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Charges for OS installation?

This is a discussion on Charges for OS installation? within the Windows XP Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Not sure which category this question should be in, but I've been installing my OS's for years. Someone at my


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Old 08-05-2009, 09:24 AM   #1
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Not sure which category this question should be in, but I've been installing my OS's for years. Someone at my former job had asked me to reinstall the OS on 2 machines one is her work PC and the other is her home PC. Both running XP Pro on Dell machines. I should've done my homework before so I knew what a reasonable price was. I already did the home PC yesterday. She asked me what I was charging and stupidly (since I didn't have any idea) said, "what do you think it's worth?". She said $60 and after about 30sec. of silence from me she followed with, "it's not like your digging ditches...". I was a bit offended by the comment - sounded like I would've made more if I just dug a hole in the ground. Granted, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to install an OS, it take some thought to install it correctly and then configure it to run smoothly and it takes a long time to install everything.

When I first booted up her PC (that she tried installing herself beforehand), there were actually 2 installations of Windows and one ended up on the D partition. Once you got into one that worked, all kinds of "missing...this and that .dll or something else message would be the first thing that appeared.
To top it off, she must've checked something incorrectly when she ordered her machine as she was running a RAID1 array. Something I don't think she would've wanted or needed.

Anyway, I wrote it off as a favor to a colleague for the time it took (9hours with all the updates and installation of everything else she needed) and the small amount of cash. I even backed it up as a system image, so if it ever goes haywire in the future she can get back to a new/clean install with the image restore. I'm supposed to stop back in to do the work PC. I mentioned that since it was work related and company money, that the fee could be more - I think she thought I was joking.

anyway, that's my story. just looking for the going rate to reinstall an OS and everything else (programs, printers, networking, etc..). or is the $60 more than what I should've been given?

as an aside, back in the mid-90's, we had a MAC tech that would come in to do the MACs. he was charging $100/hr for tech support. knowing that is probably why I was a bit offended. he would come in and fix whatever and if he ran long (like having to reinstall or something) he would give us a break and take out the "sit around and wait" time from his bill.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:07 AM   #2
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This can only be answered very broadly. To install and configure an o/s usually takes around 2 hours (if all runs well) and I usually charge around AU$120.00 for this service. I went the route you did first time around and applied "mates rates" until I found that I, all of a sudden, acquired a lot of "mates"! Now I charge the same for everyone regardless of who they are - saves a lot of agro and the client knows what the bill will be. Don't fall for the "I can't afford it" line - if they really can't afford it then they don't get the job done. Most can (at my rates anyway) and will fork out the $$$$'s to get their machine back in running order.

In your case, if a client made comments like "it's not like your digging ditches..." then the price would rise by 50%! People don't take into account that whilst you are waiting for the software to install (and maybe having coffee while it does) it's YOUR time you're using up and, as such, should be billed to the client. The installer may well be doing the work but you MUST be there while it does.

I found that it was worth educating the clients that every time they called you out or came to you with a problem they would be charged for the time, at a minimum rate like AU$50.00, even if the "repair" is something as simple as the speakers plugged into the wrong jack and takes you 30 seconds to fix - you still had to (possibly) travel to the client and diagnose the problem. They, in turn, must be made to pay for your expertise.

One final thought - I usually charge a quoted rate (so the client knows exactly what they are up for). Most times I come out in front but occasionally have to take a loss - works well for me.

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