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Other What to charge? (site building/pc repairs)

Discussion in 'General' started by nukeman8, 21 Jan 2011.

  1. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    I don't charge as little as £9/hour, but some people here have mentioned that they do. Phil's post is a good starting point but is really only the tip of the iceberg. A lot of people don't realize what is involved in starting a business legally and running that business profitably until they go and do it. I both studied business and economics in school, and also took self employment/small business classes and I still have thing or two to learn... and that's after years of trading.
     
  2. adam_bagpuss

    adam_bagpuss Have you tried turning it off/on ?

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    from my epxerience of dealing with suppliers and traders etc etc none of them understand the ins and outs and i doubt they ever will.


    best thing to do is get advice and as unicorn said attend some classes which are free a lot of the time should be a good starting point.

    also you dont need Public Liability Insurance IF you do not visit customers properties/public buildings etc.
     
  3. PHILIP1193

    PHILIP1193 a Self Confessed HP Server Lover!!

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    Very true!

    But you still need professional indemnity insurance! About 1-2 mill of cover is about 500 a year last time i looked.

    I think a lot of people underestimate what it takes to start a company and do it PROPERLY!! Also remember all the software you use need to be 1. open source under GNU or 2. paid for, a licensed for commercial use, which can prove costly.

    You should work out a spread sheet of what your costs are and what your looking to achieve.

    Phil
     
  4. adam_bagpuss

    adam_bagpuss Have you tried turning it off/on ?

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    yeah i only ship open source stuff except the windows install and even then i still dont put a lot of software on any PCs i build.

    generally its something like open office, adobe reader/flash, imgburn and a free AV like avast or MSE
     
  5. smc8788

    smc8788 ...at least I have chicken

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    I think he was talking about software you personally use for the purposes of your business, not what you put on the PCs you are building/repairing. I might be wrong though.
     
  6. PHILIP1193

    PHILIP1193 a Self Confessed HP Server Lover!!

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    I was referring to what you use as part of your business to do your work but bag_puss has a valid point all the same :)

    Phil
     
  7. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    That really depends on where you get your cover and all the other factors that your insurer needs to know about. For example, as a site/installtion engineer I often use various heat sources (soldering iron, hot air gun, micro torch etc) and that puts my insurance up. So do other things like working off ladders etc etc. Going on what I pay for 5M, a regular PC technician should be able to get 2M of indemnity for much less than £500 per year.
     
  8. adam_bagpuss

    adam_bagpuss Have you tried turning it off/on ?

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    my bad

    what software would you use as part of a PC repair/build business ?

    although maybe imaging softeware like acronis ?

    most tools are free though generally
     
  9. PHILIP1193

    PHILIP1193 a Self Confessed HP Server Lover!!

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    hiscox is a good place to start, as they do IT specific cover ;)

    Acronis do specific licensing for system builders, how ever it requires an exam to proove your competent with their software and then and then with express written permission from acronis can you use your NFR software which they provide you for use on some ones computer to do repair work (and not sell it) - trust me i should know i spent 2-3 months getting this all clarified and in writing from them... ball ache!!!

    Malware bytes is also another popular one people use for home use all the time, again they do a system builder / repairers licensed version. Cant remember costs though.

    Please also remember that when freshly installing operating systems (specifically microsoft) onto a computer you need to "sysprep" them which means you dont accept the EULA on behalf of the customer (this is when you build a computer). Again you need to make sure you have the right skill set to do this properly.

    Phil
     
    Last edited: 25 Jan 2011
  10. SteveU

    SteveU New Member

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    I don't want to hijack this thread but I get where you're coming from. I personally feel that by doing the A+ & N+ courses I will fill in the blanks of my basic knowledge and show my first IT employer that I've made the effort to get started in the IT sector. I'm only expecting to get a 1st line support job and take a pay cut to get my foot in the door but that's the hard bit done then, after that I'll have the all important experience and won't have to rely on qualifications as much.

    It's a scary world out there and I deffo don't feel that setting up as a PC repair guy with no industry experience is the way to go. I'm a mechanic by trade and I'd still be apprehensive setting up as a mobile mechanic even now let alone if my only car experience was as a hobbyist trying to do a professional's job!
     
  11. soopahfly

    soopahfly New Member

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    This is what I do for a living, and I charge £35p/h. No fix no fee, no callout unless you're over 30 miles away.

