Sidework - how to get paid?

By markp24 ·
If this has been posted already please send me to the link.

Anyway i wanted to know how poeple deal with friends and Family when it comes to the Dreaded question they will pose to you:
"I have a computer problem"
I have no issues with charging a person for any hardware that need replacing. My issue is charging for my time on a personal level. If a nieghbor (senior citizen) or a family friend asks me to help them (usually with malware) i never charge them whether it take a few minutes or several hours to resolve the issue. (if i do work for a company as a side job, i have no issues charging)
Problem is my wife lets me know, i have been always helping person X,Y and Z but not getting anything in return. So I figure i can at least charge a small fee and put it in my kids bank accounts.
I just feel guilty chaging.

any suggestions?

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Re: Sidework - how to get paid?

by mruenes In reply to Sidework - how to get pai ...

You just have to be strong and upfront with everyone. I do sidework and charge a minimum 1 hour for work. If I finish up in 15 mins I usually try to extend it a little with tutorials or updates. I don't charge immediate family , outside of that they all know I charge for sidework. With friends it comes down to a bartering game, if I need something from them then I will do it free and call on them when needed. But most know that my time is limited and that I charge so I don't get asked too much. I am a helping person too but you have to realize your time is valuable too. I give out free advice over the phone if its a quick fix, that wins you a lot of loyal long-term customers.

Good Luck!

p.s. I got a DBA(Doing Business As) and created a business name years ago for the sidework. I created a website and got business cards set up. That way the people stop seeing you as the neighborhood tech guy and more as a business entity.

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Reponse To Answer

by markp24 In reply to Re: Sidework - how to get ...

yep see you point, i was actually thning of making my wife the accountant and make her deal with the collections :-) LOL

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Be firm

by a.portman In reply to Sidework - how to get pai ...

I reached this point after putting in about 6 hours and assorted parts and then accepting $20 from a cousin.

"I will take a look, but after (15 to 30 minutes) I will need to charge you $____."

Read, say repeat.

I do "make deals" and donations. I have accepted cookies, restaurant meals, and books (One client is an author). But every bit of side work goes into an open source billing program and every job has a ticket.

Oh, one person wanted a some work done. I did it then left them a bill. The bill went unpaid. Three weeks later they wanted something else. "As soon as you pay your last bill and put down a 75% deposit on this work."

No, I don't charge my mom. But I do charge my cousins.

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Reponse To Answer

by markp24 In reply to Be firm

thats a good way to do it, Ill have to do a billing program

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Reponse To Answer

by baleguy In reply to Be firm

Can I ask what open source billing program you use? It sounds like the answer to my problems. Immediate family is free labour cost on parts, friends seem to take advantage sometimes.

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Reponse To Answer

by a.portman In reply to Be firm

I use http://www.simpleinvoices.org/ Open source, web based. It is not a full featured quickbooks replacement, but you can print out a professional invoice, and track customers. About two hours to download, customize and get going. There are other local machine based programs, I wanted web based. One thing is I can create an invoice on site and print it right there for someone.

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A$$, gas or grass, NO ONE rides for free

by mjd420nova In reply to Sidework - how to get pai ...

I barter my labor. Careful nurturing can establish promising trades and skills. My best has been with a baker and an auto parts store manager. Try not to be a "go between" when establishing favors for services rendered.

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Reponse To Answer

by markp24 In reply to A$$, gas or grass, NO ON ...

true, i have bartered before, but i gave up on this, cause i did some work for a music promoter, one completed backup and reload and reastore of his data. then setting up the new laptop. he gave me a poster (not even signed) for some band, I looked at him like your kidding right? He was like oh well i dont have my check book here and this will be worth somthing one day. I was like sure. he called back a few times for addidtional work, i refused it telling him i didnt have time to do it. (hope he got the hint)

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That can be tricky: barter is best

by robo_dev In reply to Sidework - how to get pai ...

I did PC support for my barber, thus I got free haircuts for lots of years.

The messy part is when a five minute repair takes five hours. There is a T-shirt that says "No, I will not fix your computer"..wear that any time you visit relatives.

At least my retired neighbors always make me a nice dinner and give me beer and wine.

There's nothing worse than ungrateful people. I fixed the TV cable for a neighbor on SuperBowl Sunday, and he did not even offer me a beer.

Then later the picture started cutting out and his girlfriend calls me on the phone and actually gives me attitude about not fixing the problem properly (seriously). Somehow the same cable fault that affected the CATV caused the phone line to go completely dead at that exact instant...funny how those things happen.

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Reponse To Answer

by markp24 In reply to That can be tricky: barte ...

I have to find that t-shirt, thats great! (maybe i should get one made that say, sure ill fix your computer, (at $$ per hour)

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