FAQs

Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about telephone installation, cloud phones, IT services and support, cloud storage and other services we offer for nonprofits and progressive professional offices and small businesses in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and the Bay Area.

Do I need an account to get service on my computers or telephones?

No. You can go to our Support page and get in touch with one of us right away via a phone call or starting a service ticket. We will set up your account quickly so that we can begin tracking our work.

Can I pay by credit card?

Yes. We will email or mail your invoices, or bill your credit card. Your choice.

Do you serve businesses?

Yes. Most of our outreach is to nonprofits; however, we recognize that good, important work is not limited to those with a 501(c)3 designation. Doctors, lawyers, and architects’ offices, as well as small shops and bakeries (even salami makers) are among our client list.

What are your hourly rates?

Our rates vary depending on the type of work you need from us. We have always offered special rates for nonprofit organizations. Contact us for an estimate on your specific technology need.

Do you provide service to residences?

Yes, depending on the project. Contact us to discuss your situation, and we can take a look at your needs and provide a quote, or a referral to a local business that specializes in residential projects.

What geographic area do you serve?

While the majority of our clients are in San Francisco and the East Bay, we work all over the greater Bay Area, from San Jose to Santa Rosa to Sacramento.

Are your technicians familiar with Windows, Mac and Linux?

Yes. We have over fifteen technicians in our Networking department. Collectively, they are qualified in an amazing variety of operating systems and platforms. Over many years our technicians have built a knowledgebase wiki that is now an incredibly valuable resource for the whole team.

Do you provide Managed Service contracts?

Yes. We believe that regular monthly service agreements are very often the best way for an organization to keep their IT services running smoothly since their structure encourages preventative measures. Contact us to discuss  a free on-site visit to assess your network infrastructure and ongoing needs. We can explore your needs and provide a quote for cloud desktops, IT support, or a managed service contract, as appropriate.

Do you provide websites or web development services?

No, Alternative Technologies concentrates on office technology infrastructure – keeping phones and networks up and running so that nonprofits and small businesses can stay focused on their missions. Contact us for recommendations to web developers.

Do you provide cloud-based services?

Yes. We regularly consult with our customers on migration of office functions to the cloud. Some of our own services are cloud-based. Still, we are very judicious in our adoption and promotion of cloud-based office functions. Moving your data to a cloud-based service is a significant decision that is highly dependent on how your organization works, the nature and sensitivity of the work you do, and the quality of the vendors you choose. In some cases, moving to the cloud is not cost effective and brings new risks. If you are considering a migration to the cloud, we can assist in the analysis, help chart the transition, and lead, oversee or backup your team.

Do you offer copiers?

For several years we sold Copystar copiers, an especially environmentally friendly line from Kyocera. We still recommend the product, though they are no longer available through our company. Contact us for a reference to a local copier dealer.

Do you sell laptops, computers and printers?

Yes. We are an authorized reseller of Dell products and ready to give guidance on your hardware purchases. Every scenario is different. We take time to learn your mission, your staffing, your connectedness, and make recommendations based on your organizational scenario.

What types of telephone systems do you sell?

We are an authorized reseller of NEC telephone systems, and have been for more than 20 years. NEC has been making phones for over 100 years, and we chose to work with them because of the focus on small- to medium-sized organizations. Their products are both reliable, flexible, and fairly priced. In 2010 we began providing Cloud phone service and equipment. Contact us to clearly explain the differences between an on-premise phone system and internet-based Cloud phone service, and how to make the best choice for your organization.

Does Alternative Technologies provide e-waste recycling? Do you refurbish and re-use hardware when possible? How is your business environmentally sustainable?

For many years we provided a massive annual free e-waste pickup service. We continue to work with a local nonprofit partner which operates an extensive service to refurbish, recycle, resell or donate office hardware to worthy causes. See our Going Green page to learn about all the ways that we keep our business focused on environmental sustainability.

Do you give money to nonprofits? Do you do any pro bono work or donate hardware?

Over our 20+ year history we have sponsored our clients’ work in many ways, including participating in fundraising events and donating our time or equipment.

How can I get references on Alternative?

Just ask! We have more than you would want to call.

What makes Alternative different from other technology companies?

We care. It’s that simple. Alternative’s staff is steeped in experience with nonprofits, and we are rewarded on a daily basis by knowing all of the good work our clients are doing for our community.

What’s it like to work for Alternative?

Just ask any one of us. Many of our staff have been here for longer than we care to admit! Ten of our long-term staff have been here for more than 10 years each! That’s a testament to our commitment to our employees and their families, and to the positive and rewarding experience it is to come to work here every day.

Not seeing the question you are looking for? Email us, or give us a call, and we’ll get back to you on your less frequently asked question.