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View Full Version : I'm new and needing advice from some hardened techies!!!


Shann
10-26-2007, 05:42 PM
I've just started putting myself on the market as a repair tech, as a side gig to my main job a Biomedical Equipment repair technician.

My hangup is, I have a problem charging the people I know, I do way more than what is absolutely neccessary, I get people that have no clue of what they want or what it takes me to perform the task they want done, and they don't understand EULA:eek:

Case in point;

One day, my neighbor, who knows that I work on computers, brought me his ... loaded with virus and spyware, I removed everything and installed some free A/V that he could use as well as a free firewall and upgraded his system with Windows Defender for malicious spyware. Didn't charge him a dime cause, well he's my neighbor and plus he was clueless! His system was still terribly slow due to all the junk programs he had accumulated, so I told he that in the future he may want to redue his hard drive or upgrade his system.

A couple of months later, he brings me his system again, saying that he wanted me to upgrade it, but his idea of upgrade was reformatting his HD and reinstalling WinXP home(which is what his system came pre-installed with), upon questioning, he further states that he has never backed up ANY of the info that he deems as important, and that he does not have the original software that came with his system. I tell him that I can't do this task without atleast a version XP Home to use with his keycode, something that really confused him! He goes away and comes back the next day with a disk with a "copy" of XP Home. Going against my better judgment, I set out to do the job! I back up all his data, reformat his HD and attempt to re-install WinXP Home only to get to the part where you enter a valid keycode, but the one on the label of his case is invalid, I had used keyfinder before hand and had the keycode that was previously being used but it too was coming up as invalid, called Microsoft and actually got them to give me a new key, but after I entered it, it too was invalid. Then I realized that this "copy" is obviously not an OEM "copy" so the keys won't work! So now I've got this guys system, HD reformatted but no OS to put on it, After much anguish, I breakdown and finally load my personal copy of XP Pro on his system with my valid key and get his sysem up to speed with updates, A/V, Defender etc. After all this pain, I only charged him $55.00, usually my rate is $55.00/hr

Am I just a soft hearted retard or what?:confused:

Shann
10-26-2007, 05:45 PM
I also installed my copy of Office XP cause I didn't want to leave him without an office suite for his documents! I know, I know...:rolleyes:

The Goatboy
10-26-2007, 05:48 PM
answers:
restoredisks.com
openoffice.org

Shann
10-26-2007, 06:10 PM
answers:
restoredisks.com
openoffice.org

Thanks for the tip, never heard of restoredisks before.

The Goatboy
10-26-2007, 06:17 PM
I didn't either until someone else from this forum mentioned it. that's why I like this site; I've found a lot of useful info here I never new about before.

Shann
10-26-2007, 06:28 PM
Yeah, me too! I've been working on systems thru my job, friends and relatives for over 5yrs now, got a lot of experience and knowlegde under my belt and I really love this stuff, I just don't know how to make a proper business out of it, opportunity is everywhere, I'm just slow to take advantage cause I feel like I still don't know enough sometimes.

cmonova
10-26-2007, 07:54 PM
Shann.....What you need to do is get yourself some business cards made up and let people see that you are serious about it as a business and not a "hand out". People don't sometimes try to take advantage they just don't use common sense.

If they know you are doing it as a legitimate business then they should know that nothing in life is free. Sometimes something as easy as handing them a business card will help with that.

nonchalant
10-27-2007, 02:54 AM
Its one thing to do a job free for a friend/family member. Its another thing to be taken advantage of.

Next time your neighbour asks you to look at this PC tell him your going to HAVE to charge him to cover your time and try give him a ballpark quote. if hes a reasonable sort of guy he wont take offence and if he does well thats his problem. He knows it will cost him if he takes it elsewhere.

One thing I learnt in this game is NOT to be a doormat. Your either doing this as a hobby or for 'fun' or your running a 'business'. If its a business treat it as such and make it clear to prospective customers you WILL charge a fee to look at their PC. Try getting a washing machine mechanic to come look at your washer for free. You will find they they charge $150 to front up at your door and everyone knows this. Im not saying you should charge the same but put simply 'time is money' and I dont give money away unless I feel the urge to give to a charity. Are you running a charity?

I for one am not, and I value my time whether it be leisure or work. To me their both 'valuable'. If someone wants some of my time, they pay for it.

Shann
10-31-2007, 06:22 PM
Its one thing to do a job free for a friend/family member. Its another thing to be taken advantage of.

Next time your neighbour asks you to look at this PC tell him your going to HAVE to charge him to cover your time and try give him a ballpark quote. if hes a reasonable sort of guy he wont take offence and if he does well thats his problem. He knows it will cost him if he takes it elsewhere.

