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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    1,298

    How to hire a support technician?

    I'm searching for some input. I read some place that one person could handle up to 500 hosting accounts, then it would be necessary with some kind of assistance. I haven't reached that number of accounts yet but my hosting is growing in the right direction and I'm starting to think about it.

    I'm just not sure what to do when hiring a support technician. What to offer in wage etc? Are there a standard contract anywhere? How would you handle this? I couldn't afford a full time employee. Should they be hired on an ad hoc basis and what would be a reasonable wage etc?

    Hoping for some input.

    Thanks
    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    59
    The point at which you hire help is really dependent on your customers. Are they becoming more than you can handle? If not then don't.

    I would rather hire a network technician, or a budding network technician. Someone who can do more than just answer calls, but maybe do a little active/pro-active troubleshooting and network maintainence as well. You may pay a little more, but it's worth it. You can find great part time help for as little as $1500 a month. Maybe less depending on the cost of living in your area.
    TTLHost, Inc.
    ~~~~RIP~~~~
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    532
    You may want to consider something like:
    http://www.actsupport.com/

    Disclaimer: We personally haven't used these guys. Do some research on the forums.
    Jeff Standen, Chief of R&D, WebGroup Media LLC. - LinkedIn
    Cerb is a fast and flexible web-based platform for business collaboration and automation. http://www.cerbweb.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    1,298
    Thanks alot for your input/links

    John

  5. #5
    Some months ago I was in the same situation as you are, and I have tried several solutions. I tried to outsource it, even hired a few cheap tech guys etc..

    Finally I decided to hire a pro on the tech side, sure it did cost me a bit, but I do sleep so much better now. And I havent had one minut of downtime since... my current setup is perfect for me!

    Yeah, I could handle most of these issues myself, but now I can really focus on business development and the whole commercial side of the company.

    Like you I have less than 500 clients, however they are all high-power users with paying $25-100 monthly, so they do expect everything to be top notch - and its just a nicer feeling to do biz that way...

    All in all I pay around 300/monthly for my serveradmin, thats less than 10% of my turnover. And its well worth it.

    If you want to know more about who/why/how I got my techie then feel free to contact me @ 19678140.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    24,009
    Originally posted by BwBroker
    All in all I pay around 300/monthly for my serveradmin, thats less than 10% of my turnover. And its well worth it.
    How many servers does he admin for that amount?
    AussieHost.com Aussie Bob, host since 2001
    Host Multiple Domains on Fast Australian Servers!!

  7. #7
    4-5 servers
    The actual workload for him is quite low, but whenever a fire starts, he make sure to put it out in no time.

    He also take care of a few very tech. support tickets a week.
    Once in a while he had to work for 1-2 hours in a row if there has been serious issues - and then Ive paid him a bonus of $50-100...he never expected or demanded extra payment though.

  8. #8
    Why not try a local ad in the help wanted section of the newspaper?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    3,301
    Back on topic ...

    If you don't hire someone full time, you do have several options:

    1) Outsource support to a company like bobcares.com or actsupport.com. Your milage will likely vary with these companies, and their staff will likely only be able to handle the most basic of inqueries. Even so, quite a few people say that they are a good value for the money. Personally, I have had quite a negative experience with a 3rd-party support company that is now defunt, so I won't be going down that road myself anytime soon again.

    2) Hire people and pay them by the ticket. If you aren't already using a helpdesk program to track your support requests, you should be. Using this method, you could make a post to the related offers and requests forum saying you are looking for some support techs who can you pay by the ticket. I'm honestly not sure what the going rate for these types of services are. The advantage with this method is that, assuming you have enough ticket volume, you can recruit a few different people from various time zones to cover your desk at different hours of the day. Another advantage is that these types of employees can very easily make the jump from a "per ticket" basis to a salaried part time / full time position.

    3) If you have a low ticket volume, but still feel that it would be beneficial to have another person around on a regular basis, try to find someone who has a very wide skill set that is looking for part-time, work from home employment. You could hire the person to work a set number of hours a week, and in their spare time when they didn't have any tickets to work on, you could assign them additional tasks that make use of their variety of skills.

    Also, in regards to hiring a server admin - this is probably a decent idea as well if you aren't well versed in linux and don't feel you would know how to troubleshoot issues if there were any major issues with your server. You should be warned that a competant linux specialist will likely command an hourly rate north of $50/hr.
    Jay Sudowski // Handy Networks LLC // Co-Founder & CTO
    AS30475 - Level(3), HE, Telia, XO and Cogent. Noction optimized network.
    Offering Dedicated Server and Colocation Hosting from our SSAE 16 SOC 2, Type 2 Certified Data Center.
    Current specials here. Check them out.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    West Michigan, USA
    Posts
    9,675
    Advice: Pay "per ticket". We used to pay hourly and/or salary. Experience has shown you get MUCH better results from techs by paying per ticket.

    More Advice: Give the techs who answer the most tickets some "perks" and unexpected bonuses. It helps.

    --Tina
    ||| 99.999% Uptime SLA!!!
    Plenty of space and bandwidth to fit your needs!
    www.AEIandYou.com - - (WP Friendly - Premium Reseller Hosting and Cheap Dedicated Servers)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Clifton Park, NY
    Posts
    925
    I have found the exact opposite with our employees. When you pay per ticket your employees have the luxury or 'not working when they dont want to' because if theyre not working then youre not paying them so they don't feel obligated to work at a certain time, which can result in lapses in support. To have enough people to guarantee 24/7 support you would have to overstaff which is okay for you if you pay per ticket, but you can't expect an employee to count on being the one to get to the tickets if they have to put bread on the table with the money. Basically, It works when you are a smaller host but it is not a scalable solution.

    If you are going to do it, pay them per ticket but split it up based on the % of responses they make per ticket. Say if a ticket is worth $1, if one guy responds 1x and another 4x guy a gets 20 cents guy b gets 80, that way guy a is not rewarded equally for half-assing a ticket. If motivates employees to do the best job to answer the ticket in one response, which is what the customer wants.

    -Brendan

  12. #12
    We would have to weigh in on the hourly rate as well, unless it's only occasional help that you need (and maybe even then, really). Having a set cost per employee makes accounting very happy, and having a set paycheck amount makes employees very happy, since the per ticket model could be a bonanza or quite weak, depending on what's going on in your world at the moment.

    Hiring the techs themselves can be daunting if you're not familiar with them already. Throw a couple of (answered) tickets at them and ask them to respond to them as if they were coming from a customer. Something that would be available via your FAQ or knowledgebase would be a good idea. This provides you with the benefit of knowing how their communication/spelling/grammar skills are and if they know/can find out the answer to the question being asked. If they just shrug and say "dunno" when the answer can be found with a little research on your site, that would be a bit of a warning signal.
    Annette
    Hosting Matters, Inc.
    Superior service. Sensible price.

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