Thursday, March 15, 2018

WorldPay Releases 2018 Point of Sale Channel KPI Survey

I got a memo from my friend Jim Roddy over at WorldPay (Vantiv). They've released a three-part report on their annual 2018 Point of Sale Channel KPI Study. One more installment will be posted next week.

Here's what we have so far.

Part 1: Resellers report robust sales and profits in 2017, expect stronger 2018

Jim Roddy - WorldPay
A few interesting take-aways:

23% of respondents saw either flat or declining sales. This was a big improvement from the previous year’s study (37%).  experienced either flat or declining sales. Looking to the year ahead, the number of resellers and ISVs who expect their sales to decline in 2018 disappears almost completely (10% in 2017, less than 1% in 2018). So things are looking up!

Part 2: Resellers accelerate pace of recurring revenue transition

A few interesting take-aways:

About 42% of respondents have most mostly or completely to a recurring revenue model. Another 26% describe themselves as about half way there. All of them expect to dramatically increase recurring revenue as a proportion of their revenue in the year ahead.

Part 3: Resellers and developers share compensation, benefits data

A few interesting take-aways:

About 77% of POS resellers have very low employee turnover (10% or less), probably due in large part to the benefits they offer. Top benefits are:
  • Two or more weeks paid time off: 77.4%
  • Health insurance: 67.9%
  • Flexible work schedules: 50.9%
  • Dental insurance: 49.1%
  • Vision insurance: 43.4%

Less than ten percent of respondents offered no benefits. As Jim points out, you're going to have a tough time finding and keeping good people in this era of low unemployment if you don't offer good salaries and benefits.

Webinar on Key Performance Indicators

WorldPay is hosting a webinar on March 21st - “KPIs of Rich-and-Famous POS VARs and ISVs” - where they'll discuss the study in-depth and answer your questions about the state of the point of sale channel.

All webinar attendees will receive their own copy of the complete 2018 POS Channel KPI Study.
Register Here for the webinar.

. . .

and Thanks to Jim for the information.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Unbreakable Rules of PSA - Class Starts March 20th

The Unbreakable Rules of PSA

- IT Service Delivery in the 21st Century

- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific
You're guaranteed to learn something that will make or save you the price of admission!

Everyone needs a PSA - Professional Services Automation tool. But in addition to simply having a PSA, you need to set it up correctly and use it wisely.
Manuel Palachuk
In this course, you will learn how to double your value to clients and increase your profit with these powerful golden rules of PSA Service Ticket Systems.

Coach Manuel focuses on the direct connection between your service delivery system, the value you give your clients, and your profit, and how to maximize each. He also gives an overview of Agile Service Delivery, an emerging method you must learn to stay competitive.

Whether you’re a one-person shop or have fifty employees, to be consistently profitable, you must have guidelines for how to break down the work in an organized fashion and how you will communicate with the client along the way.

You don’t have to be an MSP or even use a PSA to work efficiently and be profitable, but you do need a system and a method. These "golden" rules can be the seed for your own system if you have none, or you can adopt them in whole to enrich your existing methods. Either way, this is your opportunity to take your service delivery and your profits to the next level.

The course includes a thorough discussion of the unbreakable rules of service tickets as well as covering quality communication with every client. It will be time well spent!

Whether you're a new "Computer Consultant" or an experienced Managed Service Provider, you need to create successful processes that will propel your company forward. Nothing is more critical to making profit than having the right processes and procedures in place!

Delivered by Manuel Palachuk, author and business coach.

Includes five weeks of webinar classes with related handouts, assignments, and "office hours" with the instructor.

This course is intended for business owners and managers. It is particularly useful for the Service Manager or Operations Manager.

Register Now

Monday, March 12, 2018

Thoughts on a New Community

So I've been thinking about creating a new online community. Actually, I've been thinking about it for years. But I wanted to make sure that I felt I had enough "stuff" to make it worthwhile.

I've always tried to fill a void. So I want to do more than just have a place to distribute information.

One of the things the SMB IT Community needs is a place where we can all gather as a community. There was a time when that place was the annual SMB Nation conference. But as the community has grown, that conference has faded and lots of other events have take its place.

Now, there's a conference for Robin Robins, a conference for Datto, a conference for ConnectWise, a conference for CompTIA, and lots of smaller conferences. Then there are events for ChannelPro, ASCII, The Channel Company, SMB TechFest, and others.

So we have plenty of conferences, in my opinion. BUT different people attend different events. I just attended TechFest, ASCII, and ChannelPro events back to back. All were excellent. And maybe twenty people attended two or three events. Otherwise, there was basically no overlap.

We need a place to meet as a community. Yes, there are places online. But there are 100 places to get together on Facebook or LinkedIn. There are ASCII email lists, but that's not the same as an interactive forum. There are forums on Reddit, but mostly not focused on this community.

I Use The Term Community because that's the thing we need the most.

There are new-ish groups all over the place with people who are just getting into this business. They don't know about the channel. They don't know about managed services. They don't know that there are LOTS of people willing to help them.

How could they? If you're just getting into this business, you probably think you're a "computer consultant." How could you know the terms managed service or channel?

