One Man Small Business IT Consultant within Hampton Roads, VA searching for a reliable backup admin during absence.

cmp119
cmp119 used Ask the Experts™
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Looking for a small business IT consultant to fill in for me when I am away on vacation or attending seminars.  I have a small client base of 6 small businesses that may need attention while I am out of town.  I currently use Projent remote support for this need.  However, should there be a need for an onsite visit they do not have local availability since they are based in California and all my clients are located in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Even though Projent support is great, the fact they cannot offer onsite support if needed to could a major issue.

I also tried working with another local IT consultant that is also a one man shop, and we scheduled all the days I would be gone so he could cover for me during my absence.  I then contacted him to remind him to cover for me since I was going to be out of the country, and he stated he could not help even though we discussed it prior and agreed on everything.  I even was going to cover for him as well.

Let's just say this experience was horrible.  I am trying to avoid that this year.

I also contacted other IT support companies within the area, they either would not be able to assist but were willing to take the client.  Another thing that concerns me is if the person or company decides to try and solicit  their services over mine therefore taking my client.  I do have a non compete clause that should minimize this sort of situation, but its not fool proof.  Any suggestions...
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I don't know what the environment you're in looks like.  I know NYC/Long Island has hundreds of small and 1-2 person IT shops and for me, I have a dozen or so folks I can call upon.  And I rarely have to as most work these days can be done remotely as you point out.  

I attend two groups of consultants and admins in NYC/LI area.  We back each other up.  There's more than enough business for all of us and our own ethics don't allow for us to "steal" each other's clients.

My own recommendation is to start a group.  Meet other individual consultants.  Run sessions on setting up Server 2019, Windows Admin Center, Using PowerShell, Marketing IT services, etc.  Make it easier for the little guys (like yourself) to compete with the bigger guys (like the 10+ IT support shop).  Once you get that going, you'll each have a pool to draw from, you'll learn new things, and you'll have people to partner with to take on the bigger jobs when they arise.

The worst part is that this is not something you're going to solve today.  It took me a year to get comfortable with the folks I know.  But easily more than half the guys in the groups have used the other half for work in the past few years.
cmp119IT Manager

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Thank you for your feedback.

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