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Computer Consultants/Repair People - How much you charging?

Discussion in 'Bits & Bytes' started by Techie2000, Nov 26, 2002.

  1. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    I'm just wondering what the rates people are charging now a days...
  2. midranger4

    midranger4 Banned

    I somehow have found myself servicing about a dozen or so PC's of friends and family for a cup of coffee and an "attaboy"

    I would think 25 an hour minimum though if I were to charge a stranger.
  3. Scott

    Scott Some Assembly Required

    that's about my going rate. i'm constantly building and repairing computers for friends, as well as setting up routers so they can have multiple PC's on one modem, and usually get a few beers and a couple slices of pizza. it's all good though---it's stuff i love to do and it's for friends.
  4. Pyrion

    Pyrion Liquid Metal Nanomorph

    That's pretty much what I charge per hour, if it's putting a computer together or fixing one. I often get free food out of the deal though too, and rarely take longer than an hour so it's no big deal.

    I'm not a jerk about it, though, because most of the people I work for either are friends or coworkers of my parents. ;)
  5. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    Hmm. I guess I charge a lot. $20-$100 for individual depending on job, and For buisness $50-the sky depending on how long I'm there, and what I need to do...
  6. -Ken

    -Ken Guest

    Finally, something I know something about.

    We charge $60/hour. This is actually cheaper than other areas but the
    cost of living (and pay rate) is lower here. We have a minimum charge
    of $35.00 for people who bring their computer in (it's called Depot Repair)
    to look at the computer, even if it's only five minutes.

    We never charge for travel time, even though that is acceptable. I feel it
    is not the customer's fault where they are located and since I try to group
    service calls in the same area together, it would be unethical to bill each
    for transportation charges if I was next door to them.

    All parts are marked up 100% and I bill the customer overnight shipping
    charges if they <i>need</i> it tomorrow. No system is ordered without 50%
    paid up front. Sucks to be left holding a custom built computer when
    someone decides to change their mind.

    Now, please let me pass on some advice.

    Many years ago, I was talking with my father and he inquired how the
    business was going. As I started to explain, I had come in a hour earlier
    today after staying until I couldn't remember how late the night before
    and that I was going to have to stay again tonight, he interrupted and
    said three words.

    Double your prices.
    Then he explained.

    Customers who are happy with your service will stay.

    You will work half as many hours for the same billing and with less "problems."

    The customers who leave were the ones, who always complained about the cost,
    no matter how reasonable you were.

    You will appear more professional.

    The last one threw me for a loop. I mean, it really bothered me. Since I always
    tried to be professional, raising my price was just gouging and I was sure my
    customers would realize this.

    To make a long story substantially shorter, I took my father's advice and I doubled
    my rates. I lost two "Customers from Hell" <i>I would have paid anything to get rid
    of them gracefully.</i>

    The volume of telephone calls dropped but it was the calls from people asking for
    free tech support. (We provide telephone support for customers without charge.
    Not a customer=No support.)

    Our total weekly billable hours dropped by about 1/3 but we were still ahead and
    I now had more time to get to the things that never seemed to get done before (like
    backing up my own system).

    But the best part of all was the immediate respect I received. When I was charging
    $30/hour, people treated my like I was at their beck and call. People would call me
    to run telephone lines through their basements and attics, now they call someone else.
    In other words, they no longer expect me to do the "shit" jobs, get somebody cheaper.

    Now that I've said that, let me say this, we discount quite a bit. If I am on-site at a car
    dealership (like one day last weekend) I bill them for six hours when I was there for
    seven. I never mention it but customers are grateful.

    I am always available if a good customer needs me. Since we focus on business,
    upgrades, software installations, etc., all have to happen outside of business hours
    (so as to keep the business running during business hours.) We don't charge anything
    extra for this.

    There is one more little quirk I have, we do a fair amount of free (or nearly free) work.
    Since we constantly are de-installing used computers from companies, we blow away
    the hard drive, reload Windows (we do provide licenses) and give these computers
    away for next to nothing (if we even charge). Pisses my wife off but it is what
    I feel we have to do.

    Last summer we had a single mother (three kids) come here with a used dead computer
    someone had given her. We diagnosed it, scrounged up the parts, got it running correctly,
    reloaded windows, put extra RAM into the system (72 pin SIMMs) and called her up. When
    she came, we told her there was no charge because it was an easy fix (a wire had come loose
    or something). Then we spent the next fifteen minutes showing her how to plug in all the wires.
    Now, I doubt I spent more than 3 hours and the parts I had kicking around, so it really didn't cost
    me anything but it made me feel good. For a couple of weeks, my wife kept kidding me that I had
    done all that work for nothing because the woman was cute. (She was).

    We also have another woman we "take care of" who is disabled. She is in a wheelchair and
    we have difficulty understanding her on the phone. Unfortunately, she lives about 30 minutes

    She received a grant to buy a computer for $100. Since I love a good challenge, we bought a 17"
    monitor used for $65 and dragged an IBM PC-350 out of the garage. After several hours, we have a
    functioning P-90 with 64 MB RAM and a 2 gig hard drive. I had to buy a 56K modem to put in it and a
    surge protector (actually more like an extension cord with six outlets) to complete the installation. She's
    happy and I have one less Pentium 90 system living in the garage.

    This is kind of cool. I don't talk about this very much. I wouldn't feel comfortable telling most of my
    customers I do this. I have told a couple of my customers what happened to the computer I took away
    from their office when I installed the new one. They seem to like the idea.

