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Time estimate for the following items
3

Time estimate for the following items

Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
I have a customer that is not believing the time I spent to reload their computer due to a bad hard drive. I know how long it took me, but I'd like Tek-Tips to estimate what it would take to do the following, assuming a new SSD hard drive and PC with the following specs.http://www.tek-tips.com/threadminder.cfm?pid=655

Intel Core 2 Duo CPU E8400 @ 3.00GHz
4GB RAM
Samsung EVO 850 250GB SSD
Windows 7 64-bit

Install SSD
Install Windows 7
Install all Windows 7 updates
Activate Windows 7
Transfer data from old hard drive
Install missing drivers in Device Manager
Install: Samsung SSD software, Microsoft Security Essentials, Office 365, PowerChute, VNC, Acrobat Reader, Primo PDF, Chrome, QuickBooks 2014
Join computer to domain
Log in as two users to set up user profiles
Set desktop icons, folder options and power options, mapped network drives for each user
Set up VPN to other office and made hosts file entries for remote office computers
Enabled remote desktop
Opened PC firewall for ping and VNC access
Installed 4 printers - 1 local / 3 network
Configured Outlook using IMAP for both users



"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
Not sure if that was sarcastic, but that's about what it took me - the majority of a day. Of course I didn't camp out and watch Windows install or the Windows updates either, but it sure took a while. I have one of these customers that questions everything and doesn't really respect IT people.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

You can drop this customer.
Or, just for this one customer - time each step to prove the time spent:

Install SSD 7:00 - 7:45
Install Windows 7 7:45 - 8:15
Install all Windows 7 updates 8:15 - 9:30
Activate Windows 7 9:30 - 9:45

Just a guess...

Have fun.

---- Andy

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

From Install SSD / Windows Install / Device Manager, well thats probably 1+ hours of work, assuming you can do other things while windows and updates can load. But loading all that software, while you can do other things while they load, still takes time downloading, installing, configuring, reboot and repeat. another hour at least. Restoring data might be easy (depending on how many folders it's going to), but still takes up your time. I would guess 3 hours of work assuming it can all be done off-site. This all assumes NO hiccups or problems.

From "Join to domain" through Outlook IMAP accounts for 2 users, that all would have to be done on-site and would take at least 2-3 hours in a best case scenario ... if you had been given all the necessary information, what drives needed to be mapped to where, VPN credentials and setup info, email account info / passwords / mail server settings. But I'm guessing that you probably had to go fishing for some or most of that information while you were there, so it probably took more time than that.

So 1 day is a reasonable estimate.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

>Or, just for this one customer - time each step to prove the time spent:


Make sure you add a line to the estimate

"Additional time required to provide time break down - 2.5 hours"

Take Care

Matt
I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone.
My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

In my environment, I wouldn't charge for the time it took for the install or updates to run on their own. These are periods of time that I can spend working on other tasks, so it wouldn't be right to charge for that. But again, this is in my environment where I can work on multiple issues at the same site. If you are making an on-site visit to the customer's location and have to babysit the process until it finishes, then you're in a different boat.

It's hard to provide an accurate estimate on an older system that would run a bit slower than a much newer one, but if I had to guess, it would typically take somewhere between 3-5 hours in my environment. For an on-site visit that requires babysitting the PC, then yeah, 8 hours wouldn't be an unreasonable charge.

-Carl
"The glass is neither half-full nor half-empty: it's twice as big as it needs to be."

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RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
Thanks for all your comments and sorry for getting a link in my original post - accident.

Quote:

In my environment, I wouldn't charge for the time it took for the install or updates to run on their own.

I did, in fact, bring this computer home to do everything I could off site. So, while I was waiting for Windows to install and Windows updates to install, I went up and ate dinner and watched TV. But it was all hands on deck after that.

The babysitting (driver install, program install, Outlook config, drive mapping, VPN setup, etc.) took quite a while once ON SITE. I was going to bill him for 4 hours, but the real issue is the pattern of "disrepect" of my time and in general. Like, "it couldn't take that long to reload a computer". Or, "I could have bought a new computer for that".

New computer - BFD!!!! A new computer doesn't join a domain on its own nor map drives, install programs, etc. This relationship is going nowhere. I wish I could record this guy so you could hear the hostility. I've never come across a customer like this. I thought I was going to cry one day, like being in basic training in the army. He uses the same tactics toward his other employees - borderline yelling and dismissive attitude. Then there's the argumentative nature..........

It's my fault because I see dollar signs. He needs a lot of work to get things in shape!!!!! Greed for the win/loss.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

"It's my fault because I see dollar signs."

Then one day you will realize the emotional cost that hasn't been included in the estimate. That is the day you will decide to become unavailable under the previous agreements.

BTDT with several customers, my favorite example being AT&T.

Ed Fair
Give the wrong symptoms, get the wrong solutions.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

I've initialized a fair number of computers, starting with CP/M.
It has always taken me about two days to install a new hard drive; one day to nominally do all the work, and another whole day to figure out why it wasn't working as I'd expected, and fix that.

