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Crash Gordon
Drive It Like You Stole It

join:2004-06-08
Smyrna, GA
reply to icex

Re: What to charge customer for changing their mind?

Have to agree with most others here. Get EVERYTHING in writing.

Based on the info in your first post, I think you're looking at just $25. Unless there was something else agreed upon, but if it was verbal only thats going to be hard to prove.

I've been building/fixing computers since the late 90's and still do it on the side. If you have Excel (or Open Office) do yourself a favor, make a Service Quote and/or Invoice for yourself and your services. It's easy and it should help keep something like this from happening again.

It sucks, but consider it a lesson learned. From now on, remember to always CYA.




CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to David

said by David:

Who on earth is she sending to in Florida that can do it cheaper? I am guessing Florida has very cheap labor?

Probably a family member who did not want to deal with the virus infection.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

Liberty

join:2005-06-12
Tucson, AZ
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to icex

All lessons in life have a cost in either $$ or hard knocks - sometimes both

Sounds like you bought a lesson in the value of bid paperwork vs handshakes

I have paid the price for similar lessons, I consider them another tool in my business tool box


BlitzenZeus
Burnt Out Cynic
Premium
join:2000-01-13
kudos:3
reply to icex

Every time you take work on or take possession of a machine give them a receipt, and it clearly states the terms on it. Don't shoot yourself in the foot with it, don't make it in convoluted legal speak, but clear terms. Also don't do anything they didn't request without prior authorization, otherwise you can't bill for it, that's the way it goes.

They could go out, and buy a brand new computer for $400. You were going to charge them over $400 which is why I'm sure they didn't go through with it.
--
I distrust those people who know so well what god wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires- Susan B. Anthony
Yesterday we obeyed kings, and bent out necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to the truth- Kahlil G.



fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
reply to icex

$185 labor is a lot. I charge $50 to $75 on top of parts cost when I build for people on the side. Takes 30 minutes to build it, and then I'm doing other stuff while I have the OS installing. Still a pretty decent rate for myself.

A person I know needs a server built for a web hosting business and wants to spend $20,000. I told him to buy something already pre-built since I didn't really want the job, but he insisted he could save a few thousand by having me build it. I quoted $1000 over parts, but that's only because I didn't want the job in the first place, and I knew he was already spending a lot of money, versus a regular home/small business user who is only spending $500 to $1500 on a computer.


billydunwood

join:2008-04-23
united state
kudos:2
reply to icex

I think $75 is fair.
#1 let me say yes, you should get everything in writing.
#2 Everybody here says it would be hard to prove to get more than $25 or hard to prove an amount. It isn't. You did a diagnosis. And, the computer sat on your desk for a month. Why would somebody leave a computer at a shop/repairman for a month if they weren't anticipating repairing it like she agreed to? Your story and the facts add up.
--
No Victim=No Crime



icex
Premium
join:2004-05-22
USA
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
reply to icex

Sorry for the late reply guys.

I do this trying to start it as an actual business, and havent had a problem until this woman. I obviously will start doing signed quotes, etc from now on.

She actualy authorized the spyware and virus removal, but I don't feel its worth arguing with her over, so I'm going to take the virus software off and restore it back to the way it came to me, infected.

We clearly discussed the parts + labor price on the phone last month and she said to use her old computer case and put the new parts in it, which was the plan. $185 for labor isent bad when you factor in removing the old motherboard, processor ram power supply and reinstalling it all, and on top of that, that includes the $75 virus removal.
--
The Gun News Blog, the latest information on the firearm industry.



icex
Premium
join:2004-05-22
USA
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
reply to David

said by David:

Who on earth is she sending to in Florida that can do it cheaper? I am guessing Florida has very cheap labor?

I'd like to know myself, she said she "thought" it was HP service center but ain't sure. Time she pays to have it shipped there, shipped back, diagnostics, etc, I don't see how its cheaper.

