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Side Jobs

By councilman ·
I currently work for a small company and handle EVERYTHING computer related. Last year I received my MCSE. I like my place of employment I'm givin pretty much total control. The problem is the pay. It sucks. Recently I've been doing side jobs for other small businesses but I'm not sure what to charge. One business in particular, a restaurant, wants me to set up a wireless network for there customers to get access to the internet. Can anyone tell me what to charge? Has anyone been in a similar situation and had these side jobs turn into a full time business?

Thanks,
Ted

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Several factors

by LordInfidel In reply to Side Jobs

I used to be in your same boat. Since I needed the cash I charged around 40 and hour.

Once my pay and workload at the daytime job increased, and I didn't need the extra cash anymore.

I started raising my rates. 60/80.

As time progressed and I got more experience/certs/knowledge yada yada yada the better I got.

Now that I just don't have time to do consulting jobs. I figure that if a person really needs/wants me they can pay me dearly for my time. I now charge in the 100-120 price range per hour.

Excessive, maybe. But it's not about gouging, it's about "this is the price that it will take for me too make room for you in my schedule and do the job for you, take it or leave it, I don't need the cash.

Wrong attitude? Who knows, but it serves me well. I figure if I am going to forfeit my spare time, then I am going to be compensated for it.

I would never trade in the security of a full time job for consulting for several smaller jobs.

I would use it to network to get a better job. But not to replace my current with pure consulting.

That's just my take

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Charge according to what the market

by admin In reply to Side Jobs

will bear in your area. Find out what other's are charging for similar services and charge less to start. I have been steadily raising my fees to weed out the types of customers I don't want to get flooded with. I'll cut deals for those I want to work with. Honestly though, like LordInfidel (although I'm still not out of consulting entirely), I am taking less side work these days and making more $ at my job. Especially in the present economy, I would definately keep my job with the company unless at some point they wish to contractually consult with you, it will probably cost them more by the time you cover your own benefits though.
BTW, get regular clients and charge them retainers if at all possible going this route, it will make everyone's life a lot easier.

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retainers is what I do for those few...

by LordInfidel In reply to Charge according to what ...

I have a couple of clients that I charge a flat monthly fee that basically gives them the right to call me for an hour every month.

I usually pop in once a month and just check their server logs to make sure that nothing is messing up.

I charge them considerable less and it turns out to be free money. Especially if you do their network right the first time and there are no problems.

If they need me above and beyond the 1 hour then I charge them about 60 hr. Half of what I would charge someone new.

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I'm interested

by qomputek In reply to Side Jobs

I'm interested in picking up some side work myself. Any ideas how to start? How did you guys start?

thanks

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Prey on the innocent....

by LordInfidel In reply to I'm interested

Give you an example...

I have been at an auction for the past 2 days (needed some routers for our new colo)

At the end of the auction, when it was time to basically "empty the place". And I was in the very very nice, spare no expense server room. 2 guys bought a couple of dell 2300's.

Well first they had no idea how to take the servers out of the rack. Which being the nice guy that I am helped them out, minus any fee. I was feeling nice.

They were going to leave the rack mounts in the rack. I told them that they need to take them, don't leave them, they are part of the servers. Not the rack.

So they took them and in the elevator we found that they did not have keys to the server. And after going back into the NOC there were no keys to be found.

So I made them a deal, I would give them 2 dell keys (I have extras, and I would take the rack mounts. I needed them anyways, and they cost a few 100 from dell)

Now these guy's have no clue and thought that they can just use the systems. They were going to hire someone to figure it out for them. Well me, being the nice guy that I am offered my services (at my premium prices, I already gained their trust)

Point, seize the moments if you are looking for consulting jobs. If you look around you they will fall into your lap.

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Oddly enough, I didn't intend to.

by admin In reply to I'm interested

People started asking me and I started wanting the money and then began to raise to what I kept thinking were ridiculous fees that no one would accept to keep my workload down (I'm still not as spendy as LI though...). I started with a few one person office jobs with people I knew and some home computers. At this point though, I think it is important to get and keep a few good customers with retainers mostly and just work with them. You can kill a lot of time without reimbursement or have hard feelings in this small town working for the wrong person or corporation. I'm only doing it on the side and want it to remain small and controlled(well, as much as possible), I would have to make oodles consistantly to pay for the extra expense and myown benefits package rivaling what full-time does.

There is a huge need for people with both technical ability and great people/customer service skills as far as I can tell, and once you have 3-5 good experiences for your customers, word will spread.

Good Luck!

P.S. To be a little more specific- My first job was at my Chiropracters, fixing a problem for her and explaining how to do it easier, soon I was on call and then she told a friend and I landed a small food vendor account and then a freind of mine heard I was doing this and now hires me for his graphics departments networking needs on an as needed basis and so on...

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by councilman In reply to Side Jobs

THANKS FOR THE FEEDBACK!

My intent is to start slow and build a business that I can run by myself where I service the small business owner. Whether that?s just as side jobs or not is yet to be seen. Does anyone have any feedback regarding this goal?

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Establish your fees first!

by WorkinOnIt! In reply to

I get a lot of people where I work that want me to work on their home computers. I usually charge $40 per hour, one hour minimum. I do computer and peripheral repairs, home networking, and lessons on various software applications. I do have a company that I set up a monthly contract with, I initially set up their servers and network. Now they pay me $100/month to stop by and check on them every two weeks, and $60/month for on-call services.

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