The fine line between helping and servicing



  • Sometimes I have difficulty finding the proper line between helping out a friend and servicing their technology. I mean, sure, a lot of it is pretty straightforward. Can't figure out how to send an email? I'll help you. Obliterated your TCP/IP settings and uninstalled the drivers for your network adapter because 'I don't use an adapter for anything?' That will cost you.

    What about everything in between? Do you guys have a line in your head where you will not cross as then you may be trapped in the endless game of 'Hey, can you help me out?' If so, where is that line?



  • It depends - if it's them personally - I either will or won't support them no real middle ground.

    If it's for their buisness - I'll answer a few questions but won't make changes and I tell them up front at any time they will have to switch into a pay mode at my decision.



  • You could always do barter - like your price for an hour of tech support is gonna be a case of beer. That straddles the line between friendly favor and business transaction.



  • @Nic said:

    You could always do barter - like your price for an hour of tech support is gonna be a case of beer. That straddles the line between friendly favor and business transaction.

    The bartering idea is a good one - I think it helps the friends realise the value of the help they're asking for.



  • I often trade dinner for working on a computer.



  • @Dashrender I've done that, too. 🍝



  • I think we all have. I have traded for dinner, other gadgets, house cleaning... I need more of the housecleaning barters to happen.



  • @Nic said:

    You could always do barter - like your price for an hour of tech support is gonna be a case of beer. That straddles the line between friendly favor and business transaction.

    lol, doing that very thing right now for one of my wife's nursing student buddies! Yes I am getting beer!



  • @Minion-Queen said:

    I think we all have. I have traded for dinner, other gadgets, house cleaning... I need more of the housecleaning barters to happen.

    Me too - though I'd rather trade a cooked meal for someone cleaning my house over IT work. 😛



  • I got a couple G's knocked off of one of these. the (now) wife loves it.

    ringrang.jpg



  • @Minion-Queen said:

    I need more of the housecleaning barters to happen.

    So clean my house and I'll fix your PC. Cook my dinner not because I fixed your printer but because that's your place, woman!



  • I have to babysit for the likes of you! I aint got no time for that!



  • I say that I do Linux and people don't ask me to help.



  • If I can't answer in person, FB, texting or via phone, I just tell them, you know I will have to charge you to come out. My real friends pay me and the cheap ones ask me a different question 3 months later. 🙂



  • @technobabble said:

    If I can't answer in person, FB, texting or via phone, I just tell them, you know I will have to charge you to come out. My real friends pay me and the cheap ones ask me a different question 3 months later. 🙂

    Or the SAME question.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @technobabble said:

    If I can't answer in person, FB, texting or via phone, I just tell them, you know I will have to charge you to come out. My real friends pay me and the cheap ones ask me a different question 3 months later. 🙂

    Or the SAME question.

    yeah, like they think i won't remember...lol



  • @technobabble said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @technobabble said:

    If I can't answer in person, FB, texting or via phone, I just tell them, you know I will have to charge you to come out. My real friends pay me and the cheap ones ask me a different question 3 months later. 🙂

    Or the SAME question.

    yeah, like they think i won't remember...lol

    Seriously, I see that all of the time with large commercial companies. They ask to do something foolish, get explained why that is a bad idea, accept it, wait a few months, start the whole thing over again as if we didn't ask, explain, demonstrate, agree, etc.



  • @Minion-Queen said:

    I think we all have. I have traded for dinner, other gadgets, house cleaning... I need more of the housecleaning barters to happen.

    I tried to barter IT help with my housekeepers, but they didn't nibble.



  • I'm terrible with this as I can never say no. Every time, I say "Yeah, no problem"! I genuinely enjoy helping out others but I know I get used as very very rarely will any of them help me out with non-it related things. Example - I fixed a friends computer and I paid for the disk drive and new graphics card. He even watched me pay for the parts online and did say he would pay for them but he never did. Few months down the line, I asked him if he could help me with a plumbing issue I was having so a few days later he came and fixed the problem, with a bill for £120! Why am I such a mug lol



  • @Keg said:

    I'm terrible with this as I can never say no. Every time, I say "Yeah, no problem"! I genuinely enjoy helping out others but I know I get used as very very rarely will any of them help me out with non-it related things. Example - I fixed a friends computer and I paid for the disk drive and new graphics card. He even watched me pay for the parts online and did say he would pay for them but he never did. Few months down the line, I asked him if he could help me with a plumbing issue I was having so a few days later he came and fixed the problem, with a bill for £120! Why am I such a mug lol

    That's especially bad 😞



  • @scottalanmiller

    I know! When it comes to business that I work for, I'm shrewd and know exactly how to work suppliers/customers. When it comes to me personally, I fail everytime hence why I don't run my own business - I wouldn't make anything! So to get around this, I tend to tell everyone that I don't have the tools anymore to do any maintenance or support. But for true friends, which I think I have one or maybe two, and for family - the door is always open.



  • @Keg said:

    @scottalanmiller

    I know! When it comes to business that I work for, I'm shrewd and know exactly how to work suppliers/customers. When it comes to me personally, I fail everytime hence why I don't run my own business - I wouldn't make anything! So to get around this, I tend to tell everyone that I don't have the tools anymore to do any maintenance or support. But for true friends, which I think I have one or maybe two, and for family - the door is always open.

    If I was running a business on my own I would have the same problem. No way would I ever get paid for anything.



  • This is different for MSPs, but as an employee I refuse all personal desktop work to other employees. As far as friends, I tell them the same thing. I dont work on personal PCs. The only ones I will work on are immediate family or my parents.

    No amount of money is worth helping someone that is going to continually ask you questions. Especially when they are a friend or Uncle and think they deserve the tech support.


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