Peregrine

Member
PC Technical Support
Hey Crash, welcome back

sorry to hear about the redundancy - it seems its still a pretty rough economic situation we are in

now, down to business. £79 per hour equates to £158k a year charge to the customer, but would probably support a salary of £79k (remember there are pension, NHI and overheads to be borne by the company. For IT specialists thats actually pretty low.

Charhing £35 for 2 hours would give you an annula salary of only £35k if you managed to work all 2,00 hours available to you. A pretty tall order,. especially in year 1.

Suppose you only manged 2 calls a day - then you would get to an annual salary of around £15k. Doesnt seem enough to me. So it doesnt sound like a sustainable business to me. It might be a way to supplement other income, but thats another story

sorry not to have been more help
 
PC Technical Support
I'd totally go for being able to have someone come round and do a decent job - I've got two serial raid drives won't boot up and my C drive is joking - need that extra tetrabyte back fast but no way am I carrying my PC down to the local shop for some idiot to mess about with (and if he's not an idiot, what about all my stored passwords) ... you anywhere near Bodrum?
 

Smiler

Member
PC Technical Support
Working in a similar environment, I'd say £35 per hour is reasonable for domestic services.
 

CJD

Member
PC Technical Support
I would think about adding small business support, there are always a lot
of new companies that start up in a recession. I did 20 years ago

good luck
 

KKOB

Completely Chillaxed
PC Technical Support
Working in a similar environment, I'd say £35 per hour is reasonable for domestic services.

I'd agree with that. You should be charging at least £35 per hour otherwise you'll be perceived as being too cheap or a 'cowboy'.
 

pineapple1

I Love Kleopatra Beach !
PC Technical Support
Well Crash Tester, I did have a chap out to my laptop He quoted £36ph This was because the laptop wasn't working with the wireless Modem from BT , He phoned BT and the internet didn.t go the last mile , So He connected dial up in my phone socket { sorry but its all chinese to me } But then i couldn't use the phone when i used the laptop !!!! He sent the bill for 2hrs .. But it took 3/4 of an hour , Plus call out fee of £50 It was 9 miles , Then he threated court action if i didn't pay , Then he informed the courts and i had to pay DOUBLE !!!! He was Horrible person . and on reflection i wish i'd gone to court , That was 18 months ago , Recently i downloaded a Thingy offering free Adatars and i choose a little corgi curser , Bang I had 229 viruses !!!!! ITS called MY WEB , Please dont anyone use it , I could not unsubscibe from it , I called out a local chap . Who took away laptop . for 3 days And reinstalled Windows Total cost £45 , no call out etc And he gives lessons too £10 ph , But he's lost my tlf icon , now i have to usse Favorites Or Google , I'm upset about that , So yes your plan would work And you could offer Private Lessons to people like me , And you could do this internet based in Turkey , After all members are your " friends " ha ha ha , Naughty of me ..... Diane Ps give discount to pensioners too
 
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dalyansteve

Member
PC Technical Support
Many years ago when I worked in the UK as a specialist travelling engineer I was charging £48 per hour plus parts plus vat. That was actually quite cheap, the minimum charge was £48 plus vat. I believe now it would be something like £65 plus traveling plus vat.
But on the whole you would be dealing with the general public and the charges would have to take into account whether they bring it to you or you travel to them, they would also need to be reasonable when you take into account how cheap a new pc or laptop are now.
Best of luck whatever you decide.
 

pineapple1

I Love Kleopatra Beach !
PC Technical Support
Ah yes but if its only 8 months old Why pay £400/500 when you can pay £45 , ???
 

peter the postie

Wer'e not really here
PC Technical Support
I can honestly say that I have never had a problem that I couldnt fix myself.
I'm not saying that people like me are in the majority of course, I taught myself the basics a long time ago and I realise that it wouldnt come quite as natural to a lot of people.
 

Martyn

Member
PC Technical Support
Hi CT

I'm in the same position as you, lots of experience but the job market isn't up to much. My company charge £1000 per day for me if you want to see a gulf between what they charge and what you earn :lol: I don't particularly want to start off on my own at my age and as my mortgage is paid up I don't need to earn much(can have a pension now if I want). I actually had a site up and working a year ago when I was trying to get redundancy but got rid of it. I have a domain and logos etc to go ahead if decide to. It's at Home or business it. As you can see I was looking at home and small business and if you can do some training incorporate that as it is a way of earning some extra revenue. I was taljking to my son and he said that his father in law and mother in law paid £30 ph for training(basic internet etc) and made a small video to leave them with which worked out really well. As you are likely to deal with older people they are likely to forget but the video really helped them. You live in London so maybe the market will be a bit more cut throat. I live in the country and there are a lot of people in bigger houses that can afford one to one training I think.

As regards charges £15 ph isn't enough, you aren't going to get a full day booked so I think you should charge about £30ph including travel for the first hour and maybe £20 for subsequent travel. Remoting into customers is a good way of supporting, I'm actually remoted into a server at this moment in Swindon and doing this post while it's rebooting. We use a professional software setup but there is a free version which will good for you to use. It's at www.logmein.com.

Good luck.
 

Mushtaq

Founding Member
PC Technical Support
You can spend a lot of time online fixing problems for free and not make much money, unfortunately I find if you give people the option for something for free they will abuse it.

