The Joys of [Semi] Retirement

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Hirsch 11 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • Kyuuketsuki
    Participant
    #167248

    So,

    Since being made redundant last year (from Capita no less), after a brief spell as a contractor, I’ve decided that semi-retirement is the way forward.

    Obviously, I’ve tried to get work but, at 60, the market seems determined to hire those who are younger and better qualified however, it’s given me the time to complete my first book submission (just waiting for it to be published now) and to form my own local business, Rocksquad Computers, designed to help local people and businesses in a more ethically focussed way. The problem with the home PC support business is that so many people out there seem determined to rip their customers off … my mother got someone in when she wasn’t able to get help from me and the guy left her worse off than when he arrived and charged her £60 for the privilege, others tell me the same thing.

    So, I decided to create Rocksquad (RSQ) Computers with a Facebook presence, advertising online and by flyers through people’s doors. My basic idea is reasonable fees (none if there’s no fix), a discussion forum online, a Facebook page and a series of free local PC clinics. It hasn’t cost much to set up, mostly just time and effort, and financially I look at it as “beer money” (not literally, money to buy a few extra things) and as much as providing a service via the clinics, discussion forum and “howto’s” on my website.

    So yeah, that’s it really. As usual, any advice appreciated :)

    Some of you were, kindly, interested in my book so I’ll definitely post a note when that gets published in case anyone’s interested.

    Keke (JC Rocks)


    Ossian
    Moderator
    #191837

    Having got stuck occasionally with B2P customers, I would say this is being very courageous. B2(small)B is bad enough, where it is assumed that, having once touched (or even glared at) a computer, you are then responsible for providing endless free support, but I have found personal customers far worse – I have honestly had calls along the lines of “you remember the computer you worked on a couple of years ago… well, I have got a new one and it’s now broken”.

    Point taken about some customers being left with outstanding problems, but I would say £50 per hour (plus VAT) is a very fair rate – check out local plumbers and electricians for a comparison, or the callout charge to get your washing machine looked at.


    Kyuuketsuki
    Participant
    #312525
    Ossian;n514285 wrote:
    Having got stuck occasionally with B2P customers, I would say this is being very courageous. B2(small)B is bad enough, where it is assumed that, having once touched (or even glared at) a computer, you are then responsible for providing endless free support, but I have found personal customers far worse – I have honestly had calls along the lines of “you remember the computer you worked on a couple of years ago… well, I have got a new one and it’s now broken”.

    LOL, yes … I’ve had that too. Fortunately I don’t do much of it yet so I often do remember but I accept that if this takes off that will be somewhat less likely.

    Ossian;n514285 wrote:
    Point taken about some customers being left with outstanding problems, but I would say £50 per hour (plus VAT) is a very fair rate – check out local plumbers and electricians for a comparison, or the callout charge to get your washing machine looked at.

    Blimey that’s high! Maximum I ever got paid was £35/hour (as a contractor) … I was thinking more like £15 which I know is low but people often can’t afford much and if you go too high it’s probably easier to just buy a new computer. I’ll have to think about that one.

    Keke


    Ossian
    Moderator
    #191838

    You may have been getting £35, but I’ll bet you were charged out at higher (probably double that). £15 per hour is (IMHO) seriously underselling yourself – as I said, ask a couple of tradespeople their rates and ask if you are doing a less skilled job


    biggles77
    Spectator
    #214313

    [QUOTE=Kyuuketsuki]Since being made redundant last year (from Capita no less), after a brief spell as a contractor, I’ve decided that semi-retirement is the way forward.[/QUOTE]
    Trust me, it gets old REAL quick and you get bored shitless. Keeping skill levels up doesn’t happen because there is no reason to. You have to have something to apply them to. You might try getting work as a tech in the schools in your area to give you some sort of income.

    Good luck with your options.


    Kyuuketsuki
    Participant
    #312526
    Ossian;n514291 wrote:
    You may have been getting £35, but I’ll bet you were charged out at higher (probably double that). £15 per hour is (IMHO) seriously underselling yourself – as I said, ask a couple of tradespeople their rates and ask if you are doing a less skilled job

    Thanks, I’ll give it some thought but I am primarily dealing with a home market. Yeah, maybe I could charge more, but I’m still feeling my way through this stuff. It was only £35/hour, I was a direct hire, not working for an agency :)

    biggles77;n514296 wrote:
    Trust me, it gets old REAL quick and you get bored shitless. Keeping skill levels up doesn’t happen because there is no reason to. You have to have something to apply them to. You might try getting work as a tech in the schools in your area to give you some sort of income.

    Well yes, however I have interests primarily my writing. I am also doing most of the chores around the house since my wife is still working plus we have a major DIY project coming up.

    Yes, I am looking at the education sector (though more at Uni level) but I’m wary of putting some of those other things on the backburner so realistically I am looking at part time or short contract work.

    biggles77;n514296 wrote:
    Good luck with your options.

    Thanks :)

    Keke


    tehcamel
    Moderator
    #360140

    A bit belated to this thread.. but I hope this is all going well for you. Some things to consider, if you haven’t already:
    To figure out how much to actually charge, you need to work out what you want to pay yourself
    Then realise you won’t ever bill at 100% capacity, so if you want to make, say, £500 a week, or £100 a day in your pocket, on the basis of let’s say 4 hours work, you need to bill £25/hr.
    But then on top of that is all your adminisrative costs.. doing the books, paying accountants, keeping up with your tax obligations etc. In honesty, I’d say close to 40% of my workload isn’t actual billable tech work


    Kyuuketsuki
    Participant
    #312534
    tehcamel;n515301 wrote:
    A bit belated to this thread.. but I hope this is all going well for you. Some things to consider, if you haven’t already

    Thx for all the advice :)

    Things have become a lot simpler now … it’s no longer “SEMI”, I have retired and I have to say it’s great :)

    I’ve listend to advice (both here and elsewhere) as to what to charge and have decided that £30 an hour is the way to go BUT, as a launch deal, am offering 50% of that, the idea being it will go back to normal rate in, say, 6 months. Things are slow right now but word is getting around … this, in combination with my writing and promoting my first book, is OK for me at present :)

    Keke


    Hirsch
    Member
    #391447

    I know someone in a similar position to you and he has a set rate and charges in 15 minute blocks PLUS travel. He also give pensioners a discount but can’t remember how much; it may be 15%. He got that busy that he now won’t travel more than 20 minutes from his home and he still turns down work. Make sure you have business cards to give to customers so word of mouth can spread the advertising.


    Kyuuketsuki
    Participant
    #312535
    JJKing;n515606 wrote:
    I know someone in a similar position to you and he has a set rate and charges in 15 minute blocks PLUS travel. He also give pensioners a discount but can’t remember how much; it may be 15%. He got that busy that he now won’t travel more than 20 minutes from his home and he still turns down work. Make sure you have business cards to give to customers so word of mouth can spread the advertising.

    I do yes … some good ideas there :)

    Keke

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