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Tom Hudson
01-09-2011, 10:41 PM
I was just wondering if anyone else has a problem when it comes to charging your friends and family.

I often knock a fiver or two off but sometimes I feel obliged to tell them to not worry if it takes me less than an hour. I recently set up an entire office which included two computers, NAS for backup and storage, wireless printer and little bits here and there. In all it took me over 3 hours which I would normally charge 55 but I did not feel I could ask for this, so I charged 20.

Being a technician is not a full time venture for me and so I do not charge high prices.

Am I being too nice or is this a normal thing to do?

ATS
01-09-2011, 10:46 PM
I charge $20 /hr for friends and family unless it is something super quick (minutes) then I say don't worry about it.

BostonGeek1
01-09-2011, 11:31 PM
I was just wondering if anyone else has a problem when it comes to charging your friends and family.

I often knock a fiver or two off but sometimes I feel obliged to tell them to not worry if it takes me less than an hour. I recently set up an entire office which included two computers, NAS for backup and storage, wireless printer and little bits here and there. In all it took me over 3 hours which I would normally charge 55 but I did not feel I could ask for this, so I charged 20.

Being a technician is not a full time venture for me and so I do not charge high prices.

Am I being too nice or is this a normal thing to do?

Well it depends if you're a professional technician or not. If you're not a professional tech as you say, I would charge whatever you like, but I would definitely be VERY VERY cautious as they can hold you liable for any data loss or damage, since you didn't have them sign an agreement that releases you of any liability. I would definitely explain that you're not a professional and so you don't charge professional 'rates'. If you're saying to yourself, wait a minute, but i'm just as good as the 'professional techs', then you should be explaining to family and friends that this is how you make your living and you can't do it for free, unless its immediate family (father, mother, sister,brother, children, etc)

K007
01-09-2011, 11:44 PM
Friends (closes) and family I charge only for hardware replaced.
I do not charge for labor.
I do it in my spare time.
They all know I do it on my spare time for free and if they want me to charge I would refuse to work all together on their PC's.
I give something for free but I take the right to do it whenever I feel like doing it.
The above goes for home computers.


PS
I have never considered myself as a business person based on the work I get from friends and family.

GreenCycleComputers
01-09-2011, 11:49 PM
Its a question every tech has to ask him/her self at some point (unless you just don't have friends/family or you don't charge). It's really up to you and how you feel about the situation. I've just had a couple long standing customers come into day with a computer I sold them awhile ago. Nothing really wrong with his computer but there were a bunch of simple things he didn't quite understand and I couldn't explain over the phone. (lets just say they are a really sweet older couple that don't know anything about computers). Now this guy has bought 2 computers from me, (most recent one was an upgrade to the 1st), a laptop install of win 7, and a ram upgrade for the same laptop. They have also brought me food item (today I got a chocolate cake :) ). They have also invited us to go to their house on more than one occasional. They also live quite a ways away and could certainly find a closer tech but they keep coming back to me. So at this point I would not feel right charging him just to answer some questions and show him a few things when I know they will keep coming back for upgrades and such.

That being said you will have to find your own comfort level and maintain the balance between that and people monopolizing your time. If it comes to that just tactfully remind them that your time is valuable and you are doing it to make a living.

Xander
01-09-2011, 11:51 PM
Quick answer:


Family and close friends = free
Associates = one-hour fee, even if it takes longer
Everyone else = full charge

(I have one 'associate' who is a masseuse so we barter and she gives me a credit for the wife).

Martyn
01-10-2011, 05:19 AM
Quick answer:


Family and close friends = free
Associates = one-hour fee, even if it takes longer
Everyone else = full charge

(I have one 'associate' who is a masseuse so we barter and she gives me a credit for the wife).

Ditto and everyone understands it's my living

bagellad
01-10-2011, 05:27 AM
Just make up a friends and family rate and stick with it. I usually give 50% off. But of course you cant charge your mom, dad and possibly siblings or christmas might be awkward...

meanderer
01-10-2011, 06:14 AM
Take your time and think up a rate table then stick with it.

I don't charge for my direct family - father and brother, etc.
I charge a reduced rate for my closer relatives and friends - 1/2 off my usual price
Full price for the rest.

Before I started the business many relatives come to me for *free* tech work, once my business started all those favors seems to have disappeared....

16k_zx81
01-10-2011, 07:27 AM
http://www.technibble.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5318
http://www.technibble.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16629

Eddie
01-10-2011, 08:15 AM
I don't really charge family, I have a small one so it's not much work. Depending on the friend will depend on whether or not I charge.

Steve202
01-10-2011, 10:08 AM
I normally charge the following for family and friends:

Close Family = labour nothing. If a part if required I supply it them at cost.
Other Family = labour nothing. Parts cost plus 5%.
Friends = 50% of my normal charge.
Everyone else = full price.

I class close family has my parents, sister and girlfriend.

ZenTree
01-10-2011, 10:15 AM
(I have one 'associate' who is a masseuse so we barter and she gives me a credit for the wife).

