From 6th April 2020, my basic rate for computer troubleshooting is £32 per hour with a minimum chargeable time of one hour (unless your problem is trivial). After the first hour, time is charged in quarter-hour chunks, with any part of a quarter-hour counting as a whole quarter-hour.
So one-and-a-quarter hours of work is £40, one hour and twenty-five minutes is £48, and so on. This rate is very competitive, being considerably lower than many other professionals would charge. Working from home rather than operating from dedicated business premises allows me to keep my overheads low and provide great value for money.
There’s no call-out fee for local work. but there’s at least a half-hour charge for any job that’s more than five miles from my home, and this increases if the distance is significantly further. I have to charge this to account for the time it takes to drive both ways, fuel, business insurance, and sometimes parking as well. However, most computer support businesses always charge a call-out fee, and the only way you can avoid it is by taking your problem to them, which is often inconvenient.
Charges for tuition and advice are lower, because teaching and advising are usually easier and less stressful than fixing problems. I can still remember what it was like when I first used a computer in 1977, so I’m very understanding and happy to go over things time and again, explaining them in different ways, until you understand what’s going on. There’s no pressure, and there are no tests. You will simply end up being able to do what you want to do, without worry or confusion. Please get in touch for further details.
Please note that there is no Value Added Tax on top of these charges.
If I’m called out to solve a specific problem and find that I can’t fix it because I’m unable to identify the cause, then I won’t charge anything. However, if I diagnose the cause but cannot fix the problem because it is practically unfixable, or unreasonable to expect an independent computer troubleshooter to do so, there will still be a small diagnosis fee (equivalent to at least half-an-hour’s time). I’ve had to introduce this policy because sometimes a potential customer would call me out to look at a hopeless case just to get confirmation that there was nothing that could practically be done, and I had no realistic prospect of getting paid.
If I diagnose a problem that I can fix, then a potential customer decides not to give me a chance to fix the problem, there’ll usually be a small diagnosis fee (equivalent to at least half-an-hour’s time). I’ve had to introduce this policy because sometimes a potential customer would call me out to discover what was wrong with their computer, then decide to not bother fixing it, or to fix it themselves, or to get somebody else to fix it, and I would end up doing a lot of diagnostic work and not getting paid for it.
If I’m called out to solve a problem and am successful, but am then asked to look at another problem that I can’t solve, I’ll still charge for fixing the initial problem. I’ve had to introduce this policy because sometimes a customer would be reluctant to pay me anything unless I solved every single problem that they’d raised, however small they were.
If you call me out to do a job and it turns out to be very quick and simple, I’ll only ask for a small, reasonable payment. In other words I never stick rigidly to my normal charges if doing so would be unfair. Also, if a job is likely to go on for a very long time, I will almost always be willing to cap the charge at a mutually agreed maximum. A lot of my work is repeat business for customers who appreciate my reasonable approach to charging, so you can call me out without worrying about how much it’s going to cost.
When customers ask how much they owe me and I tell them, they sometimes say ‘is that all?’ Another question I hear quite often is ‘are you sure that’s enough?’ I always reply ‘yes’ because I’m not someone who goes back on things. People sometimes tell me that I’m not a very good businessman and will never get rich, but I already know that. At heart I’m just a ‘techie’ trying to earn a basic living without being greedy.
If you telephone me for advice and I’m able to sort out your query there and then during the call, I’ll not charge you anything, provided the call is only short (less than fifteen minutes long). However, in the past people have telephoned for ages and expected me to provide assistance completely free of charge as long as I’ve not had to visit them. Therefore I’ve had to introduce a small charge for taking telephone calls that go on for more than fifteen minutes. This amounts to £8 for the initial quarter-hour plus another £8 for each subsequent quarter-hour, with any part of a subsequent quarter-hour counting as a whole quarter-hour.
I’m quite happy to provide advice by e-mail, and just as for telephone advice, there is no charge for small queries. However, if we end up in a detailed e-mail conversation, I’ll have to make a small charge for the time involved. Having said that, I’ll always warn you if a protracted query has gone on for so long that I intend to make a charge if it continues.
I accept payment in cash, by cheque, or by direct bank transfer (Bacs, which used to be known as BACS (the Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services)). Having said that, I prefer to avoid handling cheques if possible as I’m no longer able to bank them in Mildenhall due to branch closure. Unfortunately I don’t have the facility to process credit or debit card payments, as the overhead would be too much just to handle a small number of transactions.
For regular domestic customers, and businesses, I’m happy to operate on a credit basis where I issue a paper or electronic invoice to be paid within twenty-eight days. Of course I’m always glad to provide an invoice to any customer who wants one for their records, though I’m unable to provide them retrospectively (I’ve occasionally been asked to provide backdated invoices months after the relevant events).