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  • #2194693

    Should I support home users?

    Locked

    by briwlls ·

    I’m reading the recent article/thread about, ‘What support services do you use for your PC?’ and it’s got me thinking about my business.

    I’m currently a one-person shop and about 70% of my business is small business and 30% home/end-users.

    I once read a statement, that at the time was 4 years old, that said the home user market was not a viable market segment to base your business on. While that has stuck in my mind I see Apple offering this new AppleCare Pro product, Best Buy’s Geek Squad is growing and Dell is now entering this market segment plus a number of other companies providing end user support.

    I’m thinking of taking on a contractor to handle this home user side of my business…and just wondering if I should do this. What are other’s doing to make this product segment work? Do you have a monthly maintenance contract i.e. $39.99 a month for one hour of support, or $279 for 5 incidents etc.? I just know the average home user is faced with a large number of bills and they just won’t take a new bill just to support their computer.

    Love to hear others thoughts, ideas and concerns.

All Comments

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    Replies
    • #3089844

      Paid support for relatives/parents

      by rexworld ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I don’t know if this is a big enough market to be worth going after, but one service I’ve always wished for was something that let me pay somebody else to be tech support for my Mom.

      I already pay for her internet access so she can get online and email with her friends and family. But I live across the country so can’t be there to help her when she inevitably runs into technical problems. I would love to be able to contact a service in her area that could go out and help her on those occasions.

      Again I’m not certain there’s really enough demand to sustain this kind of business but I throw it out there. Of course if you make millions off this idea I want a share 🙂

      • #3084823

        I bet you heard this already…

        by saintgeorge ·

        In reply to Paid support for relatives/parents

        but you are lucky. Mom lives 20 minutes from my home, so she can expect me to go by and fix the problems.. On the other hand, she gives me 50 bucks every time I fix something, so I shouldn’t whine about it…

        • #3084816

          No longer a commodity…

          by zengeek ·

          In reply to I bet you heard this already…

          There you go! We are now crossing over to providing a valuable service. A few years ago, the home computer was seen as nothing more than a toy, but now it is seen more as a commodity or a necessary tool. And for this, people are now starting to realize that geeks are providing a valuable service which they are willing to pay for. As one of my “clients” put it: “You are like the mechanic who knows his way around under the hood; I get a mechanic to fix my car when it’s broken and you fix my computer when it’s not functioning properly. It’s worth it for me to pay you for that service.” Sure there will always be home hobbyists who can do a reasonable job, but there is a need to be filled by professionals like us and that market seems to be growing…

        • #3085956

          Great Market!

          by g.stabback ·

          In reply to No longer a commodity…

          Go ahead everybody, keep believing the amrket isn,t enough for you. I presently make a good living from this market, in fact it is the only market I serve! A very good percentage of my clients are seniors or your mothers ! I am continually busy.

        • #3085391

          Geeks-A-Knockin’

          by singerguy ·

          In reply to Great Market!

          In the greater Portland (OR) metro area there is a company called Geeks-A-Knockin’ that caters to this market exclusively. They must be doing great as radio advertising isn’t cheap and I constantly hear their spots.

          http://www.geeksaknockin.com/

        • #3086758

          You have to advertise a LOT

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to Geeks-A-Knockin’

          Radio and lots of it. And you have to plan on mostly 1-time calls, of for no toher reason than a good PC tech gets real tire of every home visit starting out with “IT hasn’t worked right since you were out here last” or some other whiney attmept to get free service.

        • #3074207

          You have to advertise a LOT

          by aidplus ·

          In reply to You have to advertise a LOT

          You have to advertise a LOT?
          No way, unless youre an utter moron, word of mouth advertising will pay for itself. People are time poor, and need you. Advertising cuts the profit from the botttom line. You cant put in many more hours to cover it..

        • #3074355

          Does this make sense?

          by bheite ·

          In reply to Geeks-A-Knockin’

          I looked at their site, and does it make sense to pay 96.00/hr, or 396/year plus 86.00/hr for service? This is proof of the argument against service, you can get a decent system new for almost as much as one year service! Just keep all your data files and backups in a seperate drive or flash, and transfer it every year!
          Wow, what was the old saying about crowds and certain types of people in them???

        • #3264737

          This seems to have degenerated

          by jackie40d9 ·

          In reply to Does this make sense?

          From the last message and this one I guess I am in the right area and I will take all your rejects !
          And I could live very nicely on the say $25.00 to fix it even thought I may spend a few hours doing it
          As I know the word of mouth wil get around and and I will have a Ga zillion customers times 25.00 is 25 ga zillion dollars

        • #3085261

          Better You Than Me

          by carey5 ·

          In reply to Great Market!

          I am glad someone is willing to put up with the nonsense and take little pay. Please, keep doing it! It takes the pressure off of the rest of us. A lot of folks work in high pressure, low pay fast food jobs when they could make the same money in a low pressure video store or other occupation, but I am glad they are there otherwise no one would be left to serve me.

          We all thank you.

        • #3087087

          …where is the pressure?

          by tracyf ·

          In reply to Better You Than Me

          My home clients bring me coffee & sandwiches while I work & explain what I’m doing? We have a very nice reporte & I enjoy my time there.

          I email them a synopsis & instructions when I return home (assuming I haven’t worked on their PC from my home, remotely?- in which case they mail a check).

          I’ll take a few bucks less, per hour, for all of that “nonsense”? You bet! There’s enough to go around for all of us, it seems?

          Tracy

        • #3086892

          I agree

          by jackie40d9 ·

          In reply to …where is the pressure?

          As they offer pop, drinks, sandwitches, and MONEY
          to keep their computer running ! Its called SERVICE for a reason . . And I like computers my giant toy has almost every thing there is plugged into it and there is spagettii behind it geez what a mess back there tried ties and it still looks like a mess ! Seems slmost everything has 2 plugs going back to one area . . only things not having 2 cords is the joy sitick and camera . .

        • #3087034

          Mmm…

          by ChrisP547 ·

          In reply to Better You Than Me

          I’m getting the feeling you’re just a dick.

        • #3087026

          Insults…

          by carey5 ·

          In reply to Mmm…

          Perhaps, in your opinion, I am a dick. However, this is not the discussion topic of this forum. I’d be more than happy to share my thoughts about someone so judgemental of others in the approriate forum. We can call it “What I think about you.” If you think honestly believe anyone cares what your thoughts are, it would be a great way to give the people what they want.

          Problem is, no one asked you what you thought of me, and this forum is specifically reserverd for the discussion of whether or not home support can be viable and profitable. If you’d like to join us in the discussion, you are more than welcome.

          That’s why the rest of us are here.

        • #3086756

          Maybe there is, but …

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to Great Market!

          … I got back into corporate contracting because I was so worn out with “My cousin Timmy could do that for free”, “The last time you were here ..” and “It hasn’t worked right since …”

          There were a few host ones who started in with “I always seem to have problems with the computer guy …”. Those I honestly told that they would likely be dissatisfied with my work too. After they thought about it a while, they became my best customers. Go figure.

          Tho I’m sure part of the problem was management that refused to stand up for the home techs.

        • #3084800

          You’re joking, right?

          by kendyforthestate ·

          In reply to I bet you heard this already…

          You charge your mom to fix her computer? What kind of ungrateful B$@!%&# are you? How much did she charge you for carrying your sorry butt around for 9 months? How much did she charge you for feeding you, cleaning up after you, taking care of you when you were sick, making your bed washing your clothes, etc. for 18 years (or more)? The very LEAST you can do is fix her computer for free.

        • #3084788

          [Post deleted by Admin]

          by kaptkos ·

          In reply to You’re joking, right?

          [Post deleted by Admin]

          [Edited by: admin on Mar 8, 2006 6:15 AM]

        • #3084784

          …at least you’re not bitter?

          by tracyf ·

          In reply to [Post deleted by Admin]

          Those folks, from other countries, who are doing these jobs are not the ones causing outsourcing. They are trying to earn a paycheck just like the rest of us.

          Instead of uselessly denigrating them, write letters to the corporations doing this, to your congressmen/women, to the Whitehouse.

          It certainly does nothing to snipe & stab a bunch of people who are just as victimized by these companies as the rest of us?

          Tracy

        • #3084766

          he’s not bitter he’s bigot plain and simple

          by techiemikee ·

          In reply to …at least you’re not bitter?

          Stop playing the victim and the blame game they didn?t steal your job you were to ignorant to keep it. All that hostility towards people you?ve never met is probably why you can?t get a job nobody wants to work around a racist pig.

        • #3084696

          Don’t waste your time: Lyrics change,song doesn’t.. Not his fault

          by beoweolf ·

          In reply to he’s not bitter he’s bigot plain and simple

          There is a difference between a complaint about unfair competition; it is valid and is a problem that occurs and recurrs in unequal trade agreements. However, the desparate desire to restrict the lawful business of another in free commerce, based on supposed superiority is a uniquely short-sighted condition that unfortunatley appears to be Chronic. No matter what happens, In good times, “those people” are fair game, because they don’t do anything to help themselves out of poverty. When they do something to stop the cycle of poverty: then they are compromising some unwritten reservation of prosparity that rightfully belongs only to a chosen few.

          The issue is simple, cream rises to the top, if you are consistanly being out-thought, out-classed and out-manuvered…you need to step-up your game. Get better or get out of IT. Its just that simple.

          Hunger is a great motivator, Countries that have over dependance on Class, Caste and entitlements are doomed to fail sooner or later. Communal entitlements, whether based on heredity, shared poverty or tradition are against the natural order. Being able to use tools, is the hallmark of the success of humanity. If you can’t use tools … expect to be siddled off to a dormant branch of evolution.

        • #3086762

          You naively assume

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to …at least you’re not bitter?

          You naively assume (a) that American corporate executives ever gave a damn about anyone in an economic class below theirs; (b) that today’s corporate “strategic thinking” extends any further than this coming Friday’s “earnings guidance”; and, (c) that “shareholder value” is anything except code-speak for “destroy the middle class in America”.

          Let’s be blunt here: Corporations didn’t hire women for the good-paying jobs until vast quantities of men were overseas fighting WWII. They didn’t hire blacks in quantity until after civil rights laws forced them to. And as long as there is no draconian penalty for doing so, they will naturally gravitate to the cheapest source of labor on the planet, all the while fattening their own paycheck, perks, and golden parachutes.

          I’d like to see some major hiring initiatives here in the US, but I seriously don’t see it as long as we desire to maintain a thriving middle class. Put another way, we don’t have to meet India slum-for-slum, begger-urchin-for-begger-urchin before massive hiring will come back to the states. We will have to surpass India, China, Vietnam or ANYWHERE else in levels of poverty before these same corporate executives will deign to “right-shore” jobs back home.

          (And around the office they wonder about my killer grades in sociology …)

        • #3084678

          I’ll bet you’ve got brown eyes

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to [Post deleted by Admin]

          Only somebody with brown eyes could express such ignorance so eloquently.

          And a programmer too? I didn’t know they let programmers in; I thought this was a much more exclusive site than that!

        • #3084526

          No But My Ears are Clogged with

          by kaptkos ·

          In reply to I’ll bet you’ve got brown eyes

          Brown Sh!t that a majority of the morons post on this bulletin board

          KaptKos

        • #3084671

          Offensive Bigotry!

          by fractalzoom ·

          In reply to [Post deleted by Admin]

          Hey KaptKos, you should know that whatever point you may have had was lost in the tiny-minded bigotry expressed throughout your post. Patently offensive. I hope you apply for work in my department, as I would greatly enjoy the task of rejecting your application.

        • #3084535

          Hi Archie!

          by dthoreson ·

          In reply to [Post deleted by Admin]

          You are ignorant. ‘nough said….

        • #3084520

          Hope this doesn’t happen to anyone

          by kaptkos ·

          In reply to Hi Archie!

        • #3084516

          Quote from my last Post

          by kaptkos ·

          In reply to Hope this doesn’t happen to anyone

          Sources say Peters, who was born to poor temp workers in eastern Virginia, would often go to offices where his mother worked and sit on her knee. According to his family, he once took up her pencil and said, “Pencil be the death of me. Oh, Mommy, this pencil be the death of me.”

          KaptKos

        • #3086006

          It’s Called Trolling, Folks…

          by ChrisP547 ·

          In reply to [Post deleted by Admin]

          Trolls post incredibly offensive messages, or messages on typical holy war topics, and then wait for the flames to roll in. Please don’t feed the trolls.

          MF

        • #3085220

          not just wrong, but wrong too!

          by shraven ·

          In reply to [Post deleted by Admin]

          I believe most of the outsourcing is going to India. I’ve never heard of any going to arab countries.
          And the term “sandnigger” is a slur for arabs, so it would appear you are not only biggoted, but truly ignorant as well… which comes as no shock because most biggots are inbred rednecks who dropped out of 5th grade when they knocked up their sisters.

          🙂

        • #3087033

          Bigotry Enhanced

          by ChrisP547 ·

          In reply to not just wrong, but wrong too!

          And thank you for showing your own bigotry by ASSuming he is an ‘inbred redneck’ and etc due to his ethnic prejudice. I have interacted with Toshiba support on numerous occasions, both good and bad… and they are based in Turkey.

          http://www.m-w.com

          bigot
          One entry found for bigot.

          Main Entry: big?ot
          Pronunciation: ‘bi-g&t
          Function: noun
          Etymology: Middle French, hypocrite, bigot
          : a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices

          Nice to see yourself in the mirror, no?

        • #3086502

          So…your point is the 1st Bigot get a free pass?

          by beoweolf ·

          In reply to Bigotry Enhanced

          I am always amazed (and mildly amused) when some obvious deranged individual is reprimanded…Then some Uber reasonable guru points out that taking the idiot to task…using similar sewer language…is somehow wrong? Since when?

          I figure it this way, If I am sitting in a cafe minding my own business, some nut case comes in an begins to speak ill of me and mine or even the stranger sitting in the seat next to me: he gets a free pass? No one can confront him, except in senatorial, Shakespearean tones…in rhyming couplet, if possible.

          That?s exactly what encourages these misogynistic, narcissists and their random rants; many in this country try so hard to be accepting, that they forget that a social contract has limits as well as tolerance. I can pretend not to notice when a child has pooped his diaper, but that doesn’t mean I should remain seated next to an adult that does the same thing. Random diatribes against minorities, women, new immigrants? might be tolerated in private, but never in public. Even in private, hopefully, a non reactive, dignified silence may allow the person to recover their common sense and decorum. The OP, in this case, just continued to spew?its good that someone had the sense to address him in his native tongue.

        • #3086978

          [post deleted by admin]

          by marketingtutor. ·

          In reply to [Post deleted by Admin]

          [post deleted by admin]

          [Edited by: admin on Mar 8, 2006 7:20 AM]

        • #3086902

          …Again, it is US companies doing this…

          by tracyf ·

          In reply to [post deleted by admin]

          …with the full permission/assistance of the US gov’t.

          You all act as if these underpaid, slave-laborors are just up & demanding these jobs? It doesn’t work like that.

          You have elected officials allowing all of this because most have interests in these very company’s profit margins. The top 2% of this coutry’s company “heads” are raking in the dough at the expense of all of the rest of us.

          If you need someone/place to vent & direct your anger towards, it’s your elected officials & our own US companies- not a bunch of everyday, working joe’s in some foreign land. They’re not only being underpaid, their countries are also being polluted by these US companies who have to follow environmental laws, here, in the US.

        • #3084785

          No doubt…!

          by el guapo ·

          In reply to You’re joking, right?

          I was thinking of the same thing!

          Even if your mom offers you money to fix her pc, you should just kindly turn it down.

          In my case, now that I’m making the money I never dreamed of making, I’m the one that gives my own mom gifts, instead of her giving me things during b-days, xmas, etc.

        • #3084719

          This is one thing that really drives me nuts

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to No doubt…!

          My mother insists on paying me every time that I do something to her PC and no matter how much I decline she just insists. 🙁

          Her latest solution to me refusing to take her money was to directly deposit it into my Business Bank Account, sher got those details from a friend of hers who I supplied a computer to and is now making every use of it.

          What’s far worse is attempting to Balance the Books at the end of the month as I don’t know that she is depositing money and worse the Tax Man sees this so it makes my life very difficult. 🙁

          My solution though is to just pay for what she needs so I have supplied the Internet Account and pay the bills and everything else that she needs though it’s now getting harder as she has a new Canon Photocopier that doubles as a Printer come scanner so the option of constantly buying Ink Refills no longer exists. No matter how much I beg her not to do it she continues to. Particularly after she realized that I was just depositing the money straight back into her bank account.

          Talk about a [b]No Win Situation![/b]

          Col ]:)

        • #3084687

          Parents…just accept it.

          by beoweolf ·

          In reply to This is one thing that really drives me nuts

          I was surprised by the negative comments of a few posters. Not all parents are destitue pensioners.

          The unique thing about parents, is in their minds you will always be their child. If possible they will try to maintain their position as providing for their off-spring. To some parents, paying for computer support, yard work or driving them around to appointments, shopping is the same as the allowance they gave for work about the house when you were younger.

          I say, accept the money – its part of them retaining their dignity as they are less able to fend for themself. Instead of making a big fuss of refusing the money…which to some is a suggestion that they are recieveing charity…just give it back in an occasional gift, dinner out other manner they can accept.

          I would rather accept a dime or dollar, given freely, earnestly…than help someone who thinks they “deserve” or require help. I was raised to help those who help themselves. If my parents feel the need to “slip me a few dollars”, I take it and bask in the thought that they are still independant and want the right to feel good about not being a burden. The money isn’t even important when you think about it…

        • #3084663

          But that’s the Problem

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Parents…just accept it.

          In the case of my mother who is on a fixed income she can not afford to pay me for what I’m only too willing to do anyway.

          Besides it just doesn’t feel right taking money from my mother when I’m in a much better financial position than she currently is.

          At 76 years of age she still is independent and while she’s slowing down a bit she still watches my sisters kids one is still below preschool age.

          While I do take the money I try to find ways to give it back to her all the time. Many years ago she had [b]Red Hair[/b] and I guess that that temper has remained. 😀

          What makes it even worse is that she asked me to go over there when a tech came out to fix the Photocopier that the Association that she does Volunteer work for required fixing just after it was delivered something else that I also arranged at a vastly reduced price and I landed a major contract from that one meeting as they had just got a new Oracle Network installed and it naturally wasn’t working correctly as the installers had not set it up correctly so to help get things moving along I offered to have a look see to see if I could help them out. It was an easy fix and more importantly they could invoice out the required spare parts to fix the photocopier which was far more important to me.

          The next thing that I know is a massive Check arrives from the company and then a phone call for a meeting. I didn’t want or expect any money from that simple job but just the way that I attacked their problem must have impressed someone so I now have a contract with them at rates that I would never dream of putting on any business for the little work that I do there.

          But it gets worse as every time I sell one of their Photocopiers to one of my clients I get a commission as if I’m a salesman for them and all I ever do is tell the client which model they require and offer them the opportunity of buying it themselves or having me arrange the invoicing and Service Contract that goes along with these new Digital units.

          Unfortunately I tend to be on call 24/7 so I don’t get much opportunity to take my mother out unless like recently I nearly managed to kill myself then my staff remove every car here and make sure I’m left alone, of course My wife has a hand in that lot but actually she is quite often the one who goes to my mothers place and drives her around and the like.

          I’ve just got to find a new way of giving the money back to my mother so she has enough to live on and doesn’t go short for something that she really needs.

          Col

        • #3086141

          yes, totally

          by falling burrito brother ·

          In reply to Parents…just accept it.

          As a parent myself – I agree totally with Beowulf – I would\will do anything (that is, ANY THING) for my little Girl, including demanding to pay for anything that might see her out-of-pocket or whatnot (inconvenienecd would be a good word here, if only I could spell it properly) – if\when she does soemthing for me – because it’s about me, in this instance. It makes me feel good, what do I care if she doesn’t really want\need the money – it is my perogative as Dad to give. No doubt the same sentiment prevails for Mums too. Just let them do it, they need to, psychologically.

        • #3085368

          Amen

          by wjbolton ·

          In reply to Parents…just accept it.

          Good advice it’s just her way of saying “I love you and you’re still my child” I say enjoy your visits for repairs and buy her flowers every now and then, Moms love flowers even if they are allergic..Just ask me mum 🙂

        • #3086332

          Well said

          by willicueva ·

          In reply to Parents…just accept it.

          Its all about dignity. No matter how much money they give you for the “service”, your parents will always see it as an investment in you, their future. Go ahead and accept the money. Put it in a piggybank and buy her a better present for her birthday or christmas or whatever.

        • #3084774

          Don’t be asinine

          by saintgeorge ·

          In reply to You’re joking, right?

          I clearly said she gives me. Of course I don’t charge her you whatever-you-tried-to-call-me. And I’m 44, not 18, and there is no way around it. Once I completely refused to accept it and she deposited it in my account.

          And just to save you the trip to the dictionary, here is from Webster.com:

          asinine
          Etymology: Latin asininus, from asinus ass
          1 : marked by inexcusable failure to exercise intelligence or sound judgment
          2 : of, relating to, or resembling an ass

        • #3085231

          spin

          by lalala ·

          In reply to Don’t be asinine

          nice spin. that’s total BS. “she puts it in my account”.

          what color is the sky in your world?

        • #3087032

          Probably…

          by ChrisP547 ·

          In reply to spin

          better than the color of that brown eye you’re staring thru… since you have no idea of his situation.

          MF

        • #3086415

          Thanks

          by saintgeorge ·

          In reply to Probably…

          Just that. Thanks.

        • #3267625

          Joke is on him, his mom is just giving him his inheritance early.

          by breadtrk ·

          In reply to You’re joking, right?

          his mom is just giving him his inheritance early.

