Technology support service providers help consumers and businesses set up, maintain, troubleshoot and repair technology systems, including computers, networks that connect computers to each other and to the internet, and related software applications and other hardware including tablets, smartphones, servers, printers and more.
You can troubleshoot technology problems and find answers to tricky technology questions online pretty quickly, but some tasks—such as computer repairs and component upgrades or diagnosing issues with home networks—benefit from the expertise of someone with prior knowledge or technology training. With the proliferation of computer viruses spread via email and the internet, technology support service providers can also help you remove viruses, malware and spyware from your computer, advise you on how best to protect yourself from future attacks and, if necessary, help you recover electronic data.
Technology support requires a certain level of experience, of course, but the number of years a service provider has been in business may not reflect their depth of expertise. Tech support is a field in which experts sometimes leave corporate jobs to start their own independent companies. iEple LLC, for example, employs tech professionals who have previously worked for big companies and wanted to offer one-on-one technology services to small businesses.
Some providers (or the technicians they assign to certain clients) have certifications that are relevant to the services they provide, such as Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MSCE), Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), Cisco (for networking professionals) or Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) certifications.
Information technology (IT) is an ever-changing field, so it’s a good idea to check a service provider’s certifications—especially if you are looking for technology support for your small business.
Compustar Technology Services and Tankoh LLC provide technology support, setup, maintenance and repair for home and business computer systems. With the proliferation of wireless networks and devices, many technology support providers can help with a range of related services, such as setting up, troubleshooting and reconfiguring wireless home networks. Pixelated Tech and GTron offer wireless networking services for example.
Some tech support providers specialize in a certain area, such as wireless networking, or they have expertise in (or a preference for) a particular computer operating system (Windows or Mac). Harry Stein of Stein Solutions focuses on the Windows operating system and customers with security issues as well as those who want to make their computers run faster.
Most technology support providers will come to your home or business to troubleshoot, repair or install a system. Some providers will have storefronts or workspaces where you can bring your devices for repair or maintenance. Hamlett Computer Services offers both on-site and drop-off repair and support services. Pixelated Tech offers remote technology support for $60 an hour for home users and $75 an hour for on-site services. Other providers charge a flat fee based on the specifics of a project or service.
Independent tech service providers often charge an additional fee if they have to drive beyond a certain distance to your home or office to provide on-site services. Hamlett Computer Services charges $15–$35 for travel, depending on the distance.
Some technology support providers offer monthly service plans or service packs. Compustar Technology Services offers plans for home and business users with pricing based on the number of site visits and support hours per month.
Ask if a service provider offers student, senior or military discounts. Some providers also offer reduced hourly rates or package deals when you purchase a certain number of support hours in advance.