By the way, someone asked me if I wave the $25 diagnostics if I do the work. Yes! I do wave the $25 diagnostic fee if I do the work, and I clearly told her that on the phone (not in writing, my bad I know) and since she told me that she would have me put new parts in, I told her it was waived. However since she changed her mind I do beleive I am entitled to my $25 diagnostic fee.
--
The Gun News Blog, the latest information on the firearm industry.


icex
Premium
join:2004-05-22
USA
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
reply to BlitzenZeus

said by BlitzenZeus:

Every time you take work on or take possession of a machine give them a receipt, and it clearly states the terms on it. Don't shoot yourself in the foot with it, don't make it in convoluted legal speak, but clear terms. Also don't do anything they didn't request without prior authorization, otherwise you can't bill for it, that's the way it goes.

They could go out, and buy a brand new computer for $400. You were going to charge them over $400 which is why I'm sure they didn't go through with it.

She insisted on having this one rebuilt. I told her I could build her a new pc for $500 that was alot better than this one and she refused.
--
The Gun News Blog, the latest information on the firearm industry.
Expand your moderator at work


pcdebb
RIP lil hurricane
Premium
join:2000-12-03
Brandon, FL
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Bright House
reply to icex

Re: What to charge customer for changing their mind?

Maybe its just me, but it sounds like she agreed to the work of uprading the board by saying she will have the money, so I would do the work expecting to get paid. The work is done and now she wants to back out? I want more than just $25.....but like I said that's just me. That's why I dont fix people computer anymore.
--
| map your city |



Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to icex

said by icex:

..Now before you say "What?" let me explain.

Had a call about a computer that would stay on for 15-20 minutes then freeze. I travel 10 minutes to meet the customer and pickup the computer. I take it apart and determine the motherboard is bad and a replacement would cost $120 from china (HP pegatron board).

I then proceed to explain to them I can upgrade the computer with a new motherboard, ram, processor and power supply. The parts are $280 and the labor is $185. She agrees and says first of the month (November first) she will have the money.

So I have the computer apart (motherboard still in the case) and it sits on my desk since last month. Yesterday she calls and says she'll have my money today, $240. I said thats just parts, and I will have to make sure thats the price because I wasent at my computer during the day. Today she comes here and asks me if its $240 or more, I go look and its $280 for the parts. I proceed to tell her and she says thats too much she'll send it to Florida and get it fixed alot cheaper and it'll last alot longer. I offer to knock $30 off the labor and she refused. I said I'll have it assembled tommorow.

I already did a virus & spyware removal on the hard drive, obviously their not going to pay that. I plan to do a system restore to restore the virus's (if possible) and take my anti virus off the machine.

My question is, what should I charge for a diagnostic? I say "free estimate if I repair the machine, $25 if I don't." but obviously I done alot more and the customer screwed me over by changing their mind at the last second when I have everything took apart and ready to order new parts.

Comments?

Get everything in writing next time.
said by David:

Who on earth is she sending to in Florida that can do it cheaper? I am guessing Florida has very cheap labor?

old people slave labor


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to pcdebb

Only work that was done was the de-virusing of hte PC. He did not order the parts yet when she backed out but the her PC was apart in anticipation of rebuilding it.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain



burner50
Proud Union THUG
Premium
join:2002-06-05
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:1
reply to bionicRod

said by bionicRod:

said by icex:

..She agrees and says first of the month (November first) she will have the money.

"I will have your money on such and such date" is usually a bad sign. I think I would have put her computer back together, charged her the $25 for the estimate, and said "Come back on November 1st".

Not necessarily...

I do that... I have every dollar budgeted to go somewhere, and if I haven't budgeted the money for that repair, it is coming out of something else (family vacation, fun time, etc), which is not acceptable to me. So computer repair will wait until the money gets properly budgeted. I don't budget a chunk of money to just piss away because it doesn't do anything for me.

I have a system, and it works for me. I refuse to deviate from my plan.
--
I'm tired of killing stupid people just trying to do my job and go home!


bionicRod
Funkier than a mohair disco ball.
Premium
join:2009-07-06
united state
kudos:2

said by burner50:

said by bionicRod:

said by icex:

..She agrees and says first of the month (November first) she will have the money.

