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Old 11-26-2009, 01:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default PC repair business advice

So, a friend and I are planning on starting up a sort of call-out PC repair business, so what we're in need of is advice Since several of us TFers do this full-time, I believe, I hope you'd be happy to give us some ^_^ Like, what sort of starting budget will be required, what stuff we'll need (like spare parts), how to advertise, just general advice, etc.

Firstly, this is largely for us to gain experience and a bit of money.

Prices, we're thinking of a 20 callout charge, which includes the first hour, then another 20 for the next hour.

Advertising, we'll have a website (hosted at home, advantage of having a geek mother), possibly newspaper and yellow pages. Probably not flyers and such.

Anyway. Please gimme a bit of help

Edit: We're also in need of a name. Should we go for something explanatory like 'Mitchell & Kelly PC Repairs' (our surnames), or something more vague but cool-sounding like 'Longcat Repairs' (yes referencing the meme)?

Edit2: Oh and we're gonna need some kind of liability insurance, anyone know how to get that?
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Old 11-26-2009, 02:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC repair business advice

OK first off mate your in a market that's saturated, what is your selling point Price?, Speed?, Quality? your lucky if you can do 2 out of 3 most of the time. Your price is cheep that can be a good thing but it can also be your downfall, also have you figured in the cost of public liability insurance? Your costs starting up can be quite expensive it's not just a case of buying a few gig of ram and a few mobos and PSU's and a copy of OEM XP home / pro vista ultimate (you can install any version of vista of the same OEM CD) can you afford web hosting an email, do you know what to do when you run into a god awful malware infection other than posting a HJT log here? Do you know how to set up a domain controller? Do you know how to talk to people about technical issues without making them feel like a idiot?

Do you know how to handle a Irate customer whose data you just lost because you just did a sloppy job and wiped a HDD and did a fresh install?

Can you afford a copy of Ghost? Can you afford a copy of VMware workstation? **** do you have a real XP OEM Disk for home and pro, I know many places that use torrented copy's that have malware packed with them and you make the problem worse. Do you know how to deal with suppliers? I delt with many some are really nice others are a down right pain and aria and scan are not suppliers to the trade.

Just asking before I give you the benefit of my knowledge.
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Old 11-26-2009, 02:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC repair business advice

Yea, good luck with that..

Like saxon said, flooded....

Its a better idea to just think of it a a passing side business, do it casually and mention to people if they seem interested that you can do pc repairs or software work..

Maybe not what you wanted but in this market now you cannot rely on pc repair as a sole means of income.
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Old 11-26-2009, 03:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC repair business advice

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Originally Posted by Saxon View Post
OK first off mate your in a market that's saturated, what is your selling point Price?, Speed?, Quality? your lucky if you can do 2 out of 3 most of the time. Your price is cheep that can be a good thing but it can also be your downfall
Price is definitely our selling point.

Quote:
also have you figured in the cost of public liability insurance?
Not yet, it was one of the questions I asked.

Your costs starting up can be quite expensive it's not just a case of buying a few gig of ram and a few mobos and PSU's and a copy of OEM XP home / pro vista ultimate (you can install any version of vista of the same OEM CD)

Quote:
can you afford web hosting an email
I already have it, hosted at home. Again, advantage of having a geek IT lecturer for a mother :P

Quote:
do you know what to do when you run into a god awful malware infection other than posting a HJT log here?
I'm not the best but I can understand and effectively use a HJT log, I've used it on several PCs (one of them more than once because he refused to install a firewall+AV).

Quote:
Do you know how to set up a domain controller?
Not entirely but I believe that is already handled by the current server situation here.

Quote:
Do you know how to talk to people about technical issues without making them feel like a idiot?
Yes, I do that to the inexperienced folks in my IT class at school several times a week.

Quote:
Do you know how to handle a Irate customer whose data you just lost because you just did a sloppy job and wiped a HDD and did a fresh install?
Yes, run :P Though seriously I do. Though I'm very uh... precise in everything I do. I can't imagine myself doing something like that on my PC, let alone while tip-toeing around someone else's.

Quote:
Can you afford a copy of Ghost?
I think it's around 40 which is easy.
Quote:
Can you afford a copy of VMware workstation?
That's more difficult, but I don't see much reason to require any sort of VM software?
Quote:
**** do you have a real XP OEM Disk for home and pro
I can quite easily get one, but wouldn't XP be a little outdated for use? Or is it just so you know it will run on pretty much anything?

Quote:
Do you know how to deal with suppliers? I delt with many some are really nice others are a down right pain and aria and scan are not suppliers to the trade.
As in, suppliers of parts? Not particularly, no. I imagine it's like purchasing from aria/scan but in bulk. And yes I realise they are not suppliers, simply resellers.