    Comparing this to other proper techies in Sheffield, I'm cheap. Unless you want to take the computer to one of the myriad of cowboy computer shops where the PC you take in isn't always the PC you get back.

    I subcontract to a couple of other businesses and white label myself and this works quite well.

    I work from home, and as far as I'm concerned that £35 per hour has to cover :

    Running of a car.
    Electricity
    Internet and Phone line.
    Services - Online Backup, Hosting, Mobile Phone etc.
    Parts for repairs.
    Contributions towards rent, as I'm taking over a room.

    Once these are covered, whatever I earn on top goes into savings.

    Realistically, I don't see much in the back pocket once the missus has divvied it up.


    If you're only just doing A+ N+ and S+ I think you've got a long way to go before you can be an efficient techie. Sometimes the book way is not the best way.
    If you're not familiar with a task, you might overlook things. Important things.
    You need to be familiar with the in-depth runnings of the OS.

    I will often use google in front of a customer if I get a problem I'm unsure about. The difference between me using google and the customer, I know what the changes do, and whether it's a good idea or not to change them, along with the knock on effects to other aspects of the system.

    It's good to get into it, but you really need some years under your belt.
     
    Last edited: 25 Jan 2011
  12. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    At work 1st line tech's are on £10/hour, with a performance based monthly bonus which works out to about £15/hour (£10 + £5 bonus) if you get maximum bonus - this is a reletively low wage for people in the field so you should at least benchmark around that.

    compTIA network + and A+ courses are great - and can work as supplementary modules towards MCSe
     
    Last edited: 25 Jan 2011
  13. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    Great post. I'm a little lower than £35/Ph but I do charge for callouts. Some people do it different ways but at the end of the day, we're paying for pretty much exactly the same running costs and making almost exactly the same. I couldn't agree more with what you say about requiring a few years experience, although I suppose everyone has to start somewhere.
     
  14. soopahfly

    soopahfly New Member

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    Exactly.

    I've been doing it as a hobby since 13, in shops since my 15th birthday and never really left.
    I'm now 28. So I've got a few years.
     
  15. SteveU

    SteveU New Member

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    Oh don't get me wrong I'm no stranger to delving into the registry, etc... and I've been fixing PCs for about 25 years now but purely at a hobby level. I'm also the unofficial go-to guy at work where I often have to rectify issues with networked PCs (proper networks with rack mounted switches and servers etc).

    I'm finding the A+ to be a bit beneath me if I'm totally honest buy I'm at a loss as to how else I can get my foot in the door.

    I totally agree about using Google too, I remember reading an anecdote recently that even the best software devs in the world quite often resort to Google for a line of code that they need as its the most efficient way these days providing you know what you're doing!
     
  16. nukeman8

    nukeman8 New Member

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    spotted your problem :D

    good points thou, there's a few things i haven't thought about, especially space and rent.
     
  17. soopahfly

    soopahfly New Member

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    At the moment, she's the main bread winner. I'm still starting out on my own.

    I'm not great at the web stuff I've always avoided it. As such, my SEO seems to lean towards a Bed and Breakfast in Sheffield than an IT company.

    Eitherway I've gone from £200-£300 a month, towards the end of last year £500-£800 a month.

    Still not loads.

    My mission for this year is to get 3 hours work a day on average, @£35 an hour.
    £525 a week, £2100 a month and if I never took a day off £25k a year.

    Not bad for 3 hours a day. It'll take time, but I'll get there.
     
  18. soopahfly

    soopahfly New Member

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    In that case, you've got more experience than me. Go for it.
    In an attempt to get my foot in the door at businesses, I've got ECDL (did that one with a massive hang over), A+ N+ S+ and an Expired CCNA. Not a sausage. I get impatient that I'm not moving fast enough within the company so I change.

    I set up on my own, and if I'm not moving fast enough, it's no-ones fault but mine.

    You'll be surprised how many family friends will insist on paying, so they feel they are not taking advantage.

    Most of our friends and family have their own businesses, so I work on the principle that if it's personal it's free, I'll get it back in beer etc. If it's for their business, I'll charge. No prisoners.

    They know that they are dealing with someone they can trust, so they are happy to pay what you charge.

    I find it easier also to have a flat fee for certain jobs when I'm subcontracting. It makes it easier for them to say to the customer "It'll be £x" and say it with certainty.

    Start on your own, start at the weekend and spare time, then go for it. I had no choice. I was working in a call centre, and had visions of going postal. :D
     
    Last edited: 25 Jan 2011

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