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View Full Version : How do you approach lost internet connex jobs?


RegEdit
07-22-2010, 09:28 AM
If a customer calls and tells you "I just need you to restore my Internet connection" how much do you charge (for those of you who have flat rate pricing)? If they really do have JUST a simple need for WinSockFix, reset LAN settings or IE default settings, troubleshooting a modem or router gone bad, replace tampered hosts file, or other SIMPLE networking problem I charge just $30 + a $20 on site fee. But all too often it's a bigger problem such as virus infection or the computer has serious other problems such as screwed up registry, errors on hard drive, etc? What supposedly starts out as a simple call always turns out to be a more major ordeal. I'm thinking that I should just have one flat fee for ALL computer repair problems. I can help people over the phone to fix simple problems like restarting the computer, router and modem. Maybe even walk them through a ping test to get an idea what I'm dealing with. Then if there isn't a simple over-the-phone fix I'm thinking that I should just charge the full $100 to fix any and all computer problems (hardware and/or software).

RahmTech
07-22-2010, 11:52 AM
I dont know about everyone else, but we tried flat rate pricing in the beginning and it doesnt work specifically for the reason you had mentioned. A 30 minute job can turn into half a day real quick.

We have had customers call and ask us what it will cost and we will only tell them that we charge said amount per hour and not knowing what we are walking into, we can not offer a flat rate fee over the phone.

If they are unsatisified with this answer, we will offer to let them drop their equipment (everything that could affect the internet) off at the shop to be diagnosed at a lesser rate.

This usually ends in a service call with you charging per hr.

In the beginning your time wasn't as valuable to them, but when you ask that they invest their own time into the repair (to save them money), that hourly rate you are charging doesn't seem to be so bad anymore.

Good Luck with your Pricing Decisions.

Thedog
07-22-2010, 02:12 PM
Agree with previous. Just use an floating rate (hourly, 15 min incrementals etc)? When someone calls and says "My internet doesnt work" I explain that I can look into it and you pay per started hour. I can not say exactly how long time it will take to fix, I can only say how long time it usually takes to fix those stuff.

Seriously flatrate = dangerous

Same thing with no fix no fee. What if someone calls you with 10 problems and you manage to solve 9 of them? Is it no fix or a fix? How do you deduct the unsolved problem (in time) from the solved ones? I say thats impossible.

vdub12
07-22-2010, 02:33 PM
I keep it simple and charge per hour one hour minimum then half hour increments after that.

I agree the no fix no pay is a complete bogus pizza tech gimmick.

Martyn
07-22-2010, 02:42 PM
I keep it simple and charge per hour one hour minimum then half hour increments after that.

I agree the no fix no pay is a complete bogus pizza tech gimmick.

Agreed, I don't like the term No Fix, No Fee, it gives the impression if they don't want to go ahead with your diagnosis then your work up until then is free.

vdub12
07-22-2010, 03:42 PM
Agreed, I don't like the term No Fix, No Fee, it gives the impression if they don't want to go ahead with your diagnosis then your work up until then is free.

I think it sounds more like a shade tree tech. Example: "I can fix some stuff but if I can't handle your problem I will not charge you"

I don't want to start out at the gate with my client doubting my ability. Thats like a plummer saying if the pipe is still leaking the jobs free.

I have customers all the time say that they have had multiple techs look at something and can't fix it. I personally don't want to be known as the tech that can't fix anything. There are plenty of instances where the price to fix something outweighs the value of whats being fixed. In those cases then a fix is not worth it but that does not mean the diagnostic is free.

cdbrehm
07-23-2010, 10:34 PM
I think it sounds more like a shade tree tech. Example: "I can fix some stuff but if I can't handle your problem I will not charge you"

I don't want to start out at the gate with my client doubting my ability. Thats like a plummer saying if the pipe is still leaking the jobs free.

I have customers all the time say that they have had multiple techs look at something and can't fix it. I personally don't want to be known as the tech that can't fix anything. There are plenty of instances where the price to fix something outweighs the value of whats being fixed. In those cases then a fix is not worth it but that does not mean the diagnostic is free.

I currently offer a no fix /no fee, mainly because the worst thing most customers fear is that they are going to spend a bunch of money and get nothing in return. This is the Geek Squad way. It is much more likely to build customer confidence than it is to do otherwise. However, I agree that it can put you into a tricky position. For example, a customer brings you a blue-screening laptop. After much effort in diagnostics, you tell the customer that the motherboard is bad. Most will elect not to continue with the repair. Here's how I deal with this if the customer objects to my hourly troublshooting charge (which they never do). I'd say, "The computer can be fixed, and I can fix it. But in this case, you are electing for me not to continue with the repair. For understandable reasons." Especially when it comes to laptops, I try to be upfront that a troubleshooting cost may be applicable. And I try to cap it at one hour in-shop labor.

I recently had someone bring over a liquid-cooled gaming computer that had two fried SLI GPU's due to the fact that in 3 years he had never replaced the coolant. So the computer was shutting off shortly after power up (overheating due to no coolant reaching the CPU), and he had two NVidia vid cards each with damaged GPU's. This PC was a nightmare to troubleshoot due to the fact that it had multiple problems and I had to drain the coolant more than once. But I let him know that regardless of whether it was "fixable"--according to his budget--there would be a 2 hour troubleshooting fee. He was fine with that.

