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Taking on (paid) side work from end users...

By minnicles ·
I work on the support desk for a company with about 120 employees in the office.

I have been getting more and more requests from end users at my company for me to do paid work on their home PC's for them. I'd be very interested in hearing how others have handled these requests and how the work has turned out. For discussions sake, I'll leave out any questions about the corporate policy on "second jobs" as I don't care that much about that aspect of it.

I imagine this could be a sort of "slippery slope" and maybe leading to some awkward moments with things such as software licensing issues and such...i.e. ("Could you please install Windows XP on my home PC???...well do you own a license for that?)

Also how does anyone decide how much to charge for their services? By the hour? By Project?

Any info would be much appreciated.

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Been There, Done That

by JackOfAllTech In reply to Taking on (paid) side wor ...

When I was on Desktop Support (years ago!), I got those requests all the time. It was great.

As far as ethical/legal situations - you just have to up-front about it AND consistent. If someone asks, you tell them your policy, tell them you NEVER deviate from it and then, if they agree, you can work with them.

You have to be flexible when it comes to getting paid. For normal PC problems, I charged $40/hour - one hour minimum plus mileage after a certain distance. For bigger projects, well, you have to consider your clients resources in addition to your needs.

Ralph

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Hmmm.

by jkaras In reply to Taking on (paid) side wor ...

Its nice to get a little extra scratch from time to time, but this could be a can of worms. Never forget that if you push 1 button they are going to demand support for life regardless that what you did has nothing to do with their new problem. These situations bleed over into work where complaints will cause headaches and tension in the work place. You must establish an agreement of services before working on the puter. If your going to do this make it worth your time, be fair in charging. You should charge what you feel is fair that you would pay for the type of work. Most techs get $10-15 an hour. Establish they buy parts that you review with them to get and only charge time to avoid disputes.

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Same discussion again

by Oz_Media In reply to Hmmm.

This discussion is on two different threads now.

As for 'Most techs get $10-15 an hour.'
If that was the case, I'd go work in a warehouse for $15/hr. At least you don't get fat when you actually work for a living.

I've NEVER met a tech who gets less than $23-$26 /hr. With on call techs this figure jumps to $120.00 +/hr. Now that's worth sitting on my lazy *** all day for.

Why would you do tech work for $10.00/hr if a gas station pays $12 and MacDonalds pays $9+ to start?

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Basic money eval

by jkaras In reply to Same discussion again

Most entry level repair for pc jobs range from $8.00-15.00 pending upon level of support. I used to work phone support for Gateway computers and I started out at $9. If you work for these shops, that's what they pay per hour. As for shops they charge repairs for about $20-25 hr. Most people will continue to go to a licensed shop for a couple of extra bucks vs taking a chance on a guy working out of the home due to fear of getting burnt by someone that you could barely sue if they ruin your computer or dont fix the problem. You can try to save money by going cheaper only to find out you had to spend more to resolve an issue that should of been fixed in 1 try. An example is buying off a cheap internet site rather than paying the extra few dollars from a reputable site like newegg. In the end the cheap site gave you the runaround and paying for shipping back of the bad part waiting for a good part. I think it sucks that its difficult to get good money working the side due to amount of work. You cant depend on it as true supplimental income. Some days your rolling in it and somedays you cant get squat. A friend of mine did that and charged just as much as the shops do. Problem was that whenever the people had an issue, they believed that what he did must have caused the new issue despite it happening 6 months later. Last time I checked Mc Donalds didnt pay that high a wage, but that would explain their money problems of late.

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Yes but...

by Oz_Media In reply to Basic money eval

Don't you live in the USA?
Our minimum wage here is $8/hr but employers offering that don't get employees, for less than $10-$12/hr, people stay on welfare.

I pumped gas while in my first year of Automotive School, that was in the late 80's, I was getting $12/hr for pumping gas over 10 years ago! By my fourth year I was gettng $24/hr (as a 4th year apprentice, before writing my inter-provincial test).

Sounds cool, but we have the highest cost of living in Canada, also the best place to live in Canada though.

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Do it, but be aware

by BobJames In reply to Taking on (paid) side wor ...

I do this for those who ask and are willing to pay. Advice is free for small problems, but if I have to touch their machine, the meter is running.

I charge varying rates depending on the type of work. General "grunt work" of applying security patches or version upgrade patches, defragging the hard drive and such, I usually charge $20/hour. If I have to open the box (hardware issues), the cost goes up to $30/hr, and that's also the charge for more hefty software issues, like tracking down software conflicts and the like.

Side work like this presents an opportunity for quick money, but we have to remember that generally, our co-workers do not have the ability to pay $180 to have their system fixed, which is what a 6-hour troubleshooting would cost. I do not get involved in data recovery, as I don't have the tools to do it right. But I do have a "drop-dead" point. If I cannot determine the problem with a workstation in 2 hours, I recommend wiping the system and reinstalling. It's **** on the end user, if they haven't backed their system up, but I won't run my bill up over $60 without telling them they can have the option of just spending a final $30 for me to restore their system.

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