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Old 01-18-2007, 07:29 PM   #1
dohpaz
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For that price I could've bought a new computer...


I make my living working with computers. I remove malware, upgrade systems, setup printers, setup small networks, etc, etc.. Standard local computer shop stuff.

Sometimes when customers get their invoice I run into the dreaded "I could have bought a new computer for this price" sentiment. I usually try to point out that yes, if they want to start fresh on a new system, and don't need any of their data transferred to the new computer, and they don't need any help setting up printers,scanners, or their email then yes they could have just bought a new computer for the price of my fees. Otherwise they would be looking at the cost of the new computer plus the cost of setting it up and transferring data, setting up peripherals, etc. All of this may very well
be the same price as the original repair.

I take a lot of pride in my work and I always try to give solid advice and perform tasks to the best of my ability in the most efficient manner I know how. Maybe people are just trying to haggle and get the bill down(Hey I told you my hourly rate didn't I?), but it can be pretty darned discouraging having to justify your work all the time.

Anyone else here with similar experiences?

Last edited by dohpaz; 01-18-2007 at 07:31 PM.
 
Old 01-18-2007, 08:04 PM   #2
Jeebizz
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Well I have done some similar work, I guess you could call it similar, since I've worked for tech support over the phone. I also just fixed computers or set stuff up for some friends of mine. The thing is, your customers just doesn't know anything about computing, most likely don't even run windows update, and the obvious reason why most of their computer troubles arise, is because of the questionable software that they may be running. The thing is, I don't care how much I could make, as far as I'm concerned, no amount of money can make me want to fix these people's computers, only for the fact that constantly I must deal with their sheer lack of knowledge, and most of the time their apathy, and unwillingness to change, and oh no, actually LEARN something. Their attitudes are, "I don't give a crap, it worked before, now it doesn't, its not my fault, it broke by itself" attitude. I've had my share of these people, and I absolutely refuse to subject myself to that. The way I see it, that person can go ahead and spend money on a new computer, but 99.9% of the time, that person will enivitably screw it up again anyways, and will be calling you back again, and by the next year or so, spend money again on yet another system. I love to tell people that I have had my same system now for seven years, SEVEN YEARS, ran win98, nt4, then 2000pro for a while, and now Slackware only, and its running just fine, because these are also the type of people who most likely get a new car every three or so years, even when they are nowhere near the mileage. Face it, these people are just wasteful. I didn't mean to go off into a tangent, which I often do, but if you don't mind dealing with such mindlesness, then I say go ahead and profit on their ignorance. There is a proverb, if you find a fool, use him for all you can, before someone else does. Sad, maybe even cruel, but thats just the way it is.

Last edited by Jeebizz; 01-18-2007 at 08:08 PM.
 
Old 01-18-2007, 08:08 PM   #3
Brian1
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I kind of do this on the side and know what other computer stores charge for the service. I myself feel guilty what I do ask for but I myself like you pride in fixing the system and not just blowing and reinstalling which is what many repair shops do because the time it can take to fix the registry, remove virus and spyware, and other stuff at the rates they charge. About $65.00 to $80.00 in this area.

Yes one could buy a new computer for that price one charges. Then of like you say they install all their software, try to copy over their email and bookmarks and dealing with different versions from the two on top of that and finally infecting thier new system with the old one or saved files that were not cleaned.

Since I don't need the job I only work with a few friends and some of the family, not all but most. I mostly like to do it for the challenge and to keep up to date on my skills since I keep my systems clean and well maintain ( no junk fancy cool things like bonzo ). Keep records of what I install on all system and when so when something pops up I can backtrack to when it worked fine and not do a fresh install. Currently have never formatted one of my desktop for over 4 years but it is up to date on most everything it runs. Biggest pain was getting 2.6kernel to run on a 2.4 kernel install. But with 7 plus years with Linux, 5 years before that with OS/2, Dos back to 2.1 days and no harddrive, to the dreaded TRS-80 III with Windows 386 to current XP along the way,one tends to pick something up along the way.

I could go on for hours but the space here does not allow.

Brian

Last edited by Brian1; 01-18-2007 at 08:12 PM.
 
Old 01-18-2007, 08:19 PM   #4
Brian1
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Hi JeeBizz, (DVD-RAM, who the hell uses DVD-RAM anyways?)
I use DVD-RAMs. Have used them for about 5 years. Was using them before DVD-R came along to move data from one machine to another. Got to love having 9.4 gig on a single disc. Use it like a harddrive, write to it, remove some files from it, add more files. Got to get one those newer notebooks that use that type of drive like yours. Only issue I see is the media is not in a cartrige like the ones I uses on the desktop. Just have to remove them from thier case.

Brian
 
Old 01-18-2007, 08:22 PM   #5
ctkroeker
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I live in a community with arround 200 people. Their are only arround 1 computer for every 10 people and I'm the only person that has any expierience in the computer area. I get calls so seldom (seeing how most of the computers in this town are at the place I work), that I usually just charge them whatever they want to give, and they usually pay more than I expect. I know this wouldn't work well in a larger community, but I like it and so be it.
 
