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Alright, I just started a computer business. I help people with spyware/virus issues, networking, etc. I've been doing all of these things for a long time for free but recently decided to actually start charging people :).

 

Does anybody here have any tips, suggestions, or advice?

 

Here are my prices:

 

Gold Package…………………….$225.00

…Software Updates

…Operating System Repairs

…Registry Defrag

…Memory Optimization

…Speed Tweaks

…Registry Cleaning

…Registry Backup

…Hard-drive Defrag

…Spyware Removal

…Virus Removal

…Diagnostics

…In-Home Visit

 

Silver Package…………………...$150.00

…Registry Cleaning

…Registry Backup

…Hard-drive Defrag

…Spyware Removal

…Virus Removal

…Diagnostics

…In-Home Visit

 

Bronze Package………………….$75.00

…Spyware Removal

…Virus Removal

…Diagnostics

…In-Home Visit

 

Something for Nothing*…………FREE

…Diagnostics

…In-Home Visit

 

*First time is free, $25 regularly.

 

Add-Ons:

…Online Backup Service

…Disk Erasure

…Software Installation

…(1) Hour Training

…Networking

…Security

 

What programs (optimizing, defragging, registry editing) do ya'll recommend? I am up for spending money on the programs but free is great too!

 

I'd love to just pick ya'lls brain about how to be the most professional I can be. Thanks.

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When I build comps for people I usually give programs to them for free. I put them all in a folder called weekly checkup on the desktop. I give them freeware stuff. I wouldnt recommend openly giving away programs that only allow you to use one license. Use freeware stuff and burn the installation setups on a cd to carry with you. I use avg, registry doesnt need defrag, xp optimizes memory on its own, if your talking about high speed internet weaks I use cablenut, registry once again doesnt really bog the system down, diskeeper lite for defrag, ad aware and spybot. I honestly think its a bit over priced. I would install those programs for someone and tell them to run them one at a time once a week. The most I would charge for such a service would be 50.

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Businesses around here are charging up to $100 more than those prices for the same work. I'm still way below the normal price right, thus why I can afford to charge that much.

 

The optimizing programs I've used have all had different tweaks they do. I included some of those in my package. Registry defrag made a big difference on my computer. I don't really want to leave the programs on my client's computer because, well, if they can do it what do they need me for? :P

 

If I put the actual programs (programs that require a license) on their computer, I would just have to figure in the price of those programs into my package.

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I don't really want to leave the programs on my client's computer because, well, if they can do it what do they need me for?

Then they will feel you are ripping them off if you keep having to fix it all the time. The idea should be to fix it right the first time and give them the tools and show them how to keep it that way.

 

Do you have a retail shop or are you doing this on the side from home?

The most I would charge for such a service would be 50.

I agree, If its an easy reinstall no saving files. When its a virus/malware removal or I have to save a bunch of stuff I go to $75. If they need new hardware I do $25 for the labor plus the my cost for the hardware.

 

Businesses around here are charging up to $100 more than those prices for the same work.

Guess your talking about those idiots at Geek Squad or similar.
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My parents own a shop and we do on-sites for $69.99CAD per hour. Most things will only take an hour or slightly over. That's a very competetive price around here. The only other people around charge $139.99CAD per hour. But that's one of those big chain stores... you know... the big one with the red roof.

 

If $225 is competetive and people are prepared to pay it then go for it. I always feel bad charging people in the store for simple little things like running Ewido but they're willing to pay pretty much anything just to get their system back up and running.

 

Again, if you're competetive then great. If people don't call you or they complain then drop your prices. Simple as that. These things take time and experimentation...

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Thanks for all the responses guys,

 

I would be running the business out of my home.

 

I live in a small (but growing) town where there are relatively few options other than geek squad. They're charging huge amounts and as a former employee of Best Buy, I know that I'm as good as most of their guys.

 

From what I've heard so far (from clients and such), I think I am going to drop my prices a little, but not much. People seem pretty open to paying me that much. I'm also running a service where I'll go out to someone's house and tutor them on the computer for an hour or two, this I'm charging like $45 an hour for. Geeksquad charges something like $150 for one hour of training.

 

It's not how simple the thing is that I"m doing, it's how long it takes that determines how much I'm charging. Defragging is an easy thing to do (usually), but it takes quite a while and if they want me to stay there while it's defragging I'm going to charge them for it.

 

Anyone have any tips about things their clients have really liked? Any advice?

 

I realize it's kind of a hit or miss thing so I'm just going to stay flexible and see what I can get for my services.

