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Old 01-23-2010, 01:42 AM
mwcomputer mwcomputer is offline
 
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Unhappy Question regarding payment of services

Ok.. I took on a client that wanted a new PC installed. They ordered a Dell Desktop as they older Dell was running way to slow and was partitioned with a very small C drive and larger D drive. I went to do the install and what I found out later there was no CDROM drive or floppy drive. They said they called Dell and Dell said it would have DVD/CDROM drive on it. They wanted it to have the drive and they were upset and helped them call Dell and figure out why it didn't have that option. Dell said the customer did not order a DVD/CDROM drive and my customer thought it was standard. Dell's website is confusing at times. Anyway.. my customer said he would send it back and reorder. I offered to help them reorder one with a CDROM. I billed two hours of time for this as it took that long to work with Dell etc, pack up the old unit etc.

The next day I get a call and my customer says they want to get the old PC working. I said fine and I was out the next day. I defragged and moved files around etc. The C drive was just about of of space. The machine even had a paging file on C which I moved to the D with more space. The PC had tons of programs installed none of which they use. I started uninstalling items and cleaning out the garbage. Ran registry fixes etc. I billed for 1.5 hours and the system still ran slow.

I told the customer the best way to fix this problem is to do a clean install. They agreed and I went at it. I installed the OS, service Packs, etc. Then when I asked them for their MS Office, they didn't know where it is. I said do you need office and they replied they use it all the time. I said fine, we will have to purchase it from Microsoft. They agreed and they give me their credit card and I purchased it for them. It took a while to download it and install and put the service packs and updates on. I then had to put in Quickbooks, and Act, and all the updates. I then copied there old data back. By the time I was done with fixing this PC it took me the whole day, 8 hours of time. Now it is running like a top. Customer is happy and so am I.

I sent a total of three invoices for my time, two got paid and one didn't. The one that didn't get paid was for the 8 hours of time working on this old PC. I thought I would give me two weeks to see if they would pay the last invoice. No go so I called today to ask how things were going etc. I then mentioned the unpaid invoice. They responded that we never received it and to send another one and they will take care of it. I said I would.

Well today shortly after that call, I get a an email that states they were got off guard and that there concerned that perhaps they could have bought a whole new computer for the price of fixing the old one.

My question to you guys are, how do you handle a question like that? Is it my fault that updates, program installs and service packs take so long to download and install? I don't think so. I am a IT professional at my day job and I know what I am doing. They did have a fairly fast DSL connection but it still look it a while.

I know how important updates are and I always get the computer up to date with the latest service packs and critical updates.

Any info is appreciated

Thanks
Mike
MW Computer Services
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:53 AM
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Were they aware of what you charge per hour before you started? Then they owe it.

Do you have a signed workorder authorizing the charges? Then they owe it.

Personally, I would never do a reinstall on-site like that because it does take a long time. At home I set it up and walk away and watch TV and check on it every hour or so.

From here on, it depends on how much you like the client and how much you want to risk your business' reputation. Sure, they messed up but to their friends its "He charged me twice the amount of a new computer to fix this piece of crap!"
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:59 AM
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Yikes, that is exactly why I don't do any types of reinstalls at their homes, period.

I agree with the guy above. except I do them in my shop. I do many other things while those installs take forever.

How much was their 8 hour bill? At my rate that would be have minimum of $680.
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwcomputer View Post
Ok.. I took on a client that wanted a new PC installed. They ordered a Dell Desktop as they older Dell was running way to slow and was partitioned with a very small C drive and larger D drive. I went to do the install and what I found out later there was no CDROM drive or floppy drive. They said they called Dell and Dell said it would have DVD/CDROM drive on it. They wanted it to have the drive and they were upset and helped them call Dell and figure out why it didn't have that option. Dell said the customer did not order a DVD/CDROM drive and my customer thought it was standard. Dell's website is confusing at times. Anyway.. my customer said he would send it back and reorder. I offered to help them reorder one with a CDROM. I billed two hours of time for this as it took that long to work with Dell etc, pack up the old unit etc.

The next day I get a call and my customer says they want to get the old PC working. I said fine and I was out the next day. I defragged and moved files around etc. The C drive was just about of of space. The machine even had a paging file on C which I moved to the D with more space. The PC had tons of programs installed none of which they use. I started uninstalling items and cleaning out the garbage. Ran registry fixes etc. I billed for 1.5 hours and the system still ran slow.

