Price I should charge for computer work?

I might be doing some computer work for a business and I don’t know what I should charge.

The work might include, but not limited to, assisting in Access deployment / maintenance, setting up e-mails for his office, installing Microsoft Office on several computers, installing XP and setting up a network, and hardware upgrade.
I will also probably be designing the business’s website for them. I don’t know how extensive the site will be.

So, here comes the problem. As of right now, I work at a factory doing their computer work. Technically I’m an intern and I only get 10 dollars an hour. 10 bucks isn’t a bad wage but I know that it isn’t what a professional would charge a customer. As a college student, I wouldn’t consider myself a professional but I wouldn’t discredit my work because of it.

So here are my questions. 1.) What would a professional doing these things charge? 2.) What do you think I should charge for them? and 3.) Should I do an hourly wage or by job?

A company I work with charges somewhere in the neighborhood of $45-60 depending on what they’re doing, repair, network troubleshooting, &c and whether they are doing it on site or at their HQ. Keep in mind that they probably have a lot more overhead than you - renting an office, company vehicles, paying employees, and they have a lot more experience and a good reputation with businesses around town.
I strongly suggest you charge hourly, particularly because of the website aspect you mentioned. I’d say definitely because you don’t yet know the total extent of the site or what the customer wants in particular. Charging a per-job rate leads to trouble for you when the customer starts to get nitpicky.

Assuming that you know how to do everything you’re going to do and you won’t be calling up some guy if you screw up something, I’d charge at least $30 an hour, but I just pulled that number out of my ass, so don’t put any particular value by it.

As an individual, working for “friends of the family” e.g. referrals from Mom/Dad/In-laws, I charged $25/hr with travel time at half that (12.50/hr for travel, if it was more than 30 minutes).

I didn’t make a lot of money, but a few bucks is a few bucks. For businesses, I charged $50/hr with a $25/hr travel rate. Made a few more bucks there.

I’d suggest you charge $50 an hour, which is less than many pros charge. I kept at that range for quite a while until I gave it up. Often clients would seem to be shocked at that rate, so I asked them what they paid a plumber. That usually ran $80 or more. Then I asked which they though took more knowledge. :smiley:

Can you go to a place like Best Buy and get their price list and use something in the same ballpark?

I recently had someone put in a new HD. They installed the HD, installed Windows and transferred all my old files to the new HD and charged me $100.00. That seemed like a pretty fair price to me.

Immediate family and very close friends get free help.
Everyone else I charge $75.00 per hour, minimum one hour. I have had very little business, though. Which is entirely the point, but I have heard that my rates do undercut one of the actual computer pros in the area. He charges $100 per hour.

Computer help will suck your life away, so they have to pay for that.

I couldn’t agree with FordPrefect more.

When I worked in tech support, at the first mention someone made of having me “come over the the house sometime” to help them figure out what’s wrong with their Widdershins95 or whatever, I made a point of laying my fee schedule out right on the table: $300 per hour, minimum 2 hours, plus travel time.

And I never missed a Sunday afternoon ball game, either.

The last plumber I had chared $125 per hour. No lie.
Isn’t it easier to charge for computer work by the job? For example X amount to set up Windows? How is a customer supposed to know how much they’re going to be charged if they call you? I’m just curious.

For example, the person I paid $100 install my HD, Windows, files, etc. How long did that take him? Was that fair, or was he cheated? It was someone I know and I practically had to beg him to take the money.

If you’re really going to do this, invest in Quickbooks, which has an option to process credit cards.

Also, depending on where you live, you’ll actually HAVE to charge more to weed out the deadbeats. Look around the nearest mall parking lot. If you see lots of luxury cars, begin at $85/hr and work up from there. Charging less will end in a lot of people not paying.

I am an It consultant and I can answer the question about standard rates. They would be $35 minimum for some odd and desperate money situation to well over $100 an hour for established contractors with special skills. The low end of that may be appropriate for someone like you for now.