... but I never did it for a living, so you're probably much faster than me, taking less time to read the directions for the N+1th time, knowing what to bring, etc., so taking just one day is credible. Billing for half a day is not doing an abusive customer a favor.

For that special customer, you need to double your billing rate.
... and keep doubling it until he decides to torture someone else.
Either way, you're better off.


RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
Money pays the bills not raising my rates to effectively dump a customer. But the advice is philosophically correct!!!

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
Update. So this guy had like 7 outstanding invoices for $1500. He wanted to meet with me. He nitpicks a bunch on line items on the invoices and says "didn't you work on this over here on this other invoice", implying that it took me multiple "tries" to get something done.

Long story short - I did not jump over the desk and strangle him. He wanted to deduct about $300 and pay me the rest. I took the deal, but now he wants to put in a new server. I've got the money up front for the server, but....................

Really wondering if I should just give it back and not deal with this guy. I mean putting in a server will take hours of work and each computer has to be added to the domain, drives mapped, Outlook set up again..... So, I can just hear this guy saying "why did it take so long?"

I want to make the money, but he's the only customer I've got that tries to dispute hours. AND I had even given him a number of compensatory hours for some his "complaints" and then he still wants to deal on the invoices AFTER those freebie hours.

I'm heading into the devil's hole - I know it. I have other customers that make me lunch and have me visit them at their Florida condo. This guy is like the anti-christ compared to my good customers.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

Since you've folded and accepted his "deal", he now knows he can successfully do that. It will only get worse.

If you can live without this customer, I would get rid of him. Maybe find someone else to do the work so it's not just leaving him in a lurch.


RE: Time estimate for the following items

Run, don't walk, away. Soul-suckers like this chump aren't worth all the money in the world.

-----------
With business clients like mine, you'd be better off herding cats.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

>Since you've folded and accepted his "deal", he now knows he can successfully do that.
True, but now goombawaho knows this and can counter by adding in some extra hours as a cushion.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

You give away your work, you negotiate and cave on hours billed, then you negotiate and cave on the money billed for those hours.
You must net about a dollar an hour on this customer.

You need THE BOSS who will stop you from giving away the store.

THE BOSS does not allow you to give away work product.
THE BOSS requires you to have THE CUSTOMER sign your work ticket every day you are there, so there can be, and will be, no negotiation about whether you were there or not.
THE BOSS requires payment of outstanding invoices, with small discounts allowed for timely payment.
THE BOSS does not allow you, THE MINION, to discount invoices.
THE BOSS does not allow you to have more than three outstanding invoices with the same customer; you may not commence work for such a customer until their account is brought up to date.

THE BOSS does not negotiate with customers, and barely tolerates you.

It is not required, however, that THE BOSS actually exist.

The person who answers THE BOSS number could be an automated weather service, or your spouse telling you what's for dinner, or someone who owes you a favor, or an old computer reciting gobbledygook.


RE: Time estimate for the following items

Often the spouse is THE BOSS smile
If you don't have one - get it.

Have fun.

---- Andy

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
I'm doomed. I'm NOT the boss mentioned above, philosophically at least. I'm mulling this over as I'm out of town for a few days. I may get back and cut him a check for the server (refund) and not work for him any more. It hurts me either way - work and get hours reduced OR cut out all work for the dude.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

I vote for the refund.
It may hurt financially for a while but you'll sleep better and have a better attitude about life.

Ed Fair
Give the wrong symptoms, get the wrong solutions.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
If it was just a matter of principle, then yes - 100% for giving a refund and saying goodbye. But that gets ignored when money enters the equation.

If I was a real pinhead, I would subtract the money he shafted me out of and give him the rest back, but that would likely end up in court and I don't want to be the bigger jerk in the equation here.

Thanks for the advice. I will update when I have decided my own fate.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

Yes, never be the bigger jerk if you think it may end up in court. These are words to live by. bigsmile

RE: Time estimate for the following items

Not a computer guy but could you give him the server and tell him you do not have the time to install it?

RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
We had a conversation the other day. I had not realized but I had given him 19.5 hours of free support - whether it was for remotely researching his network/environment at two office or comp time because he complained about the amount of time for one thing or another.

He was mad because he thought the issue was settled when I agreed to the subtractions in hours. But I got peeved when I realized I had been double screwed - by him AND myself. So, at this point, I don't know that we will be working together any longer.

I realize that I was an idiot for:
1. Giving him that much free time
2. NOT documenting the free time as I went so that he could see what he was getting for free.
3. Caving on the billable hours especially in light of the free time he got

His problem is that he doesn't think that an IT person should be billing at $90 per hour. That's actually LOW if you were to call a "real company" plus they wouldn't give you any damn compensatory time or agree to a reduced number of billing hours. I think he's screwed if he doesn't use me, but he'll have to find that out himself.