I told the customer the best way to fix this problem is to do a clean install. They agreed and I went at it. I installed the OS, service Packs, etc. Then when I asked them for their MS Office, they didn't know where it is. I said do you need office and they replied they use it all the time. I said fine, we will have to purchase it from Microsoft. They agreed and they give me their credit card and I purchased it for them. It took a while to download it and install and put the service packs and updates on. I then had to put in Quickbooks, and Act, and all the updates. I then copied there old data back. By the time I was done with fixing this PC it took me the whole day, 8 hours of time. Now it is running like a top. Customer is happy and so am I.

I sent a total of three invoices for my time, two got paid and one didn't. The one that didn't get paid was for the 8 hours of time working on this old PC. I thought I would give me two weeks to see if they would pay the last invoice. No go so I called today to ask how things were going etc. I then mentioned the unpaid invoice. They responded that we never received it and to send another one and they will take care of it. I said I would.

Well today shortly after that call, I get a an email that states they were got off guard and that there concerned that perhaps they could have bought a whole new computer for the price of fixing the old one.

My question to you guys are, how do you handle a question like that? Is it my fault that updates, program installs and service packs take so long to download and install? I don't think so. I am a IT professional at my day job and I know what I am doing. They did have a fairly fast DSL connection but it still look it a while.

I know how important updates are and I always get the computer up to date with the latest service packs and critical updates.

Any info is appreciated

Thanks
Mike
MW Computer Services
WOW... You really messed up. I hate to say it but you really really should not have done or charged for most of what you did.

1.) You should buy them their copy of Office becasue a reinstall was not necessary
2.) You failed to determine up front if they had their office key.
3.) You also failed to take steps to obtain the key using software tools that are avaiable.
4.) They were caught off guard becasue on the price... this means that you failed to properly quote the job and set the expectations.
5.) You billed them for services that were not needed.
6.) You compounded the problems.

The way I would have fixed this problem


Step 1.) Determine how much RAM they have and upgrade to minimum of 1 gig.
Step 2.) Resize the C: and D: partitions or combine the free space.
If Two Drives then repartition and clone making the biggest c:
Step 3.) Optimize the system

There is no way they should pay for the 8 hour service call and AGAIN they should probably have you buy them office.
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mushin View Post
WOW... You really messed up. I hate to say it but you really really should not have done or charged for most of what you did.

1.) You should buy them their copy of Office becasue a reinstall was not necessary
2.) You failed to determine up front if they had their office key.
3.) You also failed to take steps to obtain the key using software tools that are avaiable.
4.) They were caught off guard becasue on the price... this means that you failed to properly quote the job and set the expectations.
5.) You billed them for services that were not needed.
6.) You compounded the problems.

The way I would have fixed this problem


Step 1.) Determine how much RAM they have and upgrade to minimum of 1 gig.
Step 2.) Resize the C: and D: partitions or combine the free space.
If Two Drives then repartition and clone making the biggest c:
Step 3.) Optimize the system

There is no way they should pay for the 8 hour service call and AGAIN they should probably have you buy them office.
I agree with you on this one.
I just would of tidied up the current system, optimized the OS a bit, and recommended an upgrade of RAM to 2GB. DDR2 RAM is cheap.

@OP
You should have stuff like this on your USB drive anyway (Service Packs, Applications, Windows Update Files) So that when you do re-installs at customers places it doesn't (and shouldn't) take 8 hours. If you charge $50 an hour, thats $400 to reformat an old computer, which I'm quite sure where your situated could get you a nice new machine?

And re-installs are best done back at the shop on the bench. So much waiting round during an re-install; so you could be fixing another machine on your bench at the same time.

I do see where your customer is coming from though ..

Maybe you should bite the bullet, and waive the labour for the last invoice, and take it as lesson learnt.

Get your toolkit up-to-date mate, make it a priority.

Use Ketarin to add commonly used programs (Flash, Shockwave, iTunes, FireFox, CCleaner, Free A/V's) (Check the Automation And Scripting section, someone created an AutoIT script for installin' commonly used apps)

Use AutoPatcher to get latest Windows Updates on your USB drive

Go to Microsoft.com and download the SP's and put them on your flash drive

Use nLite

A re-install should take no more than 2 hours, period. (on old slow machines, setup can take quite a while; thats why when you take it back to base, on machines like this, you give it a temp upgrade of RAM to help you out a bit if you have spares, remember to take it out when your finished)

You can't expect a client to pay you, while you sit at there computer behind there slow internet connection to download 100's of MB of updates
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:32 AM
mwcomputer mwcomputer is offline
 
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Default Question regarding payment of services

Quote:
Originally Posted by Methical View Post
I agree with you on this one.
I just would of tidied up the current system, optimized the OS a bit, and recommended an upgrade of RAM to 2GB. DDR2 RAM is cheap.

1024 was the max of that PC. I wish I could have added more ram.

I am going to negotiate the labor, and work on having a laptop with me on site for updates.

Thanks for your suggestions!

