I'm looking to start offering maintenance to my clients whom I have setup sites of computers for. I'm currently thinking of a business with four computers in three different sites.

How much should I charge as an ethical and honest monthly basis for computer maintenance? I realise that in the workforce there are I.T individuals that bump up the price substantially to take advantage of individuals and their understanding of I.T services. (hence looking for ethical & honest basis).

What are some factors to consider in pricing and how should they be valued? I generally charge at an hourly rate so monthly is quite hard to invisage.

  • Are you planning to be "on-call" for these clients, or just do regular updates, upgrades, and maintenance for them. The latter is easier to estimate your time, hence your price. The former can be harder, and is often higher because it can mean dropping everything and going to their site for emergency repairs. – Gypsy Spellweaver Apr 13 '17 at 2:05
  • Good question. Honestly I'd love to hear a response for both as I'm still exploring the options. Thanks for that! – Oliver Kuchies Apr 13 '17 at 2:07
  • If its too broad for this site please let me know and I'll narrow it down – Oliver Kuchies Apr 13 '17 at 2:08

Is computer maintenance your real gear? If not, you may have problems settings the price. The reason for this is that you know your hourly price for programming, but you do not know then what should be the price of maintenance. Obviously, it will be cheaper but will it be 80% of your hourly rate, or 40%, or...

I had the same problems when I had to set the rate for software support which is not my main gear. And then it happened that either my rate was too high for the client or they were offering rate too low for me.

In your case, the best thing is to see how much other charge in your area.

If you cannot find this out, then try setting maintenance rate to some percentage of your hourly rate and see if this is too much for the clients.

  • Thanks for your answer Peter! What exactly do you mean by '80% of hourly rate'? Like in what sense is that applied? Is it applied at a few hours bundled together? I'm not quite understanding that facet though i really appreciate your response! – Oliver Kuchies Apr 13 '17 at 8:02
  • Well if your rate is 100 for programming, then you think of computer maintenance that is 50% simpler work (or 20% simpler), and then you set hourly rate to 50 or to 80. The problem here is how to evaluate at what percentage maintenance is easier or more complex than programming. Because I am pretty sure they will not pay your programming rate for computer maintenance. Does this make it clear? – Peter MV Apr 13 '17 at 12:30
  • I don't provide these services, so forgive me if this sounds completely ignorant... but it seems to me that possibly a flat retainer for a given number of support hours (with a quantity discount) would be the optimum pay scale - 3hrs @$100/per - 5hrs@$100/per with 10% quantity discount - 10hrs@$100/per with 25% quantity discount, etc.....Not certain I understand the reduced hourly rate logic in general.. an hour of my time is an hour of my time regardless of what I'm doing during that hour. If I can make $100 an hour.. why would I sell my time for $50/hr? – Scott Apr 13 '17 at 18:09
  • @Metis In programming, we are often asked to provide technical support which may eventually grow to the permanent task aside of programming. If the client is the one who suggest this, then it's easy and you simply tell him that you will work under the same rate. But if you are offering this service to earn extra, then client will hardly accept your programming rate because support is usually 3-4 times cheaper. In such case you have to provide discounted rate. It really depends who initiates this request first. OK? – Peter MV Apr 14 '17 at 7:47

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