Announcement

Collapse

Computer Lab Guidelines

Here in the computer lab, we talk about cool tech, the newest coolest gadgets, and tackle your toughest tech questions.

If you need to refresh yourself on the decorum, now would be a good time. Forum Rules: here
See more
See less

Business Question

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Business Question

    I've helped a number of people with computer issues - that being really minor ones that usually just involve knowing your way around a keyboard - and with learning to use a computer (On/Off; this is your browser, that is your word processor, no, that's the dog - how'd he get up there?). I do this a LOT. Used to do it at work all the time (you know you can just copy and paste that, right? Type in the address... er, let's go over what a taskbar is first) and I frequently field questions from friends (How do I... when can you come over and show me?). Anyway, I've had a lot of positive feedback that I'm good at explaining/teaching and helping solve problems (why are you trying to type a letter in Excel? Let's learn how to make labels in Gmail before your inbox explodes...). More than a few have suggested I should offer a consulting service - so I intend to give it a go (thus far I have earned a ticket to a movie - hey, she just wanted to order tickets online. What idiot decided that tablets should go directly to the site app even when the user doesn't want it to? Man, that thing was annoying...)

    So, here's my question - how do I price the service. I'll offer in-home consultation (the advantage of being a middle aged lady is that other women aren't put off by having you come over where techno-nerd scares them silly - seriously, learn how to speak regular English to non-geeks, will ya?) and basically teach them whatever it is they are wanting help with (No, sweetheart, you don't have to type on the phone - let me show you how to send a text through your email. Contact that pesky grandkid without needing new glasses). But I don't have a good idea about pricing.

    Thoughts?

    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


    "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

    My Personal Blog

    My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

  • #2
    Pricing is one of the most difficult aspects.

    So let me start with the downside.....

    I began in the computer business offering these "help the homeowner and small business person" services, and quickly found they can eat you alive. I had a little old lady that wanted to learn how to enter her checkbook in Quicken. I charged a flat rate, estimating the amount of time it would take. She never "got it". She would "get it", then forget how to reconcile or something, and I'd have to go over to her house again.

    The next thing is pricing too low --- if you operate as a "bargain" service, your customers will soon nickel and dime you to death. It didn't take me long to realize that there really wasn't much money in the "low end" market.

    Also, I built clone computers, but that was back before you could buy a complete system for $400. When I first started out, there was actually some money in buying all the components myself, assembling, setting up (including low level formatting of MFM and RLL drives ) but it quickly became a very competitive business.

    Don't mean to be a drag, but wanted to get the "downside" out of the way first.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

    Comment


    • #3
      No, I appreciate it.

      I figured on assembling cheat sheets on specific tasks - that way they don't have to call me to find out how to open Gmail again. I will do some basic ones and part of the service will include a tailored one from the session. A huge book of how to do everything you can conceivably do in Gmail they will never touch but a sheet of 'here's what we did and how to do it again' they will probably at least keep.

      I actually expect it to be time intensive - not a quick show and tell but a walk through that let's them do for themselves. I find most people retain it much better if they do it rather than watch me do it.


      "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


      "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

      My Personal Blog

      My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
        No, I appreciate it.

        I figured on assembling cheat sheets on specific tasks - that way they don't have to call me to find out how to open Gmail again. I will do some basic ones and part of the service will include a tailored one from the session. A huge book of how to do everything you can conceivably do in Gmail they will never touch but a sheet of 'here's what we did and how to do it again' they will probably at least keep.

        I actually expect it to be time intensive - not a quick show and tell but a walk through that let's them do for themselves. I find most people retain it much better if they do it rather than watch me do it.

        EGGzackly -- it takes patience, and in that area, I am quite short. It's so much easier and quicker for me to "do it", but - as you so aptly pointed out - they don't learn anything that way.

        There is a HUGE aging segment who wants to stay in touch with grandchildren -- I can see a pretty good market there for somebody who can be patient.
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

        Comment


        • #5
          Another emerging market is the need for people to have things shut down on the web after they die. There's actually a name for this, but I can't recall it at the moment, but it involves a 'power of attorney', and the full access to accounts like facebook, linkedin, email, AOL, or whatever else the person has. One of the horrible things is for family members to see their deceased loved one 'still posting' after they're gone, or other people posting to their site.
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
            EGGzackly -- it takes patience, and in that area, I am quite short. It's so much easier and quicker for me to "do it", but - as you so aptly pointed out - they don't learn anything that way.

            There is a HUGE aging segment who wants to stay in touch with grandchildren -- I can see a pretty good market there for somebody who can be patient.

            That's my strong suit. I don't get flustered having to explain repeatedly and it doesn't irk me when they can't find the icon that's right in front of them. I only take the mouse if the computer is doing something unexpected and I need to fix it before we can continue.



            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
            Another emerging market is the need for people to have things shut down on the web after they die. There's actually a name for this, but I can't recall it at the moment, but it involves a 'power of attorney', and the full access to accounts like facebook, linkedin, email, AOL, or whatever else the person has. One of the horrible things is for family members to see their deceased loved one 'still posting' after they're gone, or other people posting to their site.
            I've heard of that. It would be a good service to include in a funeral package - and I know someone in that business. I may look into that.

            "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


            "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

            My Personal Blog

            My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

            Comment


            • #7
              Hmm, can a computer recognize two mice simultaneously? Need to check on that...