We need a community to help people who are new to our profession. And, to be honest, part of the role of community is to help show them that this IS a profession and to show them some of the standards.

As I travel around, I meet so many great people. Over time, I get to know them. I learn about their families and friends. I can honestly say that some of my best friends are people I met in our community.

But I'm afraid the community has become fragmented and will continue to fall apart. We need something where everyone can come together and interact with one another. The goal would be to add something we can't get anywhere else - not replace something that's out there.

- - - - -

Here's what I'm thinking about.

A new online community with three levels. One is free, two are paid.

1) Free. Includes all the free stuff I give away, plus an index to everything I've ever produced. So if you want to find something, you can.

2) Paid content. Basically, this is everything I've ever produced. AND a commitment to continue posting new stuff month after month.

3) All that, plus an interactive community. We'll have forums, special internal-only webinars, community meetings, member-only training, and more.

As for the interactive forums . . . My head is exploding with ideas. We can have SIGs (special interest groups) for specialty and vertical technologies, sales, podcasting, tools, and pretty much whatever people are interested in. We could even have a buy-sell-trade board.

I really think this would be a great place for a group learning experience. For example, helping people learn to create client-facing videos and marketing material. And once the group went through the learning process together, we could hold competitions for the best products that came out of it.

. . .  Anyway . . . I've been thinking about this for years. And I think it's time to decide whether YOU would find it worthwhile. I put together a super quick survey. I would love your feedback on whether we should have just one offering or two or three. And, of course, what you consider to be a reasonable price.

Please give your feedback here:

Thank you !!!


Thursday, March 08, 2018

What Do You Need to Charge per Hour?

I've seen a number of posts on social media recently that mention hourly tech support rates well below $75/hr. I find that shocking for a competent technician. Of course no one calls themselves out and says, ". . . I'm a total noob and have no idea what I'm doing."

When I started my first technology consulting business in 1995 I set my rate at $100/hr. The reason for this was very simple. I thought it was large enough to be taken seriously as a professional.

I also thought it would make me a lot of money. After all, billing 40 hours/week at $100 was a very cool $4,000 per week. Times 50 weeks = $200,000! Sign me up! Of course that didn't happen.

Lesson One: If you bring $100 worth of value to a job, no one will bat an eye at paying $100/hr for labor.

Lesson Two: You never bill 40 hours per week. In fact, you're lucky to bill 20, especially when you start out.

Click to Enlarge
You may not charge for travel, so take travel hours out of the possible 40 hours in a week. You certainly don't charge for sales meetings, or for putting together quotes and proposals. So take that out. Meetings, planning, and time spent actually running your own business are all not billable to clients.

A really, really good technician working for someone else and doing most work remotely can often be 80% billable. That's 32 hours per week. 65% is much more common. That's 26 hours per week. Managers are frequently in the 40% billable range. Owners who do sales are frequently 20% billable or less.

The point is: You cannot bill 40 hours a week. Track it. Be rigorous and honest, and you'll see that you're lucky to hit 50%.

Now consider your hourly rate. See the chart.

The average income reported in the U.S. is about $75,000 per year. The green blocks add up to about $75-99,999 per year. As you can see, there are two simple ways to get yourself in a green cell: Bill more hours or charge more per hour.

Plot the number of hours your realistically bill in a week. If you're starting out and you're a sole proprietor, you are probably billing 20 hours or less. As you can see, you'll never reach $75K charging $50 or $60 per hour.

If you're charging less tha $75/hr, I want you spend a lot of time staring at these numbers and being honest with yourself. What do you really, really charge? How many hours do you really bill?

If you use QuickBooks, I encourage you to invoice every hour - even if it's free. You don't have to send zero-dollar invoices to clients, but it's pretty good P.R. if you do. But I want you to do this for yourself: Invoice every single hour. At whatever rate. If you give hours away, write that down as well. QuickBooks will allow you to enter five hours at zero dollars.

When you do this, you'll be able to run report / Sales by Item / Detail (or summary) and see exactly how many hours you invoiced, and the total income. Let's say you work 50 hours per week. You bill 25 at $75/hr. And you don't send bills for another 25 hours at $0/hr. Your effective billing rate is $37.50/hr.

But again, I bet you're not billing that. In fact, many people tell themselves they're doing great - until they run the actual numbers. It's much more likely that you have an occasional great job and a lot of weeks very really bad numbers.

The market is excellent for technicians and everyone in I.T. Services. Be honest: If you can't earn more than $100,000 in taxable income on your 1040 income form, STOP playing around in this industry and go get a job.

When you're ready to commit to a career as an individual consultant, you need to do a few things. First, charge enough to be taken seriously. Second, get yourself enough of an education to be worth at least $100/hr.

I welcome all the new people joining this industry. But please know that there are lots of people who have a lot of experience and charge more like $150-175/hr. Make yourself worth that, and charge those rates.

It's a lot easier than trying to squeeze out impossible hours at almost-impossible rates.

- - - - -

BTW the other colored cells are as follows:
 Yellow = $100K - $124,999
 Blue = $125K - $149,999
 Orange = $150K - $174,999
 Gray = $175K - $199,999