Furloughed again

From: John Aldrich 
------------------------------------------------------
I'm starting my 3rd week of furlough on Monday. If anyone knows or hears of 
someone needing a good "geek of all trades" PLEASE let me know! :D
Thanks!

=============================================================== From: Dave Brockman ------------------------------------------------------ If you search back through the archives, Mike (and others) have specifically given very good advice regarding this very subject.... Regards, dtb

=============================================================== From: Average SecurityGuy ------------------------------------------------------ chattanoogahasjobs.com has this ad, which is being run by API recruiting. The Network Engineer is part of a team that is accountable for the day-to-day operations of a very complex global network consisting of Force 10 and Fortinet equipment. This position reports to the Manager, Network Engineering. He/She will be responsible for management of old and new processes, program= s and/or initiatives related to these environments. This person is part of th= e delivery team that provides strategic direction, guidance, leadership and integratio= n of products or services for a complex infrastructure. They will act as an escalation point for all subordinates and continually monitor departmental KPIs and Service level agreements. They must have superior troubleshooting methodology and customer service skills, and be comfortable with tools like Wireshark, MRTG= , tcpdump, and Tracepath. Thorough technical documentation skills are a must, and the ability to communicate concepts of highly technical nature to people with a lesser understanding will be required. In order to be successful, this person needs to have an in-depth understanding of networking concepts like dynamic, static, and policy routing, network load balancing, ACLs, VLANs, NAT, IDS/IPS, and IPSE= C VPN. This person contributes to standards around which others will operate. Establishes and influences operating policies while keeping in line with the overall vision of the company. This IT Leader will contribute to policy/ program development for strategic and tactical initiatives and will maintain the budgets for this group including short/long term cost reduction plans. *Must have Requirements:* Recommended Certifications: MCSE, CCNP, CCDP, CCIE, CNE, CCVP, IPCC Experience with: Windows, Cisco Systems, UNIX, Linux, Force10, Fortinet Networking: Switches, Routers, Hubs, Servers, Cables, Racks, Firewalls, LAN= , WAN, TCP/IP, DNS, UDP, Latency, VoIP, QoS, EIGRP, BGP, OSPF, NHRP, ATM, PPP, MPLS Must have strong leadership qualities, and experience working with internal/external customers to achieve IT goals Strong verbal and written communications skills, proven leader, and capable of working independently *Additional Requirements:* Able to work with the sales team to qualify new networking opportunities. Architect world-class networking solutions for customers, leveraging best practices. Translate IT issues and requirements into actionable open networking projects Participate in the development of strategic practice initiatives and development of new data center solutions Develop strong relationships vendor sales and engineering teams. *Skill Requirements* Experience in a Managed Services environment a plus Passionate about networking technologies *Education:* Bachelor=92s Degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, or other rela= ted field. Or equivalent work experience. of

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Yeah... but I don't qualify. :( I don't know squat about VLANs, etc. I'm basically a PC Tech who's overpaid... :(

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ FWIW, as soon as I finish eating, I'm going to head out and put in CVs with as many placement agencies as I can find... I've already contacted Covista and the folks who got me my current position. THEIR advice was to try in Atlanta... but with a mortgage, that's not really an option. :( *sigh*

=============================================================== From: Dee Holtsclaw ------------------------------------------------------ You could commute ...

=============================================================== From: Aaron welch ------------------------------------------------------ /enter clue bat THEN LEARN WHAT VLANS ARE! /end John, we all understand your situation, but the honest truth is that you have been lazy in maintaining your skills. Geeks should ALWAYS be learning. Find or see a term you do not understand, research it. Learn enough about it to know what you can and can't do with it. I have gotten alot of jobs based solely on the fact that I knew what the product they were trying to use could NOT do. We can help you find a job all day long, but if you are not qualified or willing to step up then you will not keep it. You have known this day was coming for awhile, your lack of planning does not make this an emergency for the rest of us. Step up, learn some new skills in your downtime, and go get the job you want. I know all this sounds harsh, but times are tough and there are folks coming out of highschool who have some serious desktop admin skills. Separate yourself from the crowd and make recruiters and interviewers remember you. I wish you luck as I have been in this same place not too long ago. -AW

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Yeah.... I need to seriously read over that Network + study guide I 'found' on my system awhile back... I really do. Since I really don't have anything better to do next week, I guess I'll do that...

