View Full Version : On-Site or In-shop

roborobs computer repair
11-07-2010, 04:38 AM
I've noticed when I work on a customer's computer at their house, it makes me nervous when the person stays in the room because they tend to look over my shoulder watching me. I have decided, unless the job will take less than 20 minutes, to start taking all computers back to the office to work on them. Does anyone else do this? I do not charge for pickup or delivery unless the address is more than 20 miles from my office. Do you think this is a good distance?

11-07-2010, 06:45 AM
I do not charge for pickup or delivery unless the address is more than 20 miles from my office. Do you think this is a good distance?

Why not charge for delivery? How much do you charge for your service? Delivery is extremely time consuming and time is your best asset.... I always charge for delivery or they can come pick it up from me for free...

As far as them watching me, I have no issue with that but I do understand that some are not comfortable with it....

1st Call Sussex IT
11-07-2010, 07:29 AM
Difficult one really, some people will like to watch and learn and that is great as part of the point of helping someone with their computer is so that they learn how to avoid the same problem in the future (especially for virus related problems). If you help the client understand what happened they are more likely to use you for other issues as you will have proved yourself helpful - whereas others may just fix it and charge. Basically you won't build the trust and rapport.

You also don't really want to be taking away every machine, not if you can fix it in an hour or two as it'll take you longer than that to disconnect the machine, bring it back, connect it up, fix it, disconnect, return, reconnect & explain to client whats happened.

On the other hand if the client is pushed for time, or you feel uncomfortable (either because the client is "difficult" or because your skills are not 100% and you need to use Google / extra help etc) then yes taking it back is a good idea, but you need to charge if only to cover the extra 2 trips you need to make.

It's a judgement call on all jobs most technicians have to make. However you can't expect to remove a machine that is critical to a business (server, important workstation etc).

Hope this helps.

11-07-2010, 10:27 AM
Usually up to an hour I do onsite after that then it's probably better all round to take back to the workshop. As regards distance you need to measure that in time. 20 miles across London forget it, 20 miles where I live now is not really a problem. Again charging you have to weigh each call up individually. I went to a call on Friday morning with no internet working on one computer, others ok. I went to the call(about 8 miles 15mins) and tried to diagnose the fault went through all the normal stuff but the client was continually talking to me(really interesting person though). After 1h 45mins (and diagnosing a faulty protocol stack) I couldn't get it to reset through normal methods and decided to take it back to the workshop. Got it back there and the third reboot after the netsh fix it worked :rolleyes:. I sold him a tune up and memory upgrade so carried on with that. He wanted the computer back while waiting for the memory so I took it back Friday afternoon and he was very happy. The memory arrived from Crucial first post next day(Crucial are always fast) so I'm going back to fit that Monday morning. He will be charged accordingly as some of it was his choice. So sometimes there are no hard, fast rules although most will fit into your normal pricing framework.

11-07-2010, 11:43 AM
I don't do onsite work for residential unless it's something like a home network problem, all other PC/laptop problems come back to my office. I'll do onsite work for business clients as they need their systems to make money.

11-07-2010, 12:11 PM
I have no trouble with the client watching while I troubleshoot their problem and I generally try and explain what I am doing. If they want to watch then they might as well have some idea of what I am doing although it is sometimes annoying to break concentration to explain something trivial.
Regarding fixing it there or taking it back to the workshop, I generally allow .5-.75/hr onsite before telling them that it's going to be uneconomical to resolve because further measures are going to involve us both making small talk at my hourly rate while diagnostics run their course.
This is also governed by the fact that my day is divided into hourly increments (+/- 30 mins) and if it's not fixed in that time then it's a safe bet that the problem runs deeper than the usual quick fix.
I charge a .5/hr callout fee to all site visits to cover travelling time and is not negotiable.
So far they've all been happy with this.

11-07-2010, 12:49 PM
although it is sometimes annoying to break concentration to explain something trivial.

