$75/hr: We (in the I.T. industry) are always going to get calls from friends and family for computer support. It's a fact of I.T. life!
I try to bear in mind that they usually have NO idea of what to do when they have a problem, and it can be pretty distressing for them, particularly when they need the computer for homework, etc., and they turn to the first person they can think of to help them out of the problem. It's really kinda flattering, when you think about it!
How often have you helped a non-computer literate friend out and seen the look of (almost) awe at your skill (little do they know that you've seen the same problem a million times at work!)
For these people I usually charge a meal and a drink (hey! That's not a bad rate for a single guy who hates cooking!). After all, they ARE friends, and you never know when you'll need a favour in return.
When talking to prospective clients (non-family or friends), I always let them know that my company charges me out at aminimum of $180/hr before telling them that my chargeout rate for private consulting is $75/hr. This includes travel time, which is not bad considering I could have been at home relaxing instead of working. I get the impression that they tend to value your services if they are valuable. If you charge too low a rate they treat you as a hobbiest whereas if you charge a reasonable rate they think they are getting a valuable service.
Additionally, I always tell them that they should not call me for help during working hours. My time between 9 to 5 belongs to my employer and if I happen to be onsite when they call, it's unfair for a client to pay for my time to help someone else. I've yet to have a private client object to this basic rule, which removes the problem of "conflict of interest" with my employer. If I'm not onsite,
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