A Guide to Starting a Managed Service Provider Company

9 key steps and strategies for launching a successful managed service provider company

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Starting a managed service provider (MSP) business can be a thrilling, yet daunting, endeavor. Especially if you’re someone who's new to this industry. 

But worry not. We have got you covered. We've distilled the key steps to starting an MSP business and growing it successfully, from identifying your unique selling proposition (USP) and defining the right kind of offering to picking a pricing model, setting up the necessary infrastructure, and more.

Keep reading to know more. 

Before we get started let's delve a bit into the basics.

A quick introduction to MSPs

A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a professional IT service firm that businesses hire to handle their technology needs. The MSP provider ensures that your technology is functioning smoothly, and efficiently so that you can be worry-free and focus on your core business tasks.

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Who benefits from MSP services?

  • Businesses without an in-house IT team for technology maintenance, updates, and repairs.

  • Businesses that experience frequent service disruptions and high downtime.

  • Businesses who are willing to invest in a monthly fee for reliable IT services and operations.

  • Businesses that aren't meeting their goals due to insufficient IT support and services.

8 steps to help you start an MSP business 

Get your market research right - Step 1

Market research will give you valuable insights into your target market, competitors, demand for your services, and much more. This information will help you make informed decisions and set realistic goals for your MSP business.

Here are the key steps you should follow in conducting market research for your MSP business:

  1. Identify your target market: Determine the specific industries or demographics that you will be serving. 
  2. Assess the competition: Analyze your competition to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and to determine what sets you apart from them.
  3. Gather information on industry trends: Stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the MSP industry, including emerging technologies and best practices.
  4. Survey your potential clients: Reach out to potential clients to gather information on their current IT support needs and how you can meet those needs.
  5. Analyze your findings: Evaluate the information you have gathered to make informed decisions about your MSP business and its offerings.

Define your offering and target market - Step 2

Determine your MSP's unique value proposition

The MSP industry has experienced steady growth since the start of the pandemic, driven by the increasing adoption of cloud technology by businesses. This trend has created an opportunity for MSPs to offer their services and support organizations in their digital transformation journey.  However, this growth has also led to a rise in competition in the MSP market, leading to a wider range of choices for businesses seeking an MSP to meet their needs.

It is also crucial to distinguish between the services you offer based on your expertise and attract the right customers for your MSP business. 

What to consider when defining your offer?

  • Assess your current strengths and expertise:¬†Take a look at your team's skills and experience, and identify the areas where you excel. By doing this, you can determine the specific services you can offer and the types of customers you can serve best.

  • Analyze the current market demand:¬†You don‚Äôt want to enter a market that‚Äôs already saturated.¬†Stay on top of IT trends, such as selling security services, and how your SMB customers are allocating their budgets, so you develop service packages or bundles that are flexible, scalable, and easy to understand.

  • Consider vertical specializations:¬†¬†You can also pick a niche to differentiate your MSP business from competitors. By specializing in a particular area, you can become known as the go-to provider for that specific niche, which can help you attract more customers and charge premium rates for your services.

Bundle your MSP services for greater value

Your customer no longer has to pay individually for services they need. Bundling presents a simplified pricing structure. By bundling services together, MSPs can offer packages that are tailored to the specific needs of their customers at an all-inclusive price, making it easier for them to understand the budget for their IT expenses. 

For bonus tips on bundling your offering, download our guide 

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Steps to follow to define the target audience


Step 1: Conduct market research: Research your target audience’s pain points, challenges, and expectations when it comes to IT services.

Step 2: Map problems with solutions: Make a list of their pain points and map it with the solutions or services that you’ll provide to tackle that challenge

Step 3: Create customer personas: Create profiles of your ideal customers based on their demographics, pain points, and preferences. Use this information to guide your marketing and sales efforts.

Benefits of creating a target customer profile.jpg

Determine your pricing strategy and model - Step 3

Before we jump into the different pricing models, let's take a look at a few factors that you should consider before choosing the one for you. 

  1. Operational Cost. 

  2. Competition 

  3. Scalability 

  4. Value proposition 

Common pricing models adopted by MSPs 

1.All-you-can-eat pricing model

Under the "All You Can Eat" pricing model, MSPs provide clients with a comprehensive package that covers all necessary support and services for a fixed price within a defined period, such as a month or a year.

2. Per-device pricing model 

This is one of the most popular pricing models among MSPs today. In this model, the MSPs charge their clients a fixed fee, often monthly, based on the number of devices they manage or support.

3.Per-user pricing model

This pricing model is a straightforward approach where MSPs charge a fixed monthly fee based on the number of users who require IT support or services.

4. Tiered pricing model 

Also known as the "bundle" pricing model, it involves offering different levels of services at different price points based on the specific needs and budgets of clients.

5. À la carte pricing model

The a la carte pricing model allows MSPs to offer specific services that address the unique needs of their clients. It is kinda the opposite of the ‚ÄėAll-you-can-eat‚Äô pricing model.

6. Monitoring pricing model

The monitoring-only pricing model is a type of MSP pricing model that focuses on providing proactive monitoring and alerting services to clients.