One thing I learnt in this game is NOT to be a doormat. Your either doing this as a hobby or for 'fun' or your running a 'business'. If its a business treat it as such and make it clear to prospective customers you WILL charge a fee to look at their PC. Try getting a washing machine mechanic to come look at your washer for free. You will find they they charge $150 to front up at your door and everyone knows this. Im not saying you should charge the same but put simply 'time is money' and I dont give money away unless I feel the urge to give to a charity. Are you running a charity?

I for one am not, and I value my time whether it be leisure or work. To me their both 'valuable'. If someone wants some of my time, they pay for it.


Thanks alot Nonchalant, this is the kind of level headed, no non-sense advice I was looking for! I've got to overcome my instinct that just wants to do whatever I can to help people and be more business minded! Thanks again!!!

nonchalant
11-02-2007, 03:16 PM
No problem Shann :)

btw, its a great business to get in to. Anoyances such as the one you mention are one of many you will come across. Only the other day I made the mistake of offering advice by email to a repeat customer that actually ended up fixing his problem, when I should have instead offered to go out on-site to take a look which I could have charged for. Now thats fine with the odd bit of info offered freely here and there if it helps people out which results in repeat business or word-of-mouth, but thats never a certainty. People are fickle and my view of this game is 'a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush'. And remember a new customer is born everyday. After a while you will quickly learn to identify the time-wasters and those that simply want to rack your brain for free advice. Its a constant learning experience, but PC repair can be very rewarding and its a growth industry that guarantees you a second income for life.

My motto is "im in business to make money, not friends". That might sound harsh but succumbing to time-wasters and free-loaders is harsher..

SandTech
11-02-2007, 05:09 PM
I use to do repair for free for friends.
So yeterday a friend of mine asked me if I could look at his computer, so i gave him my card just to see what he think, I realy didnt want to charge him. But he was like I will drop it off, and you give me a quote. Guess when people see you serious, they start thinking twice.

nonchalant
11-03-2007, 12:32 AM
I use to do repair for free for friends.
So yeterday a friend of mine asked me if I could look at his computer, so i gave him my card just to see what he think, I realy didnt want to charge him. But he was like I will drop it off, and you give me a quote. Guess when people see you serious, they start thinking twice.

Yea you need to portray the image that you are in business and as such you run it 'like' a business. Dont worry, there will be more customers. You may hear back from this guy later (maybe he doesnt have the money to pay you right now) and if not, oh well, you got rid of a 'time-waster'.

Also, as a further response to the original OP, I had a job yesterday where I picked up and returned a PC after it was identified as being infested with viruses. The PC was fine after I formatted and I spent 30 mins on-site setting the PC up on my return. About 30 mins after I left the customer called me to say his monitor was turning off for no reason (which is one symptom he had before I fixed it). Knowing the PC was working fine when I had it I recognised he must have a problem with his monitor NOT the PC. I told him that over the phone and advised him how he could test it himself to be sure (he has 2 PC's). He apparently followed the steps I gave him then called back 10 mins later to say it was still no better. I told him he had to leave the monitor hooked up to the 2nd PC for an hour or so to see if had the same problem as it had also worked fine connected to the 1st PC at least for the first 30 mins I was on-site (and for a couple of hours while I had it at home) and that it may be a problem with the monitor that develops after an hour or so. I told him I was quite happy to go back and if need be take the PC home again for further investigation, but that I was confident he had a faulty monitor or cable and that if I called back and found the problem was his monitor I would need to charge him a further $50. I put it to him that I didnt want to waste his money and my time only to turn round and tell him something he can find out for himself by following my suggestions. Ive not heard back from him 24 hrs later. As I said, my time is money and Im quite happy to give of it if people want to pay for it.

And one other thing worth mentioning here is always, always wear a shirt and tie when you are dealing with potential customers. Ive tried the jeans and t-shirt approach and the reaction you get from customers is like night and day. If you look professional you will not only get the initial job but while you are on-site customers will ask you about an upgrade on another PC or even the cost to supply a whole new system. Its all about gaining the customers confidence. People like the idea of having a professional tech available to call out when they need one, and they will even pay a little bit extra for the service. Ive been in their position and I know what its like to deal with the large computer repair shops and I can compare that to the personal service I offer. If I were in my customers shoes I know who I would prefer to deal with even if he charges a bit more.

SandTech
11-04-2007, 06:05 PM
Am always with dress pants, and a shirt.
You have to look professional. They talk to you in a different tone for some reason.