PDA

View Full Version : What to charge for computer work?


not4un
08-19-2010, 4:05 AM
Anyone here repair computers? If so what do you charge per/hr? I am doing some work for a few people but not sure what the going rate is.

E Pluribus Unum
08-19-2010, 4:32 AM
Depends on where you live. Call local shops.

I have been in business for 10 years, I have a LOT of experience, and I charge $85.00 per hour. Someone with less experience might charge 55-65 per hour. I charge as little as $42.50 an hour for churches, youth groups, et cetera.

In my area, businesses with large amounts of overhead charge 95-120 per hour.

The first rule of capitalism applies; charge the most that you can, but low enough that people are willing to pay. This magic number is different at each location depending on a wide variety of factors.

I would start low and then work up.

bigmike82
08-19-2010, 8:19 AM
Depends on the clients and your own skill set.

If you can rock a repair with your eyes closes, 75-100 isn't unreasonable. If you're starting out and still need experience, 35-50 seems to be the sweet point.

Ricky-Ray
08-19-2010, 12:33 PM
My friends get off cheap. I make them buy me dinner. :)

Rekrab
08-19-2010, 12:34 PM
$60 an hour seems pretty standard. If you're good enough, and fast enough, you can charge more, no sweat.

Zomgie
08-19-2010, 1:51 PM
It depends also on how specific and unique your services are. Case in point: IT consulting in MS shops tends to run in the $80-100 range at the high end, while consulting for Linux runs around $150+.

The same is true for products. Helping people with generic MS Office or common apps won't bring in very high wages (although there may be a lot of work). Being good in services like Exchange or Groupwise brings in a much higher price point. If you can pull off something like SAP or real high end security, networking (CCIE L2 type stuff) then $300-$600 is not uncommon.

0x80884
08-19-2010, 9:55 PM
There's always the annual income rule.

If you're only making 20k a year, charge $20 an hour. 115k a year, $115 an hour.

kapache
08-20-2010, 9:48 AM
PC repairs BEH! When I was a kid I used to charge 10+ an hour depending on the type of work that needed to be done. Now I just tell people go to Fry's or google it, or read pc repair book.

exklusve
08-20-2010, 10:38 AM
what kind of repairs will you be doing?
Whenever I do small silly stuff like spyware removal, etc I usually just charge a flat rate of 50-75.
If it's more advanced like a hardcore wifi setup, domain setup, migrations, disaster recovery, I usually go 125-200 per hour.

ocabj
08-20-2010, 4:33 PM
10 years ago when I was still in college, my mom's friends would ask her if I could do computer work for them. It was a range of stuff like hardware upgrades, OS reinstalls, virus cleanup, etc. I was charging $75 hr back then. And I hated it because it was crap work and there was a lot of it. So I just ended up raising my rates to $100 then $125 then $150, until the work stopped. Either it was too high or they got the gist that I didn't really like doing the work even though I was more than capable of doing an excellent job.

The only real reason I did it was because they were friends of my mother.

So today, if some random person asked me if I can do computer work for them, I always quote $200/hr. If they say they'll pay it, and I think the job isn't tedious and I have the time, then I'll take it. Otherwise, they think it's too high and leave me alone, in which case I win anyway.

But if a real friend asks me, I usually will do it for free, but I often get paid anyway because they feel bad for taking up my time; e.g. $50-$100 or dinner and some beers for a basic home computer fix.

DiscoBayJoe
08-20-2010, 4:47 PM
My Advice: Agree to a fixed number for each repair before you start.

If you are dealing with someone spending their own money, they'll never be happy with your hourly rate x the number of hours it takes you. Either you or your customer will walk away feeling ripped off nearly every time.

It's a bit hard to predict time/costs at first, but this takes the pain out of the learning curve. As you get better you make more because it takes you less time. Base your values off Geek Squads prices. You can decide if you are worth more or less than them.

I'm Service Director for an organization that does ongoing IT service for businesses. We switched from a T&M model to a monthly service charge model. We also leverage the best tools. It's way better for the customer and way better for us. We used to charge $125/hr for Desktop type work and $175/hr for Server/Network.

JDay
08-20-2010, 11:36 PM
Base your values off Geek Squads prices. You can decide if you are worth more or less than them.

Geek Squad is not even worth what they charge, most of those guys are incompetent. All their "repair" work consists of is running an automated process on your machine (i.e. script that runs a few anti-malware programs and a virus scanner), then they install a "registry fix" that in most cases slows your system down. The only thing I'd look at them to learn is how to not run a business. The links below barely scrape the surface of their shady business practices.

http://geeksquadscam.com/

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/09/rip-off-geek-squad-will-rip-your-cds-for-cash/

http://consumerist.com/2007/07/video-consumerist-catches-geek-squad-stealing-porn-from-customers-computer.html

http://gizmodo.com/5439590/best-buys-optimization-is-officially-a-huge-evil-scam

Best Buy's 'Optimization' Is Officially a Huge, Evil Scam

Best Buy's computer optimization service costs $40 and promises to double the speed of your computer. They push it hard, so hard that you're often forced to get it against your wishes. The trouble? It makes computers slower.

