What To Expect From a Computer Repair Service?
This guide, we think, is long overdue! In our fifteen plus years of repairing computers, we’ve noticed there’s a lot of uncertainty about what you can reasonably expect from a computer repair service.
This is a bit mysterious, given that most folks tend to have a fairly clear set of assumptions when, say, taking their car into the auto shop to get fixed. Most car repair customers would probably have a fairly clear idea of how long it’d be reasonable to wait for a repair, and what’s fair in terms of billable hours, minimum charges, on-site service and so forth.
Apply that to computers though, and people just aren’t sure what to expect. Here at Nerds on Call, we subscribe to the notion that knowledge is power, so we decided it was high time to give you a quick and easy guide to how computer repair service works and what you can expect as a consumer.
On-Site Service — Don’t Accept Super High Fees
There’s a reason on site repair is our most demanded service at Nerds On Call.
Getting a computer repair business out to your home or business to perform a computer repair has some obvious benefits. Convenience, obviously, is a big factor. But you also get the added peace of mind of getting a repair which works across all your networked devices. This isn’t so easy in a store.
The biggest misconception out there is that you should expect to pay through the nose for to-your-door service. Don’t get us wrong, it will cost more than going into a store — but it should not cost that much more.
If a company quotes you double their usual repair rate to come to you, take your business elsewhere. An aggressively high onsite rate could mean one of two things: a) the company is dishonestly marking up a service they can provide for much less; or b) they simply aren’t equipped to deal with onsite service, so they’re passing on their high expenses to you.
Either way, they are unlikely to be the people you want tinkering with your computer.
Hourly Rate — What’s Reasonable?
When it comes to a computer repair technicians’ rate, there’s one golden rule to follow: Know their rate in advance.
At Nerds On Call, we’re going to tell you our rate in advance, even if you don’t ask us up front (we’ve got flat rate pricing btw). We view this as an ethical way to do business. But you’d be surprised at how many repair services will be quite happy to present you with an invoice after the repair is done.
Always, always ask for their rate before they begin the work.
Hourly rates will vary slightly depending on your area and the nature of the work, but if a company asks you for too much higher than $80 per hour, approach their rate with extreme caution.
On the flip side of that coin, if they offer you a ridiculously low rate (let’s say around $30 per hour), chances are you’re dealing with an inexperienced technician who’ll deliver a subpar service.
Aim for reasonable. Around $50-$75 per hour is about industry standard.
Oh and pro-tip: Don’t forget to also ask them for an estimate of how long the job will likely take. You’re not going to get a firm response of exactly how many hours the repair will take, especially if they haven’t run a full diagnostic. But you can reasonably expect a window of time. If the response you get is too vague, consider taking your business elsewhere.
Being Smart With Guarantees
Now, this is a slightly tricky one. Computers are complicated and a lot can go wrong with them. After a repair is completed, no reputable computer repair business is going to guarantee that your computer will remain completely problem free for the foreseeable future. There are just too many variables.
Like anything in life, is someone promises you the world, exercise extreme caution with that individual!
On the other hand, you should absolutely expect written, solid assurance from your repair company that your specific problem will not recur in the immediate future.
For example, let’s say your operating system failed and required a complete reinstall. Provided you follow their directions, you have a right to expect your operating system to remain in good working order for 90 days or more.
This is a bit of a gray area, but the key is to exercise your own judgment. You have a right to a reasonable guarantee that the specific problem you had resolved should not recur. It’s unreasonable to expect your entire computer to remain glitch-free after one repair. Sadly, that just isn’t how computers work.
One thing to bear in mind is that understanding how your computer works will help you navigate these kinds of conversations. If you feel like computers are just a magical mystery box, you can always read our article on basic computer components, here.
How Long is Too Long to Wait?
This one is really easy. If you ever hear a technician say, “we’re really busy right now and we won’t be able to get to your repair for a week,” then do not give this company your hard earned moolah.
Sure, they may actually be really busy because they’re a busy and thriving company. They may also be woefully unprepared, under-resourced or simply concealing the fact they’ll be sending your computer on to a third party.
The fact is, there’s no reason why you should wait a week for any standard computer repair.
So, what is reasonable? It’s going to depend on where you live to some extent. But as a general rule, consider 72 hours the absolute outside of how long you should be prepared to wait.
A Few Final Take Homes To Leave With You
In the final analysis, there are a few good principles to keep in mind when you’re choosing any computer repair service.
- Computers aren’t like magic beans – If a company tries to sell you a deal that’s too good to be true, it’s probably not true! If another company tries to tell you your problem is “really very complicated” and will cost a lot to fix, be skeptical and ask questions. These are both examples of a salesperson trying to bamboozle you. Again, computers aren’t magical beans, don’t let the salespeople speak to you as though they are.
- Check their website – You can learn a lot from a company’s website. Do they have an About page where you can learn about who owns the company? Do they have a professional presentation with great content? Are their services clearly outlined? If this information is not available, buyer beware!
- Talk to someone – We know it’s old-fashioned, but it’s always smart to pick up the phone and approach a company with questions. Are you dealing with a friendly and relatable service rep who is delighted to walk you through your options? The service you get on the phone is a good indicator of the service you’ll get throughout your repair.
We hope this guide helps you feel informed and better prepared to manage your computer repair. If you’d like to learn more about our onsite and online repair options, just give us a call on 800-269-8084. We’ll be delighted to chat.
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