How much should I pay for someone to assemble my computer?
August 7, 2012 2:25 AM   Subscribe

If I got someone else (in the UK) to assemble my computer from the various components I've bought, how much should I expect to pay?

My old computer is on its last legs and in need of replacing.

I've worked out all the components I want to buy (it's a mid tower ATX case with all the usual things including a HDD and SSD) but I don't have the time at the moment to assemble it - especially all the faffing about with testing, installing, turning on, finding it doesn't power up and the inevitable stripping it down to work out what the problem is.

As such, I'm thinking about paying a family member who is into computers to do it for me as I think he'd do a good job (if not as fast as someone who does it as their day job). I'd buy all the components, ship them to him and then pay for him to assemble the computer, install Windows and the drivers but nothing more (mainly to verify that everything works okay).

My experience of assembling computers is about 10 years out of date so I'm trying to understand how long this would take and how much I should think about paying.

I did some Google searches but lots of places appear to do free assembly and make up the money by charging slightly more for each component - which makes it difficult to understand what the true cost would be.

I'm based in the UK.
posted by mr_silver to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
If they get it all right first time then about an hour for assembly and 1 hour to 90 minutes for installing windows + drivers (assuming a decent internet connection and fast computer)
If they're not very experienced it could take several hours to assemble (as you say, with finding it wont post and stripping it down and started again) - I once wasted over an hour on a build because I turned it on to check it would post before putting the side on anf hooking it up to all the peripherals, the mobo lit up with KB error - I stripped it down and started again, I googled the error (it wasn't in the manual), I eventually found out that KB error meant that there was no keyboard plugged in!
posted by missmagenta at 2:36 AM on August 7, 2012

I had some computers assembled for me from parts a few months ago.

For assembling 6 identical computers, the cheapest quote I got was £30 per computer, and the most expensive was £80.

Assembling a computer myself takes me several hours - I've done it before, but not regularly. And then another hour to install Windows - but that's mostly hands-off nowadays - you enter all the details at the beginning, and leave it to chug through. And then I'd expect to leave something like memtest running overnight to check that the memory is all good and that nothing overheats if the computer's left on for a while, but again, that only takes a few minutes to set going and the rest of it is leaving the computer to do its stuff.
posted by siskin at 5:30 AM on August 7, 2012

An hour for assembly and an hour or so for Windows is about right.
posted by COD at 5:35 AM on August 7, 2012

For a computer literate family member with a bit of experience:
30 mins - Staying in to receive deliveries, unpacking and dealing with the packaging.
90 mins - Assembly.
60 mins - Installing windows and configuring (drivers etc).

So, three hours. I wouldn't do it for less than £100 - maybe that's why nobody has asked me. But if I were a student on summer holiday or some such, them somewhat less.
posted by xla76 at 6:42 AM on August 7, 2012

The problem with offering this service to individuals (rather than businesses) is that a fair rate (in the abstract, given the relative ease of the task) may not be worth the time and hassle to someone with the skills needed, with the can of worms that the customer will be back as soon as some configuration goes wrong, component fails, etc, asking for more free work or blaming the person who assembled the components for their problems. I routinely refused this kind of work when I was a solo consultant.

I'd suggest paying the tech in question to walk you through assembling the components, since you're sort of halfway there in knowing enough to select them. Pay them for the instruction, not the assembly so its clear they are not on the hook when your optical drive fails, or GPU acts up, or whatever.

Really, it's not all that hard and then you won't have to go through this again when its time to upgrade, or build a new box.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:02 AM on August 7, 2012

Wait, back up a step. If you assembled a PC in 2003, you can assemble one today. No sweat. It's easier, if anything. No IDE ribbon cables, usually no jumpers to set, etc.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:05 AM on August 7, 2012

...and with probably less time spent than the total boxing up/shipping/ unboxing and arrangement making that you'd need to have a family member do it, if that's the main concern here.

The most time consuming step these days is mounting the mobo in the case. CPU and RAM installs are simplistic, unless you have a cramped board or a bunch of aftermarket cooling gear to install. All the drives and cabling etc is also really quick these days. PATA is basically gone, so drives aren't daisy chained any more, there are no master/slave issues, etc. I haven't had a first boot fail in years.

Then you can wander over and progress the windows install as you're doing whatever else around the house.

(TL:DR--you can assemble the thing in less than an hour and complete the OS install whenever. )
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:14 AM on August 7, 2012

Two to to two and a half hours to put it all together and install Windows. Another 30 minutes or so to receive and unpack boxes, etc. Is he or she shipping it back to you? Because something could easily pop loose in shipping.
posted by cnc at 9:50 AM on August 7, 2012

Thanks everyone. The most complicated part of the new build is installing a third party (silent) CPU fan and, given that the family member lives some distance away, it'll be a complete pain in the backside to move the thing around.

As such, I've decided to build it myself - even if it takes a couple of hours.
posted by mr_silver at 2:03 PM on August 8, 2012

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