Old 01-18-2007, 08:27 PM   #6
Jeebizz
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OOps.. heehee , well, 9.4GB? I have never seen those anywhere. Only 4.7GB, and nothing past 8x. Word is, not many use these types of discs in the US, and the only pace you could find discs higher than 8x, is outside the states, or research labs. Didn't realize that someone actually uses them. While we're on this subject, not to completely hijack this guy's thread, one other point to mention is that most of these people who require such help with their systems, most likely never used recordable media(CD/DVD) in order to backup their own stuff, other than probably just make music cds, and movie dvds. I wonder how many of them actually know that you can put actual data on such mediums, such as pictures, emails, and other data
 
Old 01-18-2007, 08:54 PM   #7
Brian1
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My disc are 2x to 4x type. When you think about 1x is about the same as 16x cds. A 9.4 gig is a double sided 4.7gig disc. One can write to both sides. Got a good deal about 2 years ago on some at Staples when the DVD-RAM seem to be dead. 9.4 gig for $3.00 a piece. Got 10 of them. Had to go to about 3 stores to clean them out. Also 3 pack 4.7gig for $5.00. Got all of them. Split them up between me and a friend that is big into DVD-RAM.

me: Sorry your drive is toast, Your data is gone. Do you have a backup?
client: Backup, what is backup?
me: Do you need that data?
client: Yeah I guess, Many pictures, music, and email I really need.
me: Might be able to retrieve from one of those pay recovery sites.
client: Sounds good.
me: It is expensive.
client: Like ho much?
me: Depends, average $300.00 just to analyze.
client: Forget that. A backup is what I should have done.

With Linux I have recovered some data but not much.


Brian

Last edited by Brian1; 01-18-2007 at 09:01 PM.
 
Old 01-18-2007, 08:59 PM   #8
2damncommon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dohpaz
Sometimes when customers get their invoice I run into the dreaded "I could have bought a new computer for this price" sentiment.
Simple answer is to mention that to them when they drop it off, if warranted.
 
Old 01-18-2007, 09:25 PM   #9
dohpaz
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ctroeker, thats pretty cool that you do that. I actually work for a family run business. Isn't Paraguay right below Bolivia?
I lived in Peru for a year which is sort of close to Paraguay I guess .

Jeebiz, I completely agree with you. I can understand that someone might want to not learn how to use their computer and instead pay someone(me) to fix it. But I don't like having to explain things over and over. For example: "What caused my h/d/motherboard/device to fail?". WHO THE HECK CARES? Maybe it was a power spike, maybe its cold solder joint, maybe its solar flares from the sun. Things fail. For every 100 widgets manufactured a certain percentage will fail. Thats statistics. Man is not infallible who would have thunk? The point is I don't know what caused your thingy to die. Thats not my job. My job title is computer technician. That means I fix computers. It's not computer CSI detective.
 
Old 01-18-2007, 09:47 PM   #10
dohpaz
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2damncommon,

People always want to know how long and how much up front. Usually without even telling me what the problem is.

"Whats wrong with my comp it won't turn on?"

Without looking at the system its hard to say how long or how much it will cost. Thats why we charge an estimate fee for in house and an automatic one hour charge for onsite service.

One of the first things people usually tell me when I go into their homes is : "I dunno anything about computers"
or "I am totally computer illiterate"

Mostly the second one.

What is it that makes people do that?

When I take my car to a mechanic I don't do that. I assume he knows it since I'M BRINGING MY CAR TO HIM!!

Last edited by dohpaz; 01-18-2007 at 09:49 PM.
 
Old 01-18-2007, 10:07 PM   #11
pixellany
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People will often tell you that they don't understand something as a defensive move. Quite simply, they don't want you discovering their limitations. Another twist is when they consider it a badge of honor to know nothing (As in: "Only geeks understand that stuff.")

My wife in an interesting study. I see her struggling and offer to show her an easier way. "Get lost!" would be one of the more benign retorts. Later, if I peek over her shoulder, she will have discovered tricks I had never seen.

Getting back to the original question: If I were dealing with a computer service person, I would want to be told "This machine is not worth fixing" or whatever hard truth was applicable. Unfortunately when you are offering expertise and convenience, it is often hard for the customer to internalize that that costs money.
 
Old 01-18-2007, 10:55 PM   #12
dohpaz
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Pixellany,

Thanks for the insight that makes sense that they are being defensive. I never thought of it that way. I always feel really
squeamish when that happens like I don't know what to say. "Wow...really gee sorry to hear that."

Last edited by dohpaz; 01-18-2007 at 10:57 PM.
 
Old 01-18-2007, 11:26 PM   #13
Dragineez
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On The Other Hand

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeebizz
The thing is, I don't care how much I could make, as far as I'm concerned, no amount of money can make me want to fix these people's computers, only for the fact that constantly I must deal with their sheer lack of knowledge, and most of the time their apathy, and unwillingness to change, and oh no, actually LEARN something. Their attitudes are, "I don't give a crap, it worked before, now it doesn't, its not my fault, it broke by itself" attitude. I've had my share of these people, and I absolutely refuse to subject myself to that.
GOOD! I highly recommend that you get OUT of that business pronto! We all accept that everything you've said is absolutely true. However, customer service is customer service. These people aren't computer experts and never will be. It's not their job. To them, the computer is only a necessary evil. They will not devote any more time than is minimally necessary to learning anything about it. That's life. I know plenty of Doctors and Lawyers than can't spell "PC" that I would be glad to have treat me or defend me. If all you have left is to treat your end users with disdain, you've reached the end of your usefulness to them. Do yourself, and them, a favor and don't do that job anymore.
 
Old 01-19-2007, 04:38 AM   #14
slantoflight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragineez
customer service is customer service.
Yea thats sounds like something a business man would say. Cat is Cat. Dog is Dog. Money is money.
I guess in your own words "We all accept that everything you've said is absolutely true."

You know I find it funny.

"customer service is customer service."

Your own words can be used against you. You might as well come out and say 'attitude doesn't matter'. At least thats what I get out of it.

If service providers are expendable in the eyes of the customer, then customers are expendable in the eyes of service provider. You see it all the time. It goes both ways, man.
Service is service. Pfffft.

More like terms are terms.
 
  


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