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  1. #1
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    Default Advice on introducing Service Level Agreements/Contracts?

    I have got to the point where I need to introduce SLAs for my business clients, I am hoping to expand a bit this year and to do that I need to secure regular cashflow and many clients have been requesting I introduce contracts. The problem is I don't know where to start...

    I think I will be basing this on a set amount of hours per month, then using CommitCRM I will assign the contracts to the accounts and deduct time on a quarterly hour basis for remote work and probably an hour minimum for onsite work. I feel that in order to have the clients request an honest amount of hours for their contract I am best offering a discount on my standard hourly rates, I was thinking maybe 10%. Does this sound right?

    Does anyone have any advice or examples to help structure the agreements? Last thing I want is a formal agreement that will cause problems down the line because I have omitted anything or accidentally agreed to an impossible task.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks


  2. #2
    DF VIP Member MartinC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on introducing Service Level Agreements/Contracts?

    I think it would be helpful to know a bit more to provide some helpful information:

    What is the scope of the work you cover, what skills and technology's do you cover
    What size is your customers
    Is it just you, or do you have any staff (if not, you going to take any on)
    Do you offer business hour services or 24/7 etc.

  3. #3
    DF Super Moderator
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    Default Re: Advice on introducing Service Level Agreements/Contracts?

    Predominately I offer support/consultancy for SOHO-small business. The majority of them are 2-5 employees although I have a couple with up to 40 employees. The work covers initial meeting to discuss what the client does, from there I suggest ways to increase efficiency through use of IT, I design and quote the systems, supply, install and support from there onwards.

    I support Mac and PC although I try to deter customers from Macs as they are harder to diagnose and more costly to repair out of warranty. I use cloud hosted services where possible as I like to use companies who are the best at any particular job i.e. hosted exchange for emails with Microsoft or Rackspace, cloud backup with various providers based on the customers needs etc. Regularly work with servers, NAS. Where clients use Sage I recommend using Sage support as they are so good, same goes for any other software that I feel it would be tricky to learn online and there was no call for me to learn it, I then act as the gateway between the client and the software support team. Typically, off the shelf software I support myself, Sage is an exclusion to this rule.

    I am providing PCs/Laptops with Manufacturers warranty now whereas I used to build custom machines, this is to save time if support is needed.

    It is just me at the moment but I need to recruit soon as I am running at pretty much full capacity.

    There won't be a 24/7 service, I am as flexible as possible when a high priority job comes in but I cannot guarantee I will always be available. I do work out of hours when pre-arranged, one example was changing a server in a company and doing a lot of work on their workstations which was carried out 17:30-23:00 then back in at 04:00-8:00 to ensure it went smoothly.


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    DF Super Moderator
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    Default Re: Advice on introducing Service Level Agreements/Contracts?

    I thought SLA and service contract meant the same but apparently not. I found some examples:
    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    I guess I am looking at introducing just contracts, unless the client requires an SLA.


  5. #5
    DF Super Moderator DJ Overdose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on introducing Service Level Agreements/Contracts?

    Sorry, off topic, but when I read the thread title on my iPhone it showed as 'Advice on introducing service'...

    Thought the OP was pimpin'


    DJ OD
    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    Thanks to DJ Overdose

    evilsatan (13th May 2015) 


  6. #6
    DF VIP Member MartinC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on introducing Service Level Agreements/Contracts?

    I deal with quite a few different contracts and SLA's for various 3rd parties we use, hardware support contracts, service contracts for managed backup solutions and all sorts of cloud based services.

    Support/service contract can be as detailed as you like, and some are a right pain in the back side to read as they really go to town on all the legal jargon, but it sounds like you just need something that covers the basics to protect you against agreeing to too much and at the same time giving your customers piece of mind.

    I can dig out some true examples of T and Cs of various types you can look at and also happy to look at a draft once you come up with one.

    Thanks to MartinC

    evilsatan (13th May 2015) 


  7. #7
    Mummy's little soldier I Black Belt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on introducing Service Level Agreements/Contracts?

    remember SLA's work both ways, in that you agree to provide x resources for Y hours, to deliver an outcome of Z, but your client must also agree to provide you with a minimum number of Y's for you to be able to provide the required x's and Z's

    Thanks to I Black Belt

    evilsatan (13th May 2015) 


  8. #8
    DF Super Moderator
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    Default Re: Advice on introducing Service Level Agreements/Contracts?

    Thanks, I will send you a draft when I have it ready as an experienced eye would be a huge help!

    I like the fact that SLAs formalise an agreement and set working hours etc as at the moment I regularly push myself a bit too hard and I don't charge extra for out of hours work. I just don't want to introduce them until I have someone with me as I worry that an important call will come in whilst I am booked on a day rate and I will fail to meet my commitments to a client. I have always stuck to my word, last thing I want to do is damage the rep I have worked to hard to build.


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    DF Jedi blacksheep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on introducing Service Level Agreements/Contracts?

    It's a pain in the arse to do but if you document your call outs etc with time etc you can use something like Jira. And then run reports to show monthly cost etc should help you not be caught unaware of how much those little jobs add up.

    Thanks to blacksheep

    evilsatan (14th May 2015) 


  10. #10
    DF PwNagE burner1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on introducing Service Level Agreements/Contracts?

    SLA's can be a total nightmare mate. When I worked as a Field Engineer for a national company, it wasn't uncommon to be pulled off a job in the middle of it to hit the SLA on another client. Don't know much of the intricacies, but make sure you do some thorough homework before going down that road and don't offer anything you can't deliver in a worst case scenario.

    Thanks to burner1

    evilsatan (14th May 2015) 


  11. #11
    DF Super Moderator
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    Default Re: Advice on introducing Service Level Agreements/Contracts?

    I've got CommitCRM which integrates with Quickbooks, I then have various reporting tools in each program. Commit tracks jobs, parts used, warranty, suppliers and time etc. so I intended to deduct time quarter hourly from the contract. Where clients require monthly health checks on PCs I was thinking of charging a set amount per PC, as it is a regular cleanup I expect it to be quick to this amount will be low.

    Im not sure whether to create a spreadsheet so clients can customise their package or if I should just design some levels so they can pick one. But of a nightmare but I need to at least submit a draft next week.


  12. #12
    DF PlaYa hoponbaby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on introducing Service Level Agreements/Contracts?

    If it's only you then the problem would be if you have booked yourself out to a particular client and then 1 or 2 systems go down at other clients would you be able to comply with the terms of the SLA - they will normally state response within 2/4/8 hours etc etc. I've downloaded a selection of service agreements, hardware and software maintenance agreements etc which are attached, they'll give you a starting point to adapt.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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