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standard repair hours

Posted on 2003-12-10
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I'm looking and can't find on the internet a list of standard tasks you do to a PC and the hours you should charge for them(no matter how long it really takes you).  There doesn't seem to be any standardized list and what I've found is all over the place and many times what i would consider outrageous.  For example I'm looking for:

Installation of CD-Rom
Repair OS
New installation of OS
upgrade standard part (ram, processor, video, sound, nic)
install motherboard
replace HD and recover data
etc...

Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance.
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Question by:RDIII
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by:tiranathon
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I would suggest no matter what the job, the usual is parts+labour, seen as nothing with computers is ever simple, a job that most of the time woulf take 15 mins to complete, may end up taking hours. if you were to lock yourself to a standard set of hours, and it takes longer, you will end up falling foul of your own rules.
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by:Mr_Skinny
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I agree, there's just too many factors and possibilities.
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by:RDIII
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I recognize this, and in the case of it being something unusual then I understand.  I'm talking about stuff like my list.  It only takes so much time to install win98 or xp or 2000.  If problems arise because of specific issues then that would be extra.  But a standard install with all drivers loaded and no extra software should have a standard time.  I just got off the phone with someone that told me there is no standards body for PC repair and that's a problem.  Mechanics have standards for cars.  Why can't we have standards for computers?  I'm just looking for a basic list.  A base of sorts and then I can take things from there.
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by:Luc Franken
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I agree with  tiranathon and Mr_Skinny
just to give you an example
>upgrade standard part (ram, processor, video, sound, nic)
Ram => should be about 15 minutes all included, so no problem
Processor => can take from 15 minutes to several hours, for instance if the customer is using win2k you might have to do things like this: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=249694 wich is really time consuming.
Motherboard => same as processor
Sound => See Ram
Nic => should be about half an hour including setting up the network settings again, so no problem also.

There are also many things that can go wrong with all of these.

LucF

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by:Mr_Skinny
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Even the time taken to install windows can vary alot depending on the spec of the machine!
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by:RDIII
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I understand what you are saying and I understand each situation is different.  I'm just looking for a base.  What should it take with no problems to complete a job?  or what should it take to complete job including possibility for common problems?  Just a base, if job becomes more complicated then I call customer and tell them it's gonna take more.  At least I can have a price to tell them barring any problems and if it's gonna be more then I can tell them that complications arose and it's gonna take _____ much more time.
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by:Mr_Skinny
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I guess it boils down to what do you think is a fair price for any given job, im not sure its something others can advise you on a great deal.
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by:Callandor
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Your best bet is to take a statistical approach and calculate what the expected return is for charging an amount for a certain job.  If you price it correctly, you will make a profit in the long run and it will include unexpected problems (as long as the problems don't predominate and ruin your price model).
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by:xema
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My two cents:

RDIII, the price for standar jobs will be related to the country you are in, a expensive job will be $20 US/hour if you are in Mexico, a medium middle managemet position pays $20 US/hour, but won't be that expensive if you are in the US.

I think that what you need is to obtain an average time for each job and multiply it for a risk factor.

from LucF
Ram => should be about 15 minutes all included, so no problem,
assuming that every 10 memory jobs one it'll take 1 hour, then you got to charge 6 extra minutes ON EVERY memory job to cover yourself for the problematic one.
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by:Luc Franken
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Another example:

Customer calls you and sais "The backup isn't running!!" How would you make a standard price for that? Could be a whole lot of things. You might be able to fix it within a minute by starting the service on the service. But it also could take several hours, replacing cards, drives, reinstalling software, all just to find out what is going wrong.

Just us a fixed price per hour and you should be fine.
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by:RDIII
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Xema,  thanks for the input and that's what I'm looking for.  I'm looking for a list of times for how long it should take me to do certain jobs and then I can figure how much to charge based on that rate plus the extra I need to charge for the times when things don't work right.  That way I can tell a customer a memory upgrade on such and such a system will be $$$ dollars for parts plus $$$ dollars for labor.  Then if I find something else wrong with the machine they are already expecting the first amount and the extra won't be such a huge hit to them.  If I go into the job saying this should take blank amount of time and they know my rate then I'm setting myself up for problems because then they are watching the clock.  I need to be based on a pricing system for what I'm doing.  Not how long it takes me.  If I only make straight time for everything I do then the better I get at things and the faster I go I'll make less money.  If I work 8 hours I'll only make 8 hours worth of pay, but if I work 8 hours based on the number of jobs I'm doing then I get paid more the faster I get things done.  Example:

First time install OS on new machine takes 2 hours with all drivers loaded.  I get paid hourly rate I earn whatever my hourly rate is.

10th time I install OS on new machine takes 1 hour with all drivers loaded.  I get hourly rate I lose money because I'm faster now.

