Broad question about SMPT management


New Email
Hey everyone...

After days of Google searching and scouring the web for information I am still no further than when I started. I stumbled across this forum and some of you look like you really know what you're talking about. So.... here's my question (please pardon me if it sounds stupid, I am a newb to the back-end of email):

I work for a small email marketing company. Right now we use a company that manages our entire email system including the portal where we create and send offers for our clients (about 800 small businesses). We are looking to switch to a more robust platform like
We are currently Sender Score certified and all of our people are double opted in. Since we send about 500,000 emails for our clients per month I was told that we'd need to host the portal on a dedicated server which is no problem (anywhere from $20-80/mo) but then I was also told we’d have to use a service like who manages our reputation(?) Okay, no problem right? But it’s $900/mo which I can’t seem to even comprehend. I understand ‘warming’ up a new IP when we make the switch until the powers-that-be realize we are sending completely legitimate and opt-in mail, but I can’t understand why we’d need someone to manage our SMTP reputation. The way I am thinking about this is that we host the platform and send our email broadcasts, these broadcasts are directed to, then they deliver the mail because their reputation is so good(?) I can’t even seem to find any alternatives to, so I am not sure who to even ask if this is something necessary for us. Can someone please help explain this to me or direct me to an expert? If it comes down to it I am willing to pay for your time as a consultant to help me navigate through these questions.

Best regards and thanks in advance,