Good deal! I'm trying to cultivate a few of these at the moment.

edgepcs
01-10-2011, 10:25 AM
I don't charge family or close friends but if they offer me some beer money then everyone's a winner!

Tom Hudson
01-10-2011, 10:39 AM
Think I will try the 50% off tactic if it's a close relative or friend.

It is just hard to say that I will charge them, since I have been doing it for free for years. It is difficult when they know that what you are doing is not your primary source of income.

MobileTechie
01-10-2011, 12:14 PM
Charge your mum double so she knows you mean business.

Paul Rodgers
01-11-2011, 10:40 PM
Charge your mum double so she knows you mean business.

Haha!

I don't charge family except for parts and tax. I have a few friends and their families who I don't charge labor for just because I know they would do the same for me if I needed help from them. Other than that I really don't do stuff for free.

Ccomp5950
01-11-2011, 11:02 PM
Charge your mum double so she knows you mean business.

I've sent my dad an invoice for what I actually would have charged him on a wiring job I did for him (Wired up the house added wireless APs, and cleaned up 3 of the computers).

The job would have been just over $1000 but then I tacked in the "This guy changed my diapers" credit and it wound up being exactly my costs for parts and shipping.

Dad, Mom, Siblings = Labor is free, Parts at cost and shipping.
Everyone else = Regular rate. (Quick fixes are free to close friends)

Majestic
01-12-2011, 02:55 AM
I was just wondering if anyone else has a problem when it comes to charging your friends and family.

I often knock a fiver or two off but sometimes I feel obliged to tell them to not worry if it takes me less than an hour. I recently set up an entire office which included two computers, NAS for backup and storage, wireless printer and little bits here and there. In all it took me over 3 hours which I would normally charge 55 but I did not feel I could ask for this, so I charged 20.

Being a technician is not a full time venture for me and so I do not charge high prices.

Am I being too nice or is this a normal thing to do?

Close friends I don't charge generally. However if they ask me to come to their businesses during my work day I will charge, but I will discount the time. After all, time is money and without you their business would be losing money, it's only fair. Nothing in life is free.

Family (cousins etc, not immediate family because that would be free of course) usually I discount it as well but I will sent an invoice to their business as we work it out fairly.

Honestly though what you're saying here is that you felt treated unfairly or you would not be writing this post in the first place. To be honest you're not charging enough to begin with. 55 is a JOKE for the kind of work you did. And you ended up with much less than that. It would BE the discount rate. Think about raising your rates and being fair to yourself.

Regards,

Majestic

ComputerRepublic
01-12-2011, 10:55 PM
I was just wondering if anyone else has a problem when it comes to charging your friends and family.

I often knock a fiver or two off but sometimes I feel obliged to tell them to not worry if it takes me less than an hour. I recently set up an entire office which included two computers, NAS for backup and storage, wireless printer and little bits here and there. In all it took me over 3 hours which I would normally charge 55 but I did not feel I could ask for this, so I charged 20.

Being a technician is not a full time venture for me and so I do not charge high prices.

Am I being too nice or is this a normal thing to do?


I think you're being too nice. I provide support for friends and family as well, but I do charge, albeit at a significantly reduced rate.

Do these people come to your house and wash your floor or vacuum your carpets? Why not? They do it in their own home often, so they're probably good at it... why don't they come by and do it for you as well? Free of charge.

You need to explain to them that just because you are computer savvy, doesn't mean you're jumping for joy at the opportunity to re-install Windows for someone. It is work, and you're doing it to make money.

If you do anything for free make sure you at least get some kind of review out of it. A nice recommendation on LinkedIn, a nice review on Google Places, etc.

iptech
01-12-2011, 11:26 PM
Wow, the OP charges 10 an hour and his family still expect 50% discount! Don't forget, even when charging 5 an hour you are still liable to pay taxes on income.

You'd be better off going to see them for a free meal or drink. Don't charge your family anything if that's all they're prepared to pay.

minc3d
01-13-2011, 02:07 PM
I think Ccomp5950's rate structure is pretty much like mine and with the same reasoning. I like it!

Cybjun
01-13-2011, 07:06 PM
$200/US flat charge. mainly because after working on computers all day the last thing I want to do when I get home if fix someone computer.

TopLevelComp
01-13-2011, 07:13 PM
Family is free, friends I'll just ask for a bottle of alcohol or maybe buying pizza while I work on the computer.

RegEdit
01-14-2011, 07:13 AM
Family = Free of course. How could you charge family in your right mind?

Friends & Neighbors = I try to give them instructions so that they can do it themselves, otherwise I tell them that I'll do it for free the first time, and maybe they'll tip me a little.

footnote: I have one friend who often acts like an "entitled freeloader". I just tell him that I'm too busy.

Cybjun
01-14-2011, 10:20 PM
Family = Free of course. How could you charge family in your right mind?....

Let me introduce you to my family and you will understand. When you get the call from nearly all family members with questions like. "I turned my pc off last night and now it wont power on?" spending 10 minutes troubleshooting before they remember they unplugged the PC so they can use the outlet for something else. :(

ya...I dont work for free. period