If you've ever bought a computer from Best Buy, you've doubtlessly been pitched an optimization. And you may have even been forced to buy a model already "optimized" against your wishes, as they have a practice of opening up a sizable percentage of laptops, performing the service, then sealing them back up. Want to buy this advertised laptop? Oops, only pre-optimized models are left! That'll be $40 over the advertised price, please.

That would be a slimy enough practice if the service was actually beneficial, but a new Consumerist investigation shows that the "service" is actually damaging, slowing down new computers by an average of 32%.

What exactly are they doing to these computers to warrant a $40, then?

Upon comparing the optimized changes, the first noticeable change was a cleaner desktop. Most of the removed shortcuts were for trials, promotions and software added by the manufacture. The programs themselves were still installed and available for later access. Updates had been downloaded on all three models, but differences in the factory default setup can affect how the system is optimized. On one laptop, for example, because Windows Defender was deactivated by default, its definitions had not been updated.

Some optimization changes seemed intended to make the laptop easier to use, such as adding the status bar to the file explorer, or displaying the file menu bar in Internet Explorer. Including a link to the Downloads folder in the Start menu, for example, can save you a few clicks. Security settings were adjusted to allow for automatic Windows updates, and in Internet Explorer, privacy settings were eased up to allow websites you visit to save info you provide on your PC.

Yes, Best Buy is charging $40 to delete shortcuts from your desktop. They don't delete the actual bloatware, just the shortcuts that let you know what bloatware is there. And they download updates for you. Good lord.

Oh, and did I mention that after one of the optimizations, the Geek Squad forgot to put the power cable back in the box? Oops!

Why is Best Buy being so crazy aggressive about rip-off services like optimization? Well, it's no secret that they make almost all of their money off of accessories like HDMI cables, extended warranties and services like this. Most of the products they sell have razor-thin margins, meaning they'll make three times as much profit selling you a Monster Cable than an LED LCD TV. And services like optimizations? Almost pure profit.

But that doesn't make such anti-consumer behavior acceptable. Pre-optimizing new laptops is a downright scummy behavior, and completely contradicts their claims that it's a mere choice and not something customers are forced into. If Best Buy is going to continue to push these expensive services, they need to make sure that it's always a choice for customers. They also need to make clear that it, you know, actually does something useful.

bigmike82
08-21-2010, 12:18 AM
Jday, did your rant on GS actually contribute anything to the OPs point? ;)

Malthusian
08-21-2010, 12:39 AM
$125 hr
$50 travel fee

JDay
08-21-2010, 1:36 AM
Jday, did your rant on GS actually contribute anything to the OPs point? ;)

I was pointing out that they are not the best ones to look at when creating a business plan. Not if you want repeat business anyway.

badandy
08-21-2010, 2:41 AM
My friends get off cheap. I make them buy me dinner. :)

I charge my friends a fifth of my fave liquor... or any liquor for that matter.

badandy
08-21-2010, 2:50 AM
There's always the annual income rule.

If you're only making 20k a year, charge $20 an hour. 115k a year, $115 an hour.

That must be contractor rates, own supplies, equip, taxes, etc

Because full time doubles your gross... 20hr=40k, 70hr=140k, etc...

Unless your me, I bill door to door, and work mobile. If I can do it at home with a beer in hand... rate decreases, and I'm still happy.

not4un
08-21-2010, 4:15 AM
I like the idea of just agreeing to a price. I live in a semi-remote area and no one where I lives does any kind of computer repairs. It will mostly be spyware,virus remove, system recoverys, and some wi-fi stuff.

DiscoBayJoe
08-21-2010, 5:48 AM
Geek Squad is not even worth what they charge, most of those guys are incompetent.

I coudln't agree more; however, its a posted set of fixed prices that could serve as a reference point for both the OP and the Customer.

Elmer
08-21-2010, 6:02 AM
$125 hr
$50 travel fee

Good luck......

I used to fix computers for friends, (for free...that's not my profession). These days it's hardly worth even replacing a hard drive in most of the computers I get asked about. I've got a laptop here that belongs to a friend's daughter that's "running really slow". Duh. She's got 4 or 5 messenger programs that load, itunes, etc. It's a 4 year old Celeron. It's got a 40 GB, 4200 rpm drive, 256 MB of memory, and the dvd drive is toast. I told them for 300 bucks, she can have a brand new laptop that will be faster, and have a much bigger drive. I hate to think what would have happened had they taken it in to a shop.