        • #3084759

          RE I bet you heard this aleady

          by edouarda ·

          In reply to I bet you heard this already…

          You are so luck you get 50.00$. I am still working off her giving me birth!

        • #3085953

          Birth

          by double debo ·

          In reply to RE I bet you heard this aleady

          I am in the same boat. She put up with my antics for 18+ yrs. Now I am dealing with some of her agine issues.

          My Mom sent her computer back to what she thought was the place she orded it from for repair. Turn out she was incorrect in her addressing.

          She kept refusing to let me correct her mistake by letting me fix her computer so I had to sneak over when she wasn’t with a System I built to replace what she had, boy was that fun. I got my butt chewed big time.

          Then she tried to pay me. I ended up having to accept the money for fear of getting the belt at 40 yrs old, you don’t say NO to Mom. But all she really did was pay for her DSL for a year.

          Now when she pays her DSL bill she is 1 yr and a month ahead.

          Sneaky us kids can be some time. I just hope she doesn’ read this post.

        • #3085237

          you should be ashamed

          by lalala ·

          In reply to I bet you heard this already…

          you actually take money from your Mother? what is wrong with you? did she charge you a toll when you entered this world or give you a bill after dinner? you are a piece of work.

          sounds like you’ve got that PC fine tuned.

          unbelievable.

        • #3086411

          ever got therapy?

          by saintgeorge ·

          In reply to you should be ashamed

          Something is gnawing at your guts, right? Something you did to your mum must have scarred you badly. You should get threapy and see what it is that makes you lash to other people, whom you don’t really know. For all you know my mother could be earning 5000 grand a month and that might be pocket change to her. But what do you care? You have an open wound, and it’s supurating all over the place. Go get help, please. It’s hard for us well-meaning, adjusted people to witness so much suffering. And don’t bother to answer, I’ve had enough of pseudo moralists like yourself for the rest of 2006, I won’t be following these posts any longer. Good luck with your problem. Bye.

        • #3084124

          it’s about principle

          by lalala ·

          In reply to ever got therapy?

          hey jorge, i shouldn’t have lashed, you’re right, i apologize. it just angers me when i read things like this, like money is the most important thing. it doesn’t matter how much you or your mother have. what about doing something for nothing? giving, rather than taking? you probably already do, i know, so i don’t mean to assume you don’t. this post was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, i guess. sorry for the previous harshness. do whatever you want to do.

          and no, i don’t need help or have any open wounds.

        • #3267575

          Question is put Wrong way

          by aaron a baker ·

          In reply to it’s about principle

          The question should be” Have you ever tried” to get away from your Mother, 🙂
          while she insisted on paying you? It’s no easy task.
          This isn’t a put down, Mums will be Mums an as such want to do the right thing for their kids.
          In they’re eyes, if it was a stranger, they would have to pay and probably a whole lot more, this was it’s their son/daughter and they not only get great service, they also get to help out their child in the process.
          So now tell me, How do you fight something like that? That’s one side.
          I have never willing accepted any monies from my Mother, but that doesn’t mean that she let me get away either, you would find it in your toolbox, or in your coat pocket etc.
          Now I am a Dad, as a matter of fact I’m also a Grandfather and if one of my kids does something for me, why shouldn’t I pay him. If it was a stranger I’d have to pay, so why not help out my own kid?
          Sure I could say I fed you,nourished you, etc etc, but that’s not the point, if my Son is in business and takes time to come over to repair my unit, it gives me great pleasure to be able to help, even in a small way, so let me have my fun.
          Let me show my kid that I love him/her.
          That’s Parenthood, it’s called love. 😉
          Warmest Regards
          Aaron 🙂

      • #3084810

        Re: Paid support for relatives/parents

        by linuxinlibraries.com ·

        In reply to Paid support for relatives/parents

        I have found http://www.logmein.com/ to be a god send in this situation!

        • #3084786

          Why logmein?

          by tracyf ·

          In reply to Re: Paid support for relatives/parents

          If it’s Windows, isn’t Netmeeting good enough? I use it frequently for quick, easy access…

          Tracy

        • #3084560

          LoeMeIn is AMAZING!

          by carey5 ·

          In reply to Why logmein?

          Once you see the power of LogMeIn, you’ll understand why other remote access software is so limited and incomplete. You can read more about it here:

          http://techbuilder.org/recipes/174401986

        • #3085337

          …I suppose…but Netmeeting does this free?

          by tracyf ·

          In reply to LoeMeIn is AMAZING!

          I’ve read about logmein & I just don’t see $100 per month for a small-timer like me, I guess. I suppose if your biz is larger/more income, it might be a good idea.

          All Windows versions have Netmeeting, built-in, & it only takes about 2 mins. to get the other person on. I’ve never had any trouble reaching anyone…

          Just an FYI in case others would like to know.

          PS- Anyone using Hamachi? I think I’ll load it to my bench-box & see what all the hubbub is about.

        • #3267485

          agree, logmein is absolutely amazing

          by kiltie ·

          In reply to LoeMeIn is AMAZING!

          and it didn’t cost me any money, I picked up a beta version and got it for free.

          I am also getting all the updates to this product for free too, but for a business, providing support to a number of users, particularly in the home/end user market, and working from afar, it is invaluable, and surely the fee for the pro version is a tax decuctable expense?

          I found it, because I was looking for a remote assistance package that was both simple to use, versatile (and free lol) and that could link two different OSs, XPs version needed two XP machines both ends, Logmein allowed me to link my XP to a 98.

          Its beatuty is it’s simplicity for the end user. All they need is a PIN code, which you email. phone or IM them, they enter this into the website and you are off!!! No complicated setting up of computer IP addresses, admin permissions etc. They can also easily control what you see and do, with the two basic modes, observe and remote control, the end user feels very reassured about security. As most end users are (typically) not technically minded, this is a Godsend for them.

          I agree Carey, logmein is so simple to use. Yet so powerful.

          It had one unexpected bonus for me.

          I was helping a woman several thousand miles away, used Logmein to fix her problems, and an online relationship developed. To cut a long story short, last July, she bought a one way ticket from California to Scotland, UK and we have been living happily together ever since, and plan to get married this year.

          All thanks to logmein, THANKYOU!!!

      • #3084656

        Been doing just this

        by paule49 ·

        In reply to Paid support for relatives/parents

        I’ve been a computer consulting for near 20 years now and have been servicing this home user/home office market for almost as long. In my opinion this type of service is in constant high demand. To reach the consumer I have ads in local suburban newspapers and community education booklets. Word of mouth now contributes more than 50% of new business. It’s provided a comfortable living for me. No one is going to make millions here – it’s not for every tech out there – but for my one person shop it’s been great.
        Paul E.

      • #3084508

        Would Home Tech work

        by stable.net ·

        In reply to Paid support for relatives/parents

        I think it’s comlicated if you did the phone support out of India, then did home visits on a Fee based system like $15 a month with a one $40 home visit flat rate. It might be viable, remember the market that your looking at is one of finite resources and it would sensitive to large service call bill’s anything over $100.

      • #3085253

        Think About This…

        by carey5 ·

        In reply to Paid support for relatives/parents

        For all the posts of people saying they are making lots of money and have work coming out of their ears, they sure do have a lot of spare time to sit around and post messages here.

        Just because you make $50-$100 a day is not generally considered ‘good enough.’ For me, that is chicken feed. I have a house payment, car payment, insurance, groceries, santitation, sewage, taxes, phone, internet, gas, credit card bills and other expenses due every month. Just like everyone else. Its not enough to simply live pay check to pay check. You have to make enough to have some left over for entertainment, savings, vacations and doctor/dentist visits.

        You simply are not going to make a decent $60,000 or more a year working as the sole employee of a small company that only services home users. Instead, you’ll sit online during your off-time, getting involved in sharing your opinion about conversations like these that ultimately don’t amount to a hill of beans and certainly won’t help pay the bills.

        No one seems to be ‘learning’ anything, but instead would rather argue about it. How is this productive and profitable and if you’re so busy, you sure have a lot of free time on your hands to post messages here.

        Just an observation.

        • #3086749

          I work AND post…

          by tracyf ·

          In reply to Think About This…

          …doing so as I type this…I have 3 PC’s going through their virus scans (post defrag & spyware scans).

          I also have an idea that many here are not doing home-user work as their sole income. Some may even be retired or do this as a side job to supplement their regular income- simply because they enjoy working with PC’s & people.

          I’m an at-home mom (2 elementary-aged kids) so it suits me well. My spouse earns the dependable, tax paying income. I count myself very lucky.

      • #3086340

        It’s growing Market, We should grow with it

        by aaron a baker ·

        In reply to Paid support for relatives/parents

        90% of my business is Home Tech and Home Support.
        Oh I have a few small businesses that I keep going and a Abused Women’s Shelters that I care for, “At no charge”.
        As for the rest, my rates are what I consider reasonable, but the business itself is quite sporadic. You can go two weeks with nothing do do and then it starts and before you know it, you’re faced with fifteen or so broken down Computers that everyone want’s fixed yesterday.
        I charge by the hour and have no monthly retainer. As I am retired, this suits me just fine.
        Usually it’s the typical disaster resulting from not cleaning our properly, or not keeping the spyware and adware up to date and they get nailed.
        Now and then, I get a dead Drive and the people want the information, this costs a little more.
        But in general, this is how I keep myself going and my clients happy.
        I’ve been involved with Computers for 25years and I started doing this approx 3 years ago. I’ve watched it go from a pastime to almost a full time job. I’ve become grateful for the moment of quiet time.
        So perhaps it might be worth the effort for us to take a second look at what is definitely an up and coming field. It ay not be IT Big League, but it’s still Computing and it pays the bills. Not to mention I feel very strongly that there should be an alternative to the big firms, who gouge you to Death and then have the temerity to treat you as though they just did you a favor.
        I’ve also made a lot of friends in this business, so all in all, it’s been good to me and the future promises to be even better first the Techs coming up.
        We will be the wedge that saves the day, not the “Big Firms”
        But little Old Us 😉
        Warmest Regards
        Aaron 🙂

      • #3267493

        We can visit your “MOM”

        by info ·

        In reply to Paid support for relatives/parents

        We offer exactly this type of service. You are exactly the type of customer that we wish to service, we want to be known as your and your mom’s own personal technology consultant, and we fix the little things too. Often we can be dispatched in a short notice, usually a flat fee, we love this type of work … and you will too!!
        http://www.consultapro.com (nationwide support)

    • #3089835

      Problem with profitability

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      you will get calls all the time, everytime THEY pooch their system up.

      The home AVERAGE home user will not want to pay a $100 bill for getting their system going, so unless your able to get in and out, you will not make much on the deal.

      Your average customer will not come to you until the system is so trashed from virus/trojans/malware that the only thing to do is a format and reload. Almost NONE of the home users have the disks for the software on their systems, so you will have that to contend with, as well as surfing for drivers.

      If you DO get into this, make an image of each computer, so the next time they come back, you can just restore from an image instead of a complete reload.

      • #3084897

        an unfortunate truth

        by jefftucker ·

        In reply to Problem with profitability

        Your statement “Your average customer will not come to you until the system is so trashed from virus/trojans/malware that the only thing to do is a format and reload.” unfortunately is quite true. It is even more unfortunate that there are so many home users out there that have this happen quite a bit. Remember these same people are probably a vast majority of the Zombies out there. I have been helping home users from my previous employers office and I have been trying to be like the Electrician or Lawn Care companies that do the same trade as the higher priced companies. Yet charge alot less. You would be surprised.

        • #3084845

          clear them on the side

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to an unfortunate truth

          but when you write that check, my name is “cash”.

          if they have the driver disks (yeah right) it is $120 for a wipe, reload, restore of data. If not, add another $30 for the driver hunt.

          I also give them the option of trying to clean the system, but warn them that a clean takes more time and is never as stable, and they will be back for a reload within a year anyways. They always go with the wipe/load.

          I do this in my home only, as it takes longer than that to push disks through, but if I don’t have to sit there and babysit them, I don’t charge for the five hour windows load……

          If this was a buisiness with overhead, the only way I could turn a profit would be to have 10 systems going at a time.

      • #3084883

        Finding right users to support

        by dave.schutz ·

        In reply to Problem with profitability

        I support 3 home users (besides my regular corporate IT job) and one of my home users is running a home business. I charge per hour and these users don’t mind paying as long as I get their computers working.
        However, most people seem to want computer services for free; just take a look at my computer. I always so no unless they want to pay.

        • #3084840

          now you know how

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Finding right users to support

          mechanics feel…..

          My bud is one, and I spend as much time fixing his computer as he does my car. works out just fine, because I don’t have to be out in the cold to work on his stuff!

          If they are not REALLY cute, they are paying, one way or the other.

        • #3084693

          Be picky.

          by cberding ·

          In reply to Finding right users to support

          If you’re only doing this occasionally and do not intend on replacing your current job, don’t support everyone.

          I have a very small group of users I support (one relative and a couple of friends) because they are beginners and are not tinkering with stuff to get into trouble. Lots of times I barter on my fee, because they have skills, talents and they will happily share with me for an hour or two.

          The ones who are the pains in the backside are always reformatting their drives and f’ing things up when “my son told me to do x, y or z”. I stay far away from them and thank my lucky stars that I don’t have to support them.

        • #3084685

          Free look

          by rytech ·

          In reply to Finding right users to support

          I charge $20 (cash) just to look or evaluate a computer system, paid up front. If they approve repair after the evaluation, I give them 15 minutes off of the total time taken for repair. That way you know how serious they want it fixed.

        • #3084506

          I do Home user support Now

          by tkread ·

          In reply to Finding right users to support

          The only problem I’ve had is that a couple of people will agree to a price, then when the work is finished to their satisfaction, will say they will only pay after they see if it works for awhile.
          The only strange thing is that they were both from the same country originally. Most folks don’t mind paying for what they get though.

      • #3084881

        Beware

        by cttechie ·

        In reply to Problem with profitability

        I’ve been supporting mostly home users for about 3 years. I
        charge a flat 75/hr fee. Most people seem willing to pay that
        price and I know Geek Squad and all those others driving cute
        cars charge more.

        Here’s the problem: home users can be a NIGHMARE. And I’m
        currently trying to shift my business towards business
        customers only. Most businesses aren’t going to repeatedly call
        you to ask you how to attach an image in email, connect to their
        wireless network (for the tenth time), aren’t going to call you on
        the weekends.

        I also had the revelation that in order to make money, I ALWAYS
        have to chase new customers. That’s not a good business model.
        And that’s why I’ll happily concede it to the dummies at Geek
        Patrol, etc. Besides, part of their goal is to get people in their
        stores.

        My original business plan included both types of customers, but
        I’ve virtually eliminated all marketing to home users. To be really
        profitable (if you’re doing this on your own) you need to have
        monthly business support contracts. That will also free up a lot
        more of your time than scrambling from house to house for
        another spyware cleanup.

        Everything jdclyde said is right on.

        • #3084827

          i love the geek squad

          by avid ·

          In reply to Beware

          i have made alot of money from their lack of knowledge and over charging. I do support home users for one reason. these home users have jobs. if you treat them fairly when they invite you into their home and do a good job, they will talk about it at work the next day. i have gotten very lucrative contracts from coffee break chit chat and next day office meeting. “so and so said you fixed her computer. i was wondering if you hire out to businesses” and so on.

        • #3084709

          The trouble with places like “The Geek Squad” is

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to i love the geek squad

          It will only take one of them to image a home office HDD and sell that data on and it will hurt us all no end.

          All of us here know just what access we have and act accordingly and professionally but the moment that someone does something really unprofessional to make a bit of extra cash and the media get hold of it we are all going to suffer and be covered by the same blanket.

          Remember [b]Mud Sticks.[/b]

          Col

        • #3084814

          geek squad hurts the rest of IT

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Beware

          by playing on the old sterio type that all geeks are dorks, the years of respect EARNED as working professionals in a highly trained field is going down the drain.

          I REFUSE to support home users with wireless, because I will not accept daily calls about the connection, EXACTLY like you said cttech. Bad enough I have to support that kind of call from the (l)users at work!

        • #3084809

          Reply To: Should I support home users?

          by info ·

          In reply to geek squad hurts the rest of IT

          Best response Ive heard to these types is:

          “why hire a geek when you can get a professional for the same price”

        • #3084702

          Great slogan!!

          by cttechie ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should I support home users?

          I did something similar this week. Basically promising better service to get noticed instead of driving around in cute cars. I think it’s funny that some of these companies are spending money on custom-painted Beetles, Scions, etc. It’s like they’re relying more on trying to be cute than delivering good service. That’s also a lot more overhead. I drive my regular car. I’m not going to invest in some silly gimmick.

        • #3084672

          I have a silly gimmick –

          by rconnell ·

          In reply to Great slogan!!

          They’re just custom vinyl stickers all over my bright yellow “PC Cruiser” – relatively cheap and gets me customers. Just wait until I add my new Toll-Free number (Illinois only)
          877-WE-FIX-PCs.

          Check out the cruiser at http://www.technoid.com/news. It works – don’t care if I look silly.

          I do both small business and home users. Both can be profitable if you price it right and set reasonable expectations.

        • #3084679

          Great Slogan, is right!!!

          by miguel ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should I support home users?

          Just like I’ve read in the last few posts, profesionalism is the key to running a successful home based/small business PC/Network support business. I have been working just like some of you running home users and small businesses in Northern NJ and I have to admit some of you are right. Home users can be very demanding, while small businesses are greatful for the smallest issue you addressed.

        • #3084478

          RE: Best response:: but you can’t

          by richard ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should I support home users?

          you can not get a good professional for the same price, that is the who problem with trying to support home users. They need help, but where’s the money?

        • #3084697

          Phone support by the minute

          by dominicjoslin ·

          In reply to geek squad hurts the rest of IT

          I am not a computer tech, just a home office user, but I have long wondered if any of you support guys have thought of supplying your phone support via a ‘pay by the minute’ phone number, billed through the clients’ phone company.

        • #3084686

          Reply To: Should I support home users?

          by cttechie ·

          In reply to Phone support by the minute

          I charge $60/hr for phone support and just send my customer an invoice. I think it would b way too much trouble to set up some sort of auto billing because that would mean that you’d be charging them simply for calling to set up and appt. I don’t see how that could work.

        • #3084544

          Charging for Phone support does not work

          by carey5 ·

          In reply to Phone support by the minute

          If you have a special number to call for support, that costs YOU and the end user money, and they avoid calling it.

          They will always call the sales number instead, which is always going to be a free call. The customer thinks, for whatever reason, they should NOT have to pay for support in most cases where they’ve paid you in the past.

          So now you’ve increased your expenses and need to make even more money to just break even.

        • #3086514

          Charging for phone support DOES work

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to Phone support by the minute

          there are specialized places that do exactly this, you call their phone# and they solve your computer problems, paid by the minute / hour etc.

          this is great for some as it avoids the problem of billing and people not paying. one of the PC mags reviewed some of these, by posing a sample question and seeing how long each took to fix it.

          not sure how many home users use these tho. and of course there is some stuff hard or impossible to do over phone if there system is too messed up.

        • #2508855

          How would someone charge for by the minute support?

          by contact ·

          In reply to Phone support by the minute

          I have a client that wants to setup a system to charge customers by the minute for phone support.

          The customer would purchase blocks of support time via their website. Then the customer would call the 800 or 900 number and enter in their home phone number and apasscode [home number and passcode create a unique userid]

          Once the call was connected the software would track how long the call went and if the call gets close to the final minutes it could do something like ask for further payment or disconnect the call.

          I have seen this sort of solution on the web before and I am trying to search for solutions and not having any luck. I probably am not searching the correct terms.

          Does anyone know of any software or companies that could help out in this situation? Can anyone help point me in the correct direction for this search?

          Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

          Phil

      • #3084836

        Profitability ?

        by nacromancer ·

        In reply to Problem with profitability

        There is more to being profitable than what can be tabulated at the bottom line. 100% of the clients I have I built their systems for per their needs for less money, and offer in the end my continued 24/7 support either under a service contract or ‘by issue’. They love this and use my name in circles to send me more business for new builds, which is where the true money comes in because of the things I have learned over the years about how to give them what they really want from a system for less money, more security and most importantly less worries.
        On the average most end users when shopping for a system do not know what it is they need, verses what it can do, and are decidedly motivated by the sticker price. Then I show them I can build for them a system better than an off the shelf or out of the box unit that will keep them up to date techwise for years, using quality tested name brand components, with a software environment that will keep them safe, secure, and performing good automatically with only needing occasional in-depth maintenance for the same if not less money than advertised priced store bought systems. And they can trade upward with me their older systems for newer ones down the road. From what I have seen or heard of, there are very few if any other company offer such a deal. And for the support I offer service contracts or a ‘by issue’ rates, not by the hour. By the hour rates will kill any business offering support. Most companies offer ‘by the hour rates’ or ‘by call’ rates, this causes most to shy away from that. Because they know sometimes it can take hours to troubleshoot & restore a system that is in trouble from an infection when NEW data needs to be retrieved that is not on any backup source anywhere. Anyone who works as an end user support knows this. Well guess what they are learning this quickly, because before they call you for help, they have already spoken to anyone who knows anyone that knows more than where the power button is. And that person could have caused more damage than good before the problem gets to you. Of which I have to say at this point is the majority of the calls I get, even after Computer Geeks, Gateway, Dell, HP, etc etc support technician has had their moment.
        I have been walking up to the front door as a Best Buy Computer Geek was walking out stumped as to what to do as they placed the persons check in their pockets. Only to find out they caused more damage than good. The majority of them are scared to death of performing a reg-edit let alone accessing a system using DOS to scan for infections and retrieve files from an infected system.
        So profitability needs to be measured not only in dollars and cents, but rather in reputational gains which is more valuable to a bottom line than any hourly rate. You want them to call you first, and not have to rely on someones best friend’s, friend who knows this person.
        And offering to be an off site back up storage location service with a service contract for a client just adds flavor to the honey they will love you for.
        People love worry free automation this is the key to design and build any service or system on. Master that, package and bundle it at a low cost, and this will be the life time reputation that they will beat a path to your door for, for all of their computing needs.

