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Anyone done this before ...??

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by Quarky, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. Quarky

    Quarky Byte Poster

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    Aloha all,

    I was just curious, this topic may have been done to death before - i'm new to the forum so if it has, please be patient with me :D

    Has anyone got any experience in doing your own freelance repairs ?

    I was just wondering about running an ad in a local paper or something similar for PC/internet repairs/diagnostics - for a few extra pennies but mainly as an experience 'getter' for my own progression.

    It occured to me this week, i fixed a couple of simple problems with friends and family computers (simple to me now i'm getting clued up a little, but they didn't have any idea what was wrong) - It was actually a very nice feeling to experience the benefit of my studying - one problem was that a service running on XP wasn't releasing the user profile from the registry when loggin off and was producing an error, i sorted it in 2 mins but six months ago i wouldn't have had a clue !!

    i just thought to myself that i could gain quite a bit of knowledge from doing this more regularly, with the added bonus of something extra to put on my CV when it's ready.

    I just thought i'd put the topic out on the forum, i should imagine its a pretty obvious thought to have for most guys and girls on here - so if you've got any advice/criticisms i'd love to hear them...
     
    Certifications: A+,270,271,272 (MCDST)
    WIP: Master CIW
  2. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    There are some implications of doing this. You'll need liability insurance in case you destroy a customers machine (I'm sure you are good :biggrin but accidents happen). You may need to tell the local council that you are running a business from home. You may need to declare income to the tax-man.

    This is just the start of the things you need to think about. :ohmy

    Harry.
     
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  3. Quarky

    Quarky Byte Poster

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    Hi bud,

    Thanks for that, i'm actually self employed at the moment so there's no problems with the tax man - i've been self employed for quite a while now doing various things. Insurance shouldn't be a problem either and i don't actually think its very much - i know that you can get public liability insurance for about £70 per annum and that's for 1 million cover, I'd have to look into that though.

    As far as i know, you don't have to tell the council that you running a business from home, but who knows - i may be wrong.

    Thanks for the words, thats exactly the sort of feedback i was hoping for, to help weigh things up in my own mind.

    Please keep it coming, i'm sure there's plenty of us out there that have thought about this at some point.

    :D
     
    Certifications: A+,270,271,272 (MCDST)
    WIP: Master CIW
  4. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I fix computers on the side for a few eye doctors. Started with my own, and word of mouth has spread to her colleagues. I take care of them during lunch breaks and after work. Fortunately or unfortunately, they don't call much because I've got them running smoothly. :)
     
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  5. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    To help you get started you may want to check this out: PC HomeHelp.

    You can register as a customer or as a member of the IT Squad. The hourly rates are ok, work may not be regular, but at least it a start (for some and alittle extra for those doing it already).

    Personally, my mates and I did private work (outside office hours), and it was ok - fixing private users/small business PC's, setting up home networks etc. The only thing is that we got carried away and it took up all our free time (our partners didn't like that :) ). Ended up stopping it, feel alot better (less stress). But it was a good experience.

    -ken
     
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  6. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Yes there is more to this than meets the eye. I run my own business, the truth is that customers are not that easy to find. I have adverts in the yellow pages and in local shops etc but the work that comes from them is few and far between and these adds are not cheap. The truth is that people don't want to pay to get their systems fixed, they prefer to contact their son's mate, neighbour's geek kid or whatever ie someone free that knows some stuff about computers, hence by the time I get to see it, it's been totally buggered. Not all problems are easy to solve, some of the things I have had to resolve have taken days, sheesh it can take hours just to run a virus scan on some systems and the problem may not be a virus.

    Also the admin work takes a lot of time, invoicing, GST, bank work etc - plus there is the buying and selling, quotes etc, it's all very time consuming trust me.

    I would think very carefully before embarking on a project like this, and yes it is income and it would need to be included in your tax return. IMHO there are far easier ways to earn money.
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  7. Quarky

    Quarky Byte Poster

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    Hi Bluerinse,

    I totally get what you're saying - i've been there also ! :) - A while ago, i started a little business selling art on ebay, i only did a painting and thought 'i wonder if i can sell it?' - I went like a bull at a gate with my own ebay shop etc.. - It also took up alot of my time, at one point i was paying ebay 400 quid a week in advertising!(ouch), i still do the odd one but i've been concentrating on my MCSE course recently so had even less time!

    There's nothing for sale, but you can see here what i did :

    http://feedback.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewFeedback&userid=dimension-art-studio

    It was hard work, which is why i totally 'get' what you are saying - It certainly isn't to be taken lightly, but saying that - it certainly isn't impossible either, for anyone thinking about it.