=============================================================== From: Phil Sieg ------------------------------------------------------ John, I got pissed at a former employer years ago and left a perfectly good = job without having another one lined up. I was pretty fried at the time = and couldn't cope with job hunting, so after a couple weeks living on = the couch and recuperating I made a bunch of flyers with the little tear = off tabs at the bottom advertising my services. I hung these up in = coffee shops, grocery stores and such and went back every week to = replace the old flyers with new ones. the first couple of weeks were slow, but still yielded some cash. after = that I stayed busy all the time. My word of mouth business started = growing and within 6 mos I was turning away work that I didn't want. The service I was advertising was: small job contracting, renovations, = repairs, and general handyman work. I had several jobs where I billed = over $10,000 in labor, and most of my jobs were 1-2K in labor. By the = time I took a job offer that came to me and offered international travel = (which I desperately wanted) I was making 5k a month swinging a hammer = 3-4 days a week. Now to my point: NOBODY has fully exploited the freelance PC TECH = opportunity in the marketplace. Geek Squad is a joke, but is proof = positive that the opportunity exists. Many have tried by opening a = physical location and waiting for the customers to show up. I have yet = to see any independent take a real swing at this. Between old school = self promotion and web/social networking there is a living to be made = here. Phil Sieg President SeniorTech LLC / snapf=C5=8Dn=C2=AE www.snapfon.com with=20 Covista=20 in=20

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Already done so. Granted I need to put up more flyers, but I have already started working on this. Thanks for the suggestion, though!

=============================================================== From: Aaron welch ------------------------------------------------------ Agree 100%. I would also add that a happy customer is worth their weight i= n gold. I had a customer that just stopped talking to me a few months ago. = I was worried that I had done something wrong (it was a $15k sale). Then out of the blue I get a call from a guy he referred to me. The new customer said the previous one was incredibly impressed with the fact that I not onl= y sold the hardware, but stayed onsite until it was working. The new custome= r has 3 installs all over the world at about $25k each that I am now doing. My little hobby company (I do this 2 days a week) will bring in almost $250k in revenue this year. That is off less than 20 sales total! I say this not to brag, but to point out that I LOVE playing with cool hardware. My hobby of keeping servers around (as you all know) has the added benefit that I get to learn lots about how things work. When you pair that knowledge and experience with a product you truly enjoy working with and yo= u will have to start turning away customers. I think for you that the best thing may be to start offering "In Home PC Checkup" services around your area for $50 a shot. Anything that takes mor= e than an hour you let them know what is wrong and bill accordingly. DO NOT DO ANYTHING FOR FREE. Always bill a customer for work. ANY work you do, gratis or paid, you will be responsible for. So if you are going to have t= o support it going forward, you need to get paid for it. You might find that you can pay your mortgage by selling just a few RAM/HD upgrades a month. I will even sell you the stuff I can get at just over cost. Take this opportunity to find what it is you love doing and then make money doing it. -AW ch t ery ew g r ook ve on nt al th a

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Thanks. I have had one repeat customer so far... Back when I was doing this just to make a bit of extra money on the side I helped a guy redo his wireless that Geeksquad had set up. I went to Walmart and bought the same router I have and installed it for him. Recently he called me up out of the blue needing some help and I went out and helped him reset his wireless on his PC and also cleaned his PC. So, yeah, I hear what you're saying and I'm already on it. Let me ask you this... if you were to charge a flat rate for virus removal, what would you guys charge? Wondering if I'm undercharging. I'm charging $60 flat-rate and $35/hour for everything else. Is that too low, or should I go with what I've currently got on my flyers?

