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Fixing someones computer, need price recommendation

Last response: in Business Computing
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September 25, 2011 4:06:33 AM

Hi guys,

So i've been kind of freelance tech guy, usually just helping family members and friends with their PC troubles. Recently however I did a job for a small business in my local community and my name just kind of got tossed around.

So now i have a lot of people asking me to build/fix/etc their PC's, now because i havent really been doing this, nor am i a business in practice, i'm not too sure what some fair prices would be.

Honestly if i could i'd do it for free as i really enjoy what i'm doing but some extra cash for school wouldnt hurt. So, why dont you guys tell me what my prices should be, espcecially any of you who do this sort of thing (i'll adjust the recommendations to reflect the local economy):

Reformatting a PC or removing viruses etc- $? (Currently i'm charging $35-$50)

Fixing hardware issues (ex: pc not turning on, fans not working, harddrive failure) - $? (currently charging $50-$100)

Building custom computers to order - $? (Not sure, as i got payed $200 to build 4 identical PC's)

What do you think of my prices? I want to be fair.

Obviously if i have to buy hardware i charge them for it (the exact price, i dont take money from that). And today some guy wants me to just reformat his daughters computer, and i'm not sure how much to charge him lol

Some help would be great. I'm in Los Angeles, if that matters at all...
September 25, 2011 4:22:13 AM

I would call a local PC build/tech shop and act like your a customer and get a quote. then undercut there cost as you probably don't have any overhead, and like you said are just trying to make some extra cash for college.

Ultimately its your call. I know where i live if the pc is opened up or a service call repair is 50.00-100.00 plus a flat rate from 35-100/hour.

How you structure your billing is entirely up to you. But if you are equally skilled as a professional computer technician than charge what you are worth and don't undersell yourself. Undersell the competition.
September 25, 2011 4:51:39 AM

Ah ok.

I've never proffessionally worked as a tech guy so im not too sure.

Thank you. Ill try calling up a local shop and see their rates.

Amyone else have any idea?
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September 25, 2011 5:39:25 AM

i charge 30 bucks a pop!
September 25, 2011 8:57:28 AM

The price is based on local economy prices. In different places i charge different prices,based on type of intervention, prices of "competition", etc,etc. Exempt: New install of OS is like 20 $ in my town(no drivers, on old machines,+drivers is 10 more), Assembly with the owner stuff is 50, stuff i order is 80... and so on.. Put a value on your work and time, based on local prices.
September 26, 2011 12:19:48 AM

Thanks guys
September 26, 2011 6:56:33 PM

What's your time to you is the question...

I've seen techs charge $30 and spend all day fixing a 10 minute problem. I've had people get very upset with me for charging $100 to fix something that only takes me 10 minutes while others may have taken hours.

Reality of it is I've spend my life learning how to do this stuff, so I can do it quicker and therefore I also charge more. If you're not sure about an issue and it'll take some time to figure out, be fair but reasonable.

A standard virus removal can be $25-$75, depending on the virus. Your call on that. Figure out what your hourly rate is.. most workstation techs probably make $15/hour roughly.

In my past I've charged a good amount and generally broke it down that the first hour was a flat X amount, then additional hours are billed in 15 minute increments at X rate.

What you really are trying to avoid with your rate is having someone ask you to do one then and then pile on 3-4 extra things to do.

Virus removal since you're not a business, $25. It will come down to being personable too. If the person doesn't have a lot of money, cut them a deal. If you have someone asking you to build a $4,000 desktop, feel free to charge 10%-15% of the value of the computer.

Get a contract through if you start doing bigger business. My first major consulting job was $40/hour to completely set up a new network for a customer and get their small business server working. 120 hours, built all the computers, ran the networking cables for 32 desktops, configured Exchange, their programs, mapped drives, the whole nine yards.. $4800. I didn't have a contract because it was going to be an under the table ddeal. I finished, the guy gave me $500 and told me to beat it. I took my losses, he hired the kid down the street to fine tune the network. Next day I get a call to come back in.. the kid formatted the server. I was happy, didn't get paid, but was happy.

Know what you are getting into and know that most of us who have been in your shoes try to avoid it now. :)  We've all had our issues. You're going to defrag their computer one day and 3 weeks later they're going to call you up saying their printer doesn't work and it is your fault. To many of us, the quick money isn't worth the long term headache.
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