Finding Work At Home: Tech Support at SupportSpace

If you’re a computer guru and really know what makes a computer tick, if you have good communication skills and enjoy helping people, there may be a full- or part-time work at home job waiting for you at SupportSpace.com.

People who telecommute have no way to earn a living if their computer is on the blink, and company tech support often can’t (or won’t) help. For many baby-boomers and seniors, computer technology just isn’t easy to deal with. SupportSpace responded to that need with a unique approach: all their techs work from home. And you can too if you have what it takes. If you’re an exceptional techie, and can make a disappointed customer with a fried hard-drive thrilled they called you, read on. A college degree isn’t required, but you do have to be at least 18.

You’ll have to go through an initial interview and a thorough check on your background. Then you’ll take a technical skills test. What they’re looking for are competent, experienced techs, so don’t expect them to provide technical training. They will, however, provide training for their online tools so you know how to let the world know you’re open for business, how to take calls, how to download remote desktop software, and how to use proprietary and commercially available tools to solve problems. They also provide webinars and encourage interaction among their techs, which offers the opportunity to learn from others.

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of working as a remote tech is that your schedule can be whatever you want it to be. Need some extra money? Then work some extra hours. Are you a college student and need to study for finals? Work fewer hours–or even not at all if you want to go out with the gang afterwards and blow off some steam. This kind of work makes a great second job, too, because you can schedule around the demands of your primary job.

When you’re ready to work you simply log into the SupportSpace online workbench, and when customers call you’re shown as available. Log off, and you’ve effectively put out the cat, pulled down the shade, and locked the door on your shop.

Tech support problems cover the range of issues, systems, and equipment that people use; but you don’t have to be an expert in everything. You can promote your special talents to deal with Windows XP and Vista, system tune-ups, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, e-mail, backups, networking issues, security, printers and other hardware, virus prevention or removal, digital cameras, MP3 players, video and webcams, and malware/spyware removal.

SupportSpace gets 25% of what you bill, but you set your own rates. Full time, hard charging techs with plenty of experience and good repeat customer ratio can average $30-$40 an hour take-home, although $18-$20 per hour is more typical. (Keep in mind these are clock hours, not billable hours. You might be logged in and available, but not working with a customer. You might advertise a $75 per hour rate, but only work an average of 20 minutes an hour.)

Another nice aspect of remote tech support work is that you don’t need any special equipment or tools. SupportSpace provides online diagnostic tools, and if you’re a geek, you already have everything else you’ll need.

Keep in mind this kind of work depends on electricity and online access. That’s good news, and that’s bad news. The good news is you can do it from anywhere. If you decide to go to beach for the summer, you can take your laptop and work there. But the bad news is, if your ISP goes down or a hurricane puts out the lights you’re out of business.

Also remember that as a freelancer you won’t be paid for sick days, you won’t have a 401K, and you won’t have your taxes deducted. On the other hand you also won’t have an increasingly expensive and aggravating commute, or an ogre for a boss (unless you’re really hard to work with).

SupportSpace is the standout employer for work at home techs, from our research. Their business model has attracted the venture capital community, and their online approach is unique. Best Buy’s GeekSquad is the largest in the business, but theirs is a bricks and mortar, office-based culture. PlumChoice is an online competitor that “served 2.5 million transactions in 2007″ but they seem a bit embarrassed by their at-home workforce and asked not to be included in our upcoming book because of its title: Undress For Success.

To summarize then, working from home as a remote tech support specialist has the advantages of flexible scheduling and decent pay, but you’d better know your stuff and be prepared to watch out for yourself.

If you want the inside scoop visit TechComedy.com for a look at the funny, and sometimes aggravating, side of the business.

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