=============================================================== From: Aaron welch ------------------------------------------------------ Lets do some business math since it is not the same math you use when you work for someone else. If you are just trying to support yourself, add up all of your monthly expenses and then add 25%. For example: Mortgage $500 Car payment $300 Utilities $200 Insurances $500 Food and essentials $500 Total $2000 + 25% = $2500 a month (keeping the numbers small so math is easy) Now do this for the year: 12 x $2500 = $30,000 Lets say that you want to only work your same schedule of 40hrs per week, so: 40hrs x 52 weeks = 2080hrs - 80hrs for vacation So dividing what you need to take home, buy the hours you work you will get: 30000 / 2000 = $15/hr Now quadruple it: $15/hr x 4 = $60/hr Why you ask? As your business grows there will be downtime, so I am assuming you will be sitting on your thumbs for half your time. The other half of that is to cover business expenses and operating costs. You will need to keep extra cash in the business account to cover buying components, especially if you start supporting small businesses. You will also need to start keeping track of everything that is a line item on an IRS Schedule C. You want every deduction you can legally take at the end of the year. This all may sound complicated, but a good accountant (get one as a customer) will keep you straight. This little formula has kept my family afloat through some pretty hard times the last 2yrs, so I know it works. I hope this helps you in determining pricing. -AW

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Ok. Thanks.

=============================================================== From: Benjamin Stewart ------------------------------------------------------ Wow. That was worth the price of admission. Good stuff!

=============================================================== From: Rod-Lists ------------------------------------------------------ There are folk on this list who make $50 to $70 per hour doing just that.If= you don't mind killing an afternoon cleaning winders machines. ----- Original Message ----- From: Phil Sieg=20 To: CHUGALUG=20 Sent: Fri, 30 Sep 2011 11:21:27 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Re: [Chugalug] Furloughed again John, I got pissed at a former employer years ago and left a perfectly good job w= ithout having another one lined up. I was pretty fried at the time and coul= dn't cope with job hunting, so after a couple weeks living on the couch and= recuperating I made a bunch of flyers with the little tear off tabs at the= bottom advertising my services. I hung these up in coffee shops, grocery s= tores and such and went back every week to replace the old flyers with new = ones. the first couple of weeks were slow, but still yielded some cash. after tha= t I stayed busy all the time. My word of mouth business started growing and= within 6 mos I was turning away work that I didn't want. The service I was advertising was: small job contracting, renovations, repa= irs, and general handyman work. I had several jobs where I billed over $10,= 000 in labor, and most of my jobs were 1-2K in labor. By the time I took a = job offer that came to me and offered international travel (which I despera= tely wanted) I was making 5k a month swinging a hammer 3-4 days a week. Now to my point: NOBODY has fully exploited the freelance PC TECH opportuni= ty in the marketplace. Geek Squad is a joke, but is proof positive that the= opportunity exists. Many have tried by opening a physical location and wai= ting for the customers to show up. I have yet to see any independent take a= real swing at this. Between old school self promotion and web/social netwo= rking there is a living to be made here. Phil SiegPresidentSeniorTech LLC / snapf=C5=8Dn=C2=AEwww.snapfon.com I'm starting my 3rd week of furlough on Monday. If anyone knows or hears of someone needing a good "geek of all trades" PLEASE let me know! :D Thanks! If you search back through the archives, Mike (and others) have specifically given very good advice regarding this very subject.... FWIW, as soon as I finish eating, I'm going to head out and put in CVs with= =20 as many placement agencies as I can find... I've already contacted Covista= =20 and the folks who got me my current position. THEIR advice was to try in=20 Atlanta... but with a mortgage, that's not really an option. :( *sigh*

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Well, I always feel like I'm running the clock on the customer when I sit there and watch the antivirus do it's thing. Maybe I should go ahead and get rid of the flat-rate, but only charge like 2/3 of the actual hours... that'll still make me some money and help ease my conscience about overcharging. :D

