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Income estimates: Home Based PC Support

By waybrig ·
I read the entire excellent thread on starting a PC Support Business. The one thing I didn't see covered was what sort of income one could realistically expect from such an operation. I'm trying to convince my wife that this is something worth investigating, but without any idea of how much money I could make, it's an uphill battle.

I know this is extremely dependant on the specific situation, so here goes: We will be living in an area of about 500,000 people within easy driving distance. The population is highly educated, one of the top 5 technical industrial parks in the nation is nearby.

The clientele I would focus on would be home users, home businesses, and small offices.

Assuming I steadily but slowly build a client base over the course of two years, where could I expect to be at that time? I know the first few years will be tough but if the payoff is there it will be worth it.

I would really appreciate any sort of ballpark figures. If anybody would prefer emailing me privately instead of posting this info, you can reach me here: waybrig@yahoo.com

Thanks!
Brad Waybright

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Are dependant

by Oz_Media In reply to Income estimates: Home Ba ...

There is absolutely no way of predicting icome unless you have a ocal market study. It simply cannot be done any other way accurately.

You will ened to call a few local PC support guys with a birtual issue to resolve and get an idea of what's being charged.

In my area for example, we have MCSE's doing home repair for $55/hr, whereas I charge between $120 and $150/hr as an MCNE. I have had a customer who USED to use me, try one of the 55 dolar MCSE's and is now calling em again, her attitude, "why pay for a tech to spend 1 hr onsite then go home awaiting an email (for an answer), before returning for another hour or so to fix the issue?" : when I can do it in 1 hour or so onsite and it's done! So even though I charge almost 3 times what others charge, value is dependant on the guy doing the work and how long it takes to get done. Which you will achieve over time through referrals.

so get an idea of what others are charhing to set a competitive start-up rate, then as your clientelle grows you can easily add an annual increase to earn what you deem you are worth based on your reputation.

NOTE: One issue I ran into when starting a home based business, even though most work is done onsite, was PARKING ! Of all the things i considered, parking was not one of them as I was on the road working. In BC, for a small business in a residence you need to provide ample ONSITE parking, not streetside. I don't know how or if this aplys in your state but there's a lot of little things to address that you rarely consider.

Even as an MCSE you should be able to get $50/hr at least, I know you are in the US but it can't be THAT different there. Who would want to work for less anyway?

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NASTY typos

by Oz_Media In reply to Are dependant

Sorry about that, basically the first patr states you need to create a virtual issue and call around to get some quotes. Now you don't have to base your prices solely on what others charge, as I mentioned before, it doesn't matter how cheap you are if it takes you several visits to correct an issue or if you always reformat drives to resolve issues instead of resolving the problem itself.

Calling around does give you an indication of how deperate a market is, or how low some people will quote to get business. I'd look for a couple of small repeat contracts with local offices, those are usually good bread and butter. My two contracts pay me more than I made F/T (one of them is a former F/T employer who pays me more as a remote admin than they did when I worked for them F/T).

Good luck, don't give up or let the wannabes discourage you. Your local market will be full of losers as well as winners.

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No problem.

by waybrig In reply to NASTY typos

I'm used to trying to decipher my wife's typo's. Anyway, so about how many hours can you bill per week on average? Any idea how long it took you to get to that level?

Thanks!

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Computer Tutor

by marimar60 In reply to NASTY typos

I recently graduated with an AA IT degree, and I too was thinking about opening an in house computer tutoring business. I can't count the times that I've had to write step by step instructions for people who had just bought a new puter or a digital camera etc...
I live in central WA. and the going rate here for puter repair is $80.00 an hour.

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Home Support

by ITGuyy In reply to Income estimates: Home Ba ...

I've been doing computer support on the side for a couple of years in the Denver area. I work as a Net/Server/desktop support person by day and the pick up a couple of hours of support as needed. I've often thought about doing this full time, but my wife likes the bi-monthly paychecks... and this is a nicer way to do it as it limits the impact of those that don't pay or don't pay on time.

