Friday, April 13, 2012

SOP Friday: Setting Up a New Managed Service Client (Checklist)

This week's SOP - Standard Operating Procedure - is one that I hope you get to use a lot. It covers a key piece of "on-boarding" a new managed service client. I go into this in much more detail in my book Managed Services in a Month - But here's the key checklist part.

This checklist assumes that someone has already made the deal and achieved a signed contract. Now you need to move them into your "system" as full clients. That means they need to get into your billing system, your ticketing system, your monitoring system, etc.

I'll present the basic checklist first and then make some comments. This process assumes that you have several functions in place. If you don't, you should. If your shop is small, then you may play all the roads. But you need to build the company you wish to become.

When we were moving lots of clients over to the new contracts, we used this list a lot. All of these lists need to have a work flow that makes sense. Some work is done by the tech department, some by admin, etc. And someone has to keep track of these documents so they don't get stalled somewhere along the way. Ideally, everything on this list will be achieved in 1-2 days.

The Checklist for Setting Up a New Managed Service Client

Outline – New Managed Services Client Checklist

New Client / Signer: __________

Date: __________

Signed Deal (circle one) Silver     -     Gold     -     Platinum

First Month on Service will be: __________

Cover Sheet

# of Servers: __________

Cost for Servers: __________

# of Workstations: __________

Cost for Workstations: __________

Monthly total: __________

Setup Fees: __________

Setup to be paid by (circle one)   Check   Credit Card

Monthly to be paid by (choose one)

- Check (3 months)

- Credit Card each month

Correct Billing Information:



Address 1

Address 2

City / State / Zip

Contact Phone

For each of the following items, note the Person Responsible and the Date Completed.

- Create Service Request (enter time estimate 1.5 hrs)

- - At this point, the Service Request will be worked by the Admin department until handed over to Tech Support.

- Check to see that the names match how they want to be billed for services:
 - in Autotask/ConnectWise
 - in QuickBooks
 - on the Company Mailing List

- Create Invoices for Setup / monthly (See amounts above)

- Calculate first month fees + setup Sales  

- Collect Money:

 - If Credit Card:
 - - Collect Credit Card form
 - - Charge Credit card: initial setup fees/first month
 - - Apply payments in QB
 - - Set up Autopay & Monthly recurring
 - - Remove old recurring charges from credit card

 - If Check:
 - - Collect check from client (3 months + setup)
 - - Apply payments in QB
 - - Put check with other checks to be deposited

- File all paperwork

- Create credits as needed for services that had been sold individually (spam filtering, monitoring, other)

- Expire old service agreements in Autotask/ConnectWise

- Create service agreements in Autotask/ConnectWise

- Create reports as needed in Continuum/Level Platforms (or whatever you use)

- Change SR to “Schedule This"

Tech Dept:
- - At this point, the Service Request will be worked by the Tech Support department until it's time for client training.

- Update Managed Services Grid

- Set up Monitoring, Schedule Patches, Fixes

- Set up hosted spam filter, if appropriate

- Set up hosted Exchange, if appropriate

- Set up hosted storage, if appropriate

- Train Client on hosted spam filter

- Install RMM agent on client PCs (create a separate SR)

- Install RMM agent on servers (create a separate SR)

- Add server to daily monitoring (or verify)

- Add server to patch management group (or verify)

- Set up back up job alerts (or verify)

- Update daily monitoring sheet to include new client requirements

- Create the Monthly Maintenance Checklist for client

- Create the monthly single for client

- Check existing clients for compliance with the monthly maintenance and monthly single process

Your client training might be provided by techs, Customer Service Reps, Sales Dept., or someone else.

- Tutor client contact re: PSA portal

- Tutor client contact re: Our company Service Request process, priorities, and response times

- Send intro letter to client

Last Action:

- When all complete, put this form in to filing in-box

So there's the form and the flow. Sales to admin to tech to training.

Just like on-boarding an employee, you need a checklist for on-boarding a client. After a month or so, you'll assume all these things are done. But if you get into a discussion about what a "Priority One" is, you'll feel a lot more comfortable if you can point back to the training you did.

And you know you did it because it's on the checklist!

Of course your process will be a little different. Change as needed. Above all else, you need a consistent process that can give you repeated success.

Your Comments Welcome.

