Stephen D Buyze

“Empowering Managed Service Providers to Increase Profit”

Here’s Why Roles & Work Types Matter to Your IT MSP

IT managed service provider,

When you hear about Roles and Work Types at the IT MSP, I already know what you’re thinking: Not much herePretty simple topicWhat’s there to talk about?  

Sound about right? Actually, there’s a little more to it than that… 

Why Roles & Work Types Matter at the IT MSP 

For one, Roles and Work Types are critical to the Managed Service Provider because they drive your per hour billing rate. The normal billable rate for Technicians and Engineers is set in the Resource/Users (HR) – Role module, along with the billing rate for their other Roles. The adjustment to the Role rate based on the type of work being done is set in the Finance, Accounting & Invoicing – Billing Codes module. 

The types of adjustments Autotask provides due to Work Type are: 

  • Use Role Rate 
  • Adjusted by (+/-) 
  • Multiplied by 
  • Customer Rate 
  • Flat Rate 
  • Never bill less than 
  • Never bill more than 
  • Non-Billable – Do not show on invoice 
  • Non-Billable – Show on invoice as “No Charge” 
  • Billable 

As you can see, there is a lot of flexibility that can be used to fairly bill the Customer by using Roles and modifying them with Work Type. 

Roles & Work Types Give Your MSP Flexibility 

It should not come as a surprise that there are times when the hat the Employee is wearing – or the type of work that’s being done – is not “normal.” 

Some common examples include situations where 

  • The Employee is using skills that have taken more than the normal amount of schooling or experience – i.e. Sr. Engineering rate 
  • The type of work is outside of normal business hours – afterhours, on-site, etc. 
  • The type of work is beyond the scope of the MSP’s normal billing practices – i.e. taxable.  

 This is where the Role and Work Type give you the flexibility to determine what is fair to bill to the Customer. Keep in mind that abnormal circumstances don’t always merit an increased rate; sometimes it will be at a discounted rate, such as Network Administration or Project. 

At More than One ISP, the Lines are Blurred… 

Let’s get clear on what defines a Role and a Work Type 

Roles: 

The Role is the hat the Technician/Engineer is wearing at the time of the engagement — Technician, Engineer, Network Administrator, Sr. Engineer, or Network Architect, to name a few.  

Work Type: 

Work Type is what work the Technician/Engineer is performing at the time of the engagement: Afterhours, Network Administration visit, Project work, On-Site, Consulting, Non-Billable- shows on Invoice, Non-Billable- does not show on the invoice, taxable, etc. 

For the most part, this is pretty simple. However, in the process of cleaning up the PSA configurations, more than one MSP has discovered that they blurred the lines and had Work Types as Roles and vice versa.  

While this is a straightforward topic, I hope it has given you clarity as far as how to configure the PSA tool, and to coach the Employees when to use what. This way, billing is fairly maximized for the benefit of both the MSP and Customer. After all, if the MSP is not sustainable, the Customer loses when they go out of business. 

How a Strong Economy Benefits the IT MSP 

As a final note, good economic times present the Managed Service Provider with great and different opportunities. Yes, it is hard for us to hire right now, but Staff Augmentation deals for companies who are also struggling to hire is a significant opportunity.  More than one MSP is charging significantly more in these tight employment times. As an example: Sr. Engineering or Network Architect get a higher rate ($175 – $225) for Staff Aug, while in a normal economic environment you may be hard pressed to get a Net Admin rate ($125 – $150). 

A final word of caution: less is better. As you think through the Work Types and Roles, use the “Is the Customer being charged a different rate?” question as the acid test if another Role or Work Type is needed.  There are plenty of other ways to slice the data. You should not use something that is so Customer impactful just so that you can report on the work. Keep it simple; then there is a running chance the service request will be properly coded when it is added to Approve and Post. 

What about Roles and Work Types did you not know? Share your thoughts and any questions for us below!

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