=============================================================== From: Rod-Lists ------------------------------------------------------ Thanks Aaron, this was very helpful to me. while I am currently a wage slave I've been thinking on starting something technical on the side. ----- Original Message ----- From: Aaron welch To: CHUGALUG Sent: Fri, 30 Sep 2011 11:58:49 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Re: [Chugalug] Furloughed again Lets do some business math since it is not the same math you use when you work for someone else. If you are just trying to support yourself, add up all of your monthly expenses and then add 25%. For example: Mortgage $500Car payment $300Utilities $200Insurances $500Food and essentials $500Total $2000 + 25% = $2500 a month (keeping the numbers small so math is easy) Now do this for the year:12 x $2500 = $30,000 Lets say that you want to only work your same schedule of 40hrs per week, so: 40hrs x 52 weeks = 2080hrs - 80hrs for vacation So dividing what you need to take home, buy the hours you work you will get: 30000 / 2000 = $15/hr Now quadruple it: $15/hr x 4 = $60/hr Why you ask? As your business grows there will be downtime, so I am assuming you will be sitting on your thumbs for half your time. The other half of that is to cover business expenses and operating costs. You will need to keep extra cash in the business account to cover buying components, especially if you start supporting small businesses. You will also need to start keeping track of everything that is a line item on an IRS Schedule C. You want every deduction you can legally take at the end of the year. This all may sound complicated, but a good accountant (get one as a customer) will keep you straight. This little formula has kept my family afloat through some pretty hard times the last 2yrs, so I know it works. I hope this helps you in determining pricing. -AW Thanks. I have had one repeat customer so far... Back when I was doing this just to make a bit of extra money on the side I helped a guy redo his wireless that Geeksquad had set up. I went to Walmart and bought the same router I have and installed it for him. Recently he called me up out of the blue needing some help and I went out and helped him reset his wireless on his PC and also cleaned his PC. So, yeah, I hear what you're saying and I'm already on it. Let me ask you this... if you were to charge a flat rate for virus removal, what would you guys charge? Wondering if I'm undercharging. I'm charging $60 flat-rate and $35/hour for everything else. Is that too low, or should I go with what I've currently got on my flyers?

=============================================================== From: Rod-Lists ------------------------------------------------------ Well the person I know does more than that but . . . You would be surprise how many folk are still out there with dial up. geesh. ----- Original Message ----- From: John Aldrich To: CHUGALUG Sent: Fri, 30 Sep 2011 13:32:47 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Re: [Chugalug] Furloughed again Well, I always feel like I'm running the clock on the customer when I sit there and watch the antivirus do it's thing. Maybe I should go ahead and get rid of the flat-rate, but only charge like 2/3 of the actual hours... that'll still make me some money and help ease my conscience about overcharging. :D

=============================================================== From: Aaron Welch ------------------------------------------------------ Show the full price then discount. It creates an immediate perceived value t= o the customer. -AW

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Ahh... good idea! Thanks! Will do!

=============================================================== From: Dee Holtsclaw ------------------------------------------------------ Besides, if you are cooling your heels watching it, you're not available to do something for someone else. Always remember that your time is as valuable as theirs (something I wish doctors would realize when I spend an hour or two sitting in their waiting room).

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Never really looked at it from that perspective. Good point, Dee. I'm used to multi-tasking and working on my own machine or surfing the web on my own machine while cleaning a machine. :D Then again, I may charge full-price if I do it at the client's location, but offer a 15% discount if they let me take it home and clean it there. :D

=============================================================== From: Mike Harrison ------------------------------------------------------ $60/hr is the discounted rate, paid at time service is rendered. Invoice at $75(or more) per hour, offer a discount if a check is cut as you walk out the door. It works. Have an invoice pad from Office Depot / Staples is all you need to start. Custom print your own if you have time, but the 2 copy NCR paper is hard to beat. If you are too cheap, people will not take you seriously. Offer to cnvert their MS machine to Linux for half price.. ;) But you had better be ready to support everything froom then on. (It's a hook and discussion point, they will rarely take you up on it, if ever)

=============================================================== From: Jim Wells ------------------------------------------------------ These are rates I have paid in the last year for various projects personally except Geek Squad Plumber 75 - 90 per hour Auto Mechanic 85/hr + AC Repair Man 85/hr + trip charge Good Carpenter 40/hr Out there on the market .. We just had a client hire desktop app support contract work 70/hr seems to be the going rate from recruiter type shops as well in nooga Geek Squad 120/hr yes unbelievable but true and people stand it line to pay it WHY they don't know where else to go + Marketing same for Staples and Office Depot that now have got into the clean the pc fray ! If you run your rates at 35/hr you just really sell yourself short. Have a 1hr minimum charge that for virus clean-ups more if on-site flat rate if at your shop since you can do more than 1 at a time etc. Account for travel time Gas Car insurance wear/tear on car etc. Sum this up YES 35/hr is too freaking cheap and you will attract work you will loose your shirt on at the same time because most non business people are cheap! and don't want to pay for anything for pc help and think they know more than you do.

