Twelve IT Helpdesks For Under $1,000

Say What You See

ITSM folklore states that the helpdesk software market is heavily oversaturated. Companies don’t suddenly discover the need for an IT helpdesk – it is a replacement market.

That may be the case for large enterprises, but this overlooks the enormous market of small and growing businesses.

In the UK for example the Federation of Small Businesses claims that 99% of UK business activity stems from small and medium size companies.

The UK has 4.5 million SME companies that account for 58.8% of all private sector employment in the UK and 48.8% of private sector turnover (source).

I have used UK figures here but my bet is that the vast majority of countries have a similar balance – perhaps even more so in developing countries.

Similarly, teams or divisions within larger organizations are breaking free of the shackles of prehistoric software and taking IT support provision into their own hands.

With this is mind I have compiled a short list of companies offering IT helpdesk software offering an entry level for under a grand. All the offerings below are web-based (do start ups and small companies buy servers?).

Conditions of inclusion

  • Under US$1,000 per year per user
  • Pricing is readily available on their website
  • Delivered via the Web
  • The website is not scary

If I have missed any companies that meet the criteria above please leave a comment below. Thanks in advance for your help.

Company Marketing Blurb… Pricing (Named user / agent per month from…)
1 Beetil “Adopt best practices the easy way” $39
2 BMC RemedyForce “A simpler, more affordable IT helpdesk in the cloud” $79
3 Desk (Salesforce, formerly Assistly) “The simple, social, mobile, affordable Customer Support Help Desk” $49
4 Freshdesk “Deliver a refreshing customer support experience through email, your website, phone, your communities and even Facebook and Twitter. Take your support to where your customers are” $9
5 ITRP “Make IT service management work for you. Your customers will thank you.” $30
6 ITSmartDesk “Social IT Service Management” ~$80 (for whole company not per named user)
7 Kayako “Helpdesk Evolved. Never miss a beat. Manage your email, live chat, calls, remote support and self-service, all in one place.” $29
8 My Service Desk (Hornbill) “Best Practice ITSM that delivers in Days not Weeks” $59
9 SAManage “Thousands of people around the world use SAManage, the leading online IT Service Desk and IT Asset Management tool.” $800 per year
10 Web Help Desk “Powerful Software for Technical Support” $75
11 ZenDesk “The fastest way to great customer support” $24
12 Zoho “Great Customer Support Quick and Easy” $12

29 thoughts on “Twelve IT Helpdesks For Under $1,000”

  1. This will be of huge interest to small to medium sized business users.. I know a lot of people will be confused by the definition of agent/process user. Might be worth a sentence of additional clarification.

    Great article

    1. The OTRS Help Desk and ITSM Platform costs $0 per user and per agent. That’s because it is open source software. Service packages are available for purchase from OTRS or its partners around the world, but at the core, the entire package is free.

      — Paul

      1. Hello Paul,

        Not to knock Free Software (or Open Source software) – I was a member of FSFE, ran a Linux User Group and so on…. but it isn’t correct to say that OTRS is an entirely free package.

        Especially when you compare against SaaS offerings that offer a solution at a cheap price. To run OTRS and provide a reliable service you are going to need a server, environmentals, Operating System licences, backup tapes, expertise to run the service.

        Free Software has huge advantages but comparing Cloud services to it based on cost isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison.

        1. hi Simon – You make a valid point. For on-premise deployments, all software costs money to install and run. Each organization has to make wise choices whether to install and run any package, open source or not, based on whether the software solves a real business problem and can be maintained at a reasonable cost. OTRS solves real business problems (currently for over 100,000 organizations worldwide) and does so without charging anything for a license. If that is economically sensible for an organization, that’s great.

          And of course, not all open source software is available hosted. OTRS is, and the starting price is quite reasonable. Not only that, should you want to ever export your data, you can get a full download of the data AND the entire application for free, so you can run it in your own environment. Ask any of the other hosted solutions providers if they will give you their software if you want to export and run it yourself. I think you will find them less-than-willing to give away their software. It’s our philosophy that software should be free, and we live by that.

          — Paul

          1. Hello Paul,

            Ah! I didn’t know that OTRS has a hosted option. I will check that out.

            Completely agree with you on the values of Free Software, it’s a culture that I’ve been a part of for a long time and thanks for the time that you spend on the OTRS product.

  2. Windows + Web. Aussie product and packed with features. SQL Server, Crystal Reports, Microsoft certified. Incident, Problem, Change.

  3. @ Simon – Good point. I’ll add something in about users.
    @ Paul – Sorry, my mistake. I foolishly assumed because it was open source that you would not have a hosted solution. I’ll add you to the list. “An out-of-the-box cloud solution for small businesses at low costs, hosted by OTRS Group” from $19.00 per user per month.
    @Rod – sorry. I don’t see how this fits. I can see that you have a web edition but I assume that requires a backend. Not fully delivery via the web?

    1. I find OTRS to be deficient in many areas, but most especially in its
      administrative back end. Its installation and configuration is
      incredibly arcane; Its LDAP integration is a nightmare; and the
      documentation is more often then not vague, inaccurate, or flat out
      incorrect. It’s upgradability is virtually null. A $5000 support
      contact with OTRS will buy you nothing
      more than a tech telling you (via email) that you have to pay almost
      that same amount (per incident) for an onsite technician to decipher
      code. The only area that OTRS seems to have an advantage is it’s
      ability handle HTML email within the ticket and a good attachment
      handler. However, unless you have a dynamite MySQL DBA, a PERL
      programmer with years of experience and an MIT educated Linux
      administrator on staff, stay away from OTRS! Don’t be seduced by the
      fantasy of “Pay for Support” Open Source! Also, don’t be strong-armed
      into considering purchasing their Cloud Based solutions. There are
      cheaper and better services out there!

  4. You have missed Vivantio Service Desk off of this list which i know charges $50 per concurrent user per month?

    1. Hi Steve, 
      The price is not readily available to visitors to their website. So they are excluded. 

  5. Hey there,
    Why not add Helprace by Satisware – It’s definitely a lot cheaper than Zendesk and What it also does is combine functionalities of communities like Getsatisfaction and integrates them into a help desk.

  6. Software is cheap like a new puppy is cheap 🙂 In the overall TCO of owning a technology, does the license fee really count for that much?

    BTW, web hosting is still ruled out for many organisations due to issues of privacy, sovereignty (offshore), compliance (e.g. PCI). or just plain security paranoia.

  7. I don’t think that the helpdesk services are oversaturated. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to workflows, UI and features. If it was not the case, everyone would be using just one email client’s UI. Email
    might be the easiest way to scale, but the right support software is the easiest way to scale effectively. I recommend for this.

  8. I know that IT Help Desk is a resource designed for IT users to contact when they are
    having problems with their IT services.I believe that Help desk customer support is important for customer satisfaction.

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