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News IT support for your parents

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by GreatOldOne, 10 Jan 2005.

  1. GreatOldOne

    GreatOldOne Wannabe Martian

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    How true. How very, very true. This from the Beeb:

    Really, how wired up are you?

    You're wedded to a computer screen for much of the day, you e-mail and browse the web without a second thought and texting, well, it's just part of everyday life.

    To your peers, you're no more technologically savvy than the next person, but to your parents you are Bill Gates, Albert Einstein and Mr Clippy rolled into one.

    Of those who returned to the family roost for Christmas, many will have found the normal festive activities peppered with a rather less traditional commitment: fixing mum or dad's computer.

    Forget those illusions you may still harbour about being mummy or daddy's little poppet. For those whose parents have opted into the 21st Century by investing in a computer, likely as not, you have become IT Support.


    More here

    Yes - I remember one memorable Christmas where I built a server, installed an office network and created a backup strategy for my parents haulage company... So not only do I get calls as to how to remove viruses or spyware from the rentals home PC, I, by default (as I put the damn thing in) am tech support to the company.

    Not only that, I seem to be front line support for the Wife's company, her bosses home computers and several friends PC's. Is it any wonder I went Mac? ;)

    I have been sorely tempted on many occasions to buy the T-Shirt from Think Geek with the phrase "NO, I will not fix your computer" emblazoned on the chest. :D
     
  2. Kevo

    Kevo 426F6C6C6F636B7300

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    I’ve already got one and regularly ware it to work :thumb: I never repair computers for friends or my family, they better just take it back to were ever they got it from because I most certainly wont have built it.

    The only person I did fix things for was my girlfriend but I’ve bought her a Powerbook now and my level of knowledge about Apple goes about as far as switching them on.
     
  3. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Its a bitch isnt it. You do people a favour cause lets face it, getting to play with new kit is fun, but then they adbuse you and make you sit on pins for the rest of its existence.

    I do my familys Pc's without a 2nd thought because i plug my pc into their network when i come home, but friends and extended family are now strictly no no. You've just got to tell them straight.

    ..and going "wow! hardware acceleration!" "Wooo-wooo-wooo" as the icons/windows zip in and out.
     
  4. LoneArchon

    LoneArchon What's a Dremel?

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    I am forced in to as I am Still living at home and all they have to do is knock on my door but its not that bad as they don't have problems all that much and also there computer is very slow(Old P3 500)
     
  5. Awoken

    Awoken Gazing at the stars

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    I took a different attitude to it...charge. When I introduced a flat fee per request it soon killed off the requests, it has however earned me a nice sideline in building pcs for friends and the money suppliments my uni course (I also add any parts I want to their order and let them cover the shipping - perk of the job :D
     
  6. Yo-DUH_87

    Yo-DUH_87 Who you calling tiny?

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    I charge for time and parts, which ends up being a good deal for the family member and I manage to survive without wasting my time for nothing.

    Seriously though, if you are labeled the "computer genius" at school/work and don't have any scheme to fend people off with, you will be burried under the flow of busted and spyware-infested machines very quickly.

    But when it comes down to it, friends don't let friends do apple (poor GOO). :p
     
  7. Hiren

    Hiren mind control Moderator

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    It's not so bad for me now since I'm away from home, however at one point when I was at home, everyone and their brother would harrass me with tech problems.
     
  8. daniel1113

    daniel1113 What's a Dremel?

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    This is why I became a paid tech consultant (repair guy) at my college. I was fixing computers all the time for kids in dorms, so I figured I might as well get paid for it. However, when people know that you are good with computers, it is difficult to ward them off. I fear I am too nice sometimes, especially with family members.
     
  9. fizban

    fizban What's a Dremel?

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    I hear ya guys!!! I'm in the same boat. I've been dubbed the tech help for my family, my wifes family, and everybody at work and at church. But like others I've started charging for everyone except family, (and the church pastor).

    -Fiz
     
  10. 3.5SE

    3.5SE What's a Dremel?

