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WOF: Do you provide tech support to friends and family?

By Jos · 99 replies
Jul 16, 2010
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  1. yukka

    yukka TechSpot Paladin Posts: 855   +64

    Yeah fair play :)
  2. Jibberish18

    Jibberish18 TS Evangelist Posts: 595   +58

    I don't but my Fiance did. She would help her entire family with their computers if need me. She even helped "friends" and many people that weren't even friends. She got sick of it very quickly. It was eating away at her time and enjoyment of life. Most people are users. They may say they appreciate what you're doing but at the same time they're lazy ****ers that don't want to learn anything for themselves and they will not hesitate to call you up each and every time after that for the littlest of problems or concerns. I told her to tell them all to screw off and that she has a life. Personally NO ONE asks me to fix their computers. Either it's because they think I'm not knowledgeable or they know I'll say no.
  3. Oh yeah... I AM "The Computer Guy" to my family and friends (and the neighborhood... ) So I charge for my services... not always money, but mom will bake me a cheese cake or a lasagna, My uncle will fix my garbage disposal, or a friend will invite me and the GF over for an outdoor grill... It's all good! :) I don't mind unless I am REALLY ready for some "down time".

    As for funny stories... I have a great one! At one time I worked for a public school district as the technology coordinator. A regional director for special education had an office at our district, and lets just say she was REALLY proud of her PhD and 2 masters degrees. One day she asked me to look at her computer. It wouldn't boot, and the screen was blank. I asked her if it was plugged in (sorry, gotta cover the dumb stuff first right?) and she looked at me as if I had grown a 2nd head on my shoulders. She said "of course it's plugged in" and left in a huff. Well I crawled under her desk and sure enough the computer was plugged into an outlet strip, but the outlet strip was plugged into its self! So much for the PhD! heh heh
  4. From The Oatmeal, Why it's better to pretend you don't know anything about computers:

  5. Is this a taxable event? Note the the IRS..... "NO" I do not provide any technical support to my friends & family.
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    The IRS? Hmmmm.......

    Well, like i said prior, "I compute for food". But, so far, no one has served me a W2 form with my meal :D
  7. I own a Computer & Cell Phone repair shop in Monterey. I always have friends and family asking for help. I do work for free when it comes to my "immediate family" mom, dad, bro etc. I always charge my extended family and often my not so close everyday friends. I especially hate it when people call me on Sunday or after hours to try and get me to go to their house because they are too lazy to visit my office where I spend 10 hours a day. I especially hate virus removal.. not my fault your look at porn.. $50... FML
  8. kyosuke

    kyosuke TS Rookie Posts: 47

    Yes and now that I found the ipad app TeamViewer I can just remote into their PC (mac or Windows) while on the go. Saves time and it records the steps I took while allowing voice chat
  9. LightHeart

    LightHeart TS Rookie Posts: 155

    Yes, I work on family and friends systems or at least point them in the proper direction. I actually enjoy it for the most part and most of the issues are fairly simple. When things become too time consuming or when people start to take me for granted. I tell them what’s most likely wrong with the system is and what steps are required to fix it and send them on their way.
  10. What kills me are the family members that you spend time with, finding out what they need to do, determine a suitable configuration with some room for future growth and shop that config on-line with the big 3. Only to have them be impatient, buy something in a Big Box retail electronics store by some 18 year old who's had 6 hours of sales training. They get it home, can't figure out why though they may have saved $300 off of "your configuration", theirs won't run very fast.... How's that Celeron working out for you father-in-law!
  11. Orionlocke

    Orionlocke TS Rookie Posts: 35

    I do it all the time too. Lost count of how many PCs I have built for family and friends. I built 2 Computers for friends here at work just in the last few months plus fixed three laptops that grinded to a halt due to mass amounts of viruses.
    I don't charge friends or family, I like helping them out when I can!
  12. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    All the time! But it's good fun. :)
  13. I actually have a RIS/WDS server set up in my home. :) First thing I do for any friends is reload their system and then immediately make an image of it. Give them a WindowsPE disk with the image on it(and upload the image to the server in case i need it again) and my life gets 100X easier the next time they blow up their computer. :)
  14. Yes get it all the time.

    My mum makes me fix.... the little old lady's computer at the nursing home, her colleague's husbands from another departments at work, the cleaner at her work, her partners’, her friends teenage kids laptops… The list goes on... If she was my agent I’d make a killing. But no i don’t get paid for them.

    From the friend side my problem is that I am kinda fussy when i fix something. I fix it like i am doing it for myself. So the 'wow my pooter runs great' word gets out and now friends buy new laptops and before they unbox them they bring them over for me to 'sort out and set up'. Friends of friends bring over their slow netbooks, and any sort of broken electronics they think i can fix. Because as we all know.. If you work in IT you can fix anything that has a screen right???? ipods, gps’, calculator, watch, clock radio, dvd players, surround sound systems, broken iphone screens, e.t.c... I was told once the microwave wasn’t working at work. When told the girl I don’t really care if it is or not because i don’t microwave my meals she looked at me funny wondering why i wasn’t getting up to fix the microwave. I proceeded to tell her that contrary to popular belief we cannot fix everything that plugs into a power socket. She was shocked!

