This is the second part on How Much to Charge for Computer Repair. See part 1 here.
Bid/Estimate – Up-front Pricing
This is where home user clients come into play (although I have using this pricing model with business clients). In my experience, home users like to have an upfront price. They call and want to know what the final price will be. Because I usually bill by the hour, I give a range of time I think it might take – say 2-4 hours to remove a virus. But, it’s hard to give them a price over the phone without seeing the computer in person. And sometimes all they’re looking for is a diagnosis.
In this case, I charge a $99 service call & diagnosis fee. This covers my time and fuel it takes to diagnose the situation and give the client a better idea of what it will take to resolve their issue. This is a diagnosis only! After that, I can give them a solid price. This is based on what I discover while diagnosing and a “suggested” set-price list I use. This price is subjective and is based on my skillset alone. If I’m not entirely sure I can get the job done as fast I’d like, I may raise the bid price. The more complicated the issue(s), the more you might have to charge.
This does a few things for you. One, this gives your customer a good feeling about you performing work on their PC – they know it’s a “set” price. Second, you can basically raise your hourly rate if you can efficiently solve their problem in a shorter amount of time. With bid pricing, you can make more money in an 8 hour workday than you would with hourly rates. One reason is because you can combine multiple services into one flat-rate service call. When I combine services, I discount the services as sort of a package deal.
Here are the pricing guidelines I use for on-site service (includes trip fee):
Virus and Spyware Removal
- Troubleshoot affected computer
- Complete Removal of Viruses, Spyware, Malware, etc.
- Repair related issues (boot problems, blue screens)
- Verify anti-virus software is installed and updated (install if nothing is already there)
- Install important updates
- Verify PC is in working order – and suggest additional repairs/upgrades and preventative maintenance
- Setup one PC or Mac computer for your use (including monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers)
- Verify you can access internet and setup one email account
- Install and configure one external device – printer/scanner/external hard drive (hardware not included)
- Install one software package (software not included in price)
- Clean up temporary files including (internet and system temp files) using specialized software
- Verify anti-virus is installed and updated
- Disable unneeded/unwanted startup programs to speed up boot time
- Clean dust from inside PC
- Verify PC hardware is functioning correctly per your request
Data Backup and Transfer
- Transfer all data from your old PC to your new PC (programs not included, must be installed and software discs provided by user). Includes documents, pictures, music, favorites/bookmarks, email)
- Backup data to external hard drive or DVD (up to 9GB on DVD, hard drive not included)
- Configure data backup schedule to external device (additional backup software may be extra)
- Optional – Off-Site Data Backup setup. Schedule your important files to be backed up online to our secure server. Setup fee and monthly fees extra.
- Setup and configure one existing email account on a computer or mobile device
- User must have password available
- Working internet connection is required
- Troubleshoot existing email account
- Service includes setup and repair of email client if necessary
Operating System Install (this is a tough one, hourly would probably be better)
- Install one operating system on a working PC – client must supply disc and valid license key
- Install drivers
- Install critical updates
- Setup, configure and test local printer (client supplies printer and necessary cables)
- Help with any questions you have
Printer Maintenance and Troubleshooting
- Troubleshoot printer problems (page feeds, ink lines, etc.) and clean if necessary
- Local, network or wireless printers
- Suggest parts or additional repairs if necessary
- Evaluate software system requirements and your PC specs
- Install updates to software if needed
- Create desktop shortcuts
- Software not included and must be provided by client
Wireless Network Setup
- Install/Configure wireless router – secure wireless signal from intruders
- Install/Configure wireless devices – PC, laptop, TV, game console, etc. (up to 3)
- Secure network
- Add an additional device during initial setup – $49
- Add device after initial setup – $79
Of course, bidding has risks. A virus removal call or printer setup could turn out to take a lot more time than anticipated. If you know your skill level and can assess the situation appropriately you can minimize the risk.
If the problem turns out to be much easier than I initially thought, I sometimes switch back to my hourly rate to save the client some money. I don’t always do this. It depends on the client and the situation.
Another thing that comes into play here is combining services. For some business owners this can be difficult because it means asking for more money or “up-selling”. If you see an issue that clearly needs to be addressed (security problem, updates, lack of backup or anti-virus, etc.) you should let the client know what it will take to fix the problems and let them decide from there. Once again your pricing can be flexible as you see fit.
This is simply a guideline – you can adjust the prices, add services, and combine others – whatever works for you and your business.[table “2” not found /]