        • #3084698

          Actually I’ve haven’t found cheap prices the answer

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Profitability ?

          Every system that I build for Home use is Custom Built for the end users needs provided that they are getting [b]Good Value for Money[/b] I at least have found them more than willing to pay for the Custom Built Option.

          I’ve only had one knock back and that was from an accountant and I didn’t loose any sleep over it at all as when I handed him the quote for a Mid Range Server he hit me with a Saturday Paper Advert showing computers from $650.00 AU so I just said go help yourself.

          Two weeks latter I was contacted by an Insurance Company that I do work for asking me to check out a suspected Lighting Strike. What I found was an unbranded PS in a Dual Xeon Server type setup that had allowed mains power into the case and of course out over the network.

          So I did my Report to the Insurance Company and phoned them with my initial findings letting them know that they where off the hook and they asked me to inspect the rest of the damage to the computer system that had been caused the same night and gave me the Name & address to go to for the report. I’ll allow 2 guesses where it was.

          It was at that point that I tried to get out of the whole mess as I could be seen as having a Conflict of Interest and no one knows just how hard I tried to get out of that one, unfortunately it didn’t work out and I had to go down and do a complete report for the Insurance Company. Boy that was fun. 🙁

          But it got even better I actually found out that they had paid far more than my quote for the complete system. Once they had bought the hardware and MS Software they had to go out themselves for their specialized software which I had included in the costings. Apparently they paid 3K more than my quote for less hardware. 😀

          I’m still waiting for that one to hit the courts as the company who made the unit has gone broke and everything is now in the hands of the Insurance Companies. 🙁

          Col ]:)

        • #3084664

          Glad to see…

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to Actually I’ve haven’t found cheap prices the answer

          it’s not just American companies that will spend a dollar to save a dime!

      • #3086744

        Knoppix to back up valuable data …

        by too old for it ·

        In reply to Problem with profitability

        When I still did this a lot, I used Knoppix to back up valuable data like the 50,000 pics of the new grandkids first drool.

        Time and materials: X for the first hour, X/2 for each ? hour after that. Wipe (yeah wipe, 1’s 0’s etc) and reload, estimates at 2 hours; more so if I have to do the Knoppix backup thing. Figure another ? hour if the system is so old that I have to dig out previous versions of Knoppix (usually a cranky video problem too).

        Parts? My cost x2 = their cost. Plus install time.

    • #3089831

      Case study?

      by briwlls ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Hello again, has anyone found a recent case study or market report that covers the home user support indu?stry? If so, could you post a link to that article?

      • #3087090

        RL ‘Case Study’

        by ChrisP547 ·

        In reply to Case study?

        I think you’re reading it

        MF

    • #3089560

      Just My Opinion

      by jdgretz ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I also support home users in addition to the SMB arena. I have learned that $105/hr is not out of the question – one shop I do some contract work for charges that much. Dell is right in that ball park and the Geek Squad ain’t cheep either.

      I do a lot of flat rate stuff as well – $120 to refresh a system (save data, reload OS from scratch, reload applications and configure email), $150 for DSL with router or wireless, etc. The basic charge to walk through the front door is $75.00.

      Some of this stuff I do at the shop since I can do something else while the OS is loading, but I have found that as I place a realistic value to my time and work, people value my time and work.

      One person who works for me bills at $50/hr for coaching, but when she goes out on a tech call, it’s right back to the $105/hr rate (or flat rate depending).

      Oh yes, I found resistance at $100/hr, but not at $105/hr – go figure.

      jdg

    • #3087815

      Thank God I don’t live in the USA

      by jardinier ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      When I moved to my current location 11 years ago, I quickly discovered a two-man computer business owned by Patrick Li and Jeffrey Shi.

      At that time their busines was mostly built around assembling and selling computers, including bulk lots to schools and businesses etc.

      Jeffrey Shi, who looked after the networking side of things, moved on. Since then Patrick’s primary business has evolved to be almost entirely upgrades and repairs.

      He is always flooded with work because he is scrupulously honest and his charges are very moderate. So his business thrives on word-of-mouth.

      Work is done onsite in his shop — no outcalls, or very rarely — and he charges $AU 35 (say $US 27) for any simple job and $AU 65 ($US 42) for a more complex job — like a hardware upgrade (plus parts of course). [Well he might charge other customers more, but that’s what he charges me.]

      He is also quite happy to provide unlimited free telephone support.

      Well, what can I say?

      I am SO DAMNED GLAD I don’t live in the USA.

      • #3084981

        I’m running a home support company

        by mlermitte ·

        In reply to Thank God I don’t live in the USA

        I’m running a home support company here in Belgium. We work with 3 different levels. First we have the home-support for users & small company’s, second we have the webshop en on top we have the webhosting. We need this 3 levels if not we don’t have a fulltime job. My working day’s starting at 17.00 hr and ending at 22.00 hr, in the mornings- and afternoon i’m working on the webshop & hosting…

      • #3084979

        Reply To: Should I support home users?

        by info ·

        In reply to Thank God I don’t live in the USA

        Well you have found someone who may have a lot of technical sense, but not much business sense.

        Even a small business with hardly any overheads would cost more than 35 per hour to break even before even making a profit.

        By the time you take into account the invoicing, diagnosing, discussing the problem etc even a simple problem has eaten up an hour of time.

        I charge $90 per hour for home users $40 discount and Im not rich from it. There is a lot to be said about the saying “you are worth what you think you are worth”

        • #3084966

          Patrick Li

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should I support home users?

          has been conducting his business for 16 years. Obviously he has not gone broke. During the time that I have known him he has got married and sired two children, so obviously his personal expenses have increased.

          Not everybody is in business for the sole purpose of making a good profit.

          I guess Patrick is satisfied with making an adequate profit. While his shop is stacked full of computers waiting their turn, another shop in the same suburb that is run be greedy people, does relatively little business.

        • #3084964

          I actually do this, but agree there is no money

          by bheite ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should I support home users?

          This is one of those two sided sword deals. You are hosed on either front. True, most home users cannot tell if the flames coming out were an unkown option, or really a bad thing. Then they want to know why it is so expensive. I have come to realize that there are certain people I will do that for, I charge older (read 60 on up) 25.00 flat fee, and it usually will take hours to unscrew stuff and not lose their valuable pictures of Bob the wonder dog. I do it because there is no one else who will, and most older people can’t afford to just buy another machine. I have patched together some real messes, and made them go again, and I also get a lot of parts from people who tell me to keep them, and I recycle them into living machines again, and sell them to older people as basic internet/email machines, for the cost of the XP license. When I escape to the backwoods, I will probably open up a small shop for locals, as I plan on being up in the middle of WA state, where the nearest big town is a LONG way away. I do agree, most people have a disposable view of the machines, but not of the data, and that is where the real problems come from. Most well off people just want the Bob pictures, and get a new machine, but those flames just ate at that harddrive, and “could you please get the data off it?”. I also preach about the small external hardrive for storage and backup, that makes the machine really disposable.

        • #3084898

          Charge what people can afford

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to I actually do this, but agree there is no money

          I used to do the same kind of thing — collecting old machines, upgrading them from spare parts from other machines, and selling them at a modest price.

          For tuition and tech support, my fee was very negotiable for people who were genuinely poor (pensioners mostly).

        • #3084874

          I have never thought I could make it on that

          by bheite ·

          In reply to Charge what people can afford

          Yep,

          Absolutely, I agree, it is not a survivable model, especially for seniors/pensioners (NS: New Southwales AU?). The biggest problem is they are left out of the equation, and usually need someone to unbug the things that got bugged. I recently spent a few days communing with a 78 yo womans machine that her grandson was “helping” her out by installing a scanner. The scanner was probably older than the kid, had 98 drivers, that he tried to run in emulation mode, and XP gagged and died. It took me a whlie to hunt down the offending files and restore, but I salvaged all of it for her. GeekSquad probably would have charged her 100.00 and told her to reformat and reload, which would have made her cry, as all her family tree, photos, etc were there. Of course, I also then showed here how the CD burner worked and told her to back up all this good stuff (which was a couple of more hours at her house training her). But if I don’t do what I can, who will? If a lot of knowledgeable people get together and come up with a way to share their skills with people like her, it would help out a lot. In fact she (and several others) suggested I start a Seniors class for them to learn the little things like backups and file saving, so they don’t lose their stuff.

        • #3084787

          It’s kind of a social service

          by saintgeorge ·

          In reply to I have never thought I could make it on that

          I have done stuff for older people. It takes longer and doesn’t pay much, but I always get -at least- milk and cookies, and sometimes even cake. It’s rewarding in other ways.

          Of course, this won’t make any sense to people who go around calling unexperienced users “zombies” (to their backs, of course) or who overcharge taking advantage from the computer illiteracy of John and Jane Doe out there.

          If you read this and want to lend a hand to older people, remember some of them were already around when radios were the only electronic mass media.

          They saw TVs being born, and VCRs (including Betamax), cell phones, CD-players, etc. They didn’t grow up with the technology and so they are really challenged that way. Heck, I’m 44 and saw most of that being born! First time I sat in front of a computer (no PCs yet, but a mainframe terminal) the only other computer I had ever seen -and heard- was Star Trek Enterprise’s…

          Also, in most cases, learning capabilites diminish with age (Even at 44 I’m already feeling it), so, be patient. It’s like teaching a child, except the kid is already immersed in the technology and his powers of learning and comprehension are growing.

          Some complications may result of this. I taught an elderly but enterprising lady how to backup her data on CD. She did it once a month. A few months later she asked me to go by and chech her PC cause it was behaving kinda weird. What it was actually doing was nothing, the motherboard had burnt out.

          The lady’s daughter decided to buy her a new one, and I was asked to install the software and recover her old files. I checked the last backup CD and I found, what? Part of the Progam Files folder. Same on every CD (7 of them).

          She had been trying to backup the whole C: disk, and the first CD always ran out of space while copying the Program Files folder. As she had no more than 300 Mb of personal files, I had told her one CD per backup was enough, so when the backup program prompted her for the next CD, she just cancelled the copy.

          I wrote a script for her and explained how to save everything in My Documents. Case closed.

        • #3084539

          To be young again…

          by carey5 ·

          In reply to It’s kind of a social service

          Yes, when I was in my early twenties, I thought the same way. But then in my late twenties, I realized I still have nothing. I thought I was going to be much more successful, but I wasn’t. And the bills were starting to add up. As you get older, the new credit card bills and the old credit card bills add up, as do car repairs, and the cost of groceries and electricity, and heck, even stamps and gas for the car!

          If I had to do it all over again, I realize now that I should have been charging more when I was younger, when my expenses were lower, to prepare for the more expensive future that is always looming around the corner. And if you start a family, then you really understand how expensive life can get as you get older.

          True, I felt good helping people for less money and sticking it to the man. After all, every person I helped, was one less profit made by some faceless corporation who doesn’t care. But that good feeling I had inside couldn’t help me from ultimately filing for bankruptcy.

        • #3084655

          BACKUPS ??????????????/

          by da philster ·

          In reply to I have never thought I could make it on that

          Interesting Point.
          I’ve seen too many occassions where the expression “Backups” provokes a strange glazed look on the home user.
          “Oh yes” they say, “Let’s do a backup now”
          “Gee” I say, “That would be nice, but your machine is so badly munged that it may not happen”
          And so it goes………

        • #3084537

          Morons

          by carey5 ·

          In reply to BACKUPS ??????????????/

          The issue I have is ‘techs’ like this guy who think a backup is not possible if the machine is, how did he put it? “Munged up.”

          You need a license to cut peoples hair, but if you want to be a technician, just call yourself one. That’s it.

          There is NEVER a need to reformat a hard drive. A real technician should know that ALL versions of Windows can be reinstalled CLEAN, without wiping the hard drive. It’s so easy and so convenient to the customer, as well.

          True, drivers and software will still need to be reinstalled, but at least the customers data is still there.

          I’m not here to teach you how to do it if you don’t know how, but if you have any promise as a real tech, you know how to use Google.

          Any technician that says “I can fix your PC by reformatting it” is actually saying “I do not know how to fix your PC” and if the end-user knew this, I bet many of these self-proclaimed techs would need to find another career.

        • #3267864

          Oh GOD Yes !!

          by aaron a baker ·

          In reply to BACKUPS ??????????????/

          Oh God, lol.
          I’ve been there and it’s really hard not to break apart when they come out with that.
          Think I should back up my “Electrocuted Drive?” 😉
          I just smile as we had this conversation in the past and he hadn’t taken me up on it.
          Regards
          Aaron 🙂

        • #3084665

          Its very hard to support home users

          by mikegarrett2000 ·

          In reply to I actually do this, but agree there is no money

          I have run a computer consulting business for 6 years and moonlighted many years before that. I always thought the home market was an uptapped market. However after years of trying this I have concluded its too much trouble for not enough money. Yes, there are millions of home users that need help and I tried a multitude of ways to support them. The problem is you never know what your walking into. 90% of the work is removing spyware, worms, and viruses. It takes hours and how can you charge someone $60-$75/hr and they can buy a brand new Dell for $299.00! Computer repair is much like the TV and VCR repairmen of yesterday. Who wants to pay $150 to repair if you can buy a new one for $300. Yes, I know you can just reinstall the OS and start over however most of the time customers don’t have their restore disks, they upgraded with the neighbors CD and want you to reinstall illegal software. Then they don’t have their Office CD and SN, or any of the applications they had before. You spend most of your time educating the customer or getting call after call about what to buy and where to get it. They call you because you are able to give them the answers they can’t get from CompUSA or Best Buy (unbillable hours). You can’t build machines for people as Dell or Walmart has got you beat. Even buying parts from Fryes with rebates won’t help you make enough profit. You spend 1 hour min. driving to and from the store buying parts – 2 hours minimum assembling, installing OS and peripherals and what to make $100-$150! Then you get 6 calls over the next 3 months everytime the machine needs a reboot or the keyboard is not responding. I enjoy what I do and enjoy helping others however that does not put food on the table for my family. As you can see no longer is there a computer store in every strip center. There’s a reason, the profit margin is way to small, big business is taking most sales and service away from the little guy, and why pay someone $25-$75/hr when you call 1-800-India for nothing. I don’t blame the people from India, Malaysia or elsewhere – I blame Corparate America and our government! We may be saving money now but it will come back to haunt us in many ways. I could start a whole new message about current ecomonic situation.

        • #3084710

          FICA & Medicare(SE Tax) 15%, Income Tax at least 20%

          by techiemikee ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should I support home users?

          In the US nearly 1/3 of your billables go to the tax system. Most companies run at another 1/3 in overhead costs a really conservative company operating on word of mouth alone would still generate 10% overhead.

          A person could make more than $27/hr mowing lawns or picking up dog poo why would someone leave so much money on the table? Certainly wouldn’t want them making business decisions for my company.

      • #3084906

        Re: Thank God I don’t live in the USA

        by derek freeman ·

        In reply to Thank God I don’t live in the USA

        jardinier,

        Those support rates are low, but I’m not sure you are taking the relative cost of doing business into consideration. What are this guy’s overhead costs and his cost of living? This guy may be able to live like a king in his location for what he charges customers. I’m in the Baltimore/Washington DC area and I certainly could not sustain a business based on those rates.

        It’s all relative to the market you live in.

        • #3084872

          There is also another possibility here

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Re: Thank God I don’t live in the USA

          As well. This particular person could have different rates for different customers. The good well known ones get charged at a lower amount particularly if they are willing to wait for the repair to be done.

          I have a set rate for Business which generally remains constant but for their workers they get things done at a vastly reduced rate as a form of [b]Good Will.[/b] The same thing could apply here as the person who thinks that they are getting a great deal will tell everyone just how good so & so is is it can be written off as a form of advertising, Word of Mouth is always the best advertising possible. 🙂

          Col ]:)

      • #3084890

        thank god you don’t live here

        by richard ·

        In reply to Thank God I don’t live in the USA

        There are many things wrong in our conunty and I don’t like them. BUT STILL
        My message to all who don’t like the USA and want to tell us how we suck, is
        PLEASE GO STRAIGHT TO HELL. I for one don’t want you and am glad your not here.
        as for your piss ant business and minimum wage billing. I’m glad you are happy with it. I support your right to do it and see nothing wrong with you being happy working for low wages and we all know the home market needs some help.
        I certainly will not be taking a pay cut to work in that market. My wages are higher then your gross billing rates…. YOU do not get high end engineers for that price. You can get beginners on their way up in the market but that means constant turn over or employees with low goals.

        • #3084888

          Reply To: Should I support home users?

          by info ·

          In reply to thank god you don’t live here

          Funny Im from Australia like the OP of that title and I thought it was pretty rough too.

          Its always better to keep personal opinions, politics, and generalisations out of the topic, and therefore I agree all home PC users are a drain on resources and are unprofitable:)

        • #3084886

          Home pc users

          by richard ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should I support home users?

          I can’t come up with a good business plan for me.
          I do thing that there is a very large need there.
          Just seems like the only business model that might work is like the geeks on call guys. A pretty good investment to get the business going and contract for low pay. Seems like it will always be a challenge to get the work done well with low paid help.

        • #3084867

          I see Home Users as a necessary Evil

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Home pc users

          They are certainly a drain on resources particularly if you have to run around after them to their houses and the like as this is just plain & simple expensive as HELL!

          While I do very few domestic machines the ones that I do, do are all for employees of companies that I do business for so I see this as a form of [b]Good Will.[/b]

          But they can be a major pain to work with generally I get them to bring their hardware into work and take it from there to do the work which I’ve found is much faster to remove their HDD/s save their Data and then reload the entire computer then move their data back to where it belongs. And the really funny thing that I’ve found is that the ones that you do for cost are always the ones who don’t pay their bills. 🙁

          But I suppose [b]Such Is Life.[/b] 🙂

          Col ]:)

        • #3267523

          90% of my work Is HOme PC

          by aaron a baker ·

          In reply to I see Home Users as a necessary Evil

          I am a Home Tech.
          Almost all of my work is done in the client’s home, unless it’s such a disaster that I have to take it home.
          Oh they have Business Offices etc and they have on site staff that takes care of their needs.
          However at home, it become a different story.
          The kids playing online games, downloading things they aren’t supposed to, most of the time the PC haven’t been cleaned out, scandisk or Defragmented properly in months.
          It’s amazing to me that a person who could be so meticulous at work can let his home PC go to waste in such a manner. Problem is, they just don’t have time to do what is needed so they call me in and this is what I do.
          I clean out the Pcs, get rid of the rubbish, spyware, Trojans, viruses etc and then give it a thorough going over in terms of straitening out. Theses are things that might be considered below the level of an IT Tech, however it’s my bread and butter. Yes, I charge a lot less, Yes I work long and hard for the kind of Money that most Techs would laugh at, but the fact remains that this is a viable market.
          I’ve been involved with PCs for over 25years and I much prefer the home work vs. the Businesses, IT Politics, machinations and motivations and all the rest of the nonsense that ITs have to tolerate, regardless of the amount of money.
          I’m semi-retired now, so it works out well for me, I’m just a little business,who get’s the calls that no one else wants or to be more precise, Client are not prepared to pay what they consider to be outrageous prices for the work being done.
          It would indeed be nice if I could say to a client that I’m charging then $200 plus dollars for the work done, but since it was done at home and not in a shop, the inference is that it should be much cheaper.
          So I charge accordingly,. Needless to say, I’m not living like a king, but I am kept busy and it’s getting busier all the time.
          This is why I see the day coming when there will be two completely different fields in Computing, one IT Tech, the Other Home Tech.
          Both will be viable and who knows, perhaps with a public that is a little more savvy, the rates just might balance out, although I doubt it. But let’s be honest folks, the rates truly are outrageous in some cases. My Surgeon doesn’t get $300.00 an hr and he;s got a ton of things to pay for. Staff, Hospital fees etc.
          And so it goes.
          Warmest Regards
          Aaron 😉

        • #3076303

          Heres a funny one Aaron

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to 90% of my work Is HOme PC

          I’ve just got back from installing a new computer at a Doctors Surgery well a Surgeons anyway. I charge a flat $50.00 per hour to install new hardware where it involves moving bulk amounts of data over to the new machine.

          Any way he hit the roof and complained bitterly even though I only charged him for 2 hours and not the 4 that I was actually there but here’s the killer he quite happily paid $150.00 to have his Medical Program reactivated after hours when I have to go down there in the morning and could have done it for free or at least the cost of a phone call to get the correct code. :^0

          He’s a [b]Blackmailing BARSTEWARD as well.[/b] But I think it’s hilarious that he doesn’t want to pay me for 2 hours work and is quite willing to pay 50% again just to have a program activated that can not be used before I could get there in the morning. Some people are really funny. 😀

          As he mucked up my entire weekend by organizing to be there to have the unit installed and then went away without telling any one I told him I was going to repossess his boat moored at his back door and charge him the cost of removal. It’s really quite expensive to float a bulldozer down there to demolish his house so I can get a crane in to pick up the boat. I just loved the look on his face when he realized what I was telling him I was planning to do. But I’m expecting another round of Blackmail to come up shortly as he’ll point to a mole on one of my arms and say something along the lines of “I don’t like the look of that you had better come in tomorrow and I’ll cut it out.” He then makes the first incision and then asks me quite politely to do something for him and I never argue with someone standing over me with a sharp instrument.

