The Systems Administrator’s Price List

by techtiptom

Originally posted on on 9/17/2012:

The Systems Administrator’s Price List:
Write me at, if any of these things sound familiar!!
Regular (as it were) Prices:

• Calling me with a question — $10
• Calling me with a stupid question — $20
• Calling me with a stupid question you can’t quite articulate – $30
• Implying I’m incompetent because I can’t interpret your inarticulate problem description – $1000+punitive damages
• Questions received via phone without first trying help desk – $10.00
• Questions where answer is in TFM – $10.00 (this should have been higher 🙂
• Questions during Remote session – $20.00
• Calling me back with the same problem *after* I fix it once – $100
• Insisting that you’re not breaking the software, the problem is on my end somehow – $200
• Asking me to walk over to your building to fix the problem – $5/step
• Asking me to drive to another town to fix your problem – $50/mile+gas
• If you interrupt me while I was reading news – $25/hr
• If you interrupt me while I was trying to count all the icons on my screen – $35/hr
• If you interrupt me while I was trying to actually fix somebody else’s problem – $45/hr
• If you try to hang around and get me to fix it now – $50/hr
• If you expect me to tell you how I fixed it – $60/hr
• If you’ve come to ask me why something isn’t working that I’m currently working on – $70/hr
• If you’re asking me to fix something I fixed for you yesterday – $75/hr
• If you’re asking me to fix something I told you I fixed yesterday, but never did fix – $85/hr
• If you’re asking me to fix a quick patch that I made that didn’t work – $95/hr
• If you’re bugging me while there’s another admin in the room who could have done it for you – $150/hr
• Making me trek to your office to fix your problem then leaving immediately after hanging up the phone – $1500.00
• Calling up with a problem which “everybody” in the office is having and which is “stopping all work.” Not being there when I rush over to look at it and nobody else in the office knows anything about it. – $1700.00
• Explaining a problem for 1/2 hour over the phone BEFORE mentioning it’s your personal machine at home – $500.00
• Self-diagnosing your problem and informing me what to do – $150.00
• Having me bail you out when you perform your own repairs I told you not to do – $300.00
• Not telling all of your co-workers about it – $850.00
• Explaining that you can’t log in to some server because you don’t have an account there – $10
• Explaining that you don’t have an account on the machine you used to have an account on because you used it to try to break into the above server – $500
• Forgetting your password after it was tattooed on your index finger – $25
• Changing memory partitions without informing me first – $50
• Each time you call and start out by saying “I was fooling around on my computer when …” – $50 + $ 10 /hr to fix the problem + $ 30 /hr to clean up after you.
• Installing programs without informing me /getting permission first -$100 per program
• Technical support for the above programs – $150 per hour (regardless of whether I know the program or not :))
• Calling me to tell me that none of the users in your group can log on without telling me that you placed an order to remove applications for those users $25
• After I find out that you placed the order to DELETE all of your users $1,000 (including $4,000 discount for the hilarity factor)
• Leaving files on desktop – $5 per file, $10 per day the file is left unclaimed
• Bringing in your own copy of the original Norton Utilities v1.0 to fix a brand new machine – $200
• Putting feet up next to workstation after ten mile jog through city streets – $50
• Spending 30 minutes trying to figure out what your problem is, and another 5 explaining how to verify and fix it, only to hear you say… “So that’s what the little box that popped up on my screen was telling me to do!” – $40
• Dealing with tech support requests for obviously pirated software – $25
• Dealing with “How can I get another copy of [obviously pirated software]? Mine just died.” requests – $45
• Having to use the “We’re really not the best people to talk to about that; why don’t you try calling the number on the box in which you bought it?” line – $55
• Actually needing to explain copyright law to you after you failed to get the hint in the previous response – $95 (includes instructions for getting freeware replacements from the public file server)
• Having to point out anything that’s on the wall in a typeface larger than 18 points – $15
• If I wrote the sign – $45
• If it’s in a 144 point font and taped to the side of the monitor facing the door – $75
• Reporting slow connection by passenger pigeon packets to MPEG archive in Outer Slobavia as a Mosaic/Netscape/Gopher/FTP client problem – $25.00
• Reporting it more than once – $50.00
• Reporting it more than once and implying slothfulness on tech support’s inability to solve problem – $200.00

“Hardware Problem” Prices:

• Figuring out you mean floppy drive when you say hard drive – $50.00
• BEFORE I order your replacement hard drive – $250.00
• Telling me that you don’t have a hard drive $50
• Spending 15 minutes to find out the size of your hard drive (includes walking you through the process) $100
• Telling me that you don’t save anything to the any of the drives, you “just push a button and it goes off into computer land.” $50
• Fixing your “broken” mouse with a mousepad – $25.00
• Fixing your “broken” optical mouse by rotating the mousepad 90 degrees -$35.00
• Fixing your “broken” optical mouse by taking off the post-it note someone has put on the bottom. – $50.00
• Fixing a “broken” mouse by cleaning the rollers – $50.00
• Fixing your “broken” printer with an ink/toner cartridge – $35.00
• Fixing your “broken” ANYTHING with the power button – $250.00
• Fixing the “crashed” system by turning the external disk back on – $200.00
• Fixing the “hung” system by plugging the ethernet cable back in – $375.00
• Fixing the crashed nameserver by plugging back in the SCSI cord someone accidentally yanked out on Friday afternoon when the ‘real’ Systems Admin has just left for a two week vacation – $400
• Visiting your old university and fixing the broken PC by plugging the monitor lead back in – $50
• Spilling coke on keyboard – $25 plus cost of keyboard
• Spilling coke on monitor – $50 plus cost of monitor
• Spilling coke on CPU – $200 plus cost of motherboard swap plus hourly rate of $150 per hour spent reinstalling the system
• Cleaning the mouse with spit and sleeve – $50 plus cost of sleeve plus cost of therapy 🙂
• Chewing on the end of the graphic tablet stylus – $25
• Listening to your network troubles, suggesting that you check to see if you are plugged into the network jack, hearing yes, trying five other things, asking you to identify your plug type, listening to you drag furniture, and hearing a sheepish, “Oops. Nevermind.” – $35 (including discount for polite apology)

Beeper Prices:

• Beeping me when I’m out with the significant other – $50
• Beeping me when I’m out of town and I took pains to insure that help files were left all over and that diagnostics had been run on all machines before I left – $100
• Beeping me more than once to tell me that the printer’s offline and the fix is to press the On Line button – $200
• Beeping me more than once while I’m asleep – $50 per beep
• Beeping me and not identifying yourself within the first 5 seconds – $25
• Beeping me and then changing your story / denying you placed the call / hoped I would forget who caused the problem – $500
Special Rates:
• Dealing with user body odor – $75.00/hour
• Dealing with user not familiar with the primary language spoken at site – $50.00/hour
• Dealing with user who is (self-proclaimed) smarter than you are, but still calls every other day for help – $100.00/hour
• Dealing with computer hobbiests – $125.00/hour
• Questioning the other prices ……………………………$50