or get Surface pro 4. 🙂
    With a Macbook pro 13" i7, 512SSD, 16GB, i can easily run both windows 10 and mac, which would be very useful to support both clients, test and work.

    I use a MacBook Pro with Parallels to run any VM I may need.



  • @JaredBusch That's what I am thinking too. I know I've been asking too many questions on this thread, but goal is to possible compile one list of tools and post it.

    Do you guys ever give on the spot quotes for an Annual maintenance contract, just an average at least? Lets say if you have set pricing for each types of machine like Win/Mac and also pricing for OS, what do you think about an on the spot quote, no frills, no waiting period, client can choose if that matches their req and possibly advice them to do some upgrades for eg: XP not supported anymore, so cost of maintaining is more, suggest to upgrade. This i feel would be good so long as i am one man, and only applying to AMC for machines which has basic maintenance tasks.


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