          Then when I get the results after the work has been done he says well there was nothing to worry about there so He shouldn’t have wasted his time and effort removing it. :p

          You never know fear until you have some mad Surgeon standing over you with a knife in hand and shaking his hand after making the first cut. Good thing that he’s a friend but I give as good as I get. 😀

          Col ]:)

        • #3084866

          Home pc users – hire an inexpensive contractor

          by volk1970 ·

          In reply to Home pc users

          I think the way to bridge the gap of hourly rate vs profitability while supporting home users is how much you pay your contractor. I work for a company that is an outsourced IT department for small businesses (ranging from 2-100 employees.) My company usually charges from 100-125/hr to support most of our clients. We generally “eat” the costs of supporting the home users of those networks. If it were up to me, I would contract an intern or a “newbie” and pay them appropriately and have that person support the home accounts exclusively. That way, 4 hours spent fighting spyware at a home users’ location doesn’t put us in a shortage of technicians. Also, it frees us up for either flat-rate billing or a cheaper way to give away some good will.

        • #3084783

          I like the US but..

          by saintgeorge ·

          In reply to thank god you don’t live here

          I like the US, but I understand when people think they are full of it. They are actually talking about you…

        • #3086933

          Over reaction? Paranoia?

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to thank god you don’t live here

          It should have been plainly obvious that my comment was ONLY directed at the difference in service charges between Australia and the US.

          Get it? NO general dislike of America intended or implied.

          However if you like to be disliked, I will do my best to accommodate you.

      • #3084855

        We’re DAMNED GLAD you don’t live in the USA too!

        by cweb ·

        In reply to Thank God I don’t live in the USA

        Not really sure of what you were trying to say with this email other than your glad you don’t live in the USA. The point of this discussion was whether supporting home businesses was a viable market or not.

        • #3076396

          Foolish reaction to a post (IMHO)

          by stratti79 ·

          In reply to We’re DAMNED GLAD you don’t live in the USA too!

          I see that there are a bunch of Americans in this forum who are a little too touchy. The guy ws not being political, nor was he bagging your country. Instead of trying to understand his point (which was a great one) you attack him. So I explain because I no scare.

          I think your first mistake is the dollar terms. Wages and cost of living the hiring out costs he gave you are on par with a good plumber or electrician ( a job on par with low level IT work). He was referring to the level of service he gets as a consumer (i.e. the market that is supposed to be the focus) in Australia and that he felt that that lacked in US. Having witnessed your reactions to his innocent remarks then perhaps I see why. For you eediots claiming political bias Australia is a member of the Coalition of the willing with troops and special forces soldiers helping out US (however small) so to bag the US’s stance is to bag Australia’s stance hypocrytical

      • #3084494

        Reply To: Should I support home users?

        by pickleman ·

        In reply to Thank God I don’t live in the USA

        > I am SO DAMNED GLAD I don’t live in the USA.

        I read your post twice. I still don’t understand why you’re “so damned glad” that you don’t live in the U.S. You failed to explain it in your post, even though you went out of your way to make a big deal about it.

        • #3086061

          I thought that would be obvious

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should I support home users?

          The reason I said I am glad I don’t live in the US is that the charges mentioned for home service are MUCH HIGHER than what is charged in Australia.

          The charge of $US 105 per hour (say $AU 150) MIGHT apply to top level technical support for a large company or corporation, but would NEVER be considered for a home user.

          The charge for a home visit would be more like $AU 100 (say $US 75) and in the case of my friend Patrick, $AU 55 per hour if the computer was delivered to the shop.

          As referred to also by Col, Patrick charges less to regular customers like myself in the name of GOOD WILL. I have been a regular customer for more than 10 years.

          I invite Col, if he reads this, to give an estimate of what are the most typical charges.

        • #3086052

          Jules make it hard why don’t you?

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to I thought that would be obvious

          My standard rate is $150.00 AU per hour for fixing and $50.00 per Hour for installing new Systems. But that’s to business where time is money and they need the best service available.

          Even then when I’ve walked into jobs where one of the [b]Cowboys[/b] has hit them hard and robbed them blind I’ve been known to only charge for 2 hours at installation rates per day.

          For domestic work which I do very little of I generally charge by the Job. While I do loose some money over things like this I find that it produces far more [b]Good Will[/b] than anything else and keeps existing clients or brings in far more new ones than anything else.

          If people think that I’m going to give them a [b]Fair Deal[/b] they are just plain and simple happy to have me or my staff work there.

          My son however who only plays games I would love to charge several thousand $ per hour with all the messes that he gets himself into, but provided I can keep him away from [b]My Computers[/b] I’m happy. But admittedly he’s got better since one time when I made him reload a computer after a game installation destroyed Windows. 😀

          Col ]:)

        • #3086007

          Now Col

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to Jules make it hard why don’t you?

          You know perfectly well that if I asked you an easy question you would get such a shock that you might have a heart attack.

          And don’t tell me you don’t LOVE all those obstreperous clients — both business and private — who fill your life with excitement, challenge and adventure, so that you can feel like Indiana Jones or James Bond. 🙁

    • #3087736

      home users

      by rob mekel ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Be careful about this. Home users, special the ones that bought their PC with you, are known to be unsatisfiable as it comes to service their PC if not working. Even to the point of putting in 2 cd/dvd?s in the one drive they have (not on purpose) and blaming you for a screw-up or worse. For sure as rules in the EU say that whatever you buy of a company has to work as it should be given the specs as what it should do.

      Over here (NL) there are company’s who do support home-users as they have their warranty and charge for whatever is not covered by this warranty, within the rules there are (see above).

      Good luck with your business.

      Rob

      • #3084978

        Home Users can be worth it

        by martin ·

        In reply to home users

        Ok, I run an IT consulting business in the UK. We aim at small & Medium Businesses, but have always offered support to home users.

        We now take about 30% of our turn over from home users.

        Lessons learned.
        1. always do a good job, and do it right first time.
        2. the customer if satisfied will tell all of their family and friends about you.
        3. because of point 2 you don’t really need to advertise, your customers are doing that for you with a far better conversion rate than any advertising could do.

        We advertised in the yellow pages this year for the first time. In the 2 month period that the book has been out we have had 1 call resulting in a sale. Compare this to the results of referrals form families and friends of only 1 not acting not he quote once contacting us.

        If I compare this to our Business sector we just don’t get this level of results we have to work real hard to get a sale.

        And from our experience the end users just don’t complain as much as the business users, the only difference is we have to be more flexible (out of office hours calls etc.)

        I hope this helps you in reaching the decision.

        • #3084899

          i’m running a home-support comp.

          by mlermitte ·

          In reply to Home Users can be worth it

          You are right. Happy customers give more profit. I mean that the will contact you with other people that needs support & new pc’s…
          90% of my new pc’s is from people that know other people where I was do home support 🙂

        • #3084878

          Home Users are so grateful

          by rembrandt1 ·

          In reply to Home Users can be worth it

          There is so much here that I agree with as I have been running an IT consultancy business now for 5 years in west London. I’ve come across all of the upsides and downsides related in this discussion several times over but even though I could not survive without business work (you just can’t charge home users the same as businesses) home users are invariably so grateful that their GBP 1,000+ kit is working again.

          Also I get to meet some very interesting people. Being able to talk to home users is VERY important and to tell them what has happened to their PC and what you are going to do it to fix it. Twelve years of being a salary man consultant have helped enormously.

          Fixing the depradations by children, spyware and worst of all ‘visiting friends who know about computers and just went on the internet for a few minutes’ keeps life interesting.

          Conversely I find that business users generally expect instant miracles and have little inclination in preventing problems from reoccuring if it means spending additional time and money.

      • #3086627

        I tried this too, and it didn’t work out well

        by starderup ·

        In reply to home users

        I made a few visits to this old lady and fixed her internet connection. I only got paid for one visit. I wasn’t as firm about it as I should have been, but I felt sorry for her.
        Then a few months later she sent me a letter wondering if I had made some purchases with her credit card, even though she was there watching everything I did everytime I was over there.
        It really wasn’t worth the time and trouble.

    • #3084980

      Works for me

      by lompnaz ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I service home users here in rural France. very rarely do the quibble about the bill, and all are grateful for someone who will do the job properly at their place. The level of competence at the big stores is frighteningly poor – I have one client who was told the ventilator on her portable was u/s and the processor was about to fail. A quick look revealed the cause of the problem – hard disk completely full. A quick transfer of big file to another partition and voila! Result happy client and no quibble about the 75€ bill.

      I spend about 40% of my time on home visits and it can be profitable. Word of mouth does all the marketing I need.

    • #3084976

      Yes they will.

      by shamusoneil06 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Geek Squad couldn’t possibly pay their guys enough to get good people. Anyone with experience will demand more cash and therefore be more interested in the corporate market. When you call Geek Squad, be prepared to have a green computer geek show up.

      Run a campaign to generate word-of-mouth advertising for your company. As a smaller business, you have an opportunity to have more intimate relationships with your clients as you can send the same guy out every time.

      Keep in mind that home user support can’t be profitable for the reasons you mentioned. That market isn’t as high-pressure and demanding as corporate computing. Home users can wait, often times, if their computer is on the fritz. And because there isn’t much money to be made by techie or business owner, it can only be a combination of a few things:

      1) You as the business owner taking 100% of the profit and working on your own making decent cash. I think this is the best route. You can specialize in a few areas and jack your hourly rate up very high for specialty work.

      2) A training ground for green computer guys who will eventually start their own business or move into corporate computing. You as business owner will need to keep control over them by training them as they come on board to replace the guys who leave for better cash.

      or

      3) A dead-end stop for a mediocre computer geek that just doesn’t have the drive to demand more and who is content to take only a percentage of what is billed. Which may seem like a good thing, but these guys often times don’t have drive enough to go the extra mile for the client and make them feel like $1 million bucks.

      2 & 3 make it tough to have guys you send out to clients in the home and small biz market.

      And because home users don’t normally want to spend cash on their computers, I rarely do homes now. Businesses are the place. And when somebody at the business wants me to care for their home computer, they need to pay the same rate as the business does. My time is my time no matter who is paying for it. And when the computer geek kid in the family screws it up further instead of fixing it, they will pay for my time. 🙂

    • #3084972

      It depends on where you live

      by tech ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      If you work from a large city then you can ask and get a decent wage from home support, however as we are based out of town the locals grumble at ?15 for support.

      And because of the distances involved while giving support in the countryside we can spend ?5-?10 in fuel alone.

      We concentrate on supporting the local businessess that need the backup, and generally only go to a home user if we happen to be passing by.

      To rely soley on home users would kill the business.

      Maybe leave home support to the people that advertise in the evening paper as they are the ones that have a regular day job and giving support is a tax free way to boost their income.

    • #3084970

      Think about your small business users

      by tony85 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Like briwlls 70% of my business is in supporting small businesses. Some recently started complaining about costs, so I did some analysis. My average customer uses between 1 and 2 hours per user per month; about half of this goes on the servers; some is showing them how to do things and improve efficiency. The bigger the company, the lower the amount per user, much as you would expect.

      I achieve these levels by using things such as Symantec Corporate antivirus, Microsoft’s WSUS for patching, so that the effort is the same regardless of the numbers of machines.

      I also spend time documenting the systems, creating policies and preventing applications other than legitimate ones being installed.

      Your home user will have (in most cases) 10x the amount of programs installed, many from dubious sources (what is your liability if you maintain a machine on which a user is running illegal software?). The home user will not even know what a backup is, let alone have one.

      So, home users are considerably more effort to support. In setting up my own desktop, something I do once every couple of years, I find it takes me about 15-20 hours to track down all the latest drivers and configure all the apps – OK, I have it sync my Outlook to my phone and PDA, and run a lot of development tools, but it gives me some idea of how complex a system a home user might have.

      Now back to the economics. My customer was complaining about the average 1 hour per user per month. If I take 40 hours per week, then I have 160 hours per month. My wife is a teacher, so I asked her to estimate how many PCs the school has. It is around 160. For this, they have 4 full time IT technicians (and holidays when they can fix things) and an IT teacher who does much of the systems administration.

      I see people (such as PC World in the UK) offering silly monthly prices of a few dollars per PC. Of course, the real price is that it excludes most of what people really need support for.

      (As an aside, one PC manufacturer told me that they would not take my brand new laptop back, where I could prove that the wireless was faulty because installing extra software invalidated the hardware warranty).

      I also find that I spend an increasing amount of time as the “pig in the middle” between suppliers and customers.

      If you want to offer a service to home users, then good luck. Your biggest problem will be managing their expectations. Yes, you can limit things in a contract, but what do you do when fixing a problem outside of that is going to result in a bill larger than the cost of the PC?

      Now that PCs are down in the same cost range as domestic appliances, people expect support at an appropriate rate. You may not think a service bill of $1000 unreasonable on a $25000 vehicle (my wife’s Cherokee), but this scales down to $20 on a $500 PC.

      So, to conclude, think about your small business users – what their expectations are, and what you charge them. Will home users expect more for less?

    • #3084965

      End Users Are A Big Pain

      by semmyd ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I too once found myself in the same predicament. End users problems and pc configurations are too numerous and varied. With an end user there is no end to the list of things they can ask you to do outside your core comptencies and they just nag about the smallest of issues and always whinge about payments. It will not be worth your while to pursue the end user path. In the long run your cooperate customer will suffer at the expense of the end user.

      My advice try and work around the problems with your cooperate and try and grow that side of the business. It will give you more free time on your hands and also grow your skills base.

      • #3076280

        End Users Are A Big Pain

        by rush2112 ·

        In reply to End Users Are A Big Pain

        Spend 10 minutes assessing the problem and talking to them about it. (for NEW customers only)
        If after 10 minutes of observing/listening and possible if you are on site..having them SHOW you what is broken, you are unable to tell them ‘THis is what I charge for this job, (hourly or by the job) and this is what I expect THIS problem to take in time (eating it at times but hopefully you have learned how long this will take by now and can accurately quote enough to cover your time and effort)

        If they want to hire you, let them. Otherwise tell them that they are welcome to get someone else to repair their problem.

        With end users / home users, this is an option but if you have to travel to them, a minimum charge may be what is needed to cover your fuel costs for going there. 30 minute drive there, 10 min on site 30 minute to next job…this could potentially eat up a considerable portion of the day.

        YOu may want to attempt to diagnose the problem via telephone, and provide an estimate via telephone based on the ONE PROBLEM being described.

        Outline your responsibilities in writing, put it on a website or a handout-paper that you can give to customer to read.

        Have them sign it if it is in contract form. Have it cover billing/site revisits.

        Go over with them how you work.
        Call me
        I will get you on my schedule
        I will visit you and bill you for X (time or job)
        You will pay me by (Payment methods accepted by contractor here) Payment methods NOT ACCEPTED also listed.

        End users need to understand that you may pick up their computer, work on it and bring it back to them later in that day or that week. If they are unwilling to let you take it and work the trouble later…they should pay premium rates for “RIGHT NOW” service. Home users typically want to save money, so most should allow you to take it with you. You could use this to charge less/more depending on what customer is willing to accept.

        Home users need to pay for service RIGHT NOW too.
        Collecting from home users is tougher than businesses. Most people are honest, but some are just too financially strapped to pay on time….which also strains the relationship.

        Best to do what others suggested and sell the
        Regular maintenance type service.
        So many hours per month/week etc….for updates / regular PC maint…etc.

        Sell a block of TIME. 10 hours for example costs XXXX.XX or whatever…charge them off as time. Paid in advance by end-user.
        Once you have the machine cleaned up it should be relatively easy to maintain from that point forward.

        Independent Contractors IT people are professionals, warm bodies that replace parts are not always professionals.

        In other words why hire a Geek who will replace parts, when you can have a professional that will help you determine your needs and guide you accordingly for a fee which will get you to your goals…instead of just fix something and let you call them again next week, same trouble, fix it again, repeat (ad nauseum)

        Wireless Networks should NOT be supported for end-users. This should be covered under maintenance. It is nearly impossible to troubleshoot with an unknowledgeable user a WIRELESS trouble….unless you have REMOTE access to the devices experiencing the trouble and can see them enough to guide the user.
        Of course this all depends upon whether the user is capable of understanding technology enough to assist via telephone instead of “ummm I don’t know what it looks like, I don’t know where it is” “Um what’s that?” “why don’t you just come out here cause I have no idea what you are talking about” (aspirin time)

    • #3084951

      Just say NO

      by carey5 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      The problem with most home users is that they do not call often enough. After running my business for the last 10 years, I can tell you from experience that I need approximately 30 home users to equal one small/medium size business to support. Home users are famous for calling me and saying “Do you remember me?”

      That’s because it’s been an average of twelve months since their last service call.

      On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have a home user who will not follow your advice, and continually is riddled with malware and expects you to fix it every other week, under warranty. Try to explain it’s their own fault and not covered under warranty, and you’re in for an argument that keeps you from making money on other work for the next hour.

      Home users don’t want to call support unless its free and they will call you and try to get information for free. For example, a customer calls me the other day, who I haven’t heard from in over five months and asks “Do you have any idea why someone couldn’t record a DVD? Could it be software?”

      I assume they are talking about a system I worked on, so I ask a bit and I soon learn her sons girlfriend got a DVD burner for her birthday. Apparantly they installed it themselves but either it does not work or they do not know how to use it.

      Because I fixed her last problem via remote access, she wants to know if I can remote access into her sons girlfriends PC and try to resolve this issue.

      I explain I cannot do that and that I offer remote access only for specific customers with certain types of problems.

      The next, inevitable question is, “Do you know anyone who can?”

      I say “No, but if you bring the PC to my shop, I’d be happy to look at it for the standard rate.”

      That usually results in “Ok, thanks. Good bye.” And it did.

      I also have folks call me and ask “Do you do telephone support?”

      I ask, “Are you a customer of mine?”

      They say, “No.”

      I ask, “How can I support something when I have no idea what it is or if it’s put together properly?”

      The response one guy gave me was not asking how much I charge, where I was located or what my hours were, but rather “sorry, I guess I have the wrong number.”

      Consumers get so frustrated dealing with the retailers and manufacturers, they’ll start calling every place in the phonebook looking for help, and after spending their money on the item they are frustrated with, they are NOT usually looking to pay for help. This always blows my mind, that folks that have never been a customer, are calling me randomly from my ad in the Yellow pages, which costs me money every month, on a cellphone, which costs me money every minute, to interrupt my business to answer their questions when they have no intention of buying anything from me.

      Business users need things fixed and they need it fixed yesterday. Just like a consumer, but you can charge a business more and they will need you more often. You also rarely get a bad check from a business. Imagine going through the expense of driving to a customers location, spending an hour and a half to fix the problem, and being a nice guy, only charge for one hour, and when you drive home and do the paperwork for the service call, then drive to the bank to deposit the check, a week later you discover the bank has charged you $15 for a bad check and sent it back to you.

      Home users are, generally speaking, a waste of time. They are thankless, want onsite support so they can look over your shoulder and ask you what you are doing each step of the way and, since most people bill hourly, want you to do it in an hour. And if you fix it in 10 minutes and the minimum billing rate is one hour, guess what? They want you to stick around the extra 50 minutes to make sure they get the hour they are paying for! But if you go 10 minutes over an hour, they’ll be upset if you charge them for 2 hours! So, if you are good and efficient, you are punished.

      There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking, the majority of consumers have no money and don’t care how, or if, you stay in business.

      I estimate if you ONLY support consumers, you would need about 450 of them for ONE technician to have enough consistent work for one year. And that includes all the headaches and frustrations I just mentioned x450. Just to make ends meet.

      • #3084642

        You got it right! JUST SAY NO!

        by mikegarrett2000 ·

        In reply to Just say NO

        You are exactly right. This is exactly what I know after years of doing home support. It’s not worth 450 headaches! JUST SAY NO!

      • #3084638

        Amen brother…Amen

        by chris ·

        In reply to Just say NO

        Everything “Just say no” says is the truth. I am in my 10th year of business, and I have seen everything he described. End users are a waste of time. They only spent $299 or $399 on the whole computer from Dell or whoever in the first place, why would they pay you 2 or 3 hundred bucks to fix it….? They won’t, and to think otherwise is a waste of time that you could be spending on other areas of your business.

      • #3086780

        Amen is right!

        by paul.kelley ·

        In reply to Just say NO

        I re-imaged a machine for an aquaintance for free. OS was done in by viruses and spyware. Lo and behold, now I’m EXPECTED to be the support for that computer any time something minor goes wrong with it, and it’s still under mfg warranty!

    • #3084905

      Home Users support.

      by michael_orton9 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I do a lot of home support.
      Problems:1/ Cheap PCs without Installation disks, just system recovery disks. I often have to resort to semi-illegal hacks to restore system.
      Or install the free, better Sun Microsystems Open office 2 rather then MS office or Works.
      2/ You have to turn a blind eye to software piracy. very few have origional instalation disks, most are copies from friends or relatives.
      3/ You find that there is no up to date anti-virus protection, no firewall. Theey also forget passwords, and they need to be “recovered.”
      4/ Often infected with mutiple malware.
      5/ On the bright side there used to be a local recycling place where I could get 2-8 Gig Hds for a few pounds, great for upgrades when the M/b will only tale small Hds.
      And its very easy to stick in a CD rewriter, dvd player, freeware CD burners, extra RAM, extra USB ports, you can even add USB to DOS, so long as you are not hung up on “Ms Approved stuff only”.

      I have a whole CD full of non Ms approved free programs to make 95 and 98se work better and more secure. I just couldn’t sort out some of the problems with “approved” software.

      Nor could I work without my Knoppix Linux CD.
      Great for removing lost passwords!

      “Ms Office 97” or “Ms Works” with extra free PDF creator, 12 place clipboard and 2048 digit pgp encryption, and of course a free O0-2 suite.

