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How much does it cost?

We contacted Which? Local-recommended traders to find out how much standard jobs should cost and how quickly they should be completed. Armed with this information, you’ll feel confident about hiring traders and be better equipped to spot when things aren't right.

Issue 10 - Computer repairs: how much should you pay?


We surveyed recommended computer repair professionals around the country to find out how much you should spend on standard PC repairs, and how long the jobs should take.

Computer USB cable

We asked Which? Local-recommended computer repair shops and specialists to complete a survey about the price and completion time for 11 standard computer repair jobs.

Armed with this information, you'll know what questions to ask, roughly what price you can expect to pay and how long jobs should take when hiring a PC repair technician.

Computer repair prices and completion times

All of our prices include labour and materials but exclude VAT.

Hardware failure

JobDetailsTypical price quotesPrice rangeTypical time to complete jobGood to know
Laptop computer - supply and replace power socketn/a£70£55-851-2 hoursn/a
Desktop - power supply failure – supply and replace power supply unitSupply and replace ATX power supply unit of 500-600 watts£55£45-£700.5–1 hourn/a
Desktop - replace hard driveHard drive failure. Supply and replace 500Gb hard drive. Reinstall software. Transfer data from old hard drive to new.£120£100-£1452–4 hoursIf data has been corrupted and needs recovering (ie: it’s not as simple as a straight transfer) then expect this to take longer.

Virus or malware removal

JobDetailsTypical price quotedPrice rangeTypical time to complete job Good to know
PC - removal of malware (scamware or spyware)Scan, remove and repair. Assuming a common type of malware.£45£40-£601–4 hoursTypical price and time depend on the severity of the problem.
PC – removal of virusScan remove and repair. Assuming most common virus.£50£40-£651–4 hoursTypical price and time depend on the severity of the problem.

Accidents

JobDetailsTypical price quotedPrice rangeTypical time to complete jobGood to know
Laptop – liquid damage/drink spillageQuote for drying out various parts. Assuming that nothing needs replacing.£45£35-£601–4 hoursParts will need to dry out for at least 24 hours. It’s likely that some parts might need replacing after an accident like this, particularly the keyboard. So be prepared to pay more.
Laptop - supply and replace broken laptop screenSupply and replace a 15.6 inch screen.£105£90-£1251–2 hoursThese prices include the parts needed but this might vary depending on the make and model of your laptop. Although the actual job should only take an hour or two, if the part is not in stock you might have to wait several days for it to be ordered.

Installations and upgrades

JobDetailsTypical price quotedPrice rangeTypical time to complete jobGood to know
PC - install new operating systemInstall Windows 7 on a PC.£60£45-£801-3 hoursExpect to pay at the lower end of the scale (£45) if you provide your own Windows 7 software. Asking the trader to supply software will increase the price. Most traders can supply software, but check how much they charge for this as you might be able to buy it more cheaply yourself elsewhere.
Visit customer’s home to set up a new desktop computerSet up home PC with standard monitor, mouse, keyboard, printer and wi-fi.£55£40-£701–2 hoursMany will offer this service for free if you buy your new computer from them. This is a basic set up of hardware. Expect to pay more if you want data transferred from old computer or any software installed.
Upgrade RAMSupply and install an extra 2Gb of RAM in a standard PC upgrading it from 2Gb to 4Gb.£45£34-£550.25–0.5 hoursThis is a very quick job and many traders told us that they would only charge for the RAM itself and fit it for free.

Data and maintenance

JobDetailsTypical price quotedPrice rangeTypical time to complete job Good to know
Survey conducted in July 2012
PC - carry out a general serviceMachine running slow. Clean up; no faults or upgrades needed.£45£35-£501-2 hoursn/a
Laptop – transfer all data and reinstall programs from hard drive of old laptop to new laptopAssuming laptop has 320GB hard drive and is running Windows 7.£50£40-£701–2 hoursTypical price and time to complete job depend on how much data there is on the hard drive.

Computer repairs: trader tips

In addition to the pricing and completion time information, the recommended computer repair technicians who participated in our survey also shared some helpful advice.

Research methodology

In July 2012, we sent a survey to all Which? Local traders in the Computer shops, repairs and consultants category with a rating of three stars or more and an email address.

135 traders responded to the survey. Using their experience and expertise, they answered questions about the cost of popular jobs, and how long they should take to complete.

Read more about the methodology

Check call out fees
Most computer repairers will come out to your home to fix a computer problem but most are likely to charge a call-out fee for this.

Cheaper to take it in
In most cases, it works out cheaper for the trader to fix your computer at their own premises. Here, they can work on several computers at once (processes such as scanning or installing software take time) so you will only pay for the time they spend working on it, not the waiting time as well.

Be prepared to wait
'Typical time to complete job' is the total number of hours that the trader will actually spend working on your computer (the hours you are billed for). In reality, expect to wait several days or more, particularly if waiting for parts to be delivered or lengthy scans or installs to take place.

Free pick up and drop off
If you can’t get your computer to the store ask about free collection and delivery. Many traders offer this.

Free diagnosis?
Ask if the trader offers a free consultation for diagnosing problems. Some will take a look at it for free and just charge to fix the problem.



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