"I will have your money on such and such date" is usually a bad sign. I think I would have put her computer back together, charged her the $25 for the estimate, and said "Come back on November 1st".

Not necessarily...

I do that... I have every dollar budgeted to go somewhere, and if I haven't budgeted the money for that repair, it is coming out of something else (family vacation, fun time, etc), which is not acceptable to me. So computer repair will wait until the money gets properly budgeted. I don't budget a chunk of money to just piss away because it doesn't do anything for me.

I have a system, and it works for me. I refuse to deviate from my plan.

Good for you...but IMO you should probably wait until you have the money before you buy something or have work done. If you want credit get a card. In God we trust. All others pay cash.


burner50
Proud Union THUG
Premium
join:2002-06-05
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:1

said by bionicRod:

Good for you...but IMO you should probably wait until you have the money before you buy something or have work done. If you want credit get a card. In God we trust. All others pay cash.

Hard to get it into the budget when you don't know what it will cost

I have credit cards... all with a balance of $0
--
I'm tired of killing stupid people just trying to do my job and go home!

medbuyer

join:2003-11-20
kudos:4

said by burner50:

said by bionicRod:

Good for you...but IMO you should probably wait until you have the money before you buy something or have work done. If you want credit get a card. In God we trust. All others pay cash.

Hard to get it into the budget when you don't know what it will cost

I have credit cards... all with a balance of $0

curious what your credit score is....

isn't it credit cards build or raises credit scores?


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

said by medbuyer:

said by burner50:

said by bionicRod:

Good for you...but IMO you should probably wait until you have the money before you buy something or have work done. If you want credit get a card. In God we trust. All others pay cash.

Hard to get it into the budget when you don't know what it will cost

I have credit cards... all with a balance of $0

curious what your credit score is....

isn't it credit cards build or raises credit scores?

If the CC is paid off every time it is used the score rises. CCs are but one way to raise/lower FICO scores.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1
reply to beck

said by beck:

Now you have learned. Always a travel charge and always a bench charge. Always a deposit.

But spell out the difference between parts and labor.


--
* seek help if having trouble coping
--Standard disclaimers apply.--

medbuyer

join:2003-11-20
kudos:4
reply to CylonRed

said by CylonRed:

If the CC is paid off every time it is used the score rises. CCs are but one way to raise/lower FICO scores.

I know that..but what if you dont use it at all?

to the OP: not trying to highjack your thread...


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

Then it really does not help...



ptrowski
Got Helix?
Premium
join:2005-03-14
Putnam, CT
kudos:4
reply to icex

The initial repair was for a motherboard and then you uphold her on everything else, correct? Why not offer the motherboard repair for the lesser price?



AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1

1 recommendation

that moght be your best shot, negotiate a lower price to cut your losses.
--
* seek help if having trouble coping
--Standard disclaimers apply.--



burner50
Proud Union THUG
Premium
join:2002-06-05
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:1
reply to medbuyer

said by medbuyer:

said by CylonRed:

If the CC is paid off every time it is used the score rises. CCs are but one way to raise/lower FICO scores.

I know that..but what if you dont use it at all?

to the OP: not trying to highjack your thread...

My Amex gets used and paid off every month.
My Chase card is for emergencies only or for one of the places that doesn't take amex (emergencies like car repairs, washer / dryer / fridge goes out), a computer repair hardly qualifies as an emergency in my book. Its charges are paid off every month.
--
I'm tired of killing stupid people just trying to do my job and go home!


Oh_No
Trogglus normalus

join:2011-05-21
Chicago, IL

1 edit
reply to icex

said by icex:

..Now before you say "What?" let me explain.

Had a call about a computer that would stay on for 15-20 minutes then freeze. I travel 10 minutes to meet the customer and pickup the computer. I take it apart and determine the motherboard is bad and a replacement would cost $120 from china (HP pegatron board).