      In some ways its easier than supporting a work system.
      Many of the programs that I use are not free for commercial use, and are DEFINATELY NOT MS approved.

      However I have been into IT since 1960 and I always adopt the “If it works, it IT’S legal!” idea.
      There is no way most home users would pay for maintainence contract, unless it was thrown in when the bought the pC and they didn’t notice it.

      And yes the PC will be in a loft,or a dark courner,or even under the stairs, with a tangle of wires etc.
      I have never found a dead mouse inside though, YET! perhaps its the cat that shares the room has eat it!

      You do need a good hand tourch and one of those headband magnifyers (+3 dioptres for me). I sometimes resort to my old head torch from my Mountain Rescue days.

      I also have a collection of old mice and kbs at home from the recycling place, its cheaper to replace than to try to repair or clean.

    • #3084904

      ….and what can you charge?

      by graeme ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Geek Squad
      Cox Cable (around here)
      Dell

      all offering home support. Do you see what they charge? Can you sustain the same charges AND be hard nosed and charge for the follow up calls?

      In our experience the biggest problem for the SOHO and Home user market segment is that once they pay the (to them) huge bill – they expect a lot of follow up phone call time that is WAY beyond the courtesy 5 minutes.

      And you didn’t fix their spyware problem properly! Only you did – but the kids screwed it up again immediately. Or you lock down the computer to prevent it – and “we can’t load software”.

      The cost of educating each home user is WAY too high compared to educating in an enterprise where you get a lot more return for your one hour presentation to a large group and where you can lock computers down and keep them moving along with less maintenance.

      I’m generalising but the reason we get a lot of calls from home users is that “Geek Squad spent hours and didn’t fix it”. Now I am sure most Geek Squad contractors tried hard or were low skilled and tried long (while learning on the job). The customer hates their bill and is hoping yours will be better.

      I’m not saying there is not a market here. But in your position – go after higher value work and if you do take on a contractor – they had better be a balance of good (so you can avoid follow up calls) and low cost to you so you can have some margin on billing.

      Not only do we not deal with home users anymore but if it is a home office AND kids are allowed on the office computer – we will not deal their either. In fact we have recently moved to – 5 workstations or more.

      Some might call us arrogant – but it is way more profitable………….

      • #3084901

        mmmmm

        by mlermitte ·

        In reply to ….and what can you charge?

        Well let me explain a little bit. I run a home-support company. Just you are right to say that suppoort home users go far, but with this support I sell PC’s to there friends & family. When I support a home-user via the phone, even pass and click on a install button can give me in time a computer sell. When I support a home user with a pentium I computer then I know that when I want to sell a computer he will contact me and this give me more profit and he will say to all his friends that he have the best computersupport!

        • #3084900

          I hope you get some decent margin!

          by graeme ·

          In reply to mmmmm

          on those computers. I guess it depends on your income expectations. 🙂

        • #3084803

          yes and no

          by mlermitte ·

          In reply to I hope you get some decent margin!

          Yes, I have my sales margin, but remmenber that these home-users also working in some small business company’s and again….wait I will tell you a story 🙂
          Some day someone call me with a broken VGA card. I fix this pentium 2 PC and some 2 months later this person contact me again and ask me to come and visit his boss…This is a small accounting company with 1 server and 7 workstations working with a network with coax (yes) cabling. All was 7 years old, so I have sell here a two new servers (the want two servers), 8 new PC’s and 2 laptops a compleet new network cabling router e.o….This is just illustrating that a home-user can give you profit…

    • #3084893

      Absolutely not!

      by neildsouza ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      There is no one to provide home services to out-of-warranty
      computer users. But a deal from DELL is considered as an
      average cost and matching their figures could prove very
      expensive to you. Besides it also involves a lot of helpdesk,
      support, staff and telephone costs.

      Also remember that $39.99 is paid up front for 12 months
      which people would not fork out easily.

      Considering that you just have 30% home users, you should
      alternatively consider a maintenance contract option, wherein
      your staff should compulsorily make a trip to the home user
      every 2 months for a general check-up (for 30 minutes).

      Support, virus problems and hardware issues should be dealt
      otherwise on a per call basis.

      This way it would be cheaper for the client and it will also allow
      you a repeat business on product sales. Secondly, you’re actually
      not losing anything since, you will still be charging for out-of-
      schedule support calls.

      • #3084879

        Home Support is most of my business

        by gene10 ·

        In reply to Absolutely not!

        I do loads of home support. There are several retirement communities where I do a lot of work. Most of these communities are quite affluent, and they can definitely afford to pay for my services. I charge them $65/hour, and do quite a bit of virus/spyware/malware cleanup. My typical bill for ‘fumigating’ a system is about $100. I generally take the computer back to my workbench, so I don’t have to bill them for every minute i’m sitting there. THere’s a lot of ‘click and walk away’ when you’re cleaning up a system like that.

        I sell lots of new hardware to these folks. I mark it up just a little bit to make it worth my time. I set up their new systems at an average cost of about $100.

        On a good day, I’ll have two or three residential appointments, netting me $150-200. Add to that the small business clients who are billed at $85/hour, it’s a good deal for me.

        I don’t mind fixing grandma’s computer, as long as grandma doesn’t mind spending the money on it. So far, she hasn’t minded.

        Gene

        • #3084571

          No thanks

          by cttechie ·

          In reply to Home Support is most of my business

          I have the opposite feeling. My worst customers are older folks (sorry!). Even though they are willing to pay whenever you call, I get kinda tired having to re-explain things – simple things – like attaching files.

          Then again, they aren’t much worse than my regulars. Some people just don’t get it. In fact, I’m currently dealing with a royal pain in the a$$ this wek (again) who keeps having problems with the family’s wireless network. The most recent is someone knocked the power cord out. Now, they still can’t figure out to connect the desktop with wireless card. 2 weeks ago I had to drive 20 minutes both ways just to show this person how to make two clicks to connect to the network and enter the password… Well, after 20 minutes on the phone Saturday and whatever time I have to spend today, I have to charge….

    • #3084882

      It can work, but it also can be annoying

      by richardjm ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I don’t do a terrible great amount of marketing to home users, but I’ll take the work if it comes.

      I charge home users $90.00 an hour, one-hour minimum (plus parts and software) during business hours, more during off-hours. The great bulk of the work is malware removal, and I give detailed explanations of how they got it and what they have to do to avoid it while I’m removing it. They usually listen, believe it or not; and when they call back six months later to say it’s back, they usually accept full responsibility and don’t try to get the second job for free.

      The main problem with home users is more that they tend to think of me as tehir friend, and the telephone support part becomes a bit excessive. Businesses tend to understand better that time costs money, even if it’s telephone time. Home users have a harder time with that concept.

      On the other hand, I’ve also gotten some excellent commercial accounts via referrals from home users, so it’s a mixed bag.

    • #3084871

      Home user support

      by jcorzatt ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I have found it very difficult to give home user support for anything other than hardware problems, upgrades etc. Due tothe fact that most of the people dont seem to take care of there systems, virus updates, windows updates, defragmenting etc. Many times I have had to do a service call for someone and just needed a little houskeeping on their computer and they flip out when you have to charge them an hourly rate for things they should be doing themselves even if you schedule things to run automatically like windows updates, virus updates and defrag they dont leave there computers on at the correct time, or are using them and stop the program from running. I have been thinking of trying to install a remote software on some problem customers, and offer remote/phone support for a reduced rate, and maybe a service plan to do the maintenance for them periodically. The problem I have run into with that is there always seems to be someone who will do it cheaper, a freind of a freind who is a computer “expert” and tries to fix something and doesnt do it correctly and they end up calling me to redo something. The home user market is a tough business to support regardless.

    • #3084868

      opportunities are out there

      by ristau5741 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      opportunities are out there…
      There is alot of possibility if you are motivated. check out
      http://www.onforce.com/

    • #3084863

      Supporting Home Users

      by jcarullo ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Yes, I do it, but only for my clients whose business I service. The average home user:

      1. Owns a computer disaster
      2. Hates to throw away obsolete hardware
      3. Has kids that have already done way too much “system engineering”
      4. Does not keep spyware and virus signature files up to date
      5. Is unwilling to pay decent money for service
      6. Thinks you should be thrilled to help them on the phone for free.

      They don’t expect their auto mechanic to fix the car over the phone for free, so why should the computer guy?

      • #3084528

        Well said!

        by carey5 ·

        In reply to Supporting Home Users

        I couldn’t have said that better myself. Again, there are always exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking, it’s not worth the frustration of trying to save someone from drowning who keeps voluntarily re-entering the same lake, and then cry for help that they cannot swim because it’s too much hassle to learn how. After the third time, I quit offering to save them. Let them find someone else to be their personal PC butler.

    • #3084860

      Works for me

      by jcritch ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I turn down business. Most of my contacts are via word of mouth, and I do not rely on this as a primary source of income. I do know I pay off all Christmas Bills in January from the income of setups and enhancements.

      I also give people the option of subscribing to logmein.com so I can remote support when possible.

      I charge 25.00 to 50.00 a hr depending on the nature of the problem. If they remote support, then I charge 50% of the going rate. usually 12.50.

      Is it viable, your call do not know your demographics, maybe you can contract the position, 50/50 split.

      • #3084835

        Senior Working For Seniors

        by byoung ·

        In reply to Works for me

        I’m a semi-retired IBMer in N. Ontario, Canada and 90% of my calls are home users; (10% SMB) of those home users, I’d say 90% are seniors. I charge $20 per hour, work in their homes, & can usually clean up their viruses, malware, in from 1 to 3 hours. I assess their PC in first hour as I work, decide if it needs to be removed to my shop at home. I impose a ceiling on charges for reloading systems, but charge extra for replacing components, so I’m not out-of-pocket. I’ve been doing this kind of work for 4 years now, and sometimes there isn’t enough time in the day for all the calls that come in. But the reverse is often true: sometimes there’s only 1 call a week, depending on whether children or grand-children have been visiting my customers & “improving” Gran’s PC. Like one of previous posts, software installs can be semi-legal, because of lack of CDs coming with a used/refurbished PC. I don’t pay for advertising, depending on word of mouth. Driving anywhere in this town takes 5-15 minutes, so travel isn’t a problem. I build computers for seniors who’ve gotten fed-up with the old clunker, and that gives me satisfaction, seeing a well-built computer installed. (I used to be a maintenance tech in IBM manufacturing) I’ve had half a dozen rather annoying customers (in 4 yrs) who found me or my work less than satisfactory, but I direct them to the shops in town who charge $45-65 per hour for service. I don’t deal with them anymore. Only one bad cheque so far, and I pulled the CD drive from the computer I’d installed it in. I do get compliments from many new customers, saying they heard I “was the best in town”, so that helps keep me going! I’m considering a price increase, but only a moderate one. It certainly helps to be on pension to smooth out the bumps…

    • #3084849

      okay..

      by jaqui ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      without reading all the posts already made, I’ll post in this discussion the comment I make in this one:
      http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11195-0.html?forumID=87&threadID=190926&messageID=1969170

      when red hat said we will no longer offer any support to home users, they lost a lot of support in the open source world.

      open source is a community, and most open source work is done at home, so by telling home users you aren’t worth our time red hat was saying we don’t want your business.

      these are the same people that were buying red hat linux for their company servers. they changed distros.

      Mandriva went from close to declaring bankruptcy to being profitable, by not alienating home users, they do support home users, just as well as they support corporate clients. They have the same base business model as Red Hat.

      Debian 100% community driven, can’t buy anything but coffee cups, t-shirts etc, from them, but they have a very large community that regularly donates time and money to keep the distro going. This is the true open source model, free.

      Slakware, 100% community driven, just like Debian, and almost as commonly used as debian, with only knick nack sales and cash donations to keep them going.

      The open Source Business model is exactly where the large “Name Brand” proprietary companies are moving to..services, not products. check distrowatch out, with several hundred linux distros listed, see which ones have retail or enterprise versions available, or even both.
      then check those companies public records, most are making money.

      Red Hat Linux started making far less money by NOT supporting home users a few years back. They went from being the most succesful Linux Distro to one of the top 3, financially. The only reason they didn’t drop more was name brand recognition, they kept some business simply because they were so strong before they killed support for home users.

    • #3084844

      Home users don’t really value their PC’s…

      by tracyf ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      …which is why they continuously allow kids to download music & never update their antivirus, Win updates, etc…

      A business MUST keep their system running & humming- not so the home user.

      My advice would be to set up a remote tune on a weekly or monthly basis. Offer to do a mini-tune, spy/viri sweep, updates- for a flat fee. That means they’re always clean (pretty much) & will cut down on totally trashed systems hitting your shop.

      IMHO,

      Tracy

      • #3084711

        I find my expereince to be opposite to yours.

        by beoweolf ·

        In reply to Home users don’t really value their PC’s…

        Most home users are very attached to their computers. What they don’t understand is how to protect their computers, secure their computer or have awareness of when something is really wrong. Things, like unknown access, unwarranted access activity or sluggish performance go unnoted by home users, because they don’t know it is an (possible) indication of malware infection. Too quickly the computers has become sold as a commodity, at a low price, with little or no enforcable warranty…because retail businesses sell hardware not service. Unlike the telephone, which many people “want” to think a computer can be compared to…the PC/computer is a general purpose device. It can be configured to do many good things as well as be mis-configured to do bad.

        It is easy and misguided to attempt to equate ignorance with indifference. Again, computer companies, software vendors have invested a lot of propagana into pushing the idea that things are safe. As an IT professional, your job is to disabuse them of their ignorance and expect a reasonable fee for your service as well as rudimentry reeducation efforts. As it stands now, you don’t buy your computer once, its a new computer everytime there is a change in the software. And with the proliferation of online subscription services, automatic download upgrades…their is an increased probability of something going wrong…which requires intervention, rather than less chances of misconfiguration. So, blaming the user (especially the delueded home user) for a marketing fiasco, is just wrong.

        Charge what the service is worth, but be sure you earn the money by completing the job, showing them that you completed the job and explaining what will be required to prevent a recurrence of the present problem. Then have then sign something to document that fact. Just doing the job and slipping out the door, check in hand, is the most likely reason for call-backs. A few minutes explaining preventative measures is time well spent.

        As far as kids and computers. I agree, any parent that gives Jr., Muffy free, unsupervised access to the family business computer, is foolish. Kids should be given a separate computer to “Play” with, until they are old enough, educated enough, reasponsible enough to have access to the family computer. But that may be asking too much, that requires that parents actually watch, oversee what their children are doing….Its much easier to legislate restrictions on everyone, rather than accept that child care is the proveince of the childs care giver. Computers are still being sold as disposible commodities, yet the data they host has value. You need to stress that point and offer to protect their data, not “fix” the computer.

        • #3086425

          …no, not “easy & misguided”…

          by tracyf ·

          In reply to I find my expereince to be opposite to yours.

          …just stating things as I find them to be.

          I have had many folks stop me in my area & give me their rundown on their PC situation- it’s generally as per norm- slow, unable to connect to internet, etc…

          IF they actually call to have me over, I do a complete sweep & clean. I take time to explain what’s what RE: spyware, viri, system upkeep, etc…

          What happens is that in a month or 2, they call me back- & when I arrive, I find that the very things we went over previously were never done.

          Now, I make a point of not only explaining, at the time of install, what these programs do- I update & run them while I have that person in front of me. I then go home & post an email that goes over it all in print- in case they need a hard-copy.

          This is what I was posting RE: “home users don’t HAVE to keep things ship-shape”. They can afford to slack- since they can always call someone “next time” if need be.

          Their very livelihood does not depend on their computer.

        • #3086406

          education

          by half9 ·

          In reply to …no, not “easy & misguided”…

          Yes some people learn diffrent ways, So I love screen dumps to make instructions that they can follow easy

    • #3084826

      Should i support home users? Yes.

      by sftmn ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I commend you for trying to support home uses. But, it is prices like yours is the reason you will not be succesfull. $40? It cost half of that just to drive your vehicle there. Base rates, $90 an hour for first hour, $60 after that in 15 min increments. Air-conditioner people charge more than you. Home users pay them! I have been doing this for 17 years. Unless your real job is cutting grass, and because you can connect two cables together, you are considered a tech guru as a side job, yes you should only charge $20 for the five hours you are at their house. But if you are a pro like me, you pay alot of money every year to keep your MCSE, CNE, RHCE, CCNA, A+, Network + current. Plus the massive amounts of time to study for those customers problems so you know how to fix them when you finaly get the call. All the while you are not getting paid to study. I am not going to charge $5 dollars to fix your problems. I am not rich, even though I showed you my prices for residential. Business get charged $140 hour. If they don’t pay it, then let them go hire the lawn-mower boy to go fix their problems. Because I eventualy end up fixing their stuff anyway, because the grass-cutter messes things up way worse that it was in the frist place. Have faith in yourself, and do our industry a right, and charge what all the pro’s charge.

      • #3084815

        Some of you are simply amazing…

        by drew17 ·

        In reply to Should i support home users? Yes.

        I enjoy reading the comparisions between Home PC Support Technicians and other types of techs but some of them seem like the proverbial comparision of “apples and oranges”.

        I do some side jobs for family, friends, and co-workers and to any word of mouth referrals they make.

        It doesn’t pay my bills but it gives me a little extra here and there. The biggest problem for me is “time” as I already work a full time job that often requires overtime.

        I charge $25/hr and realize I should charge more but it isn’t about making huge profits.

        At $100 an hour (or more) that some of you are charging these folks will be realistically buying a new computer after two visits.

        If I owned a car that required its own original sales cost to be re-invested into it every couple of months I wouldn’t be driving.

        I just can’t justify how it would be worth $300 to someone to have their $300 PC disinfected.

        I suppose, if I were trying to run a full time business working on home computers I wouldn’t be very sucessful.

        I do have many repeat customers and have earned many referrals. I don’t get a lot of phone calls for free support but I do agree, home users can be difficult and it is wise to choose new clients carefully.

        • #3084728

          Software is the thing.

          by beoweolf ·

          In reply to Some of you are simply amazing…

          Your comparison of the cost of repairing a car vs. cost of repairing a PC is flawed in many ways.
          First, the issues isn’t the cost of repair/replacment. The real issue is and always has been the ability to retain data, configurations and connectivity (if the system is networked). The main reason so many people hang on to an “old” computer is they are afraid to lose/compromise their “comfort zone”. That is why what you see as a reasonable recommendation to just wipe the disc, or buy a new machine is often met with so much resistance. the “general” public is very attached to things they are invested in…example: a pet dog or cat can be replaced with a puppy, kitten or rescued shelter animal for far less than the cost of heroic efforts many will authorize to save “rover” or “buffys” geriatric carcuss, just to enjoy a few more month of nursing them to their inevitable final departure.

          computers often hold the same value in a family, It isn’t the hardware, its the software and data that has been collected over time that they really want to save. If you can “clean” their machine, or transfer their data, system environment to a new machine…then they will pay and pay well. Just don’t screw it up. I find that most people have no compunction with paying a premium, if the service is excellent and done with discression and effiency. Unlike a business computer, there is an expectation of privacy when dealing with the public. Barring, flood, fire, pestulence or famine…whatever I find on a hard drive, I quickly “forget”, I charge for both the service and the discrestion. I am not immoral nor am I moralist, I deal with adults as adults and offer no judgement, unless it is requested.

        • #3084640

          Re: Some of you are simply amazing…

          by derek freeman ·

          In reply to Some of you are simply amazing…

          I agree it is ludicrous to spend $300 to repair a $300 piece of hardware… but what I think you fail to take into consideration is the value of the data in that hardware. Does that make it right to charge $100/hour? That depends. The local market will dictate that, not any of the people on this board. That’s econ 101 – supply and demand. Like you, I help friends and family mostly, but I charge nothing. When I do get a referral, it’s not worth my time to do it for $25/hour. If someone else in this area will do it for that much then good for them, win-win for everyone. But if not, people are willing to pay more – and my rate will often be less than others in the area – only because I do it as a side gig and I don’t need that income to survive.

        • #3084486

          People don’t get it

          by mikelis8 ·

          In reply to Some of you are simply amazing…

          just because you can buy a new PC for eventually the same price you pay for service calls, you are missing the point. You need to look at it as a cost of ownership expense. you need to continually cut and feed your grass. if you don’t do it yourself, you need to hire someone. smae with maintaining computers. Buying a new one won’t solve your problem for long if you haven’t learned what screwed you up the first time.

        • #3267014

          you are right!

          by sftmn ·

          In reply to People don’t get it

          You saidit. But, then again, that person is exactly who should not be doing support.

        • #3267016

          Amazing

          by sftmn ·

          In reply to Some of you are simply amazing…

          I respect that. And you are right, if in fact you are “disinfecting” something. Unless, that person’s PC has data on they do not want to lose. You see, people who seek help, just do not need cleaning. They need data recovery, data transfer, data protection. If you think about it, we all are not in business to fix computers, we are in business of data. Data like pics, media, accounting, taxes, payroll and such. And yes there are alot of home users that i come across that they hire someone for $25 to “clean” their problem, then the next thing they know, there pics are all gone! There quicken is lost. I know, because we are almost always the 2nd or 3rd company called out to “fix” what the “cleaning” did.

        • #3266889

          …only true to a point…

          by tracyf ·

          In reply to Some of you are simply amazing…

          …the reality is that if these folks go out to buy a new PC every few months- that new PC will be in the same state a few months down the road. They risk losing precious photos, emails, & other data, as well.

          That’s why I stress educating/tutoring to the people that call me. I make it clear that what I want to show them will pay itself back, many times over, in a short timespan. I do not intend to be there forever- what I teach are safety/security basics as well as how to research, for yourself, online. Once you get to that point, you can find your own answers & won’t need to pay for help as often. That’s where the value lies.