    Please keep the comments coming, it's all of excellent use for anyone who has ever thought about being self employed.

    :D
     
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  8. Cockles

    Cockles Megabyte Poster

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    Hi mate

    Question for you actually seeing as you are self employed as I have considered exactly what you are proposing. Being self employed in IT, would you also get tax reliefs on items essential to the 'business'? I very nearly became a freelance designer/production bod and discovered that I could put virtually anything that helped the business in some form (stationary, software, travelling costs etc) through an accountant and be VAT exempt from it. Was wondering if this would be the same in terms of tools, harware, and softwares such as virus scanners etc.

    Very best of luck with it though. A lot of hard work but if it pays of, well worth it :thumbleft
     
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  9. Quarky

    Quarky Byte Poster

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    Yes bud, anything used in relation to your business can be claimed as an expense which you balance against your profits at the end of the tax year, best bet is to find a cheap local accountant - if you look hard enough you can find one for around 100 quid a year (if your books are relatively simple that is)

    VAT isn't a problem though, unless you are turning over in excess of £61,000 - then you need to be VAT registered.

    It's actually very easy to become self employed, the hard bit is making any money ! :D
     
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  10. Bluerinse
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    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    To claim the VAT back for the company, the company needs to be VAT registered and therefore charge it's customers VAT and that's where more hassle comes in.
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  11. Cockles

    Cockles Megabyte Poster

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    Hah, thank you gentlemen, that's what i thought (a good answer giving Quarky's enthusiasm and Blue's resignation on the matter!!!)

    True though, some people I know who have gone freelance absolutely love it and others rue the day
     
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  12. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Don't get me wrong, I love it but I do it more for the love of IT, than for the money.
     
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  13. AJ

    AJ Administrator Administrator

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    I've thought about this before, doing a little private work, but then I just think I can't be botheredwith all the hassle.

    Nice link there Ken, I may give that one some thought, esp as you can pick and choose.
     
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  14. Quarky

    Quarky Byte Poster

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    Yeah, great link - thanks for that. It actually gives you a good idea what to charge if you start on your own. :D

    £20 for a diagnostic/quick fix visit, then £5 for half an hour afterwards.

    I did two fixes this week (family and friends) - they were completely stumped but they were so simple it was painful ! One was a corrupt google toolbar that was conflicting with IE and the other was a service running on XP that wasn't releasing the User Profile from the registry on log off. Fixed them both within five minutes flat. Thats what got me thinking.....mmmmmm..... £20 a visit.....
     
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  15. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Holy moly! :ohmy I get anywhere from $60-90/hr with a 1-hour minimum, and when I was working for a company providing contract services, they'd charge customers anywhere from $100-125/hr. My family would starve at £5 for half an hour - I make more than that in my regular job!
     
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  16. Quarky

    Quarky Byte Poster

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    Hi BrainBeacon,

    That's what the company was recommending charging within the link above. Sadly, thats probably a just above average wage in the UK.

    Nice to hear your figures though, gives me inspiration !! lol

    :o)
     
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  17. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Keep in mind that some of your normal "40 hours per week" work won't be billable hours at client sites... it'll be consumed by travelling between sites, taking care of billing (it won't happen on it's own!), company paperwork, learning, advertising and promotions, selling new customers, etc. Most books I've read on consulting say that if you are billable 20 out of your 40 hours, that's a great start. Therefore, when you're figuring whether or not you can "make it" on your own, keep these numbers in mind.
     
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  18. Quarky

    Quarky Byte Poster

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    Thanks for that bud, :D

    to be honest, i haven't actually thought that far ahead, i was really only curious about gaining some experience whilst i study.

    I've worked for myself and i know how difficult it is and especially how time consuming it is, as pointed out quite correctly many times in this thread. Its giving me something to mull over while i get on with my MCDST anyway (i'm a long way off where i want to be)

    Thanks to all....
     
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  19. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Yes and if people are prepared to work for peanuts then this entire industry will be adversely affected.

    It would appear that these people will take on anyone as their so-called IT squad, there's no requirement for experience or qualifications. Personally for that money I wouldn't get involved, it sounds like a get rich quick scheme for the people running the business, employing people without interviews or even meeting them. IMHO This is a recipe for disaster.
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  20. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Agreed. My eye doctor gladly pays the rate I charge her simply because her computers stay running. She says she'll never go with a cut-rate tech again.
     
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