Thank you Larry for all the time and energy you have put in, to convince me in fresh installs.
One major problem I have had is to estimate the size of a job, and set some realistic target as far as charges which may be involved. Some jobs are impossible, as I have always seen it taken twice as much as I originally anticipated. Current economy also doesn't help as every business is pressed for $$.
My projects usually involve on-site work, so I can't hold the computer until they pay me. To this date, i haven't asked for any money upfront. I believe that happens when customer is planning for a project, not emergency situations. I mostly get called in, when a PC or a Network isn't functioning. and It turns out to be major rather than a minor , which is customer's expectations. I should start asking for some % to start. Thou, i still estimate as I am fixing a computer for my siter or mom!
My last 3 jobs I received 20% to 50% less than I billed for. One of them i even took to small claims, and that's the last one I ever taken to court. Even the judge told me, his wife is self-employed and he wouldn't promote her to do so. I truly got less than what the guy had offered me to settle out of court !! JUdge basically cut the bill in half. He was a computer savy thou, i liked him personally. (Judges aren't very likable, if you know what I mean.. I don't see any patience or respect for general public in them...Note, I used to hang out in traffic courts a lot !!)
Sorry to confuse the thread with Independent contractor 101, but my brother-in-law who is an accountant recently mentioned that small businesses do have a budget for accounting services, but none for computer services. That's so true. I think some standards should be developed and that would force MS and other s/w vendors to clean up their act too.
I have seen a lot of people who would buy a new box, perhaps latest PC from Dell, but not willing to pay for any service.
I find it hard, to get respect from all these lowly small and not so small business owners, but I willl continue this game for now..