=============================================================== From: Aaron Welch ------------------------------------------------------ ill loose your shirt on at the same time because most non business people ar= e cheap! and don't want to pay for anything for pc help and think they know m= ore than you do. Enter the PITA fee. If someone is a pain in the a$$ I put a PITA fee on the= bill. When asked what/why it is there, I respond that if you listen to me I= will discount it, if not it stays since I will have to do it all over again= anyways. -AW=

=============================================================== From: Dave Brockman ------------------------------------------------------ I'm going to throw this in the ring as well because it adds to the points others have made. Charge all time/clients - My friends & family rate is $75/hr, and unless it is installing memory, or literally clicking a button for them, it's a two hour minimum. And I do not travel to their houses or do work on family visits, etc. Be fair, but firm. We all know we can't bill all the time we spend sitting in front a PC waiting for something to download/scan/find. Establish your minimum, and stick to it. Ask if there are other things you can do while you're waiting for the download/scan. It takes the better part of a day to install & fully update/patch a WinXP install (starting from SP3) or a Win 7 install (starting w/ no service pack). Don't do that kind of shit on-site unless you have to. I typically charge two hours for this service, because I just have to keep checking it and click restart a bunch. Whatever you do, DO NOT LIE to your clients. Do NOT give them false assurances. It WILL bite you in the ass. If you don't know an answer, ask someone who does or do your own research before you give an answer. Your client will hang on it and hold you to it. Regards, dtb

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Ok. That sounds good. :D I was just at Office Depot getting some copies made. I'll have to go back and get an invoice pad. Thanks also for the suggestion to convert from MS to Linux. :D

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Good advice, Dave! I have never lied to a client and I will make sure I don't. I have told a client before (when cleaning their computer) "This should take care of it, if not, call me back... results guaranteed." If cleaning a computer do you guys offer a guarantee or just leave it at "it's clean, don't infect it again" sort of thing?

=============================================================== From: Cameron Kilgore ------------------------------------------------------ I know its too late for me to chime in with anything insightful or introspective, but if you're going to learn how to use a programming language, sometimes it helps to set up a code blog where every day you post a code example and write about it publicaly. It's a good incentive to keep at it and reach out for assistance easier. Also, browse StackExchange sites. In fact, search these first if you have problems, you might find a faster answer than Google. I wish you the best.

=============================================================== From: Aaron welch ------------------------------------------------------ That depends on how much you like your free time. Make that statement and you will not have any. Just like the crazy chinese lady say "YOU BREAK YOU BUY!" -AW

=============================================================== From: Jim Wells ------------------------------------------------------ If cleaning a computer do you guys offer a guarantee or just leave it at "it's clean, don't infect it again" sort of thing? I don't know of anyone that guarantee's spyware clean up work since the person can and will go back to the same infected site right after you give them the computer back. I had one client that did this 4 days straight every morning same thing it was a sports site which was infected. Nope No Guarantee on spyware clean-up

=============================================================== From: Dave Brockman ------------------------------------------------------ Can you guarantee your user won't do something stupid again? Besides, if you have an infected PC, the ONLY way you can trust that machine is to flatten and reinstall from known good media (including the MBR). How many of those are you doing instead of running anti-x/cleaner-x of the day? Try earning their trust by doing what you say you can do and build on that instead of making worthless guarantees you nor anyone else can keep. Regards, dtb

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ I just made up some new flyers advertising $60/hour and no flat-rate virus removal. I do sorta feel bad, but if they let me take the computer home to my "office" I am offering a $10 discount (total, not per hour.) I have two existing customers who I think I'll keep at the $35/hour rate. One of 'em is Supply of Dalton, and I think I mentioned sometime back that he was thinking of trying to do sales on his web page for a web franchise he was thinking of buying into. I did advise him at that time that I could not help him with it, but I thought one of y'all might. :D I don't know if he's still interested in that online franchise or not.

