CustomCPU is just a little computer repair shop, but sometimes we are a very busy place. Here is a list of the more common types of computer services we offer and the average cost. These published prices are soft and can vary a bit because we really don't know how much it will cost until we know all the repairs your computer needs. Our hourly rate is $89.50, but many jobs are flat rated for labor unless there is some exceptional problem or situation.
That’s right. Anytime we can fix a problem within the first 10 minutes or so, the labor is free. And since it is not unusual to have a simple software or hardware problem that requires no parts, we often have customers in and out the door with a repaired computer under their arm and pay absolutely nothing. However we never refuse a free cookie or two which some customers offer up as a gratuity when they receive our help with a quick fix.
The Wipe and Dipe Service is simply wiping the hard drive of your computer completely clean and reloading the operating system to original condition. All your data, all viruses, all programs everything on the computer is wiped out and you start fresh just like a new computer. We remove the dust bunnies from your computer with compressed air, and inspect the fans to make sure it is ready to be an obedient and reliable family servant again. We also load a free antivirus program called Avast, and an anti-spyware program called Spybot Search and Destroy. You will have the option of buying the for sale version of Avast and Malware bytes as well, or bringing in your own choice of Antivirus and Anti-malware program for us to load for you. But remember we are cranky seasoned citizens and prone to being opinionated and that means you might hear about our opinion of some of the better selling, but under performing antivirus programs. If there are any hardware problems those will be extra of course.
Everybody has heard about backing up their data, but quite a few don't, therefore we offer the Wipe and Dipe with Data Save. This is pretty much the same service as the Wipe and Dipe, but in addition we pull the hard drive from your computer and back the data up on a shop computer before we start the hard drive cleaning process. It takes an average of 1/2 billable hour to save the data, bringing the total cost to $134.25. As with the wipe and dipe, the options include putting in a new drive which costs an extra $100 or so and adding the optional Paid Antivirus and Anti malware products.
Because we often have a week to 10 day backlog of items waiting to be repaired and some customers need to be serviced immediately we offer an express labor rate. With express labor your item goes to the front of the waiting list and repair starts as soon as there is a spot on the workbench. But since putting one customer ahead of the other leads to the folks at the southern end of the waiting list to either chew us out for taking too long, or worse just taking the repair job elsewhere, we charge $134.25 per hour for Express Service. If we are going to be chewed out, or lose a customer we are going to make somebody pay extra. It only seems fair from our perspective to put that extra fee on the guy going to the head of the list.
We are not experts at operating all the different kinds of software on the market. But because we are very experienced at computers going back to CPM and earlier operating systems than DOS or Windows, we can often muddle our way through making most software packages work much more quickly than the average computer user. We speak geek and can get on the phone with Tech Support from whatever software company exists, or research various help forums to find out how to work around many frustrating software problems. If you are at your wits end and would like our help, we are happy to oblige.
Believe it or not, many folks buy a brand name computer from a big box store and find it is filled with undesirable advertizing for different websites, backup services, word processing trials, and registry repair programs and the like. We call this "bloatware". It just takes up space on your computer and in your registry and slows the computer down. If you are uncomfortable deleting these kinds of things because you are afraid you might delete the wrong thing, we can help. We know what should and shouldn't be on your computer. And since we are experienced and opinionated, we will gladly spend the hour or so it takes to remove the "bloat" from your new computer. Remember, if you buy a computer from us, it will never have unwanted "extra" programs beyond what is needed to keep the computer running smoothly.
Triage is what we do when we receive items for repair. We pick the low hanging fruit first. Items that we know have a high likelyhood of being in and out the door in a budgetable amount of time are worked on very soon after arrival. More difficult or complex issues tend to fall to the end of the list. You may find this hard to believe but computers can be very frustrating to repair. Sometimes they are so difficult that it is not worth the expense to repair them. Thus difficult jobs can often times take much more time to fix than we can charge for the job. So we earn much less per hour to complete these tough jobs I call "Dogs" and they end up being worked on in a "spare time" period of low workload. Better a little bit of pie than no pie at all as my granny used to say.
Sometimes the old reliable computer becomes more of a relic sitting in the basement. But you want the data like photographs, documents and music saved to DVD before you junk the old thing. We can back it up to optical media, or set you up with an external hard drive with your old hard drive in it, complete with all your data for one flat rate in most cases. The only exception is if you have hundreds of gigabytes of data, then it will revert to a time and materials basis.
Often times when a hard drive dies, we can use specialty software to recover a good bit of it. In most cases, if we can recover some or most of your data the fee is $89.50, but there are many exceptions to this rule. Sometimes we have to send the drive to a lower 48 partner company to have forensic data recovery in a clean room environment. This type of service can easily run into the thousands of dollars. In many cases the costs outweigh the benefit and folks simply live with the loss of their photographs and music and carry on.
For some folks, the problem is not saving the data, but getting rid of it. The old computer is in the basement, obsolete and unloved. It still works fine, but is not as fast as the new one so it sits forlornly in the corner of the family room. You want to give it away or junk it but what will become of the data that resides on the computer. You know that just erasing the data does not remove it. Any person with a recovery program can access all of your photos, tax returns, emails and even trace what you do when you are on the internet. We can help. We can use multiple rewrites of the entire hard drive using random patterns so that even the NSA cannot retrieve the data. This is a very time consuming job, but luckily our computers do all the work, all we do is set it up and make it happen which means the service is relatively inexpensive.
When the LCD goes out on your laptop, it is often just the backlight bulb or the backlight inverter, but sometimes it is the LCD panel itself that goes out. When we must replace the entire panel the average cost is around $214.00, but since not all monitors cost the same amount please don't hold my feet to the fire on this price. This is just the average cost.
There is a wide variation possible here. The DC Power jack replacement is a common repair job. If you leave your laptop plugged into the AC adaptor cord sooner or later you will break the DC Power Jack. The labor runs from a low of $44.75 to a high of $179 with 0 to $20 in parts cost. But on the average I think the $179 to $199 is a good average.
Sometimes with a laptop computer the repair requires replacement of one or more of the integrated circuits on the motherboard. This requires a soldering technique called BGA soldering or "Ball Grid Array" blind soldering. There isn't enough work in Alaska to warrant buying a BGA rework station so I remove motherboard from the computer and send it out to the lower 48 for repair. When they get back to Anchorage, I replace them in the computer and test them out. This runs about $289 on average including all shipping and labor. Prices may vary from time to time.
There are only two basic reasons a computer doesn't work correctly, hardware and/or software. In most cases we will change out one or two defective components for anywhere between $0 and $89.50. Some things like changing out a bad stick of ram are so simple and easy that we don't charge any labor at all because it falls within our policy of quick fixes are free. As specified above, every customer who walks through our door is entitled to 10 minutes of our time free of charge. Often times that means the computer comes in the door, problems identified and repaired and the customer leaves with his now working computer and there is no labor charge, and often no charge at all as it is not unusual for the customer to be doing something wrong and we just have to point it out.
What is a computer upgrade? Generally speaking it means changing one or more of the parts in your computer to give it extra speed, or more storage space, or an extra feature it didn't have before. The price is exactly the same as a general computer repair in most cases, an hour of labor plus parts. But if you have an especially complex computer there could easily be several hours of labor charged.
A brand new Custom built computer for Free! I don't think so. This is just to point out that if you have us build a new computer for you, totally from parts purchased from us, there is normally no labor fee. If you want me to use parts you purchased elsewhere or scavenged parts or operating system from your old computer then we normally charge between one and two hours of labor or $89.50-$179.00.
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