    Last week alone there were 3 laptops at my place to fix and that was before Wednesday....

    Oh, worst part is that you fix a bloated pc and they complain that you deleted the poker game they used to play with the flashing lights???!!!

    Did I mention no $$$'s for any of this? hehe

  15. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,333   +280

    Yah, I'm the resident "geek" for friend and family tech support. Of course, most of those I'm supporting are using PCs I built for them, so it ends up being a no-brainer for them to call me (even when it's as simple as "my mouse doesn't work" and it turns out the cat pulled the USB plug out of the PC). It just kinda goes with the territory, I suppose. I never see it as a burden to help out, and they're always threatening to pay me with beer or a pie or take me to dinner or something. Come to think of it, I'd probably be 50 pounds lighter if I didn't know so much about computers... Doh!
  16. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 838   +28

    I end up doing a lot for my parents, but always try to get dinner out of it :D, same for other family members. Friends of friends or friends of family I usually charge $$$ for, but I am certainly a lot cheaper than any of the so called "professionals".
    I make pretty good money off my ex-g/f aunt with how much her computer and her kids laptop break :D.
  17. RealXboxMaster

    RealXboxMaster TS Rookie Posts: 139

    I have been in the IT field for 12+ years. I custom build and modify pc's for friends and family. If it's something lite, i don't mind helping and giving my expert advise on anything related to hardware or software.

    Friend of Friend, I charge.....$$$
  18. kozman

    kozman TS Rookie

    Family and friends and co-workers take up most of my free time at home. Working 12 hours a day at my real job does not leave me much time. If these people realize it might take me several weeks to repair then I am okay. I HATE over the phone support!
    One of the biggest issue is purchasing parts. It can take a week or so to receive parts. Removing viruses, malware, crapware...... takes too long. Clean install is my advise. BUT most times people do not have the restore disks.
  19. TJGeezer

    TJGeezer TS Enthusiast Posts: 385   +10

    "And of course, if you're helping out the in-laws, how do you justify not helping people you care about ?"

    Possible approaches:
    1. Don't help out the in-laws either.
    2. Move at least two states or international borders away.
    3. "Gee, if the problem were with (something not the problem) I could help you, but (current problem) is way past my depth. I'd only make your problem worse by (something inappropriate to problem - pull a wire, erase a disk...) by accident if I tried. You'd better get someone who knows what they're doing. I can help you find a repairman, if you like.

    No. 3 is suggested with a cheerful wave to @hellokitty[hk]
  20. aj_the_kidd

    aj_the_kidd TS Rookie Posts: 555

    If you can why not, there generally pretty easy problems. Its mostly out of obligation so i never charge, do get a free meal most often then not. Since i'm more a of software developer my support skills are pretty rusty so i can't always figure out a solution
  21. ChrisRios

    ChrisRios TS Rookie

    I more or less have become the tech support for anyone and everyone who seems to have my number. Troubleshooting has become more of a necessity among them rather than a hobby for me.

    I find the biggest difficulty is found in simplifying what is needed to be understood. Oversimplification is needed. You know it's bad when you have to describe what a "right click" is...
  22. example1013

    example1013 TS Enthusiast Posts: 265

    I try to avoid it whenever possible. I'm of the mindset that you should be able to figure out and do basic fixes on your own. Except at work, because that's what I get paid to do.
  23. Sure, I'll helps family and friends with their computers, and I don't expect any paid (and they do not pay). :) But I'm always try to make my life easier, so I always make backup of their system. In case of problem, I can easily bring back the backup, update it with new stuff and version and save it again.
    Of course, I always establish a automated backup of their users folders (using dropbox), od DVD backup. I do not provide backups for their music and videos (only their personal stuff - photos, documents...) and always told them to keep their importand data on second partition.

    But when friends of friends needs help with their computers - they always pay. And they're always so satisfied after I configure their system and always call me again. :)
  24. I maintain the house computers. Sometimes I think the only reason my wife keeps me around is to keep the wireless network up and running :)
  25. Funny thing a friend found out I changed my tech skills to working on HD TV's, he asked me for help on his fathers TV, offered a meal and some cash, when I got there. His dad had a stack of electronics, that he wanted me to look at, as well as the TV, looked at the TV and reseated some cables got a good steak and $50. He told me that he would give me some more money if reseating the cable worked, it did he sent his son a check that was written 3 weeks prior to me getting it for another $45, wow I didn't know they were going to determine what my services were worth altogether they gave me a $20 meal and $95 for an onsite diagnostics that would have cost the pops $199. I recently asked him for a favor until pay day to offset some bills while running this new HD TV repair business, he told me he couldn't help me, because he had to pay his 401k loan back, in which he has about $47,000 vested, wow really I asked him for a loan equal to .00004 percent of what he has managed to save, really!

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