An Unconventional Way to Solve the MSP Staff Shortages Blog Feature

By: GreatAmerica on March 23rd, 2022

An Unconventional Way to Solve the MSP Staff Shortages

More than 4 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs in December 2021 in what is being called The Great Resignation according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This puts pressure on some of the most competitive jobs – including the top skilled technical resources your company needs to build and solve complex customer IT challenges.

Not only are higher-skilled technicians tough to find, they are also expensive. This can be a problem if you are trying to drive down the cost-of-service delivery.

How to Survive with Fewer Level 3 and Level 4 Technicians

In an effort to drive down costs to deliver services, Peter Kujawa challenged MSPs to stop hiring so many Level 3 and 4 technicians, and instead offered an alternative during the IT Nation Evolve Q1 2022 keynote.

“Recruiting and training Level 1 technicians is key. You have to plan on attrition… but you have to build a mentality that 20-30% of your employees in your service operation are going to leave this year. If that holds, every three years roughly you're turning over your service operation. You have to accept that.“

He continued by saying when MSPs do have tickets, they need to find ways to solve those with the least skilled people. Why? They are the low-cost people. They are also the people who are the easiest to find in the market.

If you find yourself with vacant Tier 3 and Tier 4 technical roles, keep reading to find out how one MSP solved this challenge.

Well-Defined Tech Stacks Impact Your Retention

Beyond recruiting more lower-level technicians, it’s important to note high performing MSPs are not offering multiple firewalls or multiple flavors of backup to pick from. Kujawa emphasized, “All of the tech stack is deployed in onboarding. It’s non-negotiable. If we’re going to do business with you, this is how it’s going to be 100% of the time.”

Standardization and faster resolution times will produce happier clients. It’s a whole lot more fun for your technicians to talk to happy clients all day long, so this leads to less burnout and less turnover. Plus, financing makes standardization easier. 

Reversing the Pyramid of Technical Teams – An MSPs Success Story

Steve Treanor was a selling owner of a small MSP in Washington State who explained how adopting Hardware as a Service (HaaS) made it easier for him to hire people.

Prior to adopting HaaS, his company, Help Desk Cavalry, had a lot of high-level techs, and fewer low-level techs.

It was becoming impossible to hire the high-level techs; even before The Great Resignation, he said there were fewer technicians and they were more expensive.

Then Help Desk Cavalry began implementing Hardware as a Service through GreatAmerica. You can read their full story here about self-funding their own HaaS program before switching it over to GreatAmerica Hardware as a Rental.

Through HaaS, Steve was able to standardize their equipment. Even if a client did choose to pay for the equipment with cash, he had the benefit of the customer getting the same equipment. When Steve uses HaaS, his growth is no longer limited by the amount of cash he has on hand and his technicians are working from their designated tech stack.

Once their customers were standardized, he found his lower-level technicians were able to handle a majority of the tickets. They only have a few processes, and everything is documented. Steve says he’s able to hire more entry-level technicians and train them. What makes Help Desk Cavalry unique is how they prioritize their community needs in the recruitment process.

“We have a lot of people locally that have the ability to get into the field, but not necessarily the education,” Help Desk Cavalry Client Experience Manager Kim Branner said. “Number one is you have to be a cultural fit. If you're not a cultural fit, technical skills don't matter. So if you're a cultural fit and you have the ability to learn, the field will bring you on and train you. It gives us a little bit more of a market of who we can talk to.”

The result for Help Desk Cavalry are happier customers, lower service deliver costs, and higher shareholder value.

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GreatAmerica is the largest independent, family-owned national commercial equipment finance company in the U.S. and is dedicated to helping manufacturers, vendors, and dealers be more successful and keep their customers for a lifetime. GreatAmerica was established in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1992 and now has offices in Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, and Illinois. In addition to financing, GreatAmerica offers innovative non-financial services to help our customers grow.