What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
$50 per hour. This rate is static minus discounts.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I do believe in constantly educating yourself in this field of work, however, formal education is much too slow. By the time you finish a semester of formal schooling, you're already behind. The best thing you can do is read, read, read. Magazines, blogs, whitepapers, etc. Anything that will keep you aware of changes in the industry and give you the ability to see what is coming.
What types of customers have you worked with?
By far the most common types of jobs are virus removal and data recovery. Because of the increasing sophistication in targeted attacks, the need to protect computers from simple page-click attacks to more sophisticated worms that embed themselves in legitimate applications as also increased significantly.
The other most common problem is more complex to resolve and even more complex to be proactive about. Data recovery is usually very expensive, and actually unreasonably so. The only driver in the absurd pricing is that data is usually personal and very meaningful to the individual or business that needs it. However, it is my belief that there will always be a need to recover data simply because everything in IT has a short shelf life. This is just the nature of IT since things are running usually 24/7. Disks get used as long as you're doing anything on a computer. With that in mind, I provide data recovery services with the intent of making sure that a client is able to resume as usual as if nothing ever happened and without incurring a significant cost.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Learn more about the technology you're using or plan to use even if you don't want to. This way you'll be more aware of who can actually help you when looking to employ an IT employee or outsource to contractors and companies.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Think about the end result. You want the technology to resolve a problem or be a solution for a need. This is the bottom line. So no matter what a contractor promises in terms of what more can be done, you should always ask if what you're asking for is definitely doable.