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About this Series SOP Friday - or Standard Operating System Friday - is a series dedicated to helping small computer consulting firms develop the right processes and procedures to create a successful and profitable consulting business. Find out more about the series, and view the complete "table of contents" for SOP Friday at

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Next week's topic: Setting Up Alerts in Your PSA and RMM - 50th post in the series !!!


Still the best Quick-Start Guide to Managed Services: 

by Karl W. Palachuk 

Now only $39.95 at SMB Books!

Ebook or Paperback

Learn More!


  1. Woke up this morning and one of my Relax, Focus, Succeed goals was to track down someone's client onboarding procedure I could use/customize. Thought to myself, I bet KP's got something! Sure enough... Awesome list, thanks Karl.

    Schyler Jones
    The Granite State

  2. Thanks Schyler! Glad it was useful.
    - kp

  3. Great article Karl and i'm loving your SOP Friday series!

    A quick question - Do you always charge an initial setup fee for new clients? Recently I have had some question the charging of a setup fee, with the discussion going along the lines of 'Why should we have to pay to become a client of yours...!'.


  4. Hey, Stephen - good question.

    We do charge a setup fee. And it's because we do a lot more than just enter their billing information into QuickBooks. With a new managed service client, we're going to visit each machine, document it, clean up viruses or other crap, give it a tune-up, install all updates to O.S. and critical software, and then add it to our system.

    Adding to our system involves removing whatever anti-virus program they have and installing ours. Then we install our RMM agent (Continuum) and a link so clients can enter service requests in our PSA. We then re-route their mail through our preferred spam filter. Next we check their backup strategy and backup performance. We consistently find that 50% of the systems we come across have no working backup - even if they think they do. So we devise a good working backup, implement it and test it.

    Of course we do have to enter the client into QuickBooks, the client and their contacts into the PSA, and the client machines into the monitoring system. We need to make sure we have them set up properly so their machines are taken care of.

    In all that we also document as much of the network as we can, create a network map (Visio). We set up relevant configurations in our PSA (e.g., system passwords, router access information, and other things we'll need to provide remote support.

    And of course we need to give the client a little training on managed services and our processes for getting the fastest service.

    All of that involves labor. Some pieces of it also cost us money in licenses (RMM, AV, spam). And truth be told, all of that amounts to a major system-wide tune-up of their entire technical operation. We have a four-month minimum for a managed service agreement. There are no partial or pro-rated months. That plus the setup fee is enough for us to break even and make a little money.

    Our standard setup fee is equivalent to the first month's manage service. So if the client will be paying $1,500/month, the setup fee is $1,500.

    This is also an area of flexibility. If the sales person wants to cut into his commission to make a sale, this is where that cut is made. We never discount the ongoing monthly rate. And if we have a client who signs on the 25th of the month, we can simply waive that month because we can live off the setup fee and we won't be out of pocket to get the client going.

  5. Hey Karl,

    Thats great, when you list all the work that does go into setting up a new client then it is justified and some of the things you list that I do and probably take for granted!

    Thanks again for your advice.

  6. Karl, Love this. This is precisely how we approach this and in fact it's part of the sales process. There are no surprises and they know exactly what they are paying for and why. It's also a good time to weed out the whiners that will become a thorn in your side. I don't apologize for our fees, in fact I actually tell them we aren't cheap but that our testimonials, feedback and the quality and revenue growth we help our clients drive speaks for itself. I even offer to arrange calls with some of our clients. One thought thought - we call our "contracts" agreements because they are just that - an agreemeent between our two companies. Contract can denote a leash around the proverbial neck. We also call the fees we charge an investment (i.e. "monthly investment"). Some might argue that it's wordsmithing and to a certain extent it is, but remember this- your mindset happends from the words you choose and I want all involved,at our company and at theirs, to have the mindset of this being an investment in their company's success. It's a similar reason that I have my employees refer to our products by our brand name (i.e. microDEFENDER vs Reflexion). Once you start thinking in terms of the clients needs (and our brand) your mindset as to you mission changes. HTH. -Best

  7. Dan - I agree on agreements. We try to call them that at all times. I really only use the term contract with consultants. My book title is even "Service Agreements" and not contracts.

    As for Investment - I agree but just haven't gotten in the habit of using that phrase consistently.

    Thanks for the feedback.


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