As computer repair technicians, the first thing we get asked when it comes to a faulty computer is “how much will it cost?”. The short answer to that question is, it depends on the problem. When we get calls about a computer issue and how much it would cost, we always ask them to come by our store for a quick checkup first. This gets us a clear idea of the problem for us to offer the right support solution. At our Inner West Sydney store, we offer a free quote for this checkup and quote at your convenience.

So what determines the price to repair a laptop or desktop computer? Most of the time when you ask the big question, you rarely get an answer online or on the phone. In this guide we set out to shed some light on why repair services avoid giving their prices to the public, or over the phone. Of course, we can’t speak on behalf of other businesses, these are some general opinions and experiences from our technicians to you.

What’s involved

Diagnosing a laptop

Let’s go through our computer repair process. As you can expect, you won’t always know the problem straight away. Even with our experience, a computer error can be caused by a range of things. When a customer brings their computer to us, we will do a quick initial test. It usually takes 5-15 minutes, sometimes up to half an hour to determine the likely cause of the issue. There is no charge for this initial test, and no repairs are actually done during the process.

Once we’ve figured out what might be causing the issue, we’ll then look up the required part’s availability and price from a supplier. This may take longer if the part is not in stock or is out of market. It will need a suitable alternative. If we don’t currently have the spare part in store, we’ll also need to look up the estimated delivery time of the part.

After gathering all this information, we’ll be able to give a quote and an approximate turn-around time for the customer. We don’t do full diagnostics at this stage, which are tests that would take more than half an hour. The initial test is solely to propose a resolution, a quote, and an estimate for turn-around time. Sometimes we may not know the exact part model that is needed, but we’d know the approximate price for the repair. We wouldn’t want a customer to have to wait more than an hour to know what’s wrong with their computer either.

Complications with computer repairs

There can be times that we get it wrong after an initial test, we’re only human after all. Sometimes our proposed resolution does not fix the problem completely. The issue may go away for a while, and turn up again after a few days. While we do tests after repairing to make sure it is fixed, it may take more than one attempt to repair a recurring issue.

Some problems are just that complicated and take time to fix. This is where our guarantees come in. We offer a 90-day warranty on the reported problem: if the same issue returns within this period, we will fix it again for free. No fix, no fee — if we can’t fix the problem at all, we will give a full refund.

Have a read of our pricing and FAQ page for more information. We explain more about our prices and guarantees, where you may understand more about our process.

How much does a computer repair cost, really?

That’s quite a loaded question. A computer repair can cost differently depending on where you go to get it serviced, and what the problem is. Different places can charge you more for the same kind of labour at another. Or, the repair solution from different spots may be different for the same issue, and can cost you more or less. Prices can vary and there are many factors that could affect the price.

Factors that could affect the price to repair a computer

We don’t know what the problem is yet

It’s quite common that the reported issue turns out to be another issue. Customers do tell us about an issue on their computers, and after testing, it comes out as something very different.

When we’re confident about our diagnosis after testing, that’s when we give prices. Otherwise, misdiagnosis or giving a quote for the wrong repair would not be helpful. This is why an in-store check up is so important. An accurate diagnosis and support solution can save you from wasting money on a wrong solution.

Supplier’s prices can change

A part of the price to fix a computer is determined by the prices of spare computer parts needed. Suppliers may change their prices and this also affects our overall price to fix the computer.

The condition of the computer may be different from what’s reported on the phone

If the condition reported over the phone is different when it actually is, it’s difficult to gauge the damage and how extensive the problem is. That’s why we don’t give a price over the phone. We’ll need to see the actual computer and then see what we can do for you.

desktop PC computer

Big brands like Apple and Microsoft don’t disclose their prices to the public. In fact, most companies don’t, and there’s a good reason for it. Obviously we want to provide the right service for the right price, and having a consistent process is what gets it done.

Why don’t companies disclose computer repair prices to the public?

