Solved Fair labor costs for a custom family built (non-gaming) PC

June 5, 2012 at 05:39:45
Specs: Windows Vista
My nephew is building me a new PC. I have paid for the parts, but want to know what to expect to pay for labor. I am afraid he won't charge me a fair price because I am family.

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✔ Best Answer
June 5, 2012 at 12:31:43
Pay based on skill, warranty and professionalism.

If he is a highly trained computer or IT person and he offers his time to help fix it later and he builds it under ESD workbench then it may be worth up to $100/hr.

If he is just some kid that thinks he can do it and later when it fails runs away it may not be worth any money at all.

Personally if you were my family I would do it for free. I have done it for so many friends and family I can't count. Pay him in Karma and cookies.

If people insist then I ask what I expect to get. Cookies from little old ladies, an old wrench from an old man. A comic book from a kid and so forth. I expect hugs and kisses from young women too.

Hang up and live.



#1
June 5, 2012 at 06:54:35
It's difficult to put a price on the labor. Can you post the parts list? It would be interesting to see if he's putting together a quality system for you (or not). Hopefully he's buying the parts online from a reliable vendor such as newegg because if he's getting the parts form say, BestBuy, you're most likely going to be paying way too much. All I can suggest is looking into what a comparable system from Acer, Dell, Gateway, HP, etc would cost.

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#2
June 5, 2012 at 07:20:02
Putting together a rig isn't a hard job, the real challenge comes from software side. Is he going to install OS and all of your applications?

You know the real meaning of peace only if you have been through the war.


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#3
June 5, 2012 at 09:15:08
Good point. The actual hardware assembly doesn't take much time at all. It takes much longer to install & configure Windows & all the additional software. Is your nephew experienced at building computers & installing software?

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Related Solutions

#4
June 5, 2012 at 09:26:48
He is getting better quality parts from Newegg than one would expect to find in a ready made computer.....seven fans (!) and everything built to my needs as a photographer. It is actually completed and up and running. I won't see him until next month as he is in another state. I just wanted to be prepared. This guy totally knows what he is doing and put it together very fast.

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#5
June 5, 2012 at 09:28:33
Yes, he loaded the OS. I will load my own applications.

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#6
June 5, 2012 at 10:20:51
You don't need 7 fans. I would question the ability of the builder.

If you know the list of hardware items I suggest you post them here for critic. Be exact with model numbers. Include the case and the power supply.

Neewegg.com is an excellent online vendor but they do sell low end stuff too.


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#7
June 5, 2012 at 10:30:26
Agreed, 7 fans is overkill.

You know the real meaning of peace only if you have been through the war.


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#8
June 5, 2012 at 12:31:43
✔ Best Answer
Pay based on skill, warranty and professionalism.

If he is a highly trained computer or IT person and he offers his time to help fix it later and he builds it under ESD workbench then it may be worth up to $100/hr.

If he is just some kid that thinks he can do it and later when it fails runs away it may not be worth any money at all.

Personally if you were my family I would do it for free. I have done it for so many friends and family I can't count. Pay him in Karma and cookies.

If people insist then I ask what I expect to get. Cookies from little old ladies, an old wrench from an old man. A comic book from a kid and so forth. I expect hugs and kisses from young women too.

Hang up and live.


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#9
June 5, 2012 at 13:31:58
@ Islandwoman,

You really haven't told us a single thing about the system other than it has 7 fans. And I can just about guarantee that not a single experienced helper in these forums would recommend that many fans, not even for a hardcore gaming system. If you're willing to post the detailed specs - CPU, motherboard, RAM, hard drive, case, power supply, etc - we would be glad to offer our opinions on whether you were built a quality system or not & take a stab at it's value. But if having 7 fans was his selling point, I have to guess that he's an inexperienced builder.


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#10
June 5, 2012 at 14:54:39
Thanks for your help. I know he is going to do it for free, I just want to pay him something because he is going to school and working at night and he is saving me a lot of money. My nephew went to school for gaming design. He said he had seven fans (gaming takes more, I guess) and because I live in HOT Florida and don't always air condition the room the PC is in, I said I wanted 7 fans, too!! My request, nothing he was trying to "sell" me. I needed a four core processor, but he is putting in an 8 core. Why not? Lots of RAM, etc. After I talked with him and he knew so much more than I did, I threw away my notes and just said "go for it." I spent $1000. on parts, so I know he is not putting in cheap, low quality parts. He is my nephew and I don't have any kids, so I'm just going to give him $100 and hope he is not insulted. It's going to cost a fortune just to have it mailed down here to Florida from Michigan. Thanks for your help.

