We charge for a service plain and simple!
How We Charge For Our Services
First off, we are not resellers of any product. We do not receive commissions or "bump up"
the cost of a job by secretly negotiating wholesale pricing on hardware or software and
then charging you full price (or what may be interpreted as a "discount price"). Instead,
we charge you for our knowledge and experience in order to obtain the necessary office
equipment that you may desire or need.
We offer our knowledge and experience on an hourly basis billed in ¼ hour
increments and adjusted with a "Sliding Scale" Hourly Rate.
So what does
"sliding scale" mean? Basically, it means that the labor hours we bill you are
"adjusted" to represent the "true" time worked on your system; and not the time shown
on the clock.
Here's an example. The technician was on-site at a client's location
at 09:00am and completed the work order at 11:00am. The actual time on the clock was 2 hours.
However, circumstances were encountered that caused a truer time worked on the client's system
to actually equate to just 1½ hours. Therefore, the client would only be billed for
1½ hours, instead of the full 2 hours as shown on the clock.
The "adjusted" hours will never exceed (be greater than) the actual clock hours.
(e.g. one hour on the clock = maximum 1 hour of billed labor). There is one exception to this:
There is a minimum 1 hour service charge applied for each physical visit to a client's
location. This means that if the work requested by the client can not be resolved over
the telephone and an on-site visit is required, the client will be billed for a minimum
time of 1 hour of labor even if the physical time spent at the location ends up
being less than this. For those clients who have subscribed to our monthly
maintenance administration service of their computer system(s), additional administration
functions will be attempted at the same time in order to be cost effective to
"Sliding scale" billing is very effective and beneficial for both us and our
clients. It gives our clients satisfaction in knowing that we aren't trying
to take advantage of them. We value the golden rule of "do unto others..."
We pride ourselves at being very truthful and honest in our evaluation of time charged.
Flat Fee Charging
We don't use "flat fee" or "fixed fee" charges. We don't feel it's fair to our clients
nor to us. It has been our experience that when our competitors charge a flat fee for a
particular service, the customer is the one who ends up not getting a fair deal. This is very
profitable for the service provider, and provides for a wide margin of error should something
go wrong during the service being performed.
Let's take a look at an example.
One IT service provider charges a flat fee of $130 to install a
customer-provided anti-virus software. Another service provider changes an hourly rate
of $55. Normally, installing a anti-virus software application might take 10 minutes
on an average speed computer. Maybe an additional 10-15 minutes to set up any
configuration options (if needed). And then a virus-scan is performed to ensure that
the software is functioning properly. This may take on average 20 to 30 minutes to
complete. So in a little less than an hour, the requested service is finished.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to calculate which is the better deal for the customer
in this example.
Extras ... Extras ... Extras
For us at Personal IT Services, we elect to charge our clients an hourly fee on a
"sliding scale" (as explained in more detail above).
We pride ourselves in wanting future repeat business from our clients.
We can't expect to get that future business if we take advantage of our clients.
We want to earn their respect!
If a problem gets to the point that we have exhausted all of our knowledge and resources,
we're not going to "milk the clock" by continuing to charge the client an hourly
rate. In other other words, we're not going to give the "flat fee" based IT service
providers a chance to tell our clients that they would have been better off accepting
their flat fee instead of our hourly rate. We "stop the clock" and work with
our client to find the best solution to their issue this could include a number of
approaches: whether it be to escalate the problem to a system manufacturer(e.g., Dell®), or to
obtain a replacement part, or whatever. We do our very best to make sure that our
client is pleased with the outcome and a fair charge for the service provided is acceptable.
It's all about the extras. It's the extra attention that
we provide our clients. It separates us from the competition.
In addition to our
fair practice of billing on a "sliding scale" (as described above), we also treat
our clients with additional "freebies" to show them how
appreciative we are of their business. A small sample of just of few of the extras
that we may provide to our long-term clients could include such items as...
- a software package installation at no charge,
- a free monthly system maintenance visit,
- custom system configuration binders that are kept up-to-date,
- virus, spyware, and spam research,
- technical phone support for a minor problem,
- or customer education of their system(s).