 

Thanks again!

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as a former employee of Best Buy, I know that I'm as good as most of their guys.

If your only as good as those guys :rofl2: you would not get to touch my computer with a 10 foot pole :nono:

I would not compare yourself to them if I were you. ;)

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It's not how simple the thing is that I"m doing, it's how long it takes that determines how much I'm charging. Defragging is an easy thing to do (usually), but it takes quite a while and if they want me to stay there while it's defragging I'm going to charge them for it.

I dont do the actual work at anyones home if its not a quick fix. I will not load an os at anyones home unless its family and the beer is flowing. I am fine with pickup and delivery.

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I too work from my home, and I carry very little stock, which saves a lot of overhead expenses.

 

Anyone have any tips about things their clients have really liked? Any advice?

Some of the things my clients like:

 

* I'm affordable and flexible

* I show up when I tell them I'm going to show up

* I give them detailed invoices showing all installations and repairs

* I don't charge them if I can't fix the problem

* I do housecalls

* I don't try to sell them extras

 

Some of the updated programs I carry on my USB thumb drive:

 

*Hijackthis

*ad-aware

*spybot

*firefox

*ewido

*regcleaner

*Norton removal tools (SymNRT, etc.)

*Zonealarm (free version)

*Windows Defender

*AVG

*Avast!

*AntiVir

 

One drawback is living in such a small area (population 4000), so I have to cover a larger area, and it might take me 30-40 minutes or more on the road to even reach a client's house. So far I haven't charged clients for my travelling time, and they seem to appreciate it. :P

 

RayG

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Does anybody here have any tips, suggestions, or advice?

I'm fortunate I've not had to have a tech out to my place - except once to replace a faulty modem.

 

But, if I did.....

 

bring donuts

don't drive up in a Lexus :)

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Great stuff RayG, thanks.

 

Few more questions, what do you charge?

 

What optimize programs do ya'll use? (I really like the iobit.com one)

 

Do you reccomend keeping the programs on their computer or removing when you're done? (The reason I ask this one is because I've had clients freak out when there were unfamiliar programs on their computer)

 

What's the best way to get business? (what type of advertising, referral programs, websites, etc.)

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(The reason I ask this one is because I've had clients freak out when there were unfamiliar programs on their computer)

Only use freeware and Show them what the do and how and when to do it and there wont be any freeking. :lol:

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If it's a small but growing town then advertising can be a little tricky. We tried advertising in our local paper which really did nothing. No one ever reads it. What we found really worked was the Welcome Wagon. I don't know if they have one of those out where you are but what it is is when anyone moves into the area, they get a package with a bunch of local business stuff in it. We put pens and business cards in it. We got a pretty good response. I'm not sure you can get in on it if you're not a registered business though...

 

Also see if you can get some business cards out there and maybe some signs up on telephone posts and stuff like that. You could try the newspaper but they usually charge quite a bit. Once you get a reputation you'll most likely get all of your business from word of mouth.

 

As someone mentioned before, I think it's ok to leave the programs on their system but make a folder on their desktop called 'Weekly Checkup' and put everything in there. It might not scare them as much.

 

You'll find that some things are going to take quite some time to fix and you may no want to stay out at the house for hours on end. If you know the problem is going to take awhile, you should offer free pickup of their system and then just fix it at your own home.

 

Hope those suggestions help.

 

 

 

Also, if you're getting into lessons and stuff like that... I work for a place that offers free one hour lessons. I think we have a computer manual that we made up lying around somewhere. I can send it to you if you want... if I can find it that is... it might give you an idea of how to map out a one hour lesson. I found that people were willing to pay just about anything for lessons so free was even better. Just keep it below let's say... $60 and I think you'll be ok.

Edited by Deans
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it seems to me like your just trying to rip people off. your like those car repair shops that eff up one thing while fixing another just to get you back. I teach my clients what the programs do always. And if they are truly novice they will come back to you everytime just because you were honest with them.

 

I always tell my clients I hope its the last time I have to see them because I want thier comp to work. dont cheat people. all they need to do is find a site like this or go to a comp help site and they will realize what youve been doing. computer maintenence should not cost an arm and a leg. repair and virus removal should cost a bit more.

 

if you have a client that doesnt want to run their own stuff give them a discount to come every month. I go to a medical center every week and charge 20 each week to do routine maintenence. If it werent a business I charge 10 or so because I know that this is steady income.

 

BE AFFORDABLE AND HONEST!

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