      • #3084796

        HOME SERVICE TOUGH CALL

        by sullyspike ·

        In reply to Should i support home users? Yes.

        Home service can be a great way to start a business and learn the ins and outs of running a business but at some point you will have to make a decission.

        Charge more and have less customers but make better money overall or charge less and do quantity and I mean quantity.

        Having worked both sides for 20 years that is where you are at with the residential clients. Stick with the group that will pay you for your knowledge and expetise or go slumming and go quantity. If you run quantity you have to be tough give them only what they paid for in out go no long term relationships and on to next one very hard to do.

        As you run your business to be long term you will have overhead like licenses, advertising, insurance, phone bills, gas and vehicle maintenance, tools, training, and more. In residential market you are many times competing with people that do not have overhead. Do it part time just started retired ect. Most these people will not have training tools ect.

        To be really good at what you do you will need to invest in these items. Most people with small businesses I know do not invest properly in tools and training and it shows in the work they do.

        So you will need to make enough money to do this and most residential customers do not want to pay that kind of money. Either build a client base that does which takes time or do residential and commercial and do what alot of businesses do switch over to commercial exclusive as you get established and better at what you do.

        Commercial customers have needs that have to be met are willing to pay profesionals what they need to run a business. They run a business they know what it takes. If you are good at your trade and establish commercial relationships your business will be solid.

        Residential clients tend to be fickle and are harder to establish a relationship with especially if you do your job right they are not likely to have many problems and for most the computer is a nicety not a necessity this is not true of commercial clients.

        Good luck in your venture

      • #3086129

        Reply To: Should I support home users?

        by pickleman ·

        In reply to Should i support home users? Yes.

        > But if you are a pro like me, you pay alot of
        > money every year to keep your MCSE, CNE, RHCE,
        > CCNA, A+, Network + current.

        Your entire post would’ve had a lot more credibility if you had only left out the above statement.
        When I got to that portion of your post, I just rolled my eyes and immediately chalked you up to another self-described “pro” who actually believes that his MCSE or CNA actually have any validity or significance in the real world.

        Bottom line: if you’re a true pro, and you know what you’re doing, you don’t need a useless piece of paper from Microsoft or Novell to tell you that.

        • #3267027

          Certification. Yes!

          by sftmn ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should I support home users?

          You might be a great support person, if that is the case, good for your cust. I do not want to take anything away from that. I have been in I.T. for 17 years, and I am sick of the the “children” giving advice and “trying” to fix things and then charging people for it. YOu know, Certs do say something, alot of something. First, most “children” CAN NOT get them. In order to pass those tests, you better know eaoh and every fine detail about the subject you are testing about, or guess what? You FAIL! That means you don’t know what you thought you knew. I have been an I.T. director for many years, hiring and firing. I know “children” when I come across them. And all “Children” are not young. Some are retired from other fields like cutting grass, policeman, pool refinishers and the like. And yes, they try to come in, and give bad advice and charge for services they know nothing about. So before you go and start speaking to me the way you did, I will challenge you on any OS, any software, any hardware and see if you can keep up. My expierence is people who knock hard and expensive things, are the same people who cannot attain them.

    • #3084807

      UK Perspective

      by mr g sheffield ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I have been running a computer and network support and maintenance company in london for three years.
      During that time I have built up a client base of around 200 home users and twenty or so business users.
      I charge ?40 an hour for home users and ?65 an hour for business users.
      If I fill a whole working day with work then it is feasible to make a living. But the work is sporadic. Some weeks are full others are empty.
      I do some advertising but the majority of work comes from word of mouth.
      Lately I have been installing wireless networks for the majority of my home user work.
      Business users want new printers installed, new client machines set up, regular visits to update virus software etc (as they can’t trust their employees to do it).
      Wherever possible and practical I recommend the business users to move to SBS2003. This provides regular visits to ensure everything is running smoothly.
      I send out regular emails to all my clients providing tips, help and general computer related news. I run a blog which my clients have access to which gives my views on current IT related news and products.
      The feedback is that they like this personal approach and look forward to receiving my mail or reading the latest posts on my blog.
      I also design web sites for small business and a lot of that work has come from home visits.
      What I have noticed is that it is getting easier to set up new equipment or diagnose problems. Therefore I am spending less time with a client and they are paying less.
      I suppose the big question is ‘Is It Profitable’?
      Well, like I said there are good and bad times, but I earn a living. Nothing spectacular but enough.
      Also, a big plus is that I am my own boss.
      This is just my two pennaths worth for the discussion.
      Must go, have another wireless network to set up.

      • #3074352

        Mr. G, perhaps there is something else

        by bheite ·

        In reply to UK Perspective

        Mr. G,

        In all of your post, there seemed to be a small opening to maybe use. How about a class on home user PC use, and maintenance? Myabe have them learn how to do thier own basic software maintenance, and clean it out, and also show them why certain upgrades are worth it, and when a new system may be the best bet. Maybe you could increase your client base, and still make some cash, as well as expose your business to more people. Just a thought…

    • #3084805

      It all depends…

      by cweb ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Most of your customers are and will be older people who don’t have the cash to take it into a shop. So right there you will have to base your rates on something they can afford. Most people who can afford the extremely high rates I see quoted here, will just take it to a shop. The other really major problem with home users (and in particular seniors) is that 6 months from now when they crash their computer installing something or letting some neighbors kid play with it, they will call you demanding you fix it. Or they want to call and ask you questions about it.

      • #3084525

        Not necessarily true

        by carey5 ·

        In reply to It all depends…

        Keep in mind that more and more people are buying laptops. The typical problem people have with laptops is usually hardware related. A bad power connector, a bad DVD drive, a cracked screen or it simply won’t power on.

        Unless you are an authorized repair facility for that make and model of laptop, you can’t get the parts at any price – and if you could, be prepared to spend the next four hours removing teeny-tiny little screws and very delicately unsnapping plastic pieces being ever so careful as to not break one of the connecting tabs.

        It just doesn’t make sense. As more home users get laptops, they limit what anyone can do for them on-site, regardless of price.

      • #3086012

        Reply To: Should I support home users?

        by pickleman ·

        In reply to It all depends…

        > The other really major problem with home users
        > (and in particular seniors) is that 6 months from
        > now when they crash their computer installing
        > something or letting some neighbors kid play with
        > it, they will call you demanding you fix it.

        They can call and demand whatever they like.
        As long as they’re willing to pay for my time..

        > Or they want to call and ask you questions about
        > it.

        I make it a rule never to answer questions on the phone. If they have a problem, my policy is they have to pay me to come visit them on-site. Your customers/clients will only get away with whatever you ALLOW them to get away with. If you draw proper bounderies and explain to them why those boundaries are there, they will respect them and understand.

        You can’t call up your car mechanic and expect him to fix your problems over the phone. Nor can you call him up and expect to just “ask questions” for two hours. Plumbers, electricians, car mechanics, computer support — they’re all trades that require skilled people, and skilled people cost money. If you’re not able to understand that, then sell your computer and buy a Nintendo.

    • #3084790

      Be careful

      by rcfoulk9 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Supporting home PCs can be risky business. We do support home office computers for some of our clients but ONLY if it is used for work by the adults. If children use the machine for any reason we will not touch it. Early on we had issues where we would spend a couple of hours cleaning a PC of all the junk the kids had gotten on the box from their relentless browsing and downloading only to be called back the next week for the same problem. At our business-based hourly rate people start to question why our fix doesn?t last. It?s a little like crashing your car, taking it to the body shop and then immediately running into a tree again. Hence, no support if kids are involved. We would suggest purchasing the children their own PC, which we would not support, but that the business machine be password protected and kid free.

      In short, it has the potential of mudding up the relationship with a business client. Consequently we will not support a home PC if the client is likely not to understand the base issues involved. Then there?s the pesky problem of cleaning all the porn-related guck and explaining, sometimes with spouse present, what the problem was with all these solicitations popping up.

      As for purely home-based computers for the general public, you will have the same issues. In addition you will likely not be able to charge the same rate you would for business so your margin will not be as good. Then there?s the problem of bad computing behavior on someone?s part recreating the same situation soon after your visit. You?ll get the ?your guy didn?t fix the problem? call and be faced with a free revisit or an impossible tech discussion with an angry client about how the fix was good but someone in the family is engaging in surfing behavior that is the functional equivalent of unsafe sex.

      For us, not with anybodies 10 foot pole.

    • #3084779

      This is for the “freebie” crowd- perfect!

      by tracyf ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

    • #3084738

      Show Me the $

      by geekus supremeus ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Having grown from a one-man support shop to 11 full-time hires with three storefronts I believe that adding home users can build upon your base and it can be profitable (I currently enjoy a 32% net margin) as long as they are not your primary customer base. (Try to keep the mix around 80% business and 20% home users).

      1) Have a sense of humor. You will see a vast amount of user ignorance and be asked to do the impossible on a daily basis.

      2) Be flexible on your charges to home users. Businesses can absorb larger fees then home users. Instead use the discounts to generate further businesses.

      3) Establish a ?no pirated software? policy and stand by it. Refuse to install pirated software. You?ll be surprised how much additional business that one policy will generate.

      4) Establish a standard for yourself and your customers. Establishing a standard for hardware and software will save you time and headaches. Plus you won?t have to justify every minor HW/SW decision.

      5) Establish an emergency charge and stick to it. You?ll be surprised how many clients call you claiming an emergency. When they find out the charge to ?drop everything else? to respond to them instantly you?ll be amazed how quickly they schedule an appointment.

      Just a few words of advice from a geek in So. Calif.

      • #3087138

        Reply To: Should I support home users?

        by info ·

        In reply to Show Me the $

        There is some good advice that I will certainly try and implement in my business.

        I do abide by number 3
        “3) Establish a ?no pirated software? policy and stand by it. Refuse to install pirated software. You?ll be surprised how much additional business that one policy will generate.”

        I tell users before doing anything that if they do not have the original disks or license code then I cannot install the software for them, and yes I have got business out it (especially with microsoft office).

        The following is a great idea that I am going to offer immediately.
        Establish an emergency charge and stick to it. You?ll be surprised how many clients call you claiming an emergency. When they find out the charge to ?drop everything else? to respond to them instantly you?ll be amazed how quickly they schedule an appointment.

        However I would find it morally difficult to drop a real “emergency” like a network outage or data loss to fix someones favourite screensaver just because they are paying a bit more money, but I can see that once I start employing a few people this strategy can become more viable.

    • #3084713

      Could work as long as you find the right fee

      by marcomeyer1 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I once tried to establish my own independent business by offering PC support and mainly training over here in Switzerland. When I asked for the then modest fee of CHF 120 per hour (about US$ 90/h) I lost most of my clients. Then I went down to CHF 60/h (US$ 47/h) which works fine – but only because I am doing this as a part-time job (20%) now. Otherwise I should raise the fee up to at least CHF 100/h. Even my hairdresser gets CHF 113/h! What makes the home user business really difficult is that many of these clients think that they are paying a flat rate and could ask you tons of questions over the phone. I stopped this by charging for that time, too. One must be absolutely serious and not be timid about asking for what you need. And one more thing: Ask more when working for a company between your home user hours! The best combination would be: part-time job in a comfortable position and as an addendum your own business.

      • #3084680

        Home Users don’t compare “price” vs “value”

        by ernestscribbler ·

        In reply to Could work as long as you find the right fee

        Users compare your $250 service-call ticket to the price of a replacement PC. The problem is they don’t comprehend all the time it would take for them to get the new PC set up as a replacement. You all know the drill: de-install the crapware that Dell sticks on there (that reduces Dell’s per-unit cost), install basic line of security sofware, track down the MS Office CDs you stole from the office, getting your old PCs data to the new machine, etc.

        I’ve been supporting home users off and on for years, charging just enough to keep them from calling too often. (These are folks I know through church, etc., and by referral, not the general public.) Marcomeyer hits the nail on the head: set your fee structure and stand by it.
        I don’t make enough to support the family, but it is an OK side business.

        As a stable money-making business, though, it is hard to imagine it working. Perhaps if you only support PCs you sell and you do preventive maintenance remotely, with enough clients paying a monthly fee you could make it work.

    • #3084701

      Support for the home user

      by parrington ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      My company policy is to support every customer who purchases a computer build from me. There are disclaimers however. We don’t support or guarantee due to abuse or downloaded issues. The company is whole based on the fact that the home user is either a) in too much of a hurry to learn how to properly operate their equipment, b) are intimidated by computers and only learn some of the fundamentals. We train and tutor those same home end-users and are becoming successful, because there are only a handful of companies willing to devote the resources to do so, ie: Geek Squad.
      With that said, we do charge for what we do. We are profesionals, therefore we charge. You go to the DR, you pay, you have the plumber, the electrician, the cable technician, come to your house, you pay…..Charge for what you know, and for what you do. If not, keep the day job.

    • #3084651

      Nobody wants to pay anything!

      by bg6638 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I’ve been doing the small business/home user support routine after losing my IT mgr job due to a corporate bankruptcy. The major problem that I have had is that nobody wants to pay anything! The small business owners are not interested in a monthly maint fee, but when there is a problem, you better be there fast AND with the right part(s)! Home owners are worse: $5 to put in memory, $10 to install/format/reload a hard drive,
      $50 including the part to replace a power supply? Where in the world do users get these prices from? I charge $20-25/hr. with N/C if I can’t get the problem resolved, and I’m having people tell me my fee structure is outlandish! When I point out what Geek Squad charges, they respond with….I’ll just buy a new system!

      • #3086049

        There is a simple cure for that one to

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to Nobody wants to pay anything!

        I ask if they do any Internet Banking or have ever used their Credit Card On line?

        When they answer YES! I just suggest that it might not be such a good idea to just throw it out as someone may pick it up and repair it and then have access to everything on their computer.

        I’ve yet to have one person not accept this and at the very least they get me to supply new Hardware and dispose of their old systems safely. 😀

        Col

        • #3266822

          when I up grade

          by jackie40d9 ·

          In reply to There is a simple cure for that one to

          I try to use their OLD hard drive for their new computer in some way so the stuff they had is just a drive away, ( also saves them some money ) and just add more new stuff to the newer computer then all thats left is a Motherboard cpu and memory . . Just add a case and power supply, hard drive, cd rom and you got a computer for sale to some kid to play on and put games on ( can be sold back to then to keep kids off their “NEW” computer . . )

        • #3267580

          I did that once and got a heap of problems

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to when I up grade

          Mainly because the guy in question saved all of his grand children’s pictures to the “Old HDD” and when it failed I was accused of selling him Second Hand Goods at “New” prices.

          As the computer had been made over 18 months previously I of course knew what had happened and as I didn’t have a copy of his invoice there things got quite nasty for a while.

          Of course there was no apology offered when I got back to base and found out what had happened and rang him with the result of his requested actions.

          Old HDD’s are a real hazard to use new ones are bad enough with a few DOA and some working but not properly. I’ve just spent 2 days off and on repairing one of my computers and I started off with a new HDD for a Boot Drive and it was worse than DOA it seemed to work till you got Windows Loaded and then applied SP2 at which point I kept getting an error message that My Account had become Corrupt and Windows Couldn’t open. But initially it passed the Drive Makers Tests and naturally I didn’t think to retest it until it had fallen over several times and the HDD test was only an after thought then as I was concentrating on other Hardware Issues with possible faulty RAM/CPU’s/M’Board.

          What I was taught from that experience was to test and retest everything as often as possible particularly when things fall over. 🙁

          Anyway the Guy in question with the Old HDD fitted just had to have his data recovered so he took it to a [i]”Mate”[/i] and when I got it back I was faced with an open HDD that still was Dead. I tried another circuit board from an identical drive and it fried the circuit board so I sent it away for a quote from a Data Recovery House and when he got the price he suddenly decided that the pictures where not that important and he could get most of them back from other family members.

          But to top it all off he then tore into me for allowing him to use Second Hand Hardware in his New Computer. Mind you he’s still using a 14 inch monitor on that same machine. 😀

          Col ]:)

        • #3267441

          before I give them back

          by jackie40d9 ·

          In reply to I did that once and got a heap of problems

          Before I give them back a computer with a OLD hard drive added back in I put files / data on CD’s so its still there if and when the old hard drive quits . .
          Saves me a few words and things like the last computer I did I added his hard drive to my computer and dumped the contents to a directory under his name PLUS burned the contents to CD’s then they can’t say “You lost my whatever’s ! ”
          As he had problems with his Ms Outlook and the address book so all the files were on CD’s just load them and find file and re install it . . CD’s are real cheap anyway only thing it takes is time to back up the drive but since its not the MAIN drive you can copy all files to a CD . .
          Sure saves me and words about lost things

        • #3266549

          That’s exactly what I did

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to before I give them back

          Unfortunately as the drive was in the machine he used it to store his data on for 18 months which I didn’t have a backup of.

          Col

        • #3074647

          Absolutely Right

          by aaron a baker ·

          In reply to before I give them back

          When I get one of “those”, if the drive isn’t partitioned, I do so.
          Then I take all the files that I had moved over to another drive [My Own] and the create a folder on the last Partition of the repaired hard drive.
          This is where they can find everything.
          Sometimes there is a little more than 700mg as in the case of Music etc.
          Then I burn them a copy of everything “Except” the music and give them the new CD.
          I’m always amazed that the very people who claim to have such sensitive information would not have thought of backing it up.
          When I mention this, they look like “Gee, it never occurred” 😉
          Anyway, that’s my little two cent worth.
          Kudos on giving them a Back Up CD Jackie, at least they know that the Tech is a person who actually cares.
          Very Important. Well Done. 😉
          Warmest Regards
          Aaron

        • #3077280

          Thanks Aaron

          by jackie40d9 ·

          In reply to Absolutely Right

          I get thanks from the people too ( sometimes they even add a tip ? extra money ) Oh yeah I have a web site too where I sell those nasty things called computers at http://www.lynnsstore.com
          I make people take a MIN OF 1 gig ram and at least a 2.6 gigahertz CPU and a 64 meg DDR video so they are some where near running with the big people ! ! Then after they get it and it screams they love it . .

    • #3084648

      Support Home PC Users?

      by jaytmoon ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Hi briwlls,
      I applaud you on your Small Business venture. It takes a lot of guts to go it alone these days. On your posted question, I would not be where I am financially and spiritually today if I had not supported (choice) home users. As a business person (yes, you ARE that first), you cannot ignore a viable market for your services. There CAN be problems with dealing in the home market, but that is the nature of the beast. I have read several positive posts in this string and many negative one’s as well. As the negatives go, forget them. Your work/market environment will likely not match theirs.
      As the Home Support business itself goes, you have to choose your battles on a case by case basis. That includes the fee’s you charge and the type of work/liability you assume. Your invoice or statement should be properly worded to indemnify you from and end user missuse, neglect or ignorance. You should not possibly be held for the actions of others when it comes to the end user abuse or neglegence.
      Fee based services are rarly case in stone. To that end you must examine the current fee based trends in your service area and decide how competitive you wish to be. Then charge accordingly. Base your fee’s on a menu of different services or on an ala carte.
      Depending on your Tax base, you may be able to write off heavily discounted serves (for the elderly or poor) on your income statement at fiscal year’s end.
      An far as taking on a contractor, be very careful who you hire. You will be assuming responsiblity for their actions, good or bad. Have a good liablity contract in place with him/her to cover yourself (just in case), and look into have them bonded as well.
      Its a big step moving from a single person shop to a larger operation. There are many great aspects as long as you keep your back covered as well. Good luck

    • #3084637

      service service service

      by jaygee21 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      The 3 most important part of any business. I started my company in 1981 and home users are a large part of our monthly income. Very few of my home owners are savey enough to sign a formal contract so the vast majority of what I end up doing is “cleaning up” after their kids. I currently charge by the hour.

    • #3084622

      Should I support home users?

      by mgmoreno ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Absolutely support home users. More and more people are working from home – in need of good technical support. My friend called the Geek Squad and they over charged her through the gazoo! They replaced her hard drive when it did not need to be replaced, did not add back all the programs she had on her original hard drive, even though she supplied the disks, and then, charged her close to $2000! Good techs with maintenance contracts are hard to find for home users. Mine charges me $75 an hour if it is work not covered by my “maintenance” contract. Maintenace includes making sure the computer is running efficiently, cleaning components – checking all connections, drives etc. Extra work is internet connectivity problems, cleaning off spam – virus checking. All components that need to be replaced or upgraded, I am charged by the component and the labor

      Go for home maintenance !!

    • #3084567

      Yes, you should…A.S.A.P.

      by matthewbparkssr ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I am not quite sure where you read that the home market was not a viable one, but i have read articles in USA Today, and others and they all point to this segment as a grow business oppotunity. This is the reason that you are seeing the big boys move into the sector. This reason is that everything is getting so technical and requiring setup. As for me personally, it has been quite a bit in extra income. I work in IT for a Educationally provider, so people come to me alot. I average about 2-3 jobs month, and that is just side work. I work on both computers and home electronics setup up. Training is also something to look into. I find that it is best to charge home user by the hour. Since I do not have the over heard of a shop, I try to cut them break on the price. The best advice is to find out what the providersin your area are charging and decide where you what to fit in there. On you are familiar with what you are doing, then you can using let a person know what they are getting into, i.e., a re-install of Windows XP w/updates is ~ a 2 hour job. That give the customer an idea of what they should be prepared to spend.

      • #3084562

        Reply To: Should I support home users?

        by cttechie ·

        In reply to Yes, you should…A.S.A.P.

        I don’t think anyone here is debating whether or not there is a growing ned for support techs. We all know there is. The question really is “Is it worth it?” Many of us have found out that the answer is no. Yes, there are some big boys out there getting into the market, but you also have to realize they are doing it to sell more products: Best Buy=Geek Patrol, Staples=whatever service they just started, etc. The benefit they have is that that have millions of dollars to spend on advertising to consumers. Most of us don’t. It’s cost me several thousand dollars in various advertising ventures the past 6 months. The return? Maybe a few hundred bucks. I get more from a free classified I’ve had forever and from referrals. I fially made the decision to cut off consumer advertising and focus on business customers only.