Same thing with "free initial diagnostics." There's a difference between 15 minutes worth of looking at a computer issue and 3 hours of troubleshooting. In depth troubleshooting is not the same as "free initial diagnostics." It's a difference that should be explained in your service agreement.

vdub12
07-23-2010, 11:20 PM
I currently offer a no fix /no fee, mainly because the worst thing most customers fear is that they are going to spend a bunch of money and get nothing in return. This is the Geek Squad way. It is much more likely to build customer confidence than it is to do otherwise. However, I agree that it can put you into a tricky position. For example, a customer brings you a blue-screening laptop. After much effort in diagnostics, you tell the customer that the motherboard is bad. Most will elect not to continue with the repair. Here's how I deal with this if the customer objects to my hourly troublshooting charge (which they never do). I'd say, "The computer can be fixed, and I can fix it. But in this case, you are electing for me not to continue with the repair. For understandable reasons." Especially when it comes to laptops, I try to be upfront that a troubleshooting cost may be applicable. And I try to cap it at one hour in-shop labor.

I recently had someone bring over a liquid-cooled gaming computer that had two fried SLI GPU's due to the fact that in 3 years he had never replaced the coolant. So the computer was shutting off shortly after power up (overheating due to no coolant reaching the CPU), and he had two NVidia vid cards each with damaged GPU's. This PC was a nightmare to troubleshoot due to the fact that it had multiple problems and I had to drain the coolant more than once. But I let him know that regardless of whether it was "fixable"--according to his budget--there would be a 2 hour troubleshooting fee. He was fine with that.

Same thing with "free initial diagnostics." There's a difference between 15 minutes worth of looking at a computer issue and 3 hours of troubleshooting. In depth troubleshooting is not the same as "free initial diagnostics." It's a difference that should be explained in your service agreement.

I agree that company's like Geek Squad have made everyones job harder because customers don't trust us. However the whole idea of no fix no pay is on every single craiglist ad and I think its almost solely used by pizza techs as a way to be able to get out of a job that they can't figure out. For people like that I agree the customer should not have to pay. However, I don't want my customer to ever question my ability. They call be because they have a problem and when I leave the problem is solved. I don't want them to think that there is even a chance that I am not going to be able to solve it for them.

On a side note there are some people that don't need to use water cooling, lol. A few years ago falcon northwest and alienware where selling water cooled systems and I was thinking then that is the stupidest idea ever.

Morrison5891
07-23-2010, 11:39 PM
We charge a flat rate of $89 on-site. Doesnt mater if its a ten minute job or an hour. I am never on-site for more than an hour. 2 days ago one of my business clients called and ask if I could come out and network their client database software so a new employee can access it. The job oly took 25 minutes. For business rates that require networking, we charge a flat rate of $249. Home users that require networking, for example... home servers, media center servers, etc ... we charge $189.

I'm not charging higher for business networking becuase they "have the money" we do that becuase it requires more skill then just removing spyware. Another example... I have another client, a truck driving school... I've been to their location and know the setup. They have 30 work stations and a server. Anything involving networking, its a flat rate of $300. They reason is... The place is very dirty... and anytime I need to replace cat5 cable, etc... I have to do it under the trailers and I get dirty.

I think, and after much research... charging a flat rate is actually a better marketing trick then per hour... Knowing that I will be less then an hour on-site, I tell clients when they call it will be $89 and it doesnt matter how long i'll be there. If it takes 3 hours... its still only $89. They don't know i'll be there less than 1 hour. When they call my competition, they are told $75, $80, $120 an hour... could take 2 hours. So, of course 99.9% of the time... they choose us.

Appleby
07-24-2010, 08:45 PM
I handle this situation as others have stated. I charge a 1 hour minimum for every one site service call. After the 1st hour, the time is billed on 15 minute increments. I know alot of people charge flat rates, but for me, there is just SO much I can get into, especially on-site, that isn't expected. I've run into weird/crappy cat 5 wiring and spent nearly and hour just trying to figure out what the in the world is going on and what wires go where etc.

So again, for me, it's by the hour with no flat rate. If I decide I want to give the folks a discount off my time, say I'm there 2 hours and I feel the charge is a little expensive, I might not off 30 minutes, but it is at my discretion once the job is complete.

itmike
07-25-2010, 06:08 AM
Charging by the hour is the way to go. If you do a flat fee, you could really kill half the day and not have a lot to show for it. Especially if your doing on site work. I tell the customer that I charge by the hour up front. Then tell them that the reason I do this is because a lot of times I get more done for them than expected. I have made a lot of extra money by just asking them if they're is anything else that they would like to do or are having any other issues after the initial problem is fixed. Most of my jobs take 3-4 hours and the initial problem only take 30min to an hour to actually fix. Though most of the time my customers are always telling me I went above and beyond for their needs. Which I do, that's how you make money is satisfying wants :) .

I wouldn't offer the no fix/no fee. I offer a no diagnosis/no fee guarantee though. I don't feel right charging a customer if I can't tell how to fix it. Though saying no diagnosis versus no fix, it keeps them from trying to cop out on you.