The last guy he used had zero consistency in anything he did - it was almost comical. Allegedly he was pothead!!!!
- One computer was named LeftFront and the other was named FrontRight.
- At one office he had a server functioning as a domain controller, the other office server was just in a workgroup.
- He had RDP ports open on the firewall and I replaced that with PPTP VPN capable routers.

I'll add a comment when things are decided. I'm going to give him his money back for the server and he and the new guy can start over. It was only $1300 (Super Micro server motherboard). He doesn't even have a concept that most servers are much more than that.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

Your customer causes ME stress! I think you'll be better off without him.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
Not sure whether related to this customer or not, but I just had a bout of anxiety for the first time in many years - right before my vacation. Ruined my vacation with insomnia. They say you only cause YOURSELF stress, nobody can do it for you if you know how to handle things. So again, my fault.

Getting to old for all this IT crapola and the stress that is associated with down systems and cranky customers.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

About seven years ago, I had some work done at a Chevrolet dealer in Louisiana.
Their labor rate, then, was $94 per hour. It's probably gone up a bit by now.

Your hopefully former customer needs some educating.
Let someone else do it.

Should he beg to come back, you can offer him a special labor rate, say $150 per, and he'll be glad to pay it.



RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
See, I originally was a customer of HIS. Then I helped him one day. Then he said, "do you want to do my IT work?" I already saw red flags and never called him back. He called ME back after about 4 months. I should have known that my first feelings of "run away" were correct.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

Finally.

Last time I checked, and it was a long time ago, IBM got $225 per. I quit checking regularly when it was $120 and I was working at $40.

Understand about the stress, just haven't practiced it for the last 50 years in the IT world, but that comes from staying away from the big computers and multiple people sitting idle when they are down.

Ed Fair
Give the wrong symptoms, get the wrong solutions.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
I'm still waiting for this guy to call me back. Maybe he'll make the decision for me and move on to someone else. I'm too weak to end the relationship. Must be like crack - money is addictive.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

I'm hoping, for your sake, that he finds another victim to take advantage of. If he calls you back it means he wasn't successful.

Yes, it hurts. BTDT with a $800+ per month customer. In my case they found another victim and the new victim didn't enjoy it either.

Ed Fair
Give the wrong symptoms, get the wrong solutions.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
So, I actually gathered enough mental fortitude to email the guy and tell him that I'd like him find someone else to do his IT work. He didn't respond to my summary of the free hours he got, so that just made me mad. No doubt he was THRILLED at the prospect that he got free time and my billable hours reduced due to my weakness.

Now I have an email response to that message in my mailbox but I'm not opening it today.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

Beware of getting sucked back in. Once an abuser likely always an abuser.

Ed Fair
Give the wrong symptoms, get the wrong solutions.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
Ha. That's actually how I feel - abused.
Some people just don't think that IT support should cost more than let's say $30 per hour. If you have a hint that a customer thinks like that, you should run the other way.

He's either going to get some redneck computer guy from Craig's List OR pay a huge rate for a "professional" company.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

Quote (edfair)

Beware of getting sucked back in...

Yeah, no late night drunken booty calls telling him how you miss his computers.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
This was the email I feared to open:

Quote:


Good morning Goom. I was hoping we could have worked this out and moved forward. But I understand I have no problem paying the invoices you sent me. Thank you for everything you have done for us..... I will reach out to you this afternoon or tomorrow. To settle up thanks. If you change your mind please let me know

He's trying to suck me back in with sweet talk. MUST.............RESIST
Just deleted the VPN connections to his offices from my computer.
I miss them already.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
So, I'm done with this guy. I met with him today and gave him his money back for the server. He gave me a few hundred for some minor outstanding invoices. He already has some company lined up to do his work, but he picked somebody where he has to pay them to be on retainer. So, I'm imagining that would cost the guy net more than my work which was billed hourly (break/fix).

Too bad that he will end up paying more for likely worse service. Those people don't care about your issues, they just want to get out of there in as few hours as possible because the money is coming in regardless. No need to sweat the details!!

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: Time estimate for the following items

Quote (goombawaho)

Those people don't care about your issues, they just want to get out of there in as few hours as possible because the money is coming in regardless.

Ok, so he's out of his steady relationship with you and now with a hooker. Move on. You're too good for him.

If possible you need to get him to see you at a nightclub or a party with some new hot young client. That'll show him.


RE: Time estimate for the following items

Now he's buying an insurance policy. Generally insurance companies have the game rigged in their favor.

I wrote maintenance agreements if customers insisted. Told them up front that it would cost them more than per call, but there are number crunching accounting people that are risk adverse. Since IBM convinced a high percentage of their customers that the sky would fall if their owned machines were not on MA the leasing and service companies competing had to offer them also. At least in IBM's case it was better if they were on MA because they didn't treat their T&M customers fairly, at least in Atlanta when I was around a bunch of T&M stuff.

Ed Fair
Give the wrong symptoms, get the wrong solutions.

RE: Time estimate for the following items

(OP)
Thanks for all the helpful replies.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

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