However, here is a very true and valuable but counter-intutive tip. Low-balling hourly rates for skilled work helps absolutely no one. People will respect your work more and probably even like your work more if you don’t low-ball bids below market. It is a quirk of psychology that most people’s minds leaps to cheap = substandard and it is better for them to shell out the money and be more likely to be happy with the results at the end. You will build a better reputation that way as well.

Nobody has to pay whatever you decide. They can always go elsewhere so never feel guilty about it. If both you and the market agree that is what you are worth then that is what you really are worth.

thanks guys

I charge $35 an hour, most people don’t blink at that even though I live in a rural area.

The place I mentioned does both. Installing windows is something you know is going to take a set amount of time, so you can put a strict dollar value on it.

This is a very important sentence.

If you are going into this as a part time gig, from the start, bill them in hour segments. This includes phone support or if they want you to just “swing by” to check on a printer.

If you don’t the clients will waste months of your life in 5 minute increments and expect lots of free help in the future.

Current PC Onsite Repair service owner checks in.

I currently charge $49/hr and usually have a full dance card booked for the next 2-3 business days. I charge an extra $10/hr for nights and weekends and many people opt of find a way to have me over during normal business hours.

I started at $35/hr until my phone book ads kicked in, bumped to $45, about 2 months ago I was booked 8 days out at average 5 billable hours/day at one point so I bumped to $49.

The local average is about $65/hr for storefront shops.

Small business is what pays the bills. Home user work is what you do until you have a solid base of businesses giving you work.

I also offer free pickup/delivery.

Recently I got so busy I had to hire a sub to start doing some of the pickup/deliver work. I pay him $30/hr and a typical repair runs 2-3 hours. So I make $40-$60 or so for booking a pickup, dropping it to him, having him do the work, and returning it to the customer. Nice little bonus when I can do a drop between onsite calls. Sometimes he picks up/delivers from me (he dropped one off and picked up 3 this AM).

Hourly charge is the way to go. I always specify 1 hour minimum@$49, if its something royally stupid like installing RAM or plugging the computer back into the wall I charge $35 for 30 min labor. If I cannot fix something, no charge, if I can and you opt not to have the repair done, $49.
I usually estimate a virused out machine as 2-3 hours including cleanup and wipe/reload windows if needed as well as rescuing any pictures, itunes libraries, documents, favorites, outlook email files. all the usual $147. On average I run around 50% of the price of Geek Squad.

Today was a fun day, converting a small bus from a local piss poor ISP to DSL and email hosted by godaddy. New router, setting up email for a few office folks, explaining everything to the boss, teaching how to access mail remotely, sharing printers, etc. The bill, just shy of $300 including the $49 basic router. If I could do that every day :D.

Get quickbooks, go to a class or get someone to teach you how to use it properly. Many businesses will want monthly invoices of accumulated hours. Trying to juggle who owes you what and for how long is what quickbooks was made for. Warning the online versions do not support this type of account handling last I heard.

Its a fun biz for a mostly solo self employed type, total operating budget is around $2k/mo including:

1/4 page phone book ad
A Honda Ridgeline with graphics
high speed internet
cell phones
misc crap

As mentioned I do end up giving alot of free help or bill for 2 hours then spend 45 min answering Q about something PC related after it.

and I gross around $6k/mo (including about $2K gross in parts sales).

Only for very simple jobs. Even then, when you get there, you may find out the computer is all screwed up with spyware, viruses, etc. You can’t upgrade an OS until it’s cleaned up.

In most cases, the client has no idea why it is screwed up, and it may take five minutes or several hours to get it fixed. The best bet is an hourly rate with one-hour minimum. Then if you can fix it in five minutes, you can give a break on the minimum and have a grateful client.

Something else to note. I have had the joy of seeing the invoices from several local shops that charge $19-$25/hr for labor. Many of them claim it takes 4-5 hours to reload windows/apps/drivers vs. me at 1.5-2.5 hours.