        • #3085346

          Tough Love…

          by matthewbparkssr ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should I support home users?

          I was not debating, I stating fact. And thank you for stating the obvious about the Big Boys and advertising dollars. Of course they have more adverting money at their disposal, that it why they are called the Big Boys. It would be foolish to try and compete with them because they will just out spend you. I do not bother with that market. I prefer to utilize, the most historically cost effective advertising that is available, word of mouth. All that cost me is doing a great job and building up a reputation for quality work at fair price. This has kept busy enough, that I am actually turning down jobs. And from the Home computer business, I have garnered a few business clients as well. So, I guess what I saying is sorry about your luck, when it comes down to ROI of your Advertising budget. But before you look at the Home Market as not worth it, you should learn how not to hate the game because you lack game. In other words, either your ads or your work are not worth price of admission. Tough love, I know, but just keep doing what you are doing, for that means more money for me.

    • #3084543

      Keep it economical!

      by mdbradsh ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I think you could have a nice business w/ home users, if you keep your cost afordable. Home users mostly can’t afford to pay $75-100 or + $ an hour for IT service. I don’t. Rather I learn it for myself to solve my own problems. But if I could get help for a resonable cost, I probably would to save time and trouble. Say $25 an hour.I recently built 3 servers and two PC’s for a home network. A FTP/file storage server, an ISA Server for my internet comnnection/firewall and a web server and two win xp pro machines. I didn’t have or know anything about server OS’s so I spent months on the net at sites like this asking questions from you pros. I also bought some training vids. I would have gladly paid a good IT person $25 an hour for help when I needed it, versus taking months to get it all up and going. Of course, I now know more about Win server 2003 than the IT pros at my workplace.Lol!

      • #3084513

        That won’t work

        by carey5 ·

        In reply to Keep it economical!

        You could not stay in business at $25 an hour. My mother works for the county and makes $27 an hour and thats with a pension and benefits.

        To be self-employed, you have to make enough to create your own benefits and pension and if you take a vacation, not only are you spending money, you aren’t making any while you are on vacation.

        So, how can a self-employed person charge $25 when a person with no college degree can get a state or government job that pays more with benefits and pensions?

        And what about time in the car? Some techs need to charge travel time, otherwise that one hour call is really a three hour call when you include the travel back and forth not to mention the cost of gas and risk of an accident. If someone runs a red light and hits your car, you’re out your $500 or $1000 deductible. Too much risk for a $25 return.

        And I hope your insurance gives you a rental while your car is being fixed or you have a second car, otherwise, you will quickly be out of business. At $25 an hour you cannot afford to have a day off.

      • #3086158

        Not a chance

        by cttechie ·

        In reply to Keep it economical!

        Unless I was a high schol student wanting some extra cash, there is
        NO way I’d charge $25/hr for ANY of my services. I can (and, sadly,
        do) make more than that sitting in a cubicle, not having to drive all
        over the place or deal with a bunch of acustomers)

        I guess it may depend on where you live, but $75.hr is cheap
        compared to most of my competitors where I am.

        • #3086059

          Real world – something for next to nothing!

          by bg6638 ·

          In reply to Not a chance

          How would you handle a user who only wants to pay $5.00 to install memory, or $10 to install a hard drive? I’ve pointed out my rates are half what Geek Squad charges, and have had numerous home users hang up frustrated that my rates are “way too high”! When you can buy a new computer for $299, a $75-125 repair bill becomes hard for them to accept. And yes, other repair shops in my area charge $50 just to look at their machine, but that doesn’t seem to change their minds.

        • #3086008

          Reply To: Should I support home users?

          by pickleman ·

          In reply to Real world – something for next to nothing!

          > When you can buy a new computer for $299, a $75-125 repair bill becomes hard for them to accept.

          Okay, let’s just settle this thing once and for all. I’ve seen this ridiculous “$299 computer” being thrown around this thread at least 10 times now.

          Here’s my answer: if a person is spending $299 on a computer, I don’t want that person as a client. That’s it…end of story.

          Someone who sees their computer as being no more valuable than their DVD player or TV, doesn’t deserve ANY computer support whatsoever. If they’re that cheap, and if they have that kind of mindset, hey, more power to ’em. Good luck solving your own computer problems with your $299 PC.

        • #3085887

          Take the pickle out

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should I support home users?

          Over Christmas, a friend of my wife’s invited me over to help her set up her new computer. She just dialled up Dell and trusted them to guide her. Frankly, I think she was not well served – for her home office work, the $399 Dell special with Celeron process would have been just fine. She works with Word and Outlook, but doesn’t use both at the same time. Why should she spend more? She could have run happily on something much slower.

          I don’t spend a huge amount on a home computer. I just bought a refurb for $430 Cdn, which is awfully close to your $299 US. Nothing wrong with it – very fast, and comes with legal copies of XP and MS Works. And before you make snarky comments, it has a decent motherboard and power supply. I’ve built my own computers in the past, but I couldn’t begin to make one for that price.

          I see a computer as a tool to run software. If your demands are not high, why spend more?

          James

        • #3085388

          Wrong James

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Take the pickle out

          It is an [b]OS[/b] that is a tool to “ruin” software.

        • #3085365

          JD my spellchecker

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Wrong James

          Why don’t you pick on Oz….

          James

        • #3085328

          Oh, that was a typo?

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Wrong James

          I thought you just forgot it is the purpose of WINDOWS to ruin good code? (where is that angel/innocence emoicon when I need it????)

          :p

          I only point at typos that are funnier than the original post! 😀

      • #3085960

        I now know more about Win server 2003 than the IT pros at my workplace.

        by aidplus ·

        In reply to Keep it economical!

        Yeah I also know more about cars than when I got ripped of by the so called automotive experts.
        Do it yourself becomes a need… Youre there when youre needed as well…. Saves tiem. Most of us are time poor so we have to be experts so it can be done efficiently.

    • #3084536

      Another Approach

      by chris029 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Home users are just that home users. Most brick and motar computer shops run 8-5 some 8-6. Some hours on the weekends. If you have an 8-5 job and are available from lets say 6 till 9 I think you will find a market devoid of technical support willing to come to their home and upgrade/install/or just plain fix thier equipment. If you do not mind weekends, and you are good I could see you moving in on the brick and motar computer shops that would possibly be open on Saturday. The problem is the networking getting your name out there as a viable solution to their after hours computing needs. Sorta like a 7-11 with tools.

      • #3084521

        A sign of business

        by aidplus ·

        In reply to Another Approach

        The answer to gaining business is a sign in the front of your home, and one on your vehicle. one old signwriter once said, “a business without a sign is a sign of no business”
        As far as support is concerned, you can only learn how to handle customers fairly by doing some of the best ways as suggested here. No one job is the same, but you can have as fixed charge to reload, to fit additional hardware and for recovery of valuable “data” For an hourly charge, you can discount the extra long hours or have a tapering charge on additional work. Home visits are extra, “just bring the box in” is the solution. Set up your workshop with a few monitors and a KMV switch. And away you go. PS its usually only a one man business. Otherwise you loose control…

        • #3084512

          Bad advice

          by carey5 ·

          In reply to A sign of business

          If you put a sign in front of your home, and the city finds out, you could easily be fined for a zoning issue. I know my neighbors would not want to see the added traffic and wouldn’t hesitate to report me to the city.

          Don’t forget you need a business license and you need to pay quarterly sales-tax payments to your local state government or, when (not if) you’re caught, you’ll be facing some serious fines and possible jail time.

        • #3085961

          Bad Advice? No its not…

          by aidplus ·

          In reply to Bad advice

          You will be legal in all your dealings of course.
          I live in Australia where things are a little more
          liberal but you will still need to register et all.
          I feel the “city” ogre should review its reason for being at times.

    • #3084503

      Sure why not

      by bclark ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I’ve been going to people’s houses and fixing their boxes for about 5 years now, and the cash has been worth it. As you read 4 years ago, it’s not the kind of cash you want to build your business around, but if you’ve already put in the work to establish a customer base why not keep the cash coming?
      i currently go out for a woman whose son does web development as well. We charge $80/hr, i take 60% and she uses the rest to pay for small necessities and advertisement for her son’s business. $48/hr to a post grad trying to save a little money or get a little for a trip isn’t so bad. I’ve always had a full time job so whatever i make going to people’s houses is just pocket change. if you can contract your home business side out and have $35-40/hr coming to you but not have to put any effort in other than finding a capable contractor/technician…why not? he/she’s dealing with the headaches of visiting a home 25 times for wireless issues, you’re getting paid off their efforts. it’s the American Way!!

    • #3084502

      Support Home Users

      by jwc120 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Never listen to the experts. Remember, it was an expert at IBM who said, “Home Computer, Who would ever want a computer in their home?” I not only do a lot of work with small businesses, but also a lot home networks. Though the experts can understand it, a lot of people want a home network to take advantage of the efficiency of laser printers and upscale Photo Inkjets while also controlling costs and what their kids print. Not to mention a firewall and setting the parental control software. Plus a lot of my customers don’t have the time to go around checking their kids WEB history to look for potential problems. I’ve help one parent turn the authorities onto a ‘teen’ who was meking some very adult suggestions to their 15 year old. The ‘teen’ turned out to be a 46 year old man wanted in two other states. Their are a lot of opportunities in the home market. One home office I started years ago with one PC and a fax now runs a home business with 6 work stations, network fax, network color laser, and a server running the entire business, including billing and tax statements.

      • #3084477

        Doable

        by carey5 ·

        In reply to Support Home Users

        Sure, the home market is doable, but I’d recommend you prepare yourself for the hardships discussed here.

        I have no motive against the home market, I am simply sharing my experience about it.

        Now that I have the experience, I can safely say you need a service or a secretary to shield and screen calls.

        You need someone who knows nothing about PCs and who the customers do not know to answer your phone. If the customers know they are talking to you and you refuse to give them the answers they want without a fee, they will think you are a jerk, regardless of your past experience with the very same customer.

        You need someone who can shield you away from the free technical support requests, who genuinely cannot answer the customers questions but can offer to schedule an appointment.

        It’s the way doctors, dentists and many other professionals do it. When have you called your doctor and he/she answered the phone?

        I don’t know about you, but it has never happened in my life. Even when I call the car repair shop, the guy who worked on my car is not the guy who answers the phone.

        We, in the USA, live in a DIY time. Everyone wants to do everything themselves. That’s why places such as Home Depot are so successful. It’s said many people went to California to make money during the goldrush. And while some people did find gold, most did not. The folks who continually made money were the ones selling the shovels and pick axes.

        This is the problem with home users. You can make a profitable business servicing them as long as you protect and shield yourself from the potential pitfalls and backlashs that are unique to the home market.

        I was thinking the other day about the pretzel store at the shopping mall. You sell a pretzel and there is no warranty, no educating the end-user and if they don’t like the product, you give them another pretzel or give them their $2 back.

        You don’t have much inventory and customers come to you so you have no travel expense. There are no ‘restaurant’ tables to clean or insurance to carry for customers who slip and fall (they’ll have to sue the mall, not you) and no one expects you to give them a free pretzel, call you six months after eating it or decide to pay you only after they’ve determined the pretzel does not cause them an upset stomach later.

        There are no emergency pretzel calls at 2am and if a customer is unreasonable, give them back their money and the problem is over. Preztels are also a high profit item and so is soda. After all, you’ll want a drink with your salty pretzel and you can make money on optional toppings, all with great profit margins.

        The more I think about running a pretzel store, the more I realize how undesirable PC repair is for a career.

        As a teenager you could work at a hot, sweaty, high pressure fast food joint for minimum wage, or you could work in an air conditioned video rental store for the same money and benefits.

        So, just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean it automatically makes sense to do it. If you think hard enough, there’s probably lots of other things you can do that are less stressful and more profitable.

        But that’s your choice.

    • #3086142

      I love home users

      by mnscomputers ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I run a small home based business providing computer services. On the repair side all my business comes from home users who are happy to have someone come and pick up their computer and return it when it is fixed. The value added aspect of having a technician hook the computer back up and ensure printer, internet and email are all working goes down very well. Many of our customers are seniors who get a bit bewildered at all the defences required to run their computer on the worlds busiest and biggest network, the “WWW”. I think with the growth of home based businesses and the fact that many homes now have more than one computer the home based market will be a profitable for a while to come yet. That is in a city of just 200,000 people.

      Cheers,
      Mick Lewis,
      MNS Computer Services.

    • #3086134

      Home Market Business

      by phill0661 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      It’s possible to earn a living in the correct demographic market area which equates to a willingness to pay for equal value .
      Most home users do not understand the cost/benefit ratio of your time and education.
      On the other hand the least supported business is in the SMB market place (small to medium business) for all their communications needs.
      What a person has to be prepared to do is to think of themselves as furnace repair in the dead of winter and air conditioner repair in the dead of summer .
      Be on call and charge for ‘instant coverage’.
      Today it costs between $75 to 95 in the midwest for the repair person to arrive and tell you how much more it’s going to cost to resolve the problem.
      As far as Geeks on CAll goes I looked into that business and the upfront costs are very high .
      Good luck

    • #3086060

      I help home users,but

      by half9 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      My wife and I retired early and spent 30,000 dollars on I.T training and exams, So we have a good student loan,
      We started doing repairs for home users and found that we had computers coming out of our ears before too long, A few freebees for friends turned into a freebee for a friend of a friend and so on. So now we have stopped doing anything except for people who are willing to barter for goods or cash
      One of the most annoying things about home users is once you look at their puter, if you are not careful, you are married to it, and any fault is your fault. It never did this until you did that, even 6 months later.
      So to cut to the chase, we do work for people who work for us, I.E my plumber. and only give full support to computers that we build, and install all the software and hardware, then instruct the user in basic housekeeping and maintanence, Always install set and forget software. Sure it is a bit of value added but we never see them back with stupid faults. All that for $100 plus parts, for 12 months. The system works well, and keeps us up to date with industry improvements and new technology, And we are turning work away still

    • #3086017

      Home Users my primary goal.

      by leadman584 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I fixed systems for friends, family, inlaws, outlaws and basically anyone that asked, for peanuts. No IT training, tons of tech work in the military. I decided to go the dangerous route. MS preferred, AMD preferred, yada, yada. Opened a small shop, actually just turned the sign yesterday. With 8 workstations, I run Virus, Spyware, Temp Cleaning, Autopatcher, and Defrag via PE disk. After cleaning out the crap, customer issues are addressed, and resolved. Memory allocation mods, free Antivirus, firewall, spyblocker, a strong message about IE, hosts mod, firefox installation, and a few extensions, and they are on their way. For $60, they are delighted with their new machines. Actual time in front of any one machine is less than 30 minutes, since most is automated.

      I know of dozens of computers sitting in closets, because the folks gave up. I want to see these systems. With the right tools, and the space to accomodate 6+ machines, there is plenty of money to support this business model. Oh, and we only saw 9 machines today. Hopefully there will be better days, but $540 for day 1, isn’t bad.

      The advent of Vista, is sure to bring the wealthy in search of HD support for their HTPC’s. The rest of us will be looking to shore up the stability of our XP sytems. It’s a win-win situation for the shop owner.

      Don’t get me wrong. I’d be happy to support the small business with their needs, but I have plenty of appointments booked up, no worries. If you own your own business, you know how hard it is to say that.

    • #3085938

      Geek Squad comes to mind

      by 5 o’clock somewhere ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      These guys have been doing this for a while and doing very well. My personal finding is that the average home owner doesn’t like paying the bill for in house computer service.

    • #3085923

      the key to home business is offering different services

      by stephenmoriarty ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      in my own case I do say 80% of my business is home based wireless setups only, this is a cash cow in rich suburbs, I also do most work after 6:00pm rather than 9:00-5:00 I stress that I work around my customers schedule, I go another step with giving my customers a flowchart with with phone numbers ect to restore there service in case of disruption locally. The most common issues are improving network speed(getting rid of wireless poachers) other services I offer in home market, (child monitering software) (spouse investigation)ok its kind of big brother but it pays my bills.

    • #3085909

      Question is it new right ?

      by jackie40d9 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Do you not give a certain amount of time for the first time they get the NEW COMPUTER ? I sure do and I got PEOPLE whom swear by me ! A few are a royal pain but the rest are good for more income as they spread the word about your service to them . .

    • #3085287

      Really?

      by dpskiman ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      My business model is centered on small-medium business, but I, too, do quite a bit of SOHO work. What I haven’t quite figured out is, other than referrals, what’s the most effective method of advertising? Of course, if you’re in the Memphis area, I understand if you don’t reply.

    • #3085159

      Onforce.com may be the solution?

      by barklessdog ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Has anyone thought about using the MLM approach to this issue? I thought about establishing a home user support business on the side (since I do it for free now with all my co-workers). My main concerns are the services to offer and GETTING PAID. I ran accross an online service that may – MAY – be a solution @ http://www.onforce.com
      They seem to be the Network Marketing of PC repair!

      Any thoughts on this type of service?

      • #3087141

        others

        by carey5 ·

        In reply to Onforce.com may be the solution?

        There are other options besides OnForce.com, for example, Rescuecom.com is another one.

        If you want to work for these guys, you’ll never get rich. If you create your own online solution that hires others to go do the work while you collect the checks (such as OnForce or Rescuecom) then you’re thinking on the right track if your goal is to make a lot of money servicing home users.

        • #3086905

          good web resource sites for this sort of thing?

          by fungusamongus ·

          In reply to others

          yes…thanks everyone for the input, for I am in the process of starting a part-time local home/SB IT service company and all the posts here have been very enlightening…

          It seems to me after reading every single post that, realistically, this sort of thing is decent idea for a part-timer who perhaps, as i do, owns another business that allows some freedom to go out and make some “under the table” cash. That is my business plan in a nutshell, so no fancy marketing or YP-ads here…just some $99 yard signs and word-of-mouth.

          I got my signs a couple of weeks ago (“Cheep Geek Computer Repair”…yes i know i know cheesy but I am trying to have a name that “catches” with people as they drive by and sounds like it could be a good *value*), but I haven’t got around to putting them up yet…my “real” business (i own a florist) is keeping me pretty busy lately…

          So, my question to you, if its not too late yet, is..

          What Are The Top DIY IT Help Websites???

          …in the case that *I* may need support?

          – mark

        • #3086717

          Top DIY support sites

          by carey5 ·

          In reply to good web resource sites for this sort of thing?

          I recommend http://www.protonic.com or http://www.techguy.org

          Both are completely free and manned entirely by volunteers.

        • #3086655

          thanks!

          by fungusamongus ·

          In reply to Top DIY support sites

          hey i appreciate those sites…they look just like what i was looking for. Sincere thanks for your post.

          – mark

    • #3087131

      Offer home support free

      by absolutely ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      (or at a trial rate) for one month or two, whatever amount of time you think it will take to determine the needs of your customers and the cost to you of providing that service. Your shop is too unique to base prices on international manufacturers.

      • #3267996

        NO WAY!

        by cttechie ·

        In reply to Offer home support free

        Because you’ll jut end up working for free. Most home users don’t
        call a support person more thana couple of times per year. I’d be
        losing thousands of dollars if I gave my services away for free.

      • #3267936

        You are nuts!

        by bg6638 ·

        In reply to Offer home support free

        No way my friend should you consider that! I’m tired of people wanting to pay me pocket change to fix problems for them. Especially when they *want* to pay LESS THAN $50 parts & labor for a power supply replacement or drive 30+ miles to add memory for $5 plus the DIMMS! When I was working a full time job, I did freebies, now that I’m in business for myself, it is hard to impress on them that freebies are a thing of the past. When I inform them what Geek Squad would charge, the usual responce is…..Well I’ll just buy a new pc from Dell or Best Buy. Good luck, because you’ll find they charge too, for stupid things before the warranty is up, and of course once the warranty is up in 90 days or a year, they’ll see!

        • #3267867

          cheap P.C

          by half9 ·

          In reply to You are nuts!

          yes most of those dont even come with an operating disc so I just say no, cant be bothered with the hassle

    • #3087042

      Its a huge market, but is it profitable?

      by stan20 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      There are millions of computer owners, but you will have to run the numbers to see if it can be profitable for you.

      If you can control your costs (mostly labor) and not spend too much time getting from one job to the next you can do well in this field. Its very underserved.

      • #3267984

        true, but….

        by cttechie ·

        In reply to Its a huge market, but is it profitable?

        That’s also if you can handle it. I’m nearing my wits’ end with
        home users strictly because I’m tired of supporting people who
        can’t buy a clue how to keep a computer running somewhat
        healthy. I just returned to a home user who I had helped 3
        months ago. I had to remove a couple of nasty viruses the first
        time. Got him all updated and cleaned out.

        Well, lo and behold, he get smore viruses. WTF? Well, a few visits
        to a bunch of unknown porn sites, etc. and you get the picture.
        No matter what you do, these people are always going to have
        issues with foreign-born spyware and viruses.

        I also constantly get calls from people who panic when all of a
        sudden their wireless network isn’t working. Is the power
        working? No? Then plug it in! It is plugged in? Then reset the
        modem and router! It may not sound like a lot, but after a while,
        the repetitiveness of the low-grade issues wear you down and
        aren’t worth the money.

    • #3086923

      Home User Support

      by mikebentley ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Hey briwlls,

      I don’t normally post to these because I’m so busy trying to read everything in my inbox (a downfall I’m working on changing), but I saw your post and felt compelled to reply.

      I worked for a small biz in 99 that eventually drove itself into the ground, and when they went under, I ended up starting my own company off of it.

