Any advice for freelance work?

IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from mPasadena, CAPosts: 4,115Mod Mod
So I'm thinking of trying to put some ads on Craigslists, local newpaper, Pennysaver, etc to do freelance "I'll-fix/upgrade/etc-your-computer-for-cheap" work. I was just wondering if anyone else has had some success doing this. Any advice? I'm not trying to make a living, but a couple hundrew extra a week would be nice between here and Christmas.
BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
Blog: www.network-node.com
Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos

Comments

  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    I've done this for a while. Using Craigs List may be better where you're at but it got me nothing but a lot of spam. Using the localpaper and putting flyers in the local grocery store actually have gotten me quite a bit of business. But like I said it may be different for your location as I'm near a more rural area and that's where almost all of my customers are. I'm cheaper than geek squad and I come to their house and fix it. For repeat customers I hook em up with log me in and when I have to do a remote fix they send me a check so it's actually pretty good.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • PashPash Posts: 1,601Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Make a flyer/business card with your info on. Explain what you do in layman's terms. Take cash only for jobs in your local area. Make sure you are 100% clear to your customers on what services you will provide them and when you have diagnosed their issues, explain the fixes and costs to them....ie you need a new hard drive. If you order parts in for them explain you need money to pay for the parts first of all (do not put yourself out of pocket for some sweet old lady who counts her penny purse to pay you). Do not work for free, your time is just as valuable as the people with the PC issues. Do work for free for close friends and family when they offer you beer and pizza (well it works for me).

    Pash
    DevOps Engineer and Security Champion. https://blog.pash.by - I am trying to find my writing style, so please bear with me.
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,115Mod Mod
    Alright, so I'm going to take everyone's advice: Post ads, leave flyers around at grocery stores, send advertisements to local businesses, etc.

    How much success have you all had doing all this? Would you say it's realistic to get an extra 200 a week or so? Trying to be realistic here. I would prefer not to get a 3rd job at an actual store or something.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • PashPash Posts: 1,601Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Alright, so I'm going to take everyone's advice: Post ads, leave flyers around at grocery stores, send advertisements to local businesses, etc.

    How much success have you all had doing all this? Would you say it's realistic to get an extra 200 a week or so? Trying to be realistic here. I would prefer not to get a 3rd job at an actual store or something.

    Careful about sending advertisements to local businesses. I am not sure how tax laws work in America but you want to do jobs for local people for a fair hourly rate.

    I assume as you are from the states, you need to travel about by car in your area? You have to weigh up petrol (gas) costs over the money you make per week. How much would you charge? $50 for a call out charge seems reasonable to me and then extra for anything that spills over the first hour. The thing is, you have to be completely clear with your customers on what you are doing with their systems. Maybe even produce something small in writing to provide a terminology page for the un-technical. Trust me, if they cant find one misplaced file after you have just defragged their system for them, they will blame you for it. You need to protect yourself all the time. This is why it's always diagnostics > identify issues > explain fixes or improvements and costs and any risks.

    If you could get....what 6 jobs a week $200 would not be unrealistic.... It totally depends how much time you put into it. I should point out I did small jobs like this when i was at college with a friend of mine. I already had a part time job but my friend made about £50-£100 a week typically. These were jobs all within a 1-2 mile radius....
    DevOps Engineer and Security Champion. https://blog.pash.by - I am trying to find my writing style, so please bear with me.
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    I've made over $300 some weeks and zero some weeks. A lot depends on your location and if there are any local PC shops. I'm lucky in that there isn't a PC shop in this whole end of the county so I get a few calls a week and sometimes more.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • L0gicB0mb508L0gicB0mb508 Posts: 538Member
    1. foam #1 finger
    2. giant sign
    3. stand by the road
    3. ?????
    5. profit??

    I would just put up some fliers, hand out some cards, and use word of mouth.
    I bring nothing useful to the table...
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,115Mod Mod
    earweed wrote: »
    I've made over $300 some weeks and zero some weeks. A lot depends on your location and if there are any local PC shops. I'm lucky in that there isn't a PC shop in this whole end of the county so I get a few calls a week and sometimes more.

    There's plenty of computer shops around where I live (I'm in the L.A./Orange County area of socal) but they also charge ridiculously high prices (69.99/hr+). I'm going to give it a shot for a few months and see what I can turn up. This is really just extra money, but it'd be nice to have it.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • uhtrinityuhtrinity Posts: 138Member
    So I'm thinking of trying to put some ads on Craigslists, local newpaper, Pennysaver, etc to do freelance "I'll-fix/upgrade/etc-your-computer-for-cheap" work. I was just wondering if anyone else has had some success doing this. Any advice? I'm not trying to make a living, but a couple hundrew extra a week would be nice between here and Christmas.

    When I started doing freelance over 13 years ago I setup a booth at a local tradeshow and handed out a ton of business cards. From there I started getting calls, then referrals off of those jobs. Even though I stopped giving out business cards over 5 years ago I still get referrals that originated through those initial tradeshows. Flyers and ads never generated jobs.
    Technology Coordinator, Computer Lab Instructor, Network Admin
    BS IT Network Administration AAS Electronics / Laser Electro Optics
  • tbgree00tbgree00 Posts: 553Member
    I would suggest getting together with a lawyer and drawing up a contract. If you can find one online it is better than nothing but having a contract has saved me on a couple of occasions.

    Mine is one page front and back. The front has customer information, a place to use as a work order and a place that I write what I won't support as a complement to the repair. The back has generic statements saying that they acknowledge that I'm not responsible for data loss or anything like that.

    I was burned once when I did virus removal to the client's satisfaction then was called back to support a different issue that happened a few hours after the virus was removed and not related. I spent at least 3 hours on it and didn't get paid. Now I make sure that I have a thing that says what I will do, what I won't do, and what I won't support, and how much I do it for. Nobody has refused to sign and nobody has asked for a discount once the contract came into play where almost everyone did when it was an oral agreement.

    Another issue I have is trying to fix more than I'm asked to fix. The contract cuts down on that. Once I was called in on a router problem and ended up trying to fix the computer to boot correctly and had to take the hour and a half it took to fix that on the chin. Now I have the contract to keep me on task and also another form where I keep a list of recommendations for future work and time estimates. Sometimes they want it done, sometimes they don't care.

    I guess lastly don't devalue yourself. Sometimes it's hard to see the value in your work since it comes naturally. People will take advantage of that. If you get a needy customer expect a lot of calls. Be sure to present a rate sheet that says calls are billed at X amount and send an invoice after getting a call. If you don't you could find a lot of your time wasted on calls for no money.
    I finally started that blog - www.thomgreene.com
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