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Lost my job. Anyone here start a PC repair business?


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#1
92GTA

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I just lost my job on Friday and I decided after years of my family, friends, co-workers, etc, telling me I should start my own computer business, I think I want to go for it!

Has anyone here started a computer repair/build business on their own with no money?

I want to go after the on-site/in-home repair market which is non-existant in my entire area except for GeekSquad and 1 other local shop which is where I was just working but they do businesses. Most places charge $95-$150 for on-site repair which most home users can't afford. That's the market I want right now because it's HUGE in my area and I need income NOW! I'm going to start with basic stuff like software corruption/hardware failure and data recovery on family PC's then move into system building and open a physical shop for walk-in business and larger inventory.

I have everything I need to start really except for a van, uniforms, business name, and a very small inventory of the most common things. I've been in the business professionally for almost 7 years now so I know exactly what I should need to start out. I already have all the physical tools and software tools needed for just about everything I should encounter starting out with what I outlined above. I also have sources already for low-cost software and hardware components to use for repair and up-sells while on-site. I plan on advertising in the local Camera Ads for now which should perfectly target the exact market I want right now, low-mid income familes who can't afford what everyone else charges and who know next to nothing about computers. I can use my personal cell phone for a business line.

I literally only have $800 in my pocket and I can stay on a friends couch for now.

So, has anyone here done this or have any valueable advice for me?

#2
sportman

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open source windows software is what you need. offer packages with repair and free installation of top of the line virus removal and spyware removal products. They are great programs 2. Just a tip.

#3
Colonel

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open source windows software is what you need. offer packages with repair and free installation of top of the line virus removal and spyware removal products. They are great programs 2. Just a tip.

Ad-Aware and AVG Antivirus are some good freeware apps.

#4
domino

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I am an independent contractor, freelance, what ever you want to call it. I have been at this for almost 10 years..

It's great that you have the tools and equipment to work on your business, but the most important is CONTACTS. You have to get as many contacts as you can. Find a group or sector to work with. For me, I like working with Non-government Organisations (NGO). My work lead me to Asia, but if you don't want to leave the country, it will be a little limited because of the competition which includes the retail store selling up to 5yrs warranty on computer products.

Another thing you have to think about is how much you will charge the clients. You can not charge more than the economy can bare. You also do not want to undercut the business, or else you will have many people pissed off at you.

Do not over commit. Start with what you can handle and work up. If you need to contract other freelancers, that will be the best thing as long as you don't overwork and your clients can afford it. The key is to balance you work and your personal life. Working for yourself might be attractive, but managing the family life and work might be a little hard at the beginning.

Make sure you have a solid contract. The clients will try to get away with anything they can for free or not in your contract. Consult with your lawyer before submitting the contract. Make sure they know what you will cover and what you will charge over that. You can make extra money by adding additional fees. If you are able to get a contract for the next 2 or 3 years, make sure the retainer fee is balanced. Go online and find all the contract templates for web designs, and computer services. It's easy to add you own afterwards.

Being your own boss, you're not only the technician, but you are also the sales man. You have to know how "to sell ice to an Eskimo". Ads on media is important, but in my experience, word of mouth is a big help. How you communicate and sell yourself to potential clients is the difference between getting that $10,000 contract for the next 6 months and getting a $100 contract fot the month.

Go find information on bidding, and taxes. You can also get help from Uncle Sam if you turn over lots of rocks :withstupid:.

These are just a few off the top of my head and I'm sure if you talk face to face with other independents, you can learn a lot from them. Remember that it's will not be as easy as making a milion dollars a year, but if you find the right contracts, you and your family can live well.

#5
overmonk

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I just lost my job on Friday and I decided after years of my family, friends, co-workers, etc, telling me I should start my own computer business, I think I want to go for it!

Has anyone here started a computer repair/build business on their own with no money?

I want to go after the on-site/in-home repair market which is non-existant in my entire area except for GeekSquad and 1 other local shop which is where I was just working but they do businesses. Most places charge $95-$150 for on-site repair which most home users can't afford. That's the market I want right now because it's HUGE in my area and I need income NOW! I'm going to start with basic stuff like software corruption/hardware failure and data recovery on family PC's then move into system building and open a physical shop for walk-in business and larger inventory.

I have everything I need to start really except for a van, uniforms, business name, and a very small inventory of the most common things. I've been in the business professionally for almost 7 years now so I know exactly what I should need to start out. I already have all the physical tools and software tools needed for just about everything I should encounter starting out with what I outlined above. I also have sources already for low-cost software and hardware components to use for repair and up-sells while on-site. I plan on advertising in the local Camera Ads for now which should perfectly target the exact market I want right now, low-mid income familes who can't afford what everyone else charges and who know next to nothing about computers. I can use my personal cell phone for a business line.

I literally only have $800 in my pocket and I can stay on a friends couch for now.

So, has anyone here done this or have any valueable advice for me?



I did exactly this for about two years. You can make good money, but as any indy businessman will tell you, there's two sides to every coin.

I targeted small businesses and entrepreneurs as my client base, and the key to my initial success was two-pronged. I set an introductory rate that severely undercut the Geek Squad (though this was before them) - I set my rate at $35 an hour, which anyone will tell you is nothing for IT work. Well, it's enough to eat on, and with full hours, it's 70K gross a year. Then I let my clients know, up front, that this was an introductory rate, and that it was so low becasue they were essentially entering into a promotional deal with me, in that they had to refer me to as many clients as they could. All it takes is one or two clients with the entrepreneurial mindset and the referrals will roll in.

I was full-time in less than six weeks, never had to go on unemployment (I got laid off), and after about six months, I informed my clients that my introductory rate would be ending soon, and that my standard rate of $65 would apply.

Eventually, one of my clients offered me a good salary and full bennies to come on full-time. I still get calls from old clients - I now charge $75 an hour, becasue they are paying for my free time. It's nice extra cash.

Aside from that, be tidy, be thorough, make suggestions about technologies they may need or want and not know about - be smarter than they are, and they will ask you back again and again.

One last thing - unless youplan to get bonded/insured, you should verbally explain or have clients sign something that tells then you are providing a low-cost best-effort service, not a guaranteed fix. I had some lady who deleted her backup files and tried to foist it on me becasue I had not explicitly trained her staff not to click past the five warning messages and erase backup tapes. I then was able to produce a signed statement saying I was not at fault.

I know it isn't fun to think about problem clients, but you WILL have one, eventually. You should reserve the right to refuse service, etc.

You don't need a van, IMHO. Uniforms either.

#6
Big Kahuna

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Any updates?

#7
92GTA

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The guy that I was going to stay with ended up moving out of his apartment the next week into a new place with his girlfriend.

I'm on unemployment now and staying with my ex-wife. My unemployment is just enough to pay for my child support and rent to her so I'm stuck right now. The plans on are hold for right now.

#8
munky

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ouch.

#9
Big Kahuna

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ouch.


couldn't have said it bettter.

#10
Aliens Adventures

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I've got for you a good program, you don't have to pay for it it's freeware go to www.hitmanpro.nl (the site is in dutch but the software is multilanguage support + help in english)

Hitman Pro 2.4.3 is the best in europe - works with Windows XP/2000
Doesn't work with Windows 98/Me!

Externe antispywaresoftware and securityupdates
no spams en no spyware program. 100% legal and free.

This mybe help you to start.

I wish you good luck but do not hesitate.
Stand up in your feet and go 4 it.

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