      Not that I intended to do that, specifically, but I had a great rapport with the customer base, so much so that many of them had my home phone number because I knew them so well, and they came to know my entire family (one of the clients? kids was a sitter for my kids sometimes).

      Well, when the company went under, I was under direct orders not to tell the clients a single word until it was official.

      Now, the owner was a real jerk, and I don?t mean the typical jerk; this guy was a class A putz. He oversold all kinds of things w/o knowing for sure that he could deliver, and to make a long story short, he wasn?t planning on telling the clients they were getting dropped. Many of these clients relied on this company for their websites, dialup, all kinds of stuff.

      So when many of them started calling me at home, I couldn?t tell them anything, but I did say that I was not able to breath wind of anything, but they should probably start looking elsewhere for support (I was told that I could say that, at least).

      Well, the clients asked me to continue to support them, and my phone was ringing off the hook for over a month. I worked 24 hour days for almost a week, with a cat nap in between, and I?m proud to say that I got things running pretty good and organized there for a while; at least on the technical end. I had a good run of about a year, and then when everything was just about maintenance free and there wasn?t much else to fix, reinstall, rebuild, or anything else that would require my expertise, I started thinking about support contracts to support my income, and something that would continue to bring value to the client so that I could remain in my line of work that I loved doing so much.

      Needless to say, I didn?t have much experience in that area, nor in advertising, and anything else having to do with business other than fixing the network, or troubleshooting a DSL or Point-To-Point, Frame Relay, etc. On top of all of that, I was running off of pure excitement and adrenaline, and I didn?t give much thought to sleep for quite a while. Running my own business ? and successfully at that ? is a high that is very hard to describe unless you?re really in it and can feel it yourself. I literally had the feeling that I was going to be able to establish a solid company, and provide a solid future for my family.

      Well, I guess the adrenaline wore off, and fatigue set in, and then some family medical issues started to take place, and I ended up having to throw in the towel. Well, I didn?t really throw in the towel, but I did start to feel fatigue, and I got a call from a potential employer for a salary that I felt like I couldn?t pass up; it was either that, or continue on in a questionable means of income, and I had already planned for a ?what if? analysis if this sort of thing did happen (one thing I will thank my textbooks from my technical education), and I lead my clients to new destinations for their future support (every single last one of them, I?m proud to say ? I was very serious about my integrity with my clients).

      On a side note, I found out that my former employer (the small biz that died) accused me of stealing some of their equipment (which, I later found out that my very own boss was responsible for), and refused to issue my last paycheck. I went to court over it, won a judgment, and have yet to find a means to collect because my former employer is a silver-spoon fed child of a large, well off family, and he?s been able to evade things like this by dissolving companies, and starting new ones up, and to top it all of, his brother is an attorney, and from my research, I see that he attained his own brother for the whole Bankruptcy thing with their company. What a loser.

      Anyway, I probably went off a little there on some steam that I?ve had suppressed for some time, and I finally found an outlet! Sorry, I just wanted to give you my two cents based on your question about supporting home users, because half of my clients from that company I started were home users, and word got around fast about my company because of the support I provided, and the integrity I had, and they really respected that.

      accused me of stealing his equipment, when it turns out it was my very own boss who had the “goods”, and on top of all that, this jerk still owes me two paychecks to which I won a judgement on, and thanks to the state laws of CA, have yet to be able to collect on)

    • #3086657

      Sometimes I feel Sorry for the End User

      by startingover04 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Even with all these companies coming up with so call help for the home user, PC on Call, Geek Squad, etc., they charge a lot of money and most of the time they send most of their work out to somewhere else to be done. For example, I wanted to see what one would say, so I took an iPAQ that I had that needed a new battery. They indicated that they would have to send it away, which would cost $34.95, then if it needed a battery, it would cost another $25.00 for the battery and then the labor to install it. I would have paid close to $100.00 to get a battery put in and I got the kit and the battery from eBay, put the battery in myself for less than $15.00. That was with shipping.

      I know that that they need to make money and so do we, but highway robbery is horrible. Do we really need to treat people this way to get business or treat them better to keep them as a customer and get mopre business.

    • #3086624

      reading through the posts

      by half9 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      looking at the big picture, it seems to me that as far as home users are concerned, if you dont have a shop or a flashy advertised car, you are classed as a part timer in the home computer world,
      And joe public will try and pay you accordingly. As some of the posts point out, they will pay 100 bucks to get there trans serviced and wont pay 20 bucks to get there P.C serviced. In saying that, any people industry that you can think of, comes to your place with an array of visual gear,the lawnmover man has all these toys weedeaters mowers blowers ,big truck and trailer, The garage has all the toys too, tools hoists. the same with doctors ,dentists.
      And we go to fix a puter with a small toolkit and some discs. So visually we are at a disadvantage.
      Dont need much to fix a P.C. But they forget about the learning side of it,and how much it costs in time and money.
      In a car you need the fancy tools these days to service them, as they are computer controlled.
      Any idiot can take the side cover off a computer and that is the way they think.
      Just my $20 worth..lol

      • #3086588

        I never thought of it that way

        by carey5 ·

        In reply to reading through the posts

        I think you make an excellent point. I never really thought of it that way but it makes sense.

    • #3086246

      My Decision, thanks for the advice.

      by briwlls ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Thanks for all the advice, except for the negative Australia/US comments as both countries are great!

      Here’s my solution;

      I will only accept new home users within 20 minutes drive time of my home/office.

      I will only accept customers running PC’s that are 3 years old or newer (XP or newer Mac OS, NO Windows 98 or ME.)

      I will not accept customers running dial-up.

      I will strongly recommend they run an APC or other UPS, an external backup, a hardware firewall and my recommended antivirus…plus quarterly checkups.

      If they do all of the above they’ll get the privilege of being my customer and I’ll treat them well plus they’ll get my preferred customer rate, some free email support and an online monthly seminar to teach them new tricks.

      All other home users will be kindly turned away.

      • #3084313

        you must be busy

        by jackie40d9 ·

        In reply to My Decision, thanks for the advice.

        I only support the computers I have sold all others are out of luck as I do not have the time . . I have 6 web sites I take care of besides my own ( 2 ) and I am working 24 / 7 now any way or so it seems . .
        I wonder what they did before me . . But it makes the time go by since I am retired at least I thought I was !

      • #3084208

        Just keep in mind

        by carey5 ·

        In reply to My Decision, thanks for the advice.

        All the comments about retirees and part timers who have a ‘regular job’ and just fix PCs on the side (would you see a surgeon that only does surgury on the side?) and the rude and numerous immature comments are your competition in the home market. This is what home users have to deal with, and for the most part, this is what home uesrs deserve to get.

        Not one post has come from ANYONE running a major business as a result of servicing home users.

        That’s the lesson I take away from all of this.

    • #3268463

      You mean in HOME service ??

      by tangrene ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Hi, if you mean in HOME service..well let me see…you have cases under, over, filled with dust, mouse nests,and in one case a snake as well as users with no idea where their install disks or backups are. You are also dealing with folks that won’t register their complentary antivirus programs and get mad when you remind them of this the 2nd trip out. LOL When they “pay” you they expect you to “fix” the problem, not tell them that their browsing habits or kids are putting their computers at risk adn their biggest problem is unsecure habits and adware/malware/spyware. They just want it fixed, so you fix it and charge for 1 hour when in reality it takes longer to clean the crap off their computers, back-up their important data if possible, or format and reinstall OS and security. I much prefer doing this in MY enviroment, not theirs. It was hard for me to charge someone 300+ for a major problem when they could take that 300+ and almost get a new computer with it. Somthing to think about when you are dealing with PC users that do not want to learn much, and want much.

      • #3267866

        HOME service

        by half9 ·

        In reply to You mean in HOME service ??

        except for known customers, they bring it to me, been under desks and fighting with furniture to get at the box and cables, not any more

    • #3267430

      Lucrative Market…

      by mdfreeman ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      I am in the same boat, friend, one-man-band. I have found that the home user market is quite lucrative. I am not to the point yet where I am ready to contract this work out, but I will when I get to that point. Consider what is coming up in the home market…complete integration of home entertainment systems, appliances, home security, environmental controls, etc. This market will probably outpace the business market over the next ten years. Add to this another fact…the line between the home consumer and the business consumer is blurring. iPod’s are as readily found in the office as they are in the gym. Many of my commercial clients are asking me how I can merge their personal tech into their business environment seamlessly and securely. Don’t let this market go. It’s going to be a wave you can ride to success.

      • #3266680

        Lucrative market????????

        by bg6638 ·

        In reply to Lucrative Market…

        I sure hope that the users in your area are willing to pay you more than $5-10 for a service call that takes up about an hour of your time, if you include travel time! I hardly call that lucrative! You are just staring out, I thought you would do the service at little or NO charge until you get established……. I wonder when they start a new job, if they donate their time for a couple of months?

        • #3266652

          This is true

          by carey5 ·

          In reply to Lucrative market????????

          The majority of these posts are from amateurs who don’t think they are amateurs. They can make ends meet and they are happy with that. But this is not, by definition, LUCATRIVE.

          If you really think the home market is lucrative, put together a business plan and present to your local bank, government or investment company and see if they would be willing to invest in you.

          In other words, prove that people with no idea about computers, but with college educations and years of experience in business finance agree with your plan.

          These folks are thinking small potatoes and they are happy to eat. This is the current status of the home market. Just getting by.

          The US economy has been pretty bad for some time, and as long as out sourcing continues, Americans will be able to get stuff cheaper and cheaper, but it won’t matter because they won’t have any money to buy it, regardless of the price.

          The home market has enough wannabes with part timers, retirees and others filling the niche. Just read the posts. Look at the poor grammer, bad spelling and bigotry. They are often anything but professional or affluent.

          Those that are, don’t have the time or desire to engage or participate in such an online discussion. If you don’t believe me, just read every one of these messages.

          The owner of Geek Squad is busy cashing checks. I’ve yet to see him post here. Same for all of the other major repair facilities.

          What does that tell you?

        • #3074356

          Well, this wasn’t exactly a kind thought…

          by bheite ·

          In reply to This is true

          Carey,

          Not everyone is bigoted, amateur or a wannabe that has posted here. Granted, there have been some real comments here that were not necessarily kind, correct or even intelligent. I posted in here and my point was that I perform home service specifically targeted at older people who cannot afford the geek squad, or $10.00 per minute troubleshooting calls. I find that most of the people I have supported could not afford the help they need, so am I supposed to take the good old American attitude and say “tough, too bad”? There are many variables on what people can define as their business. My efforts are actually done as a business, but associated with some other things my wife and I do at the same time. It is the only way I can do what I think is the right thing, and deliver on my education and experience and share that with people who need that help. I have had many frustrations where people self inflict their own harm on their systems whether by spyware, virus infection, or even a machine full of dustbunnies and crud that finally dies of heat stroke. I don’t believe I am godlike enough to tell an 80 year old woman that it is her fault for not opening up the mystery box and cleaning it out, but I do have enough knowledge to do it for her, and repair the problems, and install some filters (sometimes an amateur homemade job, but meets the need) and then show her how she can open it up, and clean it out herself. All for 25.00 and parts at cost.
          No, I could not survive on making that, but just because I have to have a real paying job doesn’t mean I cannot use 10 years experience in making the chips, using the equipment, building systems, a BS in IT degree, and 20 years before that in the Navy. It would be nice if a group could brainstorm a model that would allow for it to be viable, but until then, those “wannabes with part timers, retirees and others filling the niche” will have to fill in to help out those who cannot help the geek squad fatten their bank accounts.
          And yes, your message came off as a little arrogant.

        • #3100299

          You missed my point

          by carey5 ·

          In reply to Well, this wasn’t exactly a kind thought…

          The topic of this forum is whether or not this can be profitable. The answer is yes if you already have a full time job and like a little extra cash on the side.

          The answer is no if you plan on doing this as your full time job and want to buy a $200k house and a $30k vehicle, along with paying all the bills, such as the electric, phone, cell phone, cable, internet, sanitation, water, gas, health insurance, car insurance, car maintenance, home owners insurance, home maintenance, groceries, dental, and credit card bills, not too mention quarterly sales tax, business license, advertising expenses, quarterly estimated federal taxes, and have time and money left over to take a vacation from it all.

          Good feelings don’t keep the power on or put food in your belly. And that is the subject of this particular forum. Your recent post effectively agrees with me, even though you post in a tone that suggests you disagree. What you say is in agreement – how you said it was as if you disagreed.

          Clearly you cannot earn a living helping people with ‘no money.’ Common sense, right?

          So long as people with the knowledge and skill give away their services, the more it dilutes others with the same or better knowledge and skill the ability to make a living from it.

          I have no problem with someone unclogging my pipes for free. That’s a pretty easy job. I also need a chip in my windshield repaired, also an easy job. Having some medicine prescribed is as easy as writing on a piece of paper.

          Problem is, no one is giving away these services. I’d love to know a ‘friend’ who will come over and plumb my house. Or a friend who will fix my air conditioner for free in the middle of a hot summer day when I need it most, but I don’t have much money, so they do it all for free.

          What a great society that will be. I’ll fix their computers for free, and they’ll provide me with everything else I need to live a comfortable life.

          In the meantime, plumbers don’t have the problem of other plumbers going to customers homes and unclogging their drains for $10. Nor are doctors making house calls for $10. Nor are air conditioning repairmen charging $10 for a service call to repair an A/C unit. This only happens in the computer field. Mainly because you need a license to do everything else. If you want to be a PC tech, just say you are one.

          For those of you reading this, remember, servicing home users means this is what you have to compete with.

          This is exactly why home users are NOT a viable market.

          Now if I could just find a lawyer who’ll take my case for $10…

        • #3100248

          I got your point just there are some

          by jackie40d9 ·

          In reply to You missed my point

          There are some whom can NOT afford the cost of a MAJOR Company coming out to do something in 2 or 3 hours at say $xxx.xx ! So I fill the gap at $25.00 per hour and I am retired and a PC TECH !!
          I make and sell Computers It gives me a big jump on my MAD MONEY to spend on EXTRA things I want . . Like my New toys NEWER FASTER Dual Layer DVD Burner plus a USB port storage stick for taking files over to peoples places to fix computers with and a 45 in 1 Card Reader ( to dump stuff to or take stuff off of their cards )
          So I spend some of my EXTRA money to keep the world happy and me happy

        • #3100241

          So you agree?

          by carey5 ·

          In reply to I got your point just there are some

          So then I assume what you are saying is that you agree that you could not do this full time as your sole source of income and be able to make ends meet?

    • #3077025

      no not know not ever!!!!!

      by khalid_butt ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      supporting people on the LAN/WAN is bad enough, going to thier homes never, they’ll have you up for loosing data/work they have noit done.

      stop!! don’t go there i urge you please!!

    • #3076736

      10 yrs now

      by dirtylaundry ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      i’ve been supporting home users for over 10 yrs now and i do it on the side of other things. i would not suggest a monthly rate or *package* deal because you will be called at all hours for every little thing since the month is paid for. it will border on slavery – it would only work if you set up a set amount of number of calls allowed per month and a set number of visits, but you will run into problems with this as well. i charge much less than best buy and compusa and my hours are at their convenience. i charge per hour and of course they pay for the hardware/software they need – one perk i also offer is i will go do the shopping for them (some give me the money to purchase right away and others pay me when i bring the item and install it) – it takes a certain person to be able to handle mom, dad, and the kids and even the *expert* that each family always seems to know that messed up the computer to begin with. my advertisement is soley word-of-mouth, which keeps it manageable (there is a tendency to try to grab as many clients as you can in the beginning) but you can wear yourself out doing this. also, do not schedule clients back-to-back – space them out with at least 3 hours between them but it’s always best to do one client per day.

      good luck

      • #3075876

        The calls at all hours

        by jackie40d9 ·

        In reply to 10 yrs now

        The calls at all hours is right like 03:00 in the morning ! I got calls like that when I was repairing TV’s and Stero’s . . . And thats what I do is word of mouth and I have enought to keep me busy constanly I have to go to bobsusedmotorcycleparts.com this morning and this after noon to the next door neighbors and dig out some files lost by them ! And then order parts to make a computer for Karen’s neice / nephew ( I also make and sell computers )

    • #3074372

      Reply To: Should I support home users?

      by carey5 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      We are going to discuss this topic on tomorrows show. (Tomorrow = Friday, March 24, 2006).

      You can listen via the Internet or you can use the station locator to find a station that broadcasts the show in your area. We invite listeners to call in with their questions and comments during the show.

      Learn more at http://www.computeramerica.com

    • #3074264

      The question really isn’t Should I support Home Users

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      But can I make a living out of it.

      The obvious thing is at first glance [b]YES[/b] as this is a very un-catered for side of the market and extremely big as well. But can you make a living from it is a different story.

      Here is one example of how not to do things.

      On Tuesday Night I installed a New Computer in a Doctors Surgery it’s a stand alone unit with only a Dial up Modem attached for the Government Supplied Bulk Billing process here and On line Banking to pay the Staff. Well with the entire setup intact except for a copy of PC Anywhere, MYOB and his Medical Program I allowed 2 hours for the install with very specific directions on how to transfer the Medical Program over and get it running.

      Within the 2 hours I had everything up and running and they where as pleased as punch with the thing. But I was a bit concerned about their ability to actually send the Bills to the Government Department so I asked for a test one to be sent and rang the agency and made sure that it arrived. Well that should have been the end of things [b]BUT.[/b]

      At 11.30 AM the next day I got a phone call from a Tech at the Medical Program asking could I go down there as the billing side of the program wasn’t working as well as PC Anywhere as he couldn’t log onto the system remotely. So no problem I went down there rang the guy and allowed him access to the system while he remotely played around but naturally he couldn’t access the working of the billing side as you can not have two simultaneous connections on a Dial up Modem at the same time. After the was satisfied that everything was installed properly he asked me to break the connection and try to send a Test Bill and read any error messages that came up to him while he stayed on the line. Eventually after much mucking around he decided that the other program that works Hand in Glove with theirs needed reinstalling so I had to ring another company and they offered to e-mail me the new program which was supposed to make things much easier.

      Well I got their e-mail but I couldn’t have it sent to the site as they have no e-mail account there just two outgoing connections one for On line Banking and one for the Bulk Billing. So today I returned with a USB Stick with the new upgraded program and thought it should be a 10 minute job installing and making sure everything worked, How Wrong Can You Be?

      6 Hours latter after constantly being bounced between both companies who where blaming each others software for the problem I think it’s now working but as I’m not overly familiar with the software involved I was unwilling to submit 4 days of bills to the Government just in case things didn’t work out properly. If that happened they would have to have submit each bill individually and with currently 4 days worth there would be a lot of wasted time involved so I suggested that I come back Monday when the person responsible would be there and try again, but it’s sending Test Bills OK now as I have had people from both companies on the phone and the receiving agency when I send a [b]Test Bill[/b] through and I know that it’s getting there.

      I tried to back out gracefully and I just said that I’m not familiar with this software so I didn’t want to send off 4 days worth of bills and even though it was adversely affecting the Doctor’s I thought it would be better to wait one more business day rather than muck things up completely. The Head tech from the company who supplies the program said that after 9 years she still didn’t understand how it works so I’m not supposed to worry. X-(

      The Head tech from the other Company involved said that she couldn’t understand why it wasn’t working but after 2 hours on the phone with her I decided to take control and made the decisions and told her how to do things which eventually got things working correctly. She didn’t see the need to test a new connection before making changes to it but after reestablishing the connection 6 times and reinstalling the software 4 times I decided that they had no idea and started to follow basic troubleshooting steps after she insisted that the modem wasn’t working so I logged into the Bank and it worked perfectly, so I then proved that it wasn’t the modem but the setup of their side of things that was the problem. ! for the Moron who said that they would do the job. :^0

      Then just to add the icing to the cake after I had rung the management and complained bitterly about the lack of tech Support that I had received that day and finally got 2 techs that could talk to me and accept that I just might know a little bit about computers and maybe even know something about Windows XP I discovered that I was in fact not ringing 2 different companies but 2 different divisions of the same company. Talk about the right hand not knowing what the left is doing. 😡

      Anyway so far I’ve wasted 12 hours on it 14 if you count the original install and none of it is related to any software that I supplied but I’m expected to get it working and because it isn’t it’s the computers fault!

      Right at the moment I want to send a bill for my wasted time to the company involved but I’ll wait until Monday morning and make sure that it actually works before I start climbing down the phone to kill someone. And just to make things interesting I’m sitting at the front counter so I can not tear into those on the other end of the phone line as there are patients waiting not 4 feet from where I’m sitting so I have to bite my upper lip and put up with the constant stream of condescending comments. 🙁

      While none where as bad as you are totally incompetent and can not even fit a CPU and Heat Sink, I was constantly asked could I rename a File and I had to explain how to alter the default location for a new install of some software.

      Col

    • #3265741

      who is the person with the problem???

      by half9 ·

      In reply to Should I support home users?

      Today we had the home user that is a pain in the butt…
      There computer needs work.. ok we will be around at 5.30 pm to look at it. Oh no we are busy tonight. we are free sunday morning, before the kids have to go out at 11am.
      This is a freebee and people dictate terms. we should be able to fix it at our time.
      It is now at the bottom of the list, and will stay there. you offer to help and get kicked

      • #3263183

        Sounds like some I know

        by jackie40d9 ·

        In reply to who is the person with the problem???

        I MAKE those kind bring the unit to me ! They want it done BRING it in ! I have a monitor keyboard and mouse sitting there on the work bench and can fix 99.9 percent of their problems in minutes . . “80” percent of the time its a kid whom who has tried to
        erase something as they did something wrong and tried to cover it up ! . . I go back into it from Administrator and fix it and make a new ADMINISTRATOR password . .

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