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Ok. So, no guarantee. :D Got it. :D

=============================================================== From: Cameron Kilgore ------------------------------------------------------ I had this with a family friend (which right there, should be a red flag to get away) and I didn't get paid much for helping them clean up and publish a website. I was not proud that day. Thankfully, MAINx24 was happening in the same day so I quickly forgot. --Cameron

=============================================================== From: Ed King ------------------------------------------------------ I value my free time so much that when folks ask me to "clean" or fix their computers, I always offer to show them how to do it, rather than doing it for them, in hopes that the next time they can do it themselves. You're thinking "how do you make a steady income with that kind of strategy?" Well, your happy, self-sufficient customers will spread your name around like wildfire, trust me. Ironically, you'll end up with more clients and less free time than you would have had if you would have just performed the typical "black magic" and charged out the ass for it. So if you value your free time, just charge them out the ass and be done it it.

=============================================================== From: Phil Sieg ------------------------------------------------------ FAIL! Your old customers got a $35 rate because you had a full time job and = were working on the side. NOW this IS your full time Job and you need to inform them of your new = rate firmly and in a positive fashion. You are still $15 an hour under book value, and you can now support them = fully. If you start discounting, you will never stop.=20 Phil Sieg President SeniorTech LLC / snapf=C5=8Dn=C2=AE www.snapfon.com virus=20 home to=20 rate.=20 that=20 franchise=20 could=20

=============================================================== From: Ryan Macy ------------------------------------------------------ This thread is amazing, what advice would you give to a fairly young dev trying to make a name for himself? I'm on stack, bit bucket, github, and hacker news... I also write code like 15 hours a day currently, but I have no name/reputation... On Sep 30, 2011 10:18 PM, "Ed King" wrote: their for strategy?" like free "black it it.

=============================================================== From: Aaron Welch ------------------------------------------------------ Come to 48hr launch in November. We are trying to get all the startups to c= reate challenges for coders to compete for. -AW rying to make a name for himself? I'm on stack, bit bucket, github, and hack= er news... I also write code like 15 hours a day currently, but I have no na= me/reputation... eir=20 t for=20 egy?"=20 like=20 free=20 l "black=20 it it.

=============================================================== From: Ed King ------------------------------------------------------ a name? a reputation? heh! a jedi seeks not those things.

=============================================================== From: Dave Brockman ------------------------------------------------------ Can you more clearly define make a name for yourself? Whom do you wish to impress/gain reputation with? Regards, dtb

=============================================================== From: Average SecurityGuy ------------------------------------------------------ Ryan, Keep doing those things and give it time.

=============================================================== From: Ryan Macy ------------------------------------------------------ I would love to have a name in the open source community, I watch a couple of repo's but I'm to nervous to bug squash or pull request heh :-) I'm working on bloging coding concepts and examples -- once I can get posterous to integrate in my site ill be set (anyone do this already?). [side note: For some reason my website works great in ie9, chrome, safari, and opera, but breaks in FF? I have a fixed nav div that shoots all the way right in FF http://rmacy.us/V2/index.html -- it also breaks horribly in ie8 and ie7]

=============================================================== From: Aaron Welch ------------------------------------------------------ What are you coding in? PHP, Ruby, or Python? -AW of repo's but I'm to nervous to bug squash or pull request heh :-) erous to integrate in my site ill be set (anyone do this already?). and opera, but breaks in FF? I have a fixed nav div that shoots all the way= right in FF http://rmacy.us/V2/index.html -- it also breaks horribly in ie8= and ie7] impress/gain reputation with?

=============================================================== From: David White ------------------------------------------------------ Hmm..... /me goes to raise his side-job prices

=============================================================== From: Ryan Macy ------------------------------------------------------ Mainly PHP lately and Python when I can (Python is by far my most favorite HLL), haven't touched Ruby in some time.