I don't do the work for less then $50/hr. Its just not worth my time especially with two toddlers at home and wife with special needs. I'm not an MCSE and don't see why you need to be one to do this type of work. What's important is your ability to adapt and overcome a WIDE range of IT issues from Viruses, Hardware, Software and mostly just plain ignorance and the right attitude to handle it.

What I was able to do that worked out pretty well was to find a small business or two that rarely needed someone for IT work and understoond that I could not provide support during the usual 8-5.

The issues I have with home support are varied. First if its not a rich neighborhood they will have a hard time paying for you. Second they may or may not know what to expect from an IT guy, especially if they have never been supported by one. You may end up with someone that expects you to miraculously make their Windows 3.11 work with the latest technology in 1 hr and then never stop bitching and harassing you when it won't. Third, I dislike going to other peoples homes, touching their stuff, etc. You never know what you are going to find or run into. I highly recommend doing this type of work with people you know or have worked with, and that you setup a check list that you check off when you go in and then verify as you leave (IE, Floppy works, CD Works, Network Works, Internet Works) and have them sign it. This helps reduce the dreaded "You did this, not that's not working, come fix it for free..." calls. Also People recommended by friends and co-workers are likely not to be running meth labs or the like.

Finally, if you do this work, make sure you keep a close track of your income and expenses. I highly recommend setting up a free checking account somewhere just for this work and depositing all profits into it, withdrawing all expenses from it (Documented of course) and then pay your self from this account. It makes tax time much easier and if you want to setup a spreadsheet to go along with it, makes tracking whether or not you're making money easier. There are several books out there on how to do this. When it doubt, look for ones for home (Van) businesses like plumbers and model after that.

Best of luck, there is a lot of need out there.
-Rob

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Home Support

by Metal In reply to Home Support

My experience from the UK is that there is a big need for support by home users however they aren't willing to pay a sensible rate. There are exceptions of course. When faced with a crisis, most will turn to friends or relatives for help or ask around at work. If that fails, they quite often decide to replace the PC as it's a case of ?399 for shiny new PC or ?100 to fix the old one as they often fall for the line that their PC is obsolete/cannot be upgraded/cannot be fixed, etc. peddled by certain well known outlets.

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by REConsultant In reply to Income estimates: Home Ba ...

I own a company that provides services to the Real Estate industry. Before it grew past me it was very close to being exactly what you are describing. Real Estate professionals are independant contractors who purchase their own IT services and have home offices. I also provide Home Office services as a way to fill in the gaps when work from my primary market was unavailable. I'm in a large east coast market as well. I would expect you to make approx. equivalent of a 48k to 55k job. Two issues you will have to deal with are that travel is big overhead. You probably won't be spending the day at a client only a few ours and the guy paying the bill is writing the check it's not company budget money. Also support on the home front is key. The first year will have a large learning curve and networking is the key to marketing. Direct Marketing attempts were not successful. Good Luck!

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If Best Buys is doing it...

by wordworker In reply to Income estimates: Home Ba ...

Somebody at Best Buys apparently thinks there's a buck to be made in the to-your-home tech support business. I don't know what they're charging, but I'll bet they make a fortune off it. I mean, somebody has to be making some money on supporting the technologically-challenged. All those gazillions of computer owners can't have IT-savvy relatives they can sponge off!

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Part-time

by gordonj63 In reply to Income estimates: Home Ba ...

I Live in a similar area and have been doing in home repair as a contract consultant for rescuecom part time while going to school. they charge $98 an hour to go to people homes and do the repair work. I get $30 an hour . 90% of the work is cleaning spyware and virii not hard but time consuming.

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Read this book

by msmac67 In reply to Part-time

This book is very informative, realistic, and has been a great help to me: "Start Your Own Computer Business" Foner Books
May, 2004 - Copyright by Morris Rosenthal

There are many chapters on line that the author is willing to share. Check it out at http://www.fonerbooks.com/compbiz.htm

good luck

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