I usually say something like "Sorry, I have the attention span of a fly! I can only do one thing at a time - work or talk - and you're paying by the hour"
Usually shut's them up

11-07-2010, 05:52 PM
When it comes to onsite work if we can't get the problem fixed in 30 mins to 1.5hrs then it's time to explain to the client that if the computer was brought back to the shop it would be much more economical for them.

One of the main jobs that we almost never do onsite for residential is a virus/malware infection. The amount of time involved can be incredible sometimes and I can't very well charge someone 300$ to fix their computer at their house when I could do it for 89$ + pickup/delivery if I returned to the shop.

Most customers understand this very well. Put it in terms of time/money and the vast majority of clients will understand and be happy with your for being honest. There will still be a few clients who still want it fixed onsite for whatever reason but you can feel good knowing they'll be paying for that :).

11-07-2010, 09:06 PM
I think you need to get over it.

I can only assume you're nervous because you're not confident you're doing the right things or doing them quickly enough or something. That sort of thing will go away with experience.

It's certainly worth trying to get over it when you consider the time and money you lose in driving twice the distance to do the same job.

11-07-2010, 09:30 PM
Our business is on-site only (whether business or residential) and we have faced these issues too.

Based on your website, I'm assuming you don't have a store front and do only on-site work. If so, you need to have a trip charge. There are many methods for determining a price and pick the best that works for you, but even short trips should have some sort of travel fee.

Second, charging by the job is fine if you have a shop because you can multi-task with other machines, but when you're on-site, you can't leverage your time. Which is why many techs charge some type of hourly-rate in this case.

We charge an hourly rate and if the customer wants to watch, that's fine with us. Plus, it allows us to talk about all kinds of tech topics while waiting, for example, a scan to finish. Goes a long way to building a relationship which leads to repeat calls and referrals.

Generally, we try to resolve the problem on-site so we don't have to make two trips. Unless we've really run into a stone wall working on something, about the only time we bring a PC back to the shop is for a N&P or if it needs a unique part that we don't carry with us.

11-07-2010, 11:42 PM
Sorry to say, you will need to probably learn to talk and work or else you may not want to do the jobs onsite, just do pick up and delivery. Many professionals do it; Doctors, Nurses, Plumbers, Cable Installers, etc. It's part of our work when you service others. Even though you are servicing a machine, every person in the service world will get those that just want to talk. Learning to even nod and say a few words is better in my opinion. That's half the problem I have had with some past techs, "chitter chatter" while working. It's a good thing in our business! Those techs that don't communicate come off as the nerds/geeks and even though you repaired their issue, the extra bonus is how they remember you afterwards.

Remember, people forget what you have said and done, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

11-08-2010, 02:01 AM
Those techs that don't communicate come off as the nerds/geeks and even though you repaired their issue, the extra bonus is how they remember you afterwards.

Remember, people forget what you have said and done, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Amen. Well said.


roborobs computer repair
11-08-2010, 04:44 AM
I do talk to my customers when I'm in their home.
The way I determine whether I do a job onsite or take it back is by whether it's going to need a lot of diag or more than a hour's worth of work. The only time I charge for pickup or delivery is anything over 20 miles which where I live is not that large amount of time. what is your average hourly fee for onsite work?

11-08-2010, 04:53 AM
Ah, I read back your post and you said you got nervous when they were watching.

You may want to firm up your interview process for these jobs. Then you know what you're heading into. If you interview them and it appears it will be a bunch of R&D (stuff you may need help with but know you can conquer) ask for them to bring it in or you pick up. If you feel you can handle it, then confirm the house appt and bring your tools.

My rates in Minneapolis are $105 an hour, no milage fee or travel fee.
My rates in Rochester are $80 an hour, everything is 12 minutes or less from me, smaller town.

I have a very firm interview process, I rarely go to homes if I can remote in. The house visits are usually very sticky router situations or new computer set ups.

JAG Computers
11-08-2010, 09:27 AM
Since I have no storefront I do all my work on site unless it requires me to take the computer back to the shop. My work order states that my minimum charge is 1 hour as I want to ensure I am paid for my time especially if the job takes less time then I thought.