General discussion


People who never make changes

By ITdesperado ·
I'm running my own door to door pc help and one thing that I find extremely frustating is the ammount of people who call me back within a day or so because their system is playing up suddenly and when I ask them if they've installed any new programs, played with any settings etc their answer is 'Oh no, I don't do that, I don't know how to do it'. When I rock up, sure enough, they've had a ball and adjusted some things, installed crap e.g. toolbars. Is there anything beside sissoft that I can use to print out the settings or save to disk so I have a bit of a weapon against people trying to get a free service claiming the fault is because of me?

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search - find file - modified since + created since

by Deadly Ernest In reply to People who never make cha ...

Works wonders for me. The third time around I make them check it before i leave and acknowledge it is all OK and my responsibility ends. I have one client I got so fed up with travelling all the way out there that I partitioned the hard drive with the OS etc on a C drive of 4 GB and the virtual memory and temp directories on D drive with the data. I adjusted all the pointers then burnt an Image of C drive. Three copies one for them two for me. Left one with them and a floppy with a boot routine I downloaded - forget where. Put DVD in with floppy reboot computer and the floppy formats C and images from the DVD - end of problem.

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Great idea

by ITdesperado In reply to search - find file - modi ...

I like that. Never even thought about checking modification date. Der. And yeah, there are some people out there you could strangle. Returning customers are fantastic. Some customers get on your nerves so much their money isn't tempting after a while.

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I have a process that when they get too bad

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Great idea

my discount rates drop. By law, here in Australia, it is unlawful to charge different rates so I charge a full commercial rate and then offer large discounts to private persons and low income earners - so I have some closet socialist idea about helping people in trouble, sue me. So the rate of A$60 per hour becomes A$20 per hour for pensioners as I apply a 2/3 rds discount. If they get too difficult or troublesome I just tell them that I am fed up with the garbage and the discount is now 1/2, next time the discount is 1/3 rd, next bit of trouble it is 1/4, the next bit of trouble it is non discount - always tell them before hand. Some get the message and go elsewhere, some insist on calling me back and pay me for the privilege of putting up with their garbage.

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Fellow aussie

by ITdesperado In reply to I have a process that whe ...

I charge a flat rate of 40 an hour regardless of income status that way, in my own odd fashion, I feel I'm not overcharging or not quite enough. Kind of in the middle lol. I love people who start though with 'this will be a cash job' and snicker. So I join in the snickering and say 'OK, we'll just make it 40 bucks' and they think they've won. Unless they're pains in the nether regions and I let them know they're paying full rate just to watch their face drop. Ahhh yes, life is sweet

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So now you tell me you're an Aussie

by jardinier In reply to Fellow aussie

after I unjustifiably described your post as sarcastic.

Sorry cobber, she'll be right, mate. :)

Recently there was a discussion and Americans were charging more than $US 100 per hour for technical support.

When I mentioned much more reasonable charges in Australia, "they" said I would go broke.

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What's the current exchange rate? (And more comments)

by maxwell edison In reply to So now you tell me you're ...

What does $100 U.S. dollars exchange to in AU currency? (I could look it up, I suppose, in less time than it takes to post this message!)

But I believe that I, too, might use $100 per hour as a "benchmark" base rate for service calls. Because FROM that, I'd have to pay:

- Self employment tax (15 percent total)
- Medical insurance
- Vacation time
- Holiday time
- Administrative time
- Down time
- Marketing time
- Legal fees
- Accounting fees
- Marketing fees
- Transportation costs
- Rent
- Office supplies
- Technical supplies
- Training
- PITA factor
- etc.

Just because an independent consultant charges $100 per hour, it doesn't necessarily equate to earning $208,000 per year. (Well, maybe if he works 80 hours a week!)

It would be quite the challenge to carve out your little niche, make a good go of it, make a decent salary, and still feel like you have a life of your own. In my opinion, the only reason to have your own business is so that you take MORE control of your own life, not less.

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Exchange rate and charges

by jardinier In reply to What's the current exchan ...

Well you don't need me to check the precise exchange rate at this precise moment, but usually the Australian dollar is around 76 cents US, so that $US 100 would be (roughly) $AU 130.

I quoted the instance of my friend Patrick Li, who has run a very successful computer business for about 15 years. He has a wife and two children to support. He employs two assistants to do the actual technical work, as his own time is tied up on the administration side. He works 5 1/2 days per week.

As his shopfront is on the main street of the suburb, I assume his overheads are quite high.

He charges $AU 65 per hour if you take the computer to his shop, and $AU 99 per hour for house calls. For work done in the shop, he will usually under charge for labour if the solution to the problem proves to be evasive.

As a regular customer, he charges me a lot less.

He is also scrupulously honest, and needless to say gives a guarantee with all his work.

He also provides for me -- and other customers as well, I believe -- unlimited free technical support over the telephone. He actually says: "Thank you" after I have rung with some question.

He will never give incorrect advice. He has two answers to any technical question: "Of course !!" or "Not sure." If he has any doubt whatsoever as to the precise answer to any question, he will always say: "Not sure."

As for annual income, my nephew (aged 31) who is a Unix Systems Administrator, receives a salary of $AU 85,000 per year (say, $US 70,000) which includes a lot of unpaid overtime.

Colin advised me that this would be a normal salary for the job.

[Edited to add information]

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Also use disk images

by wallowamichael In reply to People who never make cha ...

I also use disk images to restore people's computers to working states. When I'm done fixing, cleaning, and disinfecting, the client works on the pc and confirms that everything is working fine. Then I burn an image to DVD. <BR><BR>
When they call me in a couple of days, I go make a backup of their documents and put the image back on. Then when they say "Where's my toolbar?" you can charge them for the visit.

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Print directory listing

by OnTheRopes In reply to People who never make cha ...

What I use from Microsoft.

You can use Windows Explorer to go to any folder, like the Program File folder, and pull down Print Directory List from the right click menu.

You can modify the batch file to save to a file i.e.:
dir %1 /-p /o:gn > c:\custproglist.txt instead of dir %1 /-p /o:gn > "%temp%\Listing"

and then save it to any other location with another filename.

I have no doubt somebody here can clean this modification up and/or make a batch file even more useful.

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This is probably the biggest reason. . . . .

by maxwell edison In reply to People who never make cha ...

...why so many techs avoid supporting home users.

- Typical home users are hesitant, unwilling, or down-right unable to pay a decent fee to support a piece of crap computer they bought for $499.

- Most techs are unwilling to work for peanuts, especially to support a piece of crap computer somebody bought for $499.

- The piece of crap computer is a PITA to work with, considering the proprietary hardware and software.

- The uncertainty of what these folks do with that piece of crap computer presents, shall I say, a lot of challenges.

- The techs inability to dictate what they may or may not do with that piece of crap computer makes it impractical to support.

- The typical home user is not savvy enough to know simple things like, anti-virus software is not intended to block spyware from planting itself on that piece of crap computer.

- It's almost impossible to explain things about that piece of crap computer to them.

- Whatever bad thing happens to that piece of crap computer will ALWAYS be the tech's fault or oversight.

- Who wants the of hassles of supporting a piece of crap computer in his or her life?

I ALWAYS turn down requests to help home users. I've made only one exception for my brother. Of course, I built the computer for him, and I taught him everything he knows about it.

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