Exceptions to Hours Charged
The best plans sometimes go wrong. Much computer systems work tends to be an art and not a science. There is no ONE solution or ONE way to do things and sometimes things just don't work out as intended. I charge for SHOULD HAVE TAKEN hours. That is, if I try it one way and that doesn't work and I have to do it another way then you only pay for the hours that I feel it should have taken.
Is your site the best place to do the work? Often system work involves tasks which are wait-time intensive; e.g. formatting new drives, installing major software packages, system restorations, deep virus scans and removal, etc. If I do this at your site you pay me to sit there and watch the progress bar. This is a waste of my time and your money unless you have something else that I can do; e.g. training, consultation, etc. If we identify up front that you have wait-time intensive work to do or do so shortly after my arrival, I can bring components back to my shop and do the work here. Your advantage is that you pay a flat $50/hour for actual work time, no wait time included.
I am competitive. While I am of the opinion that I am much more qualified than the competition to do your job, I will meet and beat their best offer. Not only am I a MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer), I hold a BS from NCSU and an MBA from UNC. Two major commercial competitors are the Geek Squad (Best Buy) and CompUSA. You can see their offerings here: Geek Squad, CompUSA. I will beat their best offer by at least 15% but bear in mind that this is FIXED PRICE in most cases. FYI, I was recently at a tire store that did brake work and such. Their labor rate was $80/hour.
Educational Discount. I offer significant discounts to folks that are doing things for their kids, especially those attending Early College at Guilford College and Grimsley High School. I am a strong (very strong) advocate of getting kids computer literate. While some detractors try to claim that computers and the Internet are crutches for the weak I personally believe that personal computers and the Internet are major tools in the educational process.