Financial concerns

It is not financially beneficial for companies to give prices over the phone: companies can’t charge consumers for giving quotes over the phone. You’ll likely lose customers immediately if you want to charge just to give a quote over the phone so every company would probably avoid that. Thus, practically no company would have staff to just go through details and give quotes for repairs for free.

Incorrect pricing

There are hundreds of different computer models that contain different parts. These do come with different problems, of course. With this, we have to properly check the computer to understand the problem, then look up prices with suppliers.

Without going through all these steps, the technician will likely give wrong prices to customers which then lead to unhappy experiences. To avoid giving incorrect prices, it is common practice to check on the computer beforehand.

Not all repairs are the same

Customers are different, and their computers are different too. We’re not just talking about separate computer models here, two computers of the same model could also be different too.

When you’ve used your laptop or desktop computer for quite a while, you’ve probably accumulated some apps and programs and have personalised settings for your convenience. Sometimes the computer technician needs to find a customised solution to suit a customer’s needs over a general approach to fix the problem. With that said, we then can’t give a general quote for all repairs, even of the same part. Some might require more attention and a different approach.

Even so, there are times where the problem is obvious and prices can be made to the public. For example, Apple lists prices for battery replacements for certain models of Mac computers, iPhones, and iPads on their support site. Some phone repairers list their prices to the public for obvious issues that do not need any testing to confirm. When it’s a direct and obvious issue, you can probably get an estimated price to repair it. Still, it’s a good idea to get it checked out first. You can always choose not to do it anyway.

Things you can do to reduce your cost to fix your computer

external hard drive data transfer

Let’s face it, our laptops and desktop computers do not last forever and you’ll have to get it fixed either way. When we think about how much it costs to fix a computer, we’ll also be thinking about how to get it done cheaper.

There are a few ways to reduce the cost, by making sure that you’re not getting extra unnecessary repairs that you could’ve been prepared for. This includes backing up your data from time to time, and not leaving things to the last minute.

Data backups

Keeping regular backups of your data will not only reduce the cost to fix a computer but will also reduce turn-around time significantly. Technicians won’t need to worry about data loss while working on the computer, giving them less work to do. For a hard drive failure, you might not need data recovery done either.

Setting up data backup can take less than a minute to do so with TimeMachine on Apple Macs and File History on Windows laptops and desktop computers. It is dead easy, and a healthy computing habit that we recommend every computer user to keep.

Don’t leave things to the last minute

This goes for almost everything in life, really. Computer repairs can take a while, and urgent repairs aren’t always available. When you really do need it done as soon as possible, be prepared to pay a premium price. So, plan ahead and be prepared. Repair services often offer a rental laptop while your computer is in the shop, if you’re worried about not having a spare computer to use in the meantime.

What to know how long it takes to repair a computer? This is also something we get asked a lot. Turn-around time, like the cost to repair a computer, can also depend on a range of factors. Learn more about how we sometimes can’t promise an urgent repair in our guide here.

Generally a premium product like Apple iMacs and Macbooks will cost more to purchase, and naturally cost more to fix too. Cars are generally the same: a Mercedes will cost more to buy and more for regular maintenance services than a Toyota.

Newer laptop models (ones with retina display, 4K screen, butterfly keyboard) will also cost significantly more to fix. This is because of its compact, sophisticated design, which calls for a higher cost for parts. Most hardware repairs such as the keyboard, screen on these new models can cost at least $400-$500 (as of 2020), it can go over easily if it’s a major issue. Those Macbook retina screens are stunning, but it will cost easily $700+ to replace if it is cracked. A computer’s repairability is also something you should be thinking about, when buying a new laptop or desktop computer.

Getting a professional repair with us

We’re here to help. At Safemode Computer Service, our experienced technicians can help you find the right repair solution for your laptop or desktop computer. Our services are highly-rated in Sydney, where we are located in the Inner West. We can help you with any computer upgrade and repair related issue, and offer a free quote. No hard feelings if you don’t go with us, we can still advise you with your laptop or desktop computer. Come by our Enmore store or make an appointment with us today!