I'm in similar field to you and the rate you are targeting is about right for small business and home users and people will pay for a fix, my son runs has a small shop and he is doing reasonable business just because people can see the shop offering the service and pop in with their computers and if someone can't bring it in then he goes and either pick it up or fix on site.

I myself tend to offer services to small businesses more on servers and networking and charge a higher hourly rate.

We find that local customers tend to be the ones who are not too computer literate and need help with setup and repairs when things go wrong, these kind of people will probably look for a local solution rather then an online one, they might not even be able to get onto the internet or find a solution provider.

I think there is a need for a local physical service with the additional online/remote support, both of these are now being offered by the likes of PCWorld and BT.
 

Martyn

Member
PC Technical Support
As regards small business as Mushtaq says you can charge more and you are more likely to have regular customers as you will know their systems. I would suggest you try and get several companies on a monthly retainer fee and maybe include a half/one day visit on site a month. Companies with maybe one server and 10-20 users who cannot afford a permanent IT person. I set up a couple of companies totally about 9 years ago including setting up their link to the USA parent company. It depends how far you want to go and what your experience is. Maybe do a couple of exams and you can use logos on your business cards? I did CCNA and MCSE 10 years ago and I believe the Microsoft one on NT is still valid :lol: The Cisco one expired after 3 years.
 

KKOB

Completely Chillaxed
PC Technical Support
It's worth finding out about whether it would be to your advantage to register for VAT.

Many businesses, including small ones, are reluctant to deal with companies that aren't registered.

You'll have an HMR&C office local to you and you'll also be able to get you some good at advice at HM Revenue & Customs: Home Page
 
PC Technical Support
I agree with that!!
I have always found that the negative of having to charge possibly non VATable people the extra VAT for your services is outweighed by the positive of being taken seriously when you first start up!!
I was advised by the local business startup agency 15 years ago to register for VAT for that very reason and have never regretted it. I know you become an unpaid Government tax collector in effect but it does give you some kind of legitimacy even by just having the VAT number on your invoice. Also it takes very little time to do the return each quarter other than a couple of hours on one Sunday morning each quarter.

I use a cash book sectioned off with receipts on the left with a VAT total each week plus a purchases AND expenses section on the right also with the VAT shown separately.
The VAT form is merely the VAT you owe the taxman on the left LESS the two VAT totals on purchases and expenses on the right (He owes you!!) and that net balance you pay the taxman.
That cash book together with my invoices, receipts and bank statements go off to my book keeper each year and for £175 he gives me the profit and loss figures for my tax return which I then input into the self assessment form online.
I think £35 per hour is about right as PC Callout were charging £30 an hour about a year ago and quite frankly I would rather have paid a local man with knowledge like yourself or Martyn to sort it. The engineer they sent kept doing simple things like Defragmentation and Disc Cleanup plus the usual PC Doctor drive checks that most of us relative novices know about.
I knew more than he did and paid £60 odd for the privilege.

When you are a small business and rely heavily on your computer each day, you are thrown into a state of panic when it goes wrong and need people locally with expertise to sort it at a reasonable price. I think there is a lot of demand for it when you see the mess these online support firms like PC World can make of it.
I totally agree with Mushtaq that local customers want help LOCALLY and are very reluctant and often too inexperienced to sort it online. Online frankly is a horrible way of discussing things and you need the person THERE with you, not at the end of a crackly line.

On the start up side exposure is the key and I spent months delivering leaflets to prospective customers before I got going. OK ,the return isnt great BUT once you get a small section of happy customers in an area, you will be recommended and a little satellite of clients will grow within that area.
Once you have a few customers in say Kingston/Richmond it will be worth a day or half day visit every so often and thats how it will grow.
Another essential thing is keeping oneself in the frame by frequent visits. DONT let them forget you and even if its a "We are fine" make sure they remember you.
The best way to lose business is to do a job for a customer and then ignore them as there are plenty that will be canvassing to replace you!!!
Get to the stage where if you leave a longish gap between visits they say "Oh we wondered where you had got to?" . RECOGNITION stays in the mind and you are their white knight to save them if their system goes bang!!

To sum up I personally would register for VAT initially on a cash basis ( i.e pay VAT only when you get paid!!) as well as canvassing like hell and make a complete nuisance of yourself everywhere. Dont just sit at home and expect it to come to you after a few adverts. Get out there and make an effort to be recognised as someone reliable that the customer has faith in and will be loyal to.
Businesses come and go each week so make yours sustainable by hard work and plenty of driving,map reading and foot slogging!!
All the best to you
 
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Smiler

Member
PC Technical Support
When I was running my own business, driving round industrial estates, knocking on doors talking to owners drummed up a fair amount of business. Annual contracts are another way of keeping clients, i.e. sell a block of hours of support to small companies for contiued and on-going business, including anti-virus and network security management.
 

Sunny Seasider

Life is so precious
PC Technical Support
I recently had problems with my hardware, everything just went blank and thought I'd lost everything, I called a guy out he took away my hardrive for 2 days, said that he ran it on his and there was a corruption, fixed it and recovered all my data, I was very happy to pay him £35.
 

Martyn

Member
PC Technical Support
I recently had problems with my hardware, everything just went blank and thought I'd lost everything, I called a guy out he took away my hardrive for 2 days, said that he ran it on his and there was a corruption, fixed it and recovered all my data, I was very happy to pay him £35.


You can't put a price on data. I hope you bought a USB external hard drive after that and do regular back ups?
 

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