I`m looking for input on what other computer repair businesses are charging. I currently charge $45 per hour for in shop repair and $65 per hour for service calls.
I live in an area with a population of 7000 and there are about 3 other competitive computer repair shops. Any input or advice would be great. Thanks
I had a business doing what you do and also had a grassroots beginning. I buried the competition by having a lower rate, but by also showing my customers how to do their own repairs. I would spend a little extra time showing them the basics (the ones that were interested) and if they really liked working on their own PCs, I would get them a gift subscription to a PC magazine that was in their realm of interest. If they weren`t into being a techy I`d still get them a subscription for something that was interesting to them.
My rates were very reasonable but I wasn`t out to make a killing. My business strategy was to create a customer base that could become their own first line of defense (and it worked). I made my money on maintenance contracts and on data backup contracts. As you probably know - when you start selling hardware or fixing other folk`s PCs on a regular basis it`s generally because they do things they shouldn`t be doing. I found that a little extra education went a LONG way towards customer satisfaction.
Plus, the people that need the help the most are the ones that usually can`t afford more than an hour or two of your time and even that hurts. I found that I gained far more benefits by becoming someone that they trusted to consult with when they had questions - but wouldn`t necessarily get charged for. The word of mouth from those actions brought me far more business level accounts than I could have hunted down on my own.
I know this sounds like it goes against everything you are doing, but you`d be surprised at the benefits you will reap by trying help your customer not need you as much. You`ll find yourself doing a lot more high-end consulting without really eny effort at all. Word of mouth is simply amazing.
Depending on how you do your taxes as a sole proprietor, you`ll probably find that you can charge less and still make the same due to things you probably aren`t claiming. Remember, for business related activities it`s 48.5 cents per mile in 2007. Go to www.irs.gov and do a search on mileage and you`ll see what the constraints are.
Good luck and if you have any specific questions feel free to ask.