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#11
June 5, 2012 at 15:47:10
@Islandwoman
More fans doesn't mean better cooling, please read the following article
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/prin...

and we are begging for system specs.

You know the real meaning of peace only if you have been through the war.


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#12
June 5, 2012 at 15:53:55
He can use the money. Nice of you to offer. Might ask him for an idea of what it might be worth.

I am not a student and don't need the money so cookies are my request. I am sure a student could use money.

Hang up and live.


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#13
June 5, 2012 at 17:41:34
$1000 is an awful lot to pay for hardware for a non-gaming build. Does that include a monitor & a legit copy of Windows 7?

If you know very little about computer hardware, you're at the mercy of the person selling or building you a computer. Maybe your nephew knows his stuff, maybe he doesn't. So far, you haven't told us a single thing we can use to determine his know-how. However, his desire to install 7 fans is not a good indicator. At the most, you need 2 fans, one to bring fresh air into the case, & one to exhaust the warm air out of the case. And to take a line directly from the AMD Builders Guide for Desktop/Tower Systems - "Front intake fans have not proven to be a significant benefit for vertical cases". That means that in most instances, a single rear exhaust fan is all that's necessary. If you checked the link posted by kuwese in response 11, the testers recommend 2 fans. Regardless, it's unlikely you will find any reputable hardware site recommending more than that.

More fans doesn't mean better cooling any more than high cost means high quality.

It's hard to say if you're overpaying for the hardware without seeing a spec sheet. And when I say "overpaying", I mean paying for what you don't need or will never take advantage of. Like getting a $250 enthusiast's motherboard when a standard $75 motherboard will do just as well. Or getting a $200+ octo-core CPU when a $100 quad-core will offer equal or even better performance. Or getting a 1000W power supply for $200 when a 600W unit for about $60 is perfectly adequate.

RAM is another issue. I don't know what you mean by "lots", but RAM is subject to the "law of diminishing returns". A lot depends on the software you're running, but I doubt you'd see any significant advantage with more than 8GB.

You've been asked to post the hardware specs several times but you seem reluctant to do it. So I suggest you take jefro's advice - give him the $100 & some cookies & call it a day.


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#14
June 5, 2012 at 22:26:01
@Islandwoman

I understand that you asked for the seven fans thinking of the heat in Florida. I am in Florida also. The machine I am on at the moment also has seven fans if we count them all. One fairly large in the front of the case, one midsized in the side door of the case, two small ones in the rear of the case. These are all case fans that came from the manufacturer in this case. There is also a fan on my video card, of course the fan mounted on the heatsink of the cpu, and one in the powersupply. This makes for a total of seven. Most I think believe when you say seven fans that you are talking only about case fans. Seven case fans is indeed a bit much even for the most high end gaming rig.

More fans does not always mean more cooling because it is easy to end up with them working against eachother or the air just passes straight through the case never circulating and removing any heat.

As for your original question: I have not really been at this but a few years myself. When I first started actually "working" on computers a bit of what I was doing was building for friends and family. It was hard but I felt I needed to make something because I was afterall trying to pay my bills with this. I started out charging $100 per build. After a while I realized that some were much easier than others and the time used was not really worth that much. Meaning some only wanted the hardware put together. If I had researched the parts right this should take less than an hour for the average build.

Also I always made them select the parts. My feeling has always been that if all they are doing is checking email and browsing chatrooms then they don't need the most top of the line parts. Onboard video would be fine versus a $500 video card. If they just have to have the greatest thing out right now then they selected it not me. I showed them it wasn't needed and how much they could have saved.

Think about how much time he spent going over things with you. Discussing what parts are needed versus what parts can be used and how much time he spent researching the parts. Not all parts just work together. For someone that has been doing this a while this part doesn't take much time but for someone with less experience buying the parts they may have to spend a few hours at this stage. Give him five hours for the build. This covers puting the hardware together, installing the operating system, and tracking down and installing all the newest drivers for the hardware. Now and again this can be a bit of a pain. Don't forget the shipping costs of the parts and the cost in shipping the finish product to you. Give him $10 per hour for this. If you think this is low double it. Keep in mind if this is what he was doing for a living yours would not be the only pc he worked on that day.

Likely


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#15
June 6, 2012 at 12:52:26
I'd be insulted at $10 myself. Pay me what I could get at overtime rate or nothing at all.

My overtime rate is really high too.

Hang up and live.


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#16
June 6, 2012 at 13:59:19
Did I type $10 ???? I meant $100. for Pete's Sake !!!

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