I then proceed to explain to them I can upgrade the computer with a new motherboard, ram, processor and power supply. The parts are $280 and the labor is $185. She agrees and says first of the month (November first) she will have the money.

So I have the computer apart (motherboard still in the case) and it sits on my desk since last month. Yesterday she calls and says she'll have my money today, $240. I said thats just parts, and I will have to make sure thats the price because I wasent at my computer during the day. Today she comes here and asks me if its $240 or more, I go look and its $280 for the parts. I proceed to tell her and she says thats too much she'll send it to Florida and get it fixed alot cheaper and it'll last alot longer. I offer to knock $30 off the labor and she refused. I said I'll have it assembled tommorow.

I already did a virus & spyware removal on the hard drive, obviously their not going to pay that. I plan to do a system restore to restore the virus's (if possible) and take my anti virus off the machine.

My question is, what should I charge for a diagnostic? I say "free estimate if I repair the machine, $25 if I don't." but obviously I done alot more and the customer screwed me over by changing their mind at the last second when I have everything took apart and ready to order new parts.

Comments?

1. You charge a lot for labor. It should not take more than 1.5hrs to install and load the software and you can do multiple computers at the same time. $185 would be like $124 an hour.
2. It should have taken you 5 minutes to put it back together, so who cares about that.
3. your anti-virus?? are you using free anti-virus software for commercial use?
4. Did the free estimate include travel?? if not you can charge for travel if you stated that up front.
5. you can only charge for what the terms were up front

$75 for virus removal??? Wow.
Your customers have to be 100% computer illiterate to pay those prices.


Cthen

join:2004-08-01
Detroit, MI
Reviews:
·Verizon Wireless..
reply to icex

If you don't have some capital backing you, even getting things in writing still can cost ya. One person can break you if they decide to fight you on everything despite having it all writing and you being the one in the right.

In these cases it's not matter of who is in the right but rather how long a customer can cost you $$$ in the process to prove you are in the right. (And a good amount of customers are aware of this)
--
"I like to refer to myself as an Adult Film Efficienato." - Stuart Bondek



icex
Premium
join:2004-05-22
USA
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

1 recommendation

reply to Oh_No

I charge alot for labor?

You should realy look at staples/best buy/office depot/office max's price and then tell me my prices are high.

$150 for virus/spyware removal.
$150-300 for a motherboard installation

Yet my prices are to high? What are you smoking?



ptrowski
Got Helix?
Premium
join:2005-03-14
Putnam, CT
kudos:4

1 recommendation

said by icex:

I charge alot for labor?

You should realy look at staples/best buy/office depot/office max's price and then tell me my prices are high.

$150 for virus/spyware removal.
$150-300 for a motherboard installation

Yet my prices are to high? What are you smoking?

They are nationally known brands with written estimates and contracts. You? Not so much or we would not have this thread.
--
"So, Lone Starr, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb."

Have you been touched by his noodly appendage? »www.venganza.org

medbuyer

join:2003-11-20
kudos:4
reply to icex

wait a minute...I seem to recall you saying you manage a law firm...

»Bad phone wiring

»[OS X] Problems with microsoft office 2011

so this computer repair biz is a side job? since you worked or work in a law firm, one would think that contracts are necessary to do repairs and such...

and funny you said that you're prices are high compared to big box stores...

specially when you run to dslreports or on the internet for tech support...and a coincidence that you asked for some help on possibly the same pc with that HP Pegatron board that your customer changed their minds...

»Computer runs fine, then turns solid color and unresponsive..

anti virus removal for $75? using Kaspersky or any off the shelf, commercially available stuff you see on big box stores or recommendations here or toms hardware?



icex
Premium
join:2004-05-22
USA
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Wow, your a researcher eh? I do computer repair on the side, and do the IT work for the law firm when they need it. Might be weekly work, might be 2-3 months before they need work.

Oh and abour your comment about the pegatron board, your right, same computer. Congratulations.