[colug-432] Linux and the Maytag vs. Snap-On Business Model

Joshua Kramer josh at globalherald.net
Wed Nov 18 16:50:17 EST 2009

Howdy Everyone,

Has anyone seen this article?


I was thinking about this and came up with an interesting thought.  There 
are many SMB consultants (who only do Windows) that offer a "monthly 
service contract" - for a certain fee, they will spend X hours (on site or 
remote) maintaining your system.  According to the noted article, this is 
a consultant's bread and butter and it's how they guarantee residual 
income, as Windows always requires maintenance of some sort.

The common thought is that by installing Linux, there are few or no 
support calls, so there is nothing to charge for.

So why don't more folks adopt the Snap-On model?  For reference: Snap-On 
is a tool company whose distributors drive around in large trucks to 
mechanic shops.  If you are a mechanic, you'll have an account with the 
local Snap-On guy.  Every week, the Snap-On guy comes at roughly the same 
time and gives you the chance to *improve your situation* by buying new 
tools and other items.

A clever consultant might do this: deploy Linux and charge a monthly 
retainer similar to what a Windows-consultant would charge to maintain a 
Windows box.  Guarantee a certain number of hours of service per month 
just like the Windows consultant does.  However, when the clever 
consultant visits with his client and the servers do not need maintained, 
he will spend his alloted time creating scripts or working to *create real 
economc value* by *improving the client's situation* in some way. 
Contrast this to the Windows consultant who will be required to spend his 
allotted time *misplacing economic value* (maintaining servers) and simply 
*preserving the status quo*.




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