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Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a particular aspect of your trade or industry that you specialise in?
Solving business problems relating to data. We have replaced many spreadsheets with MS Access databases that provide far better controls and reporting for management and the users.
How do you normally charge for your service?
It depends on the services required, but with computers very few problems are the same. They may appear similar but often the root cause or problem is very different. Ad-hoc support and repairs are carried out on a time and materials basis. Project work will be specified from findings or interviews with users and management, documents and if available old systems that are to be replaced; from there a budgetary estimate will be provided within the bound of +/-20% ....the more information and time you are willing to commit to the specification the more accurate the estimate.
How can a customer save money before you start the work? Please give 3 tips
1. For repairs and upgrades to PC's - bring them to our base and know exactly what you were doing when it flipped out.
2. Ensure you have all the appropriate installation disk and license keys
3. For projects - set aside your time to collect as much information about your requirements prior to engaging with us
What makes your pricing competitive?
Best of breed components and software tools ensuring quality results. We will always endeavor to work within your budget (so ensure you have one), but urge you consider quality, service and understanding over price alone.
How did you decide to get into your line of work?
I was in London tossing up between going into the Army Commando recruitment office or that new industry (at the time) the London Computer Academy. I chose the latter and took the tests passing with 99.8% but they want serious money to complete the course. I went for job at a local factory and they had an opening in their computer department; started work that afternoon and they paid for technical college and professional courses. That was in the 70's on mainframes and I've moved with the times ever since.
Why should a customer hire you over another service provider?
Experience, Experience, Contacts - If I can't help I'm sure to know someone who can, trustworthy and did I mention Experience :)
What experience, skills, qualifications or training do you have to make you the right person for the job?
40 years experience; skill in most computing roles from Data Control Clerk, Operations, Programming, Team Leadership, Project Management and Consultancy.
I have City & Guilds Pass with Credit in Computer Programming and Information Processing, "A" level pass in Computer Science and many other professional certificated courses in computer related activities.
What do you like most about your job?
The people I get to meet and making their problems seem small.
What questions do customers commonly ask and how would you answer them?
This is a common question in regard to repairs ---- how much it's going to cost to fix it?
Reply: --- It's impossible to give an exact diagnosis over the phone for the same reasons that your doctor couldn't tell that you have bronchitis without first running a few tests. But with the right information, I can give you a couple of scenarios and at least a ballpark estimate of each.
Another Question is - Why so much?
Reply: If you knew what you were doing with the computer at the exact moment of its demise it could eliminate several hours of work.
What are the typical things that you need to know before you can provide a quote to a customer?
The reason repair guys and gals have a job in the first place is because people continually mess up their computers by going to bad websites, downloading screen savers, opening spam emails, installing questionable games, following bad links on social sites and using torrent sites without knowing how to spot the bad stuff.
By not being honest about how your computer got screwed in the first place, you're adding additional time to the repair process. Because now we have to track down the source of the problem to make sure it's not coming from a file buried in the system that will simply re-spawn the same problems once the symptoms have been alleviated. And that translates into more money that you'll be paying because you'd rather keep your 'secrets' to yourself. Wanna know something? In the process of fixing the computer, we'll probably find out anyway. Trying to cover your tracks by deleting your history and clearing your cache only adds more time to the repair.
Bad websites aren't the only things that screw up a computer. At any given moment, there are dozens of programs running quietly in the background, all written by different companies, telling your computer to do different things. If one of them is telling your system, "At the next stoplight, make a right," and you plug in an MP3 player that tells it, "At the next stoplight, make a left," your computer freaks out. This happens all the time, and it's not your fault.
However, when you bring it in for repair, and we ask you what happened, you can't just tell us, "It was working fine one minute, and the next minute it just got all stupid." Such a statement is as useful as dead silence. You need to let us know exactly what you were doing when it flipped out. Did you turn on your printer? Did you plug something in? Did you install something? Did you remove something? Did you accidentally spin-kick it during ninja training?
What makes you the most reliable and trustworthy person for the job?
We will always consider if a repair is worthwhile as opposed to a replacement ....... consider this ....
Your 5-year-old machine is basically worthless now, and this is something that very few people are prepared to hear. It seems downright unfair that the system you paid a thousand plus dollars for just a few years ago has been reduced to the price of the scrap metal inside it, but that's the way the computer world works. So now it's down to some simple math.
If your current computer is worth 50 bucks and the problem is a fried hard drive, is it worth spending $150 on a new one? More importantly, how long do the rest of your components have before they are obsolete? Are you about to drop that much money on a hard drive, only to be forced into buying a brand new system next year?
I can't tell you how many times I've seen a person sink $300 and more into a repair when they could have spent around the same amount for a lower end tower that is actually more powerful than the one they just fixed.
Remember, you already have working components that don't need to be replaced: mouse, keyboard, monitor, etc. When you strip all of that out of the overall price and just look at the cost of the tower alone, you'll be surprised how cost effective it is provided you have all of you software and license keys .
But in order to even reach the point of making that decision, we're going to need some detailed information. Our ballpark estimates will mean nothing if you're not willing to open and honest with us.
SEE - what are the typical things we need to know before we can provide a quote.