    Sorry for the wildly off topic babbling, I'm thinking I had too much coffee.
  7. mikeky

    mikeky Member

    -Ken, I admire the way you do business (despite your leftward leanings;)).
  8. jaykaykay

    jaykaykay 2 Good 2 B 4gotten

    :thumbsup:Some things should be talked about more. There are all kinds of folks out there doing their part in recognizing that all are not created equal. You're one of them. You ought to talk about that part of your business side often.
  9. bruzzes

    bruzzes Truthslayer

    Ken, you just got some rewards in heaven for that one.!
  10. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Damn man, you just earned even more respect from me, Ken. That is amazing, and you are a wonderful human being.

    Despite your twisted view on politics. ;)
  11. BigDeputyDog

    BigDeputyDog Straight Shootin Admin Staff Member

    Ken... ya left leaning, liberal whacko... you have my respect and admiration... :thumbsup:

    BDD... :{)
  12. immortal one

    immortal one 501st Geronimo

    I charge by the job, but also depending on the person's finances...or lack of. Some pay the pound price, others get it free. It all works out.
  13. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    I don't do PC repair stuff, but on the off chance I ever get a consulting gig for networking, I start at $70 an hour.

  14. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Damn Ken, maybe I should just come and work for you. Do they have airports where you live?

  15. mrRT

    mrRT Tech Mod


    Now for my story...Left Telco this past April after approx 17 yrs. Middle management, reside guru on DSL Remote Terminal use, application, provisioning system, new technologies. To say the least they were pissed when I left...but thats a whole nother story for another thread. I left and started my own company. Yep thats right...right in the middle of a slumping economy..hehehehe.. Hey like my fiancee says to me sometimes...Baalz of steel, brain of plastic...(translated I know thats her way af saying she just loves me...)

    Anyway there were a few difficult things to overcome in setting up the business. We do graphic design, business networks, system builds, and network architecture consultation. I had been doing this for a few yrs but now was time to do it full time, not part time. One of the biggest issues I had was how to let all those folks whose machines and troubles I had fixed as "freebies" know that I couldn't do that anymore. I was a rough thing to have to do and alot of folks I have not heard from since. But that showed me exactly how much I was being used by them. I mean the friends and clients that stayed, I definitely take care of..not for free anymore, but certainly not for going rate.
    The other issue I had was exactly how much to charge...And the REALLY FUNNY thing is I had a talk with an old time friend. And he told me almost exactly what was told to Ken. Make sure your prices are high...never undersell your services. And if your service is GREAT, not GOOD..but GREAT...your clients will return with friends and more. The best advertising you can get is word of mouth.. Now as soon as I implemented the price structure I also saw a decline in number of clients, but it never really went to none...Now as word has spread about the type of service we provide, my client list is way up again..And we are pulling in corporate small business to boot. I put alot of work into this thing...and like Ken..many many hours to make it go...

    BUT I LOVE WORKING FOR ME... I am the BEST BOSS!!!..hehehehe

    rates go something like thins...

    repairs are usually around 50$/hr.///depending on client and problem.

    networking issues start at 80$/hr

    graphics works starts at 50$/hr and go to 200$/hr for e-commerce work..depending on size and extent of project. I love doing graphic work, it was one of my main drives for starting the business.

    Parts are not usually 100% markup, but in that vacinity.

    no charge for mileage....except for that one guy that screwed me..we did charge him.. ;)

    I always tell my clients that they can find cheaper prices, but that they will never find better or more honest service. Most don't have an issue with prices. they are typically there because they have been jerked around so much in the past or have heard of my rep and are more than pleased to have me do there work.

    I too have some gratis work we do and I don't try to advertise it either...not because I don't want word to get around, but mostly becuase..just like Ken, those folks we help realy need it. They are proud people too, usually very proud and sometimes its just that little extra that needs to be done to help out. And I will always help out. We have a few single MOMS that we have 'taken care'..and to see the smiles and the true thankfulness on their faces is worth 10millon$$$$ to me. It's one of the things I really really like best about my new job...Being able to help ..
  16. -Ken

    -Ken Guest


    It is great to see what we do here is validated by other business owners experience.

    Word of mouth is the only way to go! We have never spent a cent on any advertising and word of mouth has put us way over the top.

    Hell, advertising, we have an unlisted telephone number!

    One point of disagreement, my boss (me) is a complete asshole. He works me everyday until I'm too tired to go on and never says so much as a thank you. I can't remember the last time I got a paycheck and I have never gotten more than three days off and that was for a death in the family.

    All things considered, I wouldn't have it any other way.

    If I can be of help to anyone out there in any way, I love helping small businesses get off the ground.
  17. mrRT

    mrRT Tech Mod

    BAHAHAHAHHA tough guy to work for huh... ;)

    and the same here Ken...Anyone needing any help, just speak up.

    As this board and forum matures I am seeing a vast wealth of resources available to our folks here...and thats only in the few weeks that I've been around. Its very impressive and its really nice to see good people helpin out.
  18. jamming

    jamming Banned

    My ex-boss just asked me if he should raise his shop bench rate to $60/hour for standard PC repair, but he runs a storefront establishment and this is Florida, so the two even out. Ken, I am impressed. I a glad that you live your convictions, but it also doesn't surprise me that you do. I think you can do more one person at a time than with government projects, but that's just the Christian in me.

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