@OP
You should have stuff like this on your USB drive anyway (Service Packs, Applications, Windows Update Files) So that when you do re-installs at customers places it doesn't (and shouldn't) take 8 hours. If you charge $50 an hour, thats $400 to reformat an old computer, which I'm quite sure where your situated could get you a nice new machine?

And re-installs are best done back at the shop on the bench. So much waiting round during an re-install; so you could be fixing another machine on your bench at the same time.

I do see where your customer is coming from though ..

Maybe you should bite the bullet, and waive the labour for the last invoice, and take it as lesson learnt.

Get your toolkit up-to-date mate, make it a priority.

Use Ketarin to add commonly used programs (Flash, Shockwave, iTunes, FireFox, CCleaner, Free A/V's) (Check the Automation And Scripting section, someone created an AutoIT script for installin' commonly used apps)

Use AutoPatcher to get latest Windows Updates on your USB drive

Go to Microsoft.com and download the SP's and put them on your flash drive

Use nLite

A re-install should take no more than 2 hours, period. (on old slow machines, setup can take quite a while; thats why when you take it back to base, on machines like this, you give it a temp upgrade of RAM to help you out a bit if you have spares, remember to take it out when your finished)

You can't expect a client to pay you, while you sit at there computer behind there slow internet connection to download 100's of MB of updates
1024 was the max of that PC. I wish I could have added more ram.

I am going to negotiate the labor, and work on having a laptop with me on site for updates.

Thanks for your suggestions!
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  #7  
Old 01-23-2010, 03:42 AM
mwcomputer mwcomputer is offline
 
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Posts: 36
mwcomputer is an unknown quantity at this point
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mushin View Post
WOW... You really messed up. I hate to say it but you really really should not have done or charged for most of what you did.

1.) You should buy them their copy of Office becasue a reinstall was not necessary
2.) You failed to determine up front if they had their office key.
3.) You also failed to take steps to obtain the key using software tools that are avaiable.
4.) They were caught off guard becasue on the price... this means that you failed to properly quote the job and set the expectations.
5.) You billed them for services that were not needed.
6.) You compounded the problems.

The way I would have fixed this problem


Step 1.) Determine how much RAM they have and upgrade to minimum of 1 gig.
Step 2.) Resize the C: and D: partitions or combine the free space.
If Two Drives then repartition and clone making the biggest c:
Step 3.) Optimize the system

There is no way they should pay for the 8 hour service call and AGAIN they should probably have you buy them office.
Office 2000 is what they had. I did obtain the key before wiping it out. Time was the key factor. They needed their accounting system up and running asap. You cannot get Office 2000 anymore.

Ever hear of windows bit rot? I don't like to band aid computers. Clean installs on systems fix slowness and other problems.

1024 was the max memory I can have in that PC. It was maxed out.

I am not doing work for free but since the project took longer than expected, I am going to negotiate a fair deal with them.

I am not out to screw the customer but on the same token I am not going to be walked on.

I had a verbal agreement and now with the business kit, I will have things signed off on.

All lessons learned. Thanks
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:46 AM
mwcomputer mwcomputer is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by callthatgirl View Post
Yikes, that is exactly why I don't do any types of reinstalls at their homes, period.

I agree with the guy above. except I do them in my shop. I do many other things while those installs take forever.

How much was their 8 hour bill? At my rate that would be have minimum of $680.
Well this was a business and on site and I was quite a ways from my shop.

Like I said in previous messages I will work out a deal with them. I am not out the screw the customer.

Since I just found out about this business kit, I ordered it and will make use of it.

Thanks
Mike
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:48 AM
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I don't invoice anymore (pay on the spot)...but I loved it when people told me they didn't get the invoice. Whatever...you know they did and didn't want to pay.

Get out of invoicing period, check or credit card on the spot...but then you should take the advice of the guys above with the duties and quotes involved. I would have probably told them to buy the new machine, get their software in order and bring it all to you at your shop.

My 2 cents.
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:49 AM
mwcomputer mwcomputer is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrUnknown View Post
Were they aware of what you charge per hour before you started? Then they owe it.

Do you have a signed workorder authorizing the charges? Then they owe it.

Personally, I would never do a reinstall on-site like that because it does take a long time. At home I set it up and walk away and watch TV and check on it every hour or so.

From here on, it depends on how much you like the client and how much you want to risk your business' reputation. Sure, they messed up but to their friends its "He charged me twice the amount of a new computer to fix this piece of crap!"
This was a verbal agreement. Yes they knew my hourly rate.

I am not going to waive the whole thing but since it took a while I am going to give some sort of discount. I do see some future business there as well so I don't want to spoil that.

Thanks again for your comments.

-Mike
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