Your business advise, please!??

  LillyValley 09:05 22 Aug 2004

I'm a sole trader IT Support Specialist (..and master of none :8} )and quite fedup to provide IT Support for free, to family and friends, anytime of the day.
It's bad enough working as sole trader (a disabled sole trader) in the IT Support industry, ie work from home as IT Expert, and try to get on with the taxman as well.

So I thought of paying for a 0845/0207 package to earn a few pence a minute, when a friend calls for 'free' technical support. But I don't know which company would provide me with an affordable package that it's not going to cost me an harm and a leg :D

Your advise is greatly appreciated.

  Sapins 09:13 22 Aug 2004

Find out what these supposed friends and family do for a living and phone them at all times of day to ask for advice, better still, just tell them politely that your business is your livelihood and they must pay as any other customer does. At least you will find out who your true friends are.

  Forum Editor 09:40 22 Aug 2004

being a so-called expert - friends and family do ask for free advice, and speaking personally I'm always quite happy to oblige as long as nobody takes a liberty.

Charging your friends at premium rate because they phone to ask for your advice is a pretty good way to ensure that you soon have no friends, and if you'll take my (free) advice you'll forget all about the idea.

  Bandy 10:07 22 Aug 2004

I tend to agree with FE.

I also have some friends who are a bit of a pain but consider that to be part of life.

I know that when I have problems with plumbing, repairs to the lawnmower etc they are the first to come and help me. Time spent repairing other peoples computers has helped me considerably.

  LillyValley 10:18 22 Aug 2004

I'm listening...

  Sapins 10:28 22 Aug 2004

Another idea would be to set up a bartering system, keep a check on hours you put in and ask friends/family to repay you with their time. Just type Bartering Systems into Google for details.

  LillyValley 10:33 22 Aug 2004

A note to the Forum Editor: very few things come 'free' in life. And the 'just get with it attitude' is the one the I've always had, and it ended me in a wheelchair.
Thank you gentlemen for your advise.

  spuds 13:47 22 Aug 2004

Get a copy of the weekly issued Exchange and Mart from most newsagents [about 30p/60p]. There are a number of companies who can provide information on these additional phone services.

  Al94 20:12 22 Aug 2004

I spent almost 6 hours on Friday clearing out a friend's family's three PC's, installing spyware blockers etc and XP SP2. I got a free lunch and a few beers - that's what friends are for.

  Dorsai 19:44 24 Aug 2004

Or if one or two particular people are taking advantage just try saying, after deliberatly not solving the problem, "I don't know then, try such and such, but it will cost you"

After a while persistant offenders might get the message, and stop asking, as you arn't helping, but are being helpfully unhelpful.

  davidg_richmond 22:50 24 Aug 2004

Was round at a friend's installing a CD writer and getting a floppy disk part out of a drive while simultaneously taking a call from my uncle who was asking me how to sort out his AOL Broadband.

Got pasta & pizza off my mate, had a few beers and a laugh, while I know I'll end up round my uncle's sometime getting drunk and free tabs (cigarettes). Sorting out another PC for beers on Thursday too. So it's not all bad. Its a social thing that I do away from work.

Just suggest they pop round with their PCs or nip round to theirs and get something back from em!

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