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Consulting client issues?

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Consulting client issues?

qhcomputingny
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    CG IT

    don't do private, consumer computer repairs. I certainly wouldn't work on consumer computers for the fact of what you just outlined.

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    qhcomputingny

    That's all well and good but there's big business (at least in my area) for this. I support both home and business customers for the past 3 years (solo) and have a great client base of both. Even businesses can act in this manner (with their self proclaimed power user employees), so what would you do?

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    drowningnotwaving

    Cash up front.


    If it is good enough for the plumber, then why not for you?

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    qhcomputingny

    Anyone who can give me some feedback other than (that's why people don't do this, ect.) :) would be greatly appreciated.

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    dspeacock

    It seems like you fulfilled your part of the contract..in that you got their new printer working, got the photos to appear, found th eproblem with the phone etc. Just because the new printer "didn't fit" is not your problem. You performed a service and should get paid for it. Tech support is not a 5 minute fix, and they should be aware of that fact.

    I've run into this with business clients before and have stood my ground until they paid. We both got over it and continued in a happy relationship once I explained the facts of life to them.

    Start out by laying the groundrules...you're paid by the hour, you'll do your level best to fix their problem, but there is no guarantee you'll be able to fix it immediately as it may take a little time and research on your part. Charge them your regular rate for the actual hands on work you do (with a basic minimum charge like 2 hours or so to cover your mileage and so on), and a flat fee for finding answers (if you want to).

    If all that doesn't work, part ways professionally and tell them you'll help them find someone else who may be able to help them.

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    Labrat636

    As a "consultant" it may be ok to charge by the hour. But as a service tech, I would charge by the complexity of the problems solved, along with a basic charge for on site repair(x3 in your case). It took you 3 hours to get the printer working, however, a lot of this time was used up installing and re-installing software. Also, and I'm not degrading your troubleshooting skills, as none of us are perfect, but maybe the problem was originally mis-diagnosed. As you had trouble installing the new printer and found the coruption - perhaps that was the actual cause of the original problem. Troubleshooting is an art as well as a science, and as such, can not be stringently defined. It may take longer to solve some problems than others. Agree to the price up front for fixing the problem, and try to sell added services on top of that. They can't argue that you made 3 trips out there. And, if you solved the problem, they can't argue about that. They can argue about how many hours it took for you to solve the problem though. I have been bitten by an elusive solution more than once, only to finally realize I was "overthinking" the problem or just not "seeing" it correctly. A problem that could have taken 1 hour ended up taking 4 or 5 hours. This is not the customers fault.
    Determne what the "solution" is worth, not the time it takes to find it.

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    qhcomputingny

    That sounds good, but to explain to a customer about "complexity" of an issue being resolved sounds harder than the current way I am doing things. Being most everything is complex to a customer, I would be hard pressed to explain why this appointment would be harder to fix than the next. Would you have deleted the other printer when the next printer wouldn't install off the bat? It definately wasn't the norm for a printer install. If it took me a few hours to figure it out, that's what it took to fix it IMO. I am paid by the hour to troubleshoot, had I run into the problem before, yes it would have been much quicker, but there are no guidelines for troubleshooting the thousands of devices that can be connected to a computer. If there were than it would take no time to troubleshoot every issue we face. If I had to agree to a price up front to install the printer, I would have under charged the customer. It's a catch 22 I guess. Thanks again for the reply.

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    CG IT

    don't do private, consumer computer repairs. I certainly wouldn't work on consumer computers for the fact of what you just outlined.

    +
    0 Votes
    qhcomputingny

    That's all well and good but there's big business (at least in my area) for this. I support both home and business customers for the past 3 years (solo) and have a great client base of both. Even businesses can act in this manner (with their self proclaimed power user employees), so what would you do?

    +
    0 Votes
    drowningnotwaving

    Cash up front.


    If it is good enough for the plumber, then why not for you?

    +
    0 Votes
    qhcomputingny

    Anyone who can give me some feedback other than (that's why people don't do this, ect.) :) would be greatly appreciated.

    +
    0 Votes
    dspeacock

    It seems like you fulfilled your part of the contract..in that you got their new printer working, got the photos to appear, found th eproblem with the phone etc. Just because the new printer "didn't fit" is not your problem. You performed a service and should get paid for it. Tech support is not a 5 minute fix, and they should be aware of that fact.

    I've run into this with business clients before and have stood my ground until they paid. We both got over it and continued in a happy relationship once I explained the facts of life to them.

    Start out by laying the groundrules...you're paid by the hour, you'll do your level best to fix their problem, but there is no guarantee you'll be able to fix it immediately as it may take a little time and research on your part. Charge them your regular rate for the actual hands on work you do (with a basic minimum charge like 2 hours or so to cover your mileage and so on), and a flat fee for finding answers (if you want to).

    If all that doesn't work, part ways professionally and tell them you'll help them find someone else who may be able to help them.

    +
    0 Votes
    Labrat636

    As a "consultant" it may be ok to charge by the hour. But as a service tech, I would charge by the complexity of the problems solved, along with a basic charge for on site repair(x3 in your case). It took you 3 hours to get the printer working, however, a lot of this time was used up installing and re-installing software. Also, and I'm not degrading your troubleshooting skills, as none of us are perfect, but maybe the problem was originally mis-diagnosed. As you had trouble installing the new printer and found the coruption - perhaps that was the actual cause of the original problem. Troubleshooting is an art as well as a science, and as such, can not be stringently defined. It may take longer to solve some problems than others. Agree to the price up front for fixing the problem, and try to sell added services on top of that. They can't argue that you made 3 trips out there. And, if you solved the problem, they can't argue about that. They can argue about how many hours it took for you to solve the problem though. I have been bitten by an elusive solution more than once, only to finally realize I was "overthinking" the problem or just not "seeing" it correctly. A problem that could have taken 1 hour ended up taking 4 or 5 hours. This is not the customers fault.
    Determne what the "solution" is worth, not the time it takes to find it.

    +
    0 Votes
    qhcomputingny

    That sounds good, but to explain to a customer about "complexity" of an issue being resolved sounds harder than the current way I am doing things. Being most everything is complex to a customer, I would be hard pressed to explain why this appointment would be harder to fix than the next. Would you have deleted the other printer when the next printer wouldn't install off the bat? It definately wasn't the norm for a printer install. If it took me a few hours to figure it out, that's what it took to fix it IMO. I am paid by the hour to troubleshoot, had I run into the problem before, yes it would have been much quicker, but there are no guidelines for troubleshooting the thousands of devices that can be connected to a computer. If there were than it would take no time to troubleshoot every issue we face. If I had to agree to a price up front to install the printer, I would have under charged the customer. It's a catch 22 I guess. Thanks again for the reply.