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    I'm in the same boat, family and certain friends are always free but I am too nice and often fix stuff for free for everyone. I do enjoy working on PC's so I look at it as a fun challenge to take a dead PC and bring it back to life. I'd love to make some extra bucks but I never know what to charge people? What do you guys charge to repair PC's? With PC's so cheap sometimes it's cheaper to buy a new one then to have your old one fixed. I'm even fixing my land lady's PC for free. You think she'd take something off my rent???? :wallbash:
     
  11. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    I wonder what my family would say if I started charging them... luckily my dad think's he's comptetent enough to fix most things (he's not but that's not what matters)
     
  12. Spiral Architect

    Spiral Architect Cooked on Phonics

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    I don't mind doing family computers at all. I would also feel rude charging them. After all, they do a lot more for me.

    One thing which does annoy me though is because you can fix their computers they expect you do be able to do absolutely anything involving a computer, and expect you to fix any problem without needing to read the manual or research it.

    A good example is them expecting you to be fluent with every software package available.
     
  13. ufk

    ufk Licenced Fool

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    Family dont get charged but everybody else does, rate depends on the job, they've even roped me in at work to take care of their own and the business's computers thats very definitley chargeable lol
     
  14. A13n0rma1

    A13n0rma1 Wannabe

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    My trick to fight the "nice guy getting jipped" situation?

    Business cards. With a flat "per visit" fee clearly printed in the corner, under my phone number...

    "So next time, here's my number and my fee's down there too"
     
  15. Lord_A

    Lord_A Boom baby!

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    I spent pretty much my whole 2 weeks 'holiday' in the UK sorting out family PC problems & installing a network at my dads shop :grr:

    It gets REALLY frustrating at times, especially when they become so reliant on you that they will not even TRY to use their brain and figure out where that minimized window just dissapeared to :rolleyes:
     
  16. legoman666

    legoman666 Beat to fit, paint to match.

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    yea, i like doing it because i get paid. all of my mother's friends are incompetant with computers so they pay me like $50 to reinstall windows or remove spyware. I mean, all it takes is for me to click a few buttons inbetween matches of CS:S. and I get paid $50, aint a bad deal.
     
  17. Ubermich

    Ubermich He did it!

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    I give free support for the computers I build assuming the customer hasn't been a complete dolt. If they have they get a firm lecture...

    I give a free trial to friends/extended family, but if they begin to expect me to fix all of their screwups for free, they quickly find me very very busy with homework... and church.. and work... and school... and cleaning... and washing the car... and brushing the cat's teeth...

    Complete strangers are expected to give some type of gratitude the first time I help them... otherwise I will usually be very busy the next time they call.

    But I don't request much for visits. One woman made me spaghetti and that was good enough for me!
     
  18. Nezuji

    Nezuji What's a Dremel?

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    My personal strategy for PC maintainence is to backup all my data regularly, and when I hit a problem I can't fix in an hour or two, I just format and reinstall everything from CD. Given that most of the people who ask me to fix their comps don't HAVE installation CDs (I'll leave how they got the software in the first place up to your imagination :hehe:), I tend to get off scot-free once I let them in on my secret.

    For the other times, when someone needs help using some program or device, my first question is always, "Have you read the manual?". More often than not, the answer is, "Oh, no." If the answer is an annoyed, "YES," I say, "Well to be honest, I don't know anything about X and while I'm happy to learn so that I can help you, I'm going to be very annoyed if I come over there and solve your problem just by reading the manual." That usually does the trick, and gets me off the hook. Any request that makes it through this little gauntlet is genuine and is either quickly resolved, or at least an interesting journey of discovery for me (and Google :hehe:).

    Nezuji :)
     
  19. GMan

    GMan Minimodder

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    With 4 tech's in the family it's a bit easier: My son and I end up fixing my mothers' and older sisters' PC's; My younger brother fixes PC's for his wifes family and my younger sisters' husband fixes PC's for that part of the family.
     
  20. Almightyrastus

    Almightyrastus Rule #9

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    It is not nearly as bad as it used to be for me as my dad is getting to know how to sort the more common things out himself. For just about everyone else I get requests from I tell them I will charge a flat rate per hour and a few times that leads to 'let me get back to you' which is fine by me, sure the money is nice but so is my sanity.

    Depending on who I do a build for I will tell them either that this doesn't give them free tech support for life or to just drop me an email, most stuff can be sorted out with a quick copy and paste idiot sheet on what to do.
     
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