              "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


              "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

              My Personal Blog

              My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                Hmm, can a computer recognize two mice simultaneously? Need to check on that...
                Yup
                "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                  Yup
                  Cool!

                  "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                  "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                  My Personal Blog

                  My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                    I've heard of that. It would be a good service to include in a funeral package - and I know someone in that business. I may look into that.
                    Related to that is the "order of service" for a funeral. These are things people don't think about til it's too late. But somebody like you, who's kind and patient, could sit with the elderly and ask questions like....

                    Who do you want to perform your service - favorite pastor, nephew who's a minister, etc...
                    favorite hymns
                    is there a soloist or pianist you'd like to use?
                    what about favorite scripture?
                    Cremation?
                    any special poems or readings?
                    anybody you'd like to do a eulogy?
                    what "tone" do you want? (for an elderly person who has lived a faithful Christian life, this can be "joyous", and it's easier for the attendees to honor this if they know it's the deceased person's wish)

                    All too many times, I've asked the family during a funeral planning meeting, "what was her favorite scripture / song / poem, ect"... and there will be disagreement among the siblings/children/grandchildren.

                    It would be SO EASY (and this has happened on more than a few occasions) where I can say "I sat down with 'Mom' about a year ago, and this is what she requested....."
                    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                      Hmm, can a computer recognize two mice simultaneously? Need to check on that...
                      Funny aside to that.... I had a client who told me that "words and sentences totally disappear", and sometimes her computer just typed stuff randomly.....

                      long story short, it ONLY happened when her boss was in his office next to hers. They both had newly installed Kinsington wireless mouse/keyboards, and their desks were against the same shared wall. Their wireless keyboards / mice were FIGHTING each other.

                      One of them would type, and the other would see words show up on their screen, and started deleting stuff...
                      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                        Related to that is the "order of service" for a funeral. These are things people don't think about til it's too late. But somebody like you, who's kind and patient, could sit with the elderly and ask questions like....

                        Who do you want to perform your service - favorite pastor, nephew who's a minister, etc...
                        favorite hymns
                        is there a soloist or pianist you'd like to use?
                        what about favorite scripture?
                        Cremation?
                        any special poems or readings?
                        anybody you'd like to do a eulogy?
                        what "tone" do you want? (for an elderly person who has lived a faithful Christian life, this can be "joyous", and it's easier for the attendees to honor this if they know it's the deceased person's wish)

                        All too many times, I've asked the family during a funeral planning meeting, "what was her favorite scripture / song / poem, ect"... and there will be disagreement among the siblings/children/grandchildren.

                        It would be SO EASY (and this has happened on more than a few occasions) where I can say "I sat down with 'Mom' about a year ago, and this is what she requested....."

                        Actually, I like that. I planned my own funeral shortly after my mother died. I didn't want to leave anyone else to have to sort things out when you least feel up to sorting. I'm a big believer in getting it done so that the kids don't have to figure out things when they need to just be grieving.

                        Hmmm...

                        "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                        "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                        My Personal Blog

                        My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                          Funny aside to that.... I had a client who told me that "words and sentences totally disappear", and sometimes her computer just typed stuff randomly.....

                          long story short, it ONLY happened when her boss was in his office next to hers. They both had newly installed Kinsington wireless mouse/keyboards, and their desks were against the same shared wall. Their wireless keyboards / mice were FIGHTING each other.

                          One of them would type, and the other would see words show up on their screen, and started deleting stuff...



                          I personally prefer USB mice. I don't have to worry about it walking off and I dang well know what it's connected to.

                          "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                          "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                          My Personal Blog

                          My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would probably put together pricing for thirty minute and/or hour increments with a possible option of "teach me to use X" packages. I'm not sure how well we can help you put together actual numbers, but there are a few things you could do to get a better idea for what's appropriate. Obviously, the income level of your anticipated clientele is going to make a big difference. Existing competition (if any) makes a difference. I can't imagine there's a lot of competition, but you could probably look at tutoring, music lessons, etc as an indicator. Just at a guess, I'd think $20-25 an hour is probably the range I'd expect to see. It's not exorbitant, but it's enough that you feel like it was worth your while, too. One thing to consider is you're driving time. Depending on how close you are to your clients, you might want to have a small surcharge for in-home consulting to help cover travel time. It's not required, of course, but it's something to consider.
                            I'm not here anymore.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Teallaura View Post



                              I personally prefer USB mice. I don't have to worry about it walking off and I dang well know what it's connected to.

                              Yeah, and I don't every want to worry about "ok, maybe the battery is low".
                              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                              Comment

                              Related Threads

                              Collapse

                              Topics Statistics Last Post
                              Started by Ronson, 10-21-2020, 10:34 AM
                              5 responses
                              41 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post rogue06
                              by rogue06
                               
                              Started by DesertBerean, 10-11-2020, 04:18 PM
                              13 responses
                              60 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post Stoic
                              by Stoic
                               
                              Started by QuantaFille, 10-06-2020, 07:56 PM
                              21 responses
                              81 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post kiwimac
                              by kiwimac
                               
                              Started by Christianbookworm, 07-27-2020, 04:14 PM
                              80 responses
                              4,360 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post rogue06
                              by rogue06
                               
                              Started by Sparko, 01-29-2020, 11:09 AM
                              19 responses
                              3,836 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post Cerebrum123  
                              Working...
                              X