No business can truly run its operations without computers and computers can’t run without networks. Networks can’t run without a person to manage all the tasks involved to keep your network, computer, and business up and running.

Whether or not you need to hire a dedicated tech admin or if you’re in need of expanding your existing team isn’t always the easiest decision to make. Especially if you aren’t too tech-savvy yourself.

Here are five questions to ask yourself before you decide to hire an IT administrator.

Have you considered all your costs?

Large businesses often have entire teams of employees that provide support. Even with their in-house teams often find themselves outsourcing different specialized responsibilities to other businesses that have a greater depth of understanding.

But for smaller businesses, you don’t have that luxury of outsourcing. Outsourcing technical responsibilities to a company that provides IT professional services can be expensive and the ROI isn’t always tangible on paper.

First, compare the costs of an employee at the current average industry salary rate for your geographical demographics. Figure out taxes, health benefits, profit-sharing plans, 401K matching plans and any other forms of compensation that come out of your business.

Next, get a quote from at least three local companies to provide outsourced services. These services will most likely be remote where they can dial into your computer from any location without having to be onsite. Make sure the services provide the accessibility and responsiveness you are looking for.

Only you can decide which scenario best fits your budget goals.

What are your expectations for the admin’s schedule?

Requiring employees to be available for emergencies outside of regular office hours will mean an increase in salary requirements as it should.

Ask yourself what would happen if you had a power failure at your business and your internet connectivity was down after the power was restored? Do you have enough knowledge to know who to call and how to handle the situation? How financially devastating would it be to your business if your phones are down over the weekend? What about for 5 hours on a Wednesday morning?

If you don’t want to compete with other customers an IT vendor may have, and you want to get immediate action from an employee without filling out support tickets and waiting for call-backs, then make sure your expectations on the employee are clearly stated.

Can you promote from within?

By using someone you already know and trust, you can save standard onboarding costs often incurred when hiring someone new. Depending on the complexity of your network, it can take months for a new employee to fully understand how your operations work, the settings you currently have, the hardware, licenses required, and not to mention learning the business in general.

When providing opportunities for advancement or acquiring new skillsets for existing employees, you may find the employee eager to take on the new responsibility for less pay than hiring a new employee altogether.

Are you willing to take the risk of the employee not working out?

Unfortunately, this happens far more often than anyone wants to admit. While you may start off confident based on initial interviews, conversations and the impressive resume, your perfect new employee just may not work out.

What is on paper may be true, but there is company culture to consider as well. Not to mention attitude issues such as not being a team player, or an inability to remain professional with fellow employees or customers. These are factors that often cannot be determined prior to employment.

Employee turnover is expensive for businesses. The time your business invested to train an employee is now lost. Time is money, and you’ve got to start over, investing more of your time and your employee’s time to find another candidate suitable for the job.

If you’re not comfortable with taking this risk, then hiring from within or outsourcing may be a better alternative.

What specific skills would a new employee need if you keep it in-house?

To answer this question, consider what technical areas of the business you currently spend time on. Is it managing phones? Installing software? Wiring cables or dealing with wi-fi network issues?

Narrow down what you need assistance with the most, and make sure these are the areas your new tech is qualified for. For example, a desktop administrator for your PC requires a different skill set than someone responsible for setting up and managing routers and firewalls to protect against security threats.

In the end, only you can truly decide the best choice when it comes to managing and supporting your networks, applications, and hardware needed for your business to operate and run smoothly.

Consider your bottom line, the return on investment, the stress factors, and certainly take a closer look at those already loyal and in-tune with your business goals and operations that might be looking for a step up in the company.