With the price of computers today.... I'd advise anyone thinking about a career in consumer computer repair to learn the words, "would you like fries with that"?

Malthusian
08-21-2010, 6:12 AM
Good luck......

I used to fix computers for friends, (for free...that's not my profession). These days it's hardly worth even replacing a hard drive in most of the computers I get asked about. I've got a laptop here that belongs to a friend's daughter that's "running really slow". Duh. She's got 4 or 5 messenger programs that load, itunes, etc. It's 4 years old. It's got a 40 GB, 4200 rpm drive, 256 MB of memory, and the dvd drive is toast. I told them for 300 bucks, she can have a brand new laptop that will be faster, and have a much bigger drive. I hate to think what would have happened had they taken it in to a shop.

With the price of computers today.... I'd advise anyone thinking about a career in consumer computer repair to learn the words, "would you like fries with that"?

Have a friend that charges exactly that ($125 with $50 travel fee). But he is good. Has a few business accounts. It is his only income.

Moved here from Russia, put up his shingle and is pulling in 100K.

I personally charge about $60-$65. I usually have to make a Fry's run and just add the never ending list of things I need for my computers to the tag and my customer pay for my indulgence. You cannot do hardly anything in an hour. Most tasks are 2-4 hours

JDay
08-21-2010, 8:32 PM
I like the idea of just agreeing to a price. I live in a semi-remote area and no one where I lives does any kind of computer repairs. It will mostly be spyware,virus remove, system recoverys, and some wi-fi stuff.

Look on Craigslist and see what the going rate is, usually a fixed price for simple removal, more if you have to really dig in.

Rob454
08-22-2010, 7:08 AM
Really depends on your skill and the difficulty of the job. I understand that people have a minimum rate but I usually ask what the estimate is. if you have the experience you should be able to tell me what the job total will be. If you are new just starting out you're better off working a little cheaper ( undercut your competition) and build a client list. As you get the experience and the clients keep calling you back then you can start charging more. ive had people who did work for me and Ive used them over and over but they give me good prices and they do good work,.

Invicta
08-23-2010, 8:58 AM
Yeah, check the local market and look at your experience. If you haven't done a lot of this work before consider a fixed fee. That way you aren't billing people for your learning curve.

The company I work bills me out at $165-$225/hour and 1.5 times that after hours. That is for business level stuff like VMware, Citrix, SAN work, etc though in a large market (SoCal). Personally I charge $50 an hour for pc repairs for friends and family on the side from time to time. PC Repair is definitely becoming a commodity. Learn it well then move up to networking/higher level business stuff.

Mute
08-23-2010, 9:08 AM
Depends on how badly you need to work. When I used to do IT work, I'd charge no less than $150/hr. $200/hr for Apples. It might be excessive for a Joe Blow at home on his PC, but I told people, that's my cost because I guarantee that I'll fix your problem and it isn't worth my time to charge less (unless you're a close friend or a relative). If you want to pay less go ahead and take your chance.

I do suggest you put together a business plan. Breakdown the cost for the type of work and charge accordingly. Also draw up a customer service level agreement to be signed by the customer detailing what your service will and will not cover, so there isn't any confusion. Some people think just because you service one area of their computing needs, all of a sudden everything related to electronics are a part of the process.

If you are going to seriously make this a business, you should have a business plan.

ArkinDomino
08-27-2010, 1:19 PM
PC repair can be costly. My techie buddy gets lots of food and beer from me when he fixes/builds stuff for me. I also trade him for reloads sometimes (I reload mass amounts of 223 and 45).

Rob454
08-27-2010, 3:47 PM
Personally i always ask what the job costs. This way if you fix it quick then you make money. if you cant fix it then I dont pay or you lose money the longer it takes. I look at it this way. if you do a T&M charge then you have NO incentive to get it fixed quick and youre jsut gonna milk the clock. if someone knows what they are doing they know what the time to fix a problem is. Ive had a few computer problems i couldnt fix. my latest one was a vaio and it simply stopped working. used it the night before and the next morning nothing. no lights no nothing. Tried a different power supply etc. Did some basic tests and i called a few people. got quotes for 5-600$ to look and fix it or more if it was something else. Basically these guys priced themselves out of fixing it. no problem. i just went and bought a new one. I kept the old vaio in case someone wanted it. What sucked was i jsut had a new mother board and CDRW installed a year ago for the mother board and 2 weeks for the CD drive and it broke. I figure someone may need the screen or p arts off of it.

ArkinDomino
08-27-2010, 6:58 PM
PC repair can be costly. My techie buddy gets lots of food and beer from me when he fixes/builds stuff for me. I also trade him for reloads sometimes (I reload mass amounts of 223 and 45).

kapache
08-27-2010, 7:08 PM
I personally don't think that their is much money to be nade repairing computers, specially with all the competition out there. You should consider doing Networking, or system administration to increase your chances of making good money.