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Anyone fix comps for cash?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Snow_Fox, May 5, 2010.

  1. Snow_Fox

    Snow_Fox Android Expert
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    Mar 31, 2010
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    I have some things that I would love to have but, can't afford at the moment (new computer/nexus one in particular)

    I am wondering if anyone out there fixes computers either as a primary or secondary job. This week I worked like 2 days at my "regular job" and I was thinking about charging a flat rate of 50$ per comp + whatever parts are needed. There are some ups and downs to this.. For one I make 50$ profit no matter how long it takes... the downside is.. I possibly only make 50$ no matter how long it takes.

    The city I live in does have a best buy and a place called "ram computers" which fixes them..

    I am wondering if this would be worth it.. if i got customers and things panned out.. 30 computers would be enough for a nexus one and the computer i want to build.

    Problems are.. if I get caught doing it without reporting it, then I could be fined (unless i'm mistaken) by the IRS.. which would be pretty hefty...

    And it also raises the question is it worth it if I fix a computer, the customer messes it up and wants me to fix it again thinking I did something wrong..

    If anyone has any experience with this kind of stuff, I would appreciate any advice possible.
     

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  2. momoceio

    momoceio Android Expert
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    Dec 14, 2009
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    Sr. Systems Administrator
    St. Louis
    I typically don't do repairs or cleanup on strangers PCs but when I do I charge $40/hr which is actually quite cheap. I used to work at a repair shop about 5 years ago and we charged $79 for the first hour and $49 every hour after that. If you decide to work on peoples PCs that you don't know...make sure you have a written statement (and maybe even have a lawyer look over it) making it very clear that you don't do warranty work for spyware/virus cleanups. Too often you'll clean someone's PC up and a week later they're re-infected because they're dumb and they want you to fix it again at your expense. I also wouldn't advise getting into PC building because of the warranty issues.
     
  3. MisterEd

    MisterEd Android Expert
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    Apr 15, 2010
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    New Joisey
    Fined + penalties + interest plus you could end up in jail. Not reporting income and/or paying taxes is a federal offense. Obviously you would have to get caught.
    Snipes gets the max -- 3 years -- in tax case - CNN.com
     
  4. RayN

    RayN Lurker
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    Apr 29, 2010
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    Computer Repair
    Las Vegas
    Depending on your state law. It would depend on what you have to collect tax on. Here in Las Vegas, when I fix a computer that dont involve selling parts, I dont charge tax and so you wont have to report it either.

    Another way around this is if a customer is in need of a part, show them what it is on newegg.com, (since they are cheaper or same price as if you got your part from a distributor) have them order it and shipped to thier house. Then you charge for the labor of installing said part. Again this is legal where I live and its up to you to do your homework..

    Also, since this is my field of work, I dont like people that under cut my work. Which your doing by a big margin. Take into account all the wear and tear, fuel and insurance you have to pay for on your car. When I get a customer that sets up a appointment with me then cancels because they found some douche on craigslist to do a format and install for 40$ out the door, when I charge 150 minimum on formats and restores, then it makes me wanna punch multiple babies.

    If you want to go legit with everything, your going to need a business license and also a tax id along with insurance, contracts and agreements. Just imagine fixing someones computer that has been typing a book for 4 years and it was almost complete. They want to upgrade the ram or add some other parts that involve working on the mother board. You go in and even with every saftey precaution manage to fry the board. Really any scenario that would damage a computer beyond repair. Seeing this type of thing happen before the customer sued the technician/company. They won 2 million. You would want something to protect you incase something like that happens.
     
  5. TheSultan

    TheSultan Android Expert
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    Mar 6, 2010
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    Operations Manager
    Rochester, NY
    i have a friend who charges a $35 flat rate. Not gonna comment on the legalities of such a revenue source, that's probably obvious.
     
  6. Snow_Fox

    Snow_Fox Android Expert
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    While I do understand your side of this.. I will just say that the local store is run by douche's. I went in and asked if they had any openings explaining that I was a computer science major in college and to paraphrase "I know the job wouldn't have anything to do with what I am learning in college but, I would enjoy making extra money fixing computers". The guy proceeds to lecture me on what I already stated. He takes about 30 minutes to explain to me how programming won't benefit me at all when changing out a mother board or removing virus's, although what I found most insulting was how he flat out said "you can't learn how to do what we do". I've taken apart enough computers to know what I am doing.

    I would have no problem with those morons being put out of business.

    With that said.. I do hate that people who run legit businesses have trouble competing against people working under the table..

    It is definitely not worth it.. infact.. this isn't even tempting anymore....I would love to see the local computer shop out of business... and I doubt I'd give bestbuy any competition.. but, it would be nice..

    Oh well.. I appreciate all teh warnings.. I never even thought about frying someone who had a book in their comp... My main concern was for the hardware cost.. as if the 600$ comp wouldn't be expensive enough.
     
  7. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants
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    Dec 2, 2009
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    Network Admin
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    hmm not sure but I think "side revenues" have to exceed a certain amount before your required to report them.
     
  8. RayN

    RayN Lurker
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    Apr 29, 2010
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    Computer Repair
    Las Vegas
    Well I'm only a one man show, I run everything out of my house and everything I do is mobile. I typically do flat rate myself, but bundle other things into it.
    I try to keep ahead by advertising the geek squad virus. I see too many people go to the big companies and come out like they just had to give up their first born. A personal friend of mine went to geek squad and was told that she needed more ram to make her internet faster. Mind you this computer was a Intel dual core 2.8 ghz with 2 gigs of ram already. They wanted to upgrade her ram to 4 gigs when the motherboard wouldn't even support it. Not to mention the real problem was a missing WiFi antenna that they failed to notice.

    And who ever you talked to about that computer job is ******ed. I mean hell, you can learn how to fix a computer on YouTube. If you really want to do the side job, or try to make it a full business, just make sure that what ever you do is legal. There is a minimum that you would have to make before it becomes a tax liability. If your worried about the cost of liability insurance, at least have the customer sign a contract that states that you are not responsible for loss of data on the computer and list all installed programs and make sure they have install disks or keys for them. I always ask before I repair a computer if they have anything at all that needs to be backed up. If they dont have anything to reinstall with then I would not repair it. And for charging the right price, I use what geek squad charges and drop it 25%. That right there is attractive enough to bring in customers since they tend to use the big companies as a comparable.
     

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