If I just charge a flat rate for different types of jobs and figure OS should take 2 hours max then I make more money when it only takes me 1 hour.  The better and more experienced I get the more I get paid because I'm better at what I do.  That's why I need standard rates.  Otherwise I'll just have to increase hourly rate exponentially and that won't fly with customers.
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by:Luc Franken
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You're thinking the wrong way:

>First time install OS on new machine takes 2 hours with all drivers loaded.  I get paid hourly rate I earn whatever my hourly rate is.
You're no longer asked by this customer because you take to long to do this

>10th time I install OS on new machine takes 1 hour with all drivers loaded.  I get hourly rate I lose money because I'm faster now.
You will be asked again by this customer because they think: "Hey, this guy is fast and he knows what he's talking about" and you'll get more and more work from this person to solve his/her problem.
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by:patrickab
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No difference in approach between a plumber and an IT guy. Charge by the hour or fraction of an hour and then add the cost of materials (on which you should also be making something by buying in bulk and putting on a margin of you own - how much depends on how well you can buy) Approx USD20/hr is probably a bit low but it does depend on what part of the world you are working. Do not under charge for hardware - there must be a premium for you supplying the hardware. You have to get it, pay for it and take it back if it is faulty. Your time in doing this is money and if people could do it themselves they would have bought what was required themselves. Make sure your hardware prices are reasonable when compared to the price some could buy them for themselves. If challenged just explain the commercial risks you are taking and the time and effort you need to make to get the hardware together. It is part of the service.
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by:RDIII
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You miss my point.  That was a hypothetical situation.  The problem is still that I only get paid for hours no matter how much work I do in that time.

BTW, It can take 2 hours to install an OS depending on what OS we are talking about and what hardware it's running on.
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by:RDIII
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My margins would have to be outrageous for me to make any money.  A one man shop doesn't have the necessary buying power to get really great margins.
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by:patrickab
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RDIII - I don't miss your point at all. The point I am making is that you should charge by the hour not by the job as it is too restrictive setting fixed prices for jobs when they may take much longer than expected. What can appear simple can end up a nightmare. Try installing scanners on different platforms - I'm sure you've done already...

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by:RDIII
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But the restrictive price wouldn't be restrictive if set correctly.  Plus I would charge by the hour after it exceeded maximum hours for that job.  So I tell someone such and such a job will be such and such a price without complications.  That means I have set a maximum for that job and if it goes over that there were complications and I'll call to tell them it will cost more.  So I'm still charging by the hour.  It's just if I get the job done in less than maximum then I make more money.  And if I go over max that means I have max set too low or job was complicated by unforseen things and I'll have to charge more.  Does that make sense?
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by:xema
xema earned 175 total points
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Forgive me if I sound to harsh;

I presume most of the people here are from the US, you have a way of doing bussines that´s not the only one around the world.

RDIII has a very good point, if you charge a flat rate for an specific job your customer will expect to pay a price for a job, if you find another problem you can charge another rate and your customer won´t fell he's been ripped off.

If you have an hourly rate, the customer may feel you found something else wrong so you can spend more time and charge more, and when you are waiting for a 120 GB to format I'll bet the customer feels you are stealing from him.

The game is called how to bid on a Risk project, If you ask for a lump sum for a job, you need to take everything in consideration, the better qualified  and prepared you are the greater the profit.  On the other hand an hourly rate will protect you from any uncertainites but your profit will depend on how many hours are you working.
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by:asurada2003
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Hope this will help.

Installation of CD-Rom
For the installation of cd-rom will be a fast one.
For normaly take up the cover and replace of the cr-rom will take about 10Min like this.

Repair OS
For this one will be depend on the problem u having.
Sometime it can be solve within few min and sometimes few day.
For example scan and repair a registry will take up about 15Min like this.

New installation of OS
For Os installtion will depend on the os that will be install.
Offcouse a new installtion will all the drive ready will be fast.
Win95/98/win-nt - will need about 30-40min like this.
Win2k or xp will need a longer time cause of the os size.
Sometime the more services u added will also cause a slow installtion.

upgrade standard part (ram, processor, video, sound, nic)
For all of this hardware upgrade will be fast one.
Like the replace of cd-rom.

install motherboard
This will depent on how good is the person doing so. :)

replace HD and recover data
Replace a hdd will be as easy replacing a cd-rom.
But for data recover is ?? . :)
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by:RDIII
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Thanks asurada,  you're the first person to at least try and help me with some numbers.  In reality as easy as it is to replace a HD or CD-Rom on Nic or whatever I think I need to at least triple the time for my price.  If I have a customer that wants a Burner put in his PC and I'm supplying it I figure I've got the time messing with talking to him on the phone, figuring out whether I can even put it in his machine (IDE channel available, space in case, machine meets specs), if house call taking the time to talk to them once I get there, unhooking machine from whatever corner they have it crammed into, figure out how to take the proprietary case apart, find out you need rails that they don't have anymore and are not standard(oops rant sorry), finally physically installing it, setting CMOS to recognize it, installing software and possibly training customer.  Now the training part I can charge extra for but the rest of it was all Burner install.  I have to recoupe my time so I need a rate that will encompass all these things and leave room for play.  

