What to Charge?

Hey all,

I have a new customer that wants a monthly support fee included. He wants to pay a flat monthly rate for moves, adds and changes.

Are any of you doing this and if you are, would you mind telling about how much you bill per phone to do this.


John -

I come from a commercial telecom background with many years with a major CPE provider. I’d be cautious of “flat rate” moves, adds and changes. Obviously, a small customer isn’t a big concern but when you have someone wanting to change 50 or more phones twice a month, flat rate fees can be a concern.

When you structure pricing, indicate a fee for “up to nn moves/adds/changes within XXXXXX period.” and tier your pricing to deal with small or large numbers with an escape clause when totals exceed a specific number in a given period (month, quarter, year, whatever you negotiate.) There are too many customers who tend to be free and easy with your services any time you offer a blanket flat rate.

As to pricing, you need to factor in the anticipated hours of sftware config time, clerical time for receiving and processing requests, travel time to the customer, whether wiring additions or rearrangements are required, what type of equipment being added (do you want to limit this offer to telephones only or to adding channel banks, T1’s, trunks, etc.)

There are so many variables that can cost very little or very much for a small service provider. I see in the Nortel/Siemens/Cisco/Avaya realm that they charge a flat install fee per set on new installs and hourly fees for moves/changes.

My best advice is to look at if from the angle of a “devil’s advocate” and protect yourself before extending any sort of flat-rate pricing.

Good luck!