Obtaining registration and certifications - Step 4 

There are different legal structures for businesses to choose from based on their work, such as LLC, Corporation, Sole Proprietorship, or Partnership, based on their business needs and goals. 

Once you have chosen the appropriate legal structure for your MSP business, you need to register your business and ensure it's legitimate and that you comply with different laws.  

When it comes to certifications for MSPs, choosing the right one is the key. It is important to consider factors of how it aligns with the services you already offer, how much cost and time would be involved, and the reputation of the certifying organization. Moreover, obtaining certifications can grant you access to privileged resources and information from vendors such as Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, AWS, and VMware.

Benefits of obtaining certifications for MSPs

  • Demonstrating expertise:¬†This helps potential clients feel confident about your ability to deliver top-notch services and solutions.
  • Staying current:¬†The IT industry is constantly evolving, and certifications can you stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies.¬†
  • Improving credibility: You can improve your credibility with potential clients and partners with certifications from reputed organizations.
  • Attracting new business: There are clients who specifically looking for MSPs with certain certifications, so getting those certifications can help you gain more new clients.
  • Higher earnings potential:¬†According to industry research, MSPs with certifications often have higher earnings potential compared to those without certifications.

Set up business infrastructure - Step 5

To get started, there are a few default software options that you'll need, such as Remote Monitoring and management (RMM) software and Professional Services Automation(PSA) software you’ll need to get started and work efficiently. 

Here are some of the essential tools you will need:

MSP software list:

  • Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) software:¬†RMM is a crucial tool for MSPs as it allows you to remotely monitor and manage client systems and networks. It provides real-time information on system performance, security, and updates, enabling you to proactively identify and resolve issues.

  • Professional Services Automation (PSA) software:¬†PSA software helps you manage and automate various business processes, including ticketing, invoicing, and project management.

  • Help desk software:¬†Help desk software provides a centralized platform for managing customer support requests, enabling you to respond quickly and efficiently to customer inquiries and issues. With features like multi-channel support and automation, help desk software can improve response times, streamline support operations, and boost customer satisfaction.

  • Backup and disaster recovery solution: If you are an MSP providing backup and recovery solutions, then this software is a must-have. It not only helps you manage backups of your own systems but helps you protect your client's data in the event of a security breach, hardware failure, or natural disaster.¬†

  • Communication and collaboration software:¬†Get tools such as email, instant messaging, and video conferencing to collaborate with team members and to stay in touch with clients, especially when working remotely.

Why choose multiple tools when you have a truly-unified, future-ready PSA-RMM platform?

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Apart from these tools, you also require hardware tools like computers, printers, servers, and more, and also security software including anti-virus and anti-malware software, Firewall, and email security software. 

Hire a team - Step 6

When deciding on the first hire for your new business, it's important to first have a hiring strategy in place that aligns with the business goals and priorities. You need to identify the gaps you want to fill as well as what your immediate business needs are.

Three key roles you should hire first for your MSP business 

Technical Support Specialist: Their primary role would be to provide technical support to clients, troubleshoot issues, and ensure that client systems and networks are running smoothly. This role can handle day-to-day technical support tasks, allowing the business owner to focus on strategic planning and business growth. 

Operations Manager: An operations manager can help you with some of the everyday work such as invoicing, scheduling appointments with clients, developing SLAs, and more. They can help you manage all the back office work and streamline day-to-day operations. Additionally, they can also help manage projects and budgets and establish policies and procedures that can improve overall efficiency.

Field Specialist: Their primary role typically involves providing on-site technical support to clients. It really depends on the kind of services you are offering. If you are offering specialized services that require on-site support, such as network infrastructure installation or hardware repair, then a field specialist may be necessary from the start. 

Launch your MSP business - Step 7

Now that you have researched and decided what services you will offer, it's time to launch your MSP business and get into the game. It's the most exciting and essential step that requires careful planning and execution.

Create a marketing plan 

At this stage, your primary focus would be to generate leads and establish a sales pipeline. As you work on this, it's also important to have your website up and running. 

After creating your website, here are a few things to work on:

  1. Create ad-hoc content: Develop a plan for creating and sharing relevant and informative content, such as webinars, blogs on the latest MSP trends, and guides.
  2. Identify marketing channels:
    You can use a mix of digital and traditional marketing channels to reach your target audience. Some effective channels for promoting MSP services include social media, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, trade shows, and word-of-mouth referrals.
  3. Determine marketing budget: Determine a budget for all your marketing activities, and determine how much you can spend on each channel.

Once you have a marketing strategy in place, promote your MSP business to attract customers. 

Tips to promote your MSP business.jpg

Onboard your first client - Step 8

Once you've successfully generated interest and gained potential clients, the next step is to convert them and begin the onboarding process. Here’s what you should do. 

  1. Conduct an introductory meeting:

  2. Do a technical assessment

  3. Document client information

  4. Sign service agreement

  5. Facilitate provisioning

  6. Train your client’s employees

  7. Provide ongoing support

  8. Conduct periodic reviews 

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Looking to kick-start your MSP Business

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We hope you found everything you need to know to start an MSP business. While it may seem like there are a number of steps involved, if you follow it right, it is just smooth sailing from then on. Looking forward to catching you on the other end as a successful MSP. 

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