I'm just trying to find someone that has sat down and figured this out for themselves and their business.  If nobody wants to share that then that's fine, I'll just have to try and figure it out for myself.  I figured maybe with all the computer people here somebody has probably come up with a pretty good idea of how long standard stuff takes a fairly proficient tech to do including some room for minor problems.  If not then I've got a long road to hoe to try and figure these out.
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by:asurada2003
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I got think of doing this before also, but by phone will depent on the user u calling .
Some user are not this independent, so they will as u to do it for them.
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by:xema
xema earned 175 total points
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RDIII

Start considering the average time for a job.
increase it by a percentage dedicated to promotion of bussines, phone calls to future clients 7%
increase it again for time consumed in transportation to the place of the job 15% for jobs  less than 45 min, 5% for jobs bigger than 45 min
Increase it again with a security factor, its a propetary case that took you more time to open, you needed to disassamble the box to install the new memory. 5% for jobs that are not so prone to be problematic,  20% for jobs that could cause a lot of troubles.

Then decide your hourly rate and multiply the factor obtained for the specific job, then you have your flat rate. BUT I recommend to charge a diagnostic rate at the begining of the job in case the customer didn't describe the failure correctly and you need to run a complete check of the box, this charge should at least cover the time to get to the customer location.
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by:sppalser
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You may have landed on something that you could research, write and publish.    Have you ever looked at an Auto Mechanics Flat Rate Manual?  These manuals are very detailed and the better ones (several volumes worth) are broken down by year, make, and model.  The Flat Rates are not measured in dollars but in time.  It is up to the individual shop to establish their own hourly dollar rate.  However one should note that the Auto Mechanics Flat Rates are very liberal in that most good experienced mechanics can do the work in considerable less time than posted.  Thus the good mechanics can get twelve to fifteen hours of work squeezed in to an 8-10 hour day.  This would imply that anticipated problems are allowed for in the standard flat rates.  Also the good mechanics who want repeat business will back off from the published flat rate somewhat so as to not be viewed as a price gouger.  

You should be able to find these flat rate manuals at most larger public libraries.  Take a look at one and see what you come up with.
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by:nickhyatt
nickhyatt earned 50 total points
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One thing you could do is this: make a base hourly rate (I know this has been suggested). However, on top of that, make a minimum pay time - for example, $25 an hour, three hour minimum. That way, even if you're in there for an hour switching out drives, you still get paid for three. People are desperate enough for in-house support that you can do this. For instance, this is what I do with my contracting:

$50 / hr, 2 hr minimum.

$.15 per mile travel charge

Plus any labor incurred in the repair.

Depending on your skill set, you can modify this amount. Some of my fellows charge $100/hr with a three hour minimum.

Basically it comes down to this: no matter what you charge, if you do a fast, quick job, you'll get references...that equals more business, and more money.
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KenO1964 earned 200 total points
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Well,  perhaps I'm a bit more "harsh" on the way I price things,  but I'm worth it.. :)

The time involved is of your own calculation.  Some people are faster than others, ya know?  It's your own experience that makes you worth a certain dollar amount,  and with that experience comes the knowledge of how long it takes you in particular, to accomplish certain jobs.

I have never run across a standard list of charges for PC work.  I looked a couple of years ago and found nothing.

So, I made up my own "by time" list.......

|  Any job that 'normally' takes from 1 minute to 30 minutes is a 1 hour charge.  ( I call them "labor units", not hourly charges)
|  Any job that 'normally' takes from 30 minutes to an hour is a 1.5 hour charge.
|  Any job that 'normally' takes from 1 hour to 1.5 hours is a 2 hour charge.

**cd drive install=10 minutes
**hard drive install=15 minutes
**motherboard replacement(same type) = 30 minutes

Do the math from there, and you should be fine...


And a "job" list.. (All prices were for standard installs with no "extra work", like for a compaq where you have to disassemble the machine just to replace the memory)

CD replacement/installation - $19.99
Hard drive install (physical only) - $19.99
Hard drive install (fdisk and format) - $29.99
Expansion Card install (sound, video, modem, network w/drivers) - $19.99
Special Expansion Card install (other than above) - $29.99
Memory replacement/install - $19.99
Motherboard replacement/install (physical only) - $39.99
CPU replacement/upgrade - $19.99

There was lots of other stuff,  but that ought to give you an idea of how I structured it all..

I ended up choosing the "By time" list mainly because it was easier to deal with, and more profitable without gouging customers.


Best of Luck!
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