Quote:
Just asking before I give you the benefit of my knowledge.
Thank you very much ^_^
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Old 11-26-2009, 03:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC repair business advice

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Originally Posted by Yamikotai View Post
Price is definitely our selling point.
Price is a selling point, it's not the selling point.

Sell too cheaply, and people will think you are backyard job.
Sell too cheaply, and you will have that one customer what will want ring your neck. You will have youe pain in the neck customers, make sure you make it worthwhile for you.
Sell too cheaply, and you will not be able to cover your expenses.
- Advertising
- Petrol
- Business Insurance
- Car insurance that will cover your clients computer if it happens to get stolen or smashed in an accident.

Suppliers? You are you going to be dealing with.
Return Authorisations? Do you know how to handle them.
Office? Are you going to have one? Some people will want to see you.
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Old 11-26-2009, 04:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC repair business advice

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Originally Posted by Keyboard Cowboy View Post
Price is a selling point, it's not the selling point.

Sell too cheaply, and people will think you are backyard job.
Sell too cheaply, and you will have that one customer what will want ring your neck. You will have youe pain in the neck customers, make sure you make it worthwhile for you.
Sell too cheaply, and you will not be able to cover your expenses. Office? Are you going to have one? Some people will want to see you.
An office is going a bit too far, we aren't planning to do quite that much. But thanks for the advice, that's definitely something we'll have to take in consideration.
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Old 11-26-2009, 07:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC repair business advice

If you are planning on operating this out from your home, my advise is this.....

DON'T DO IT.
Seriously, when it comes down to computers and computer problems there is nothing more enjoyable than having some one knocking at your door at 9pm at night asking if you could look at there computer NOW. And they are not ready to pay you a single cent more than what you usual charge.

However i can perfectly understand that not every one can afford a seperate office, so wil suggest you make a seperate room for you work shop and make sure that that room as a seperate entance to get inside. And that this does not involve your client from having to walk through the rest of your house to get to your workshop.

In fact, I recommend this for any person that is running a business from home where they need clients to come into your office.

I have seen quick a few people where they have converted garages into workshop. Or if you got the space, make a small granny flat out in your back yard.

Just want ever you do, do not have your clients walking through your house / personal space.
You would also want to invest in a seperate phone line. Not every one will want to call you on a mobile number. And if any of your customers ask you for your after hours phone number, DO NOT give it to them. (yes, I have had people ask me for my home phone number as they don't want to pay the mobile phone rates)

I also thing you are charging too little. You will have pain in the arse customers. Make it worth your while to deal with them. I also charge a quotation charge. Reason being is that I get a lot of client that will get me to look at the computer and not go ahead with a repair. However if they do go ahead with the repair, I then credit back the quotation charge. Normally i charge the first 1/2 hour (inhouse) 1 hour (onsite) as a quotation charge.

Plus you might want to start looking for after hour rates.
Like I will normally charge my $80 per hour between 8am to 7pm. My normal working hours are 10 to 5. However if I have some one calling me up later than 8pm (especially if I got to spend 40 minutes driving back from my home) I do expect some thing a little more just my $80 per hour. Especially if it's a saturday night. i have had a few of phone calls at 10pm where people are demanding that i show up at thier location to fix up thier computer. And my attitude is turn into "If you are going to treat me like an emergancy service plumber/electrician/locksmith/glassier, then I going to charge like one"


Make sure you have very thing on paper too. Like I normally have a document that i have my clients sign before i service thier computers.
Quote:
Note: All jobs must be paid in full when the job is completed. [YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE] will not be responsible for any data loss or data corruption during any repair or service. The customer should back up all data before asking for any repair or service from [YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE]. [YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE] can back up customers data, but will not be held responsible for any lost or corruption of customers data. Data does not include any programs or applications. All warranty is covered by the respective manufacturers. [YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE] has the right to dispose of any unclaimed hardware or software after XX weeks.


Customer Agrees to above terms and conditions : _______________________
If they have problem with signing this, then I do not work on thier computer.
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Old 11-26-2009, 07:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC repair business advice

*I hate to make another about the same issue, so if its ok I will ask my question in here, and maybe it will be helpful to the thread starter*

I do a little bit of working on computers on the side in between school and my real job just for some side change.

This has not happened to me yet, but I would like some advice on what to do in a scenario where I work on someones computer lets say a complete reformat, and after reloading their data, and installing drivers ect and returning the computer the owner starts calling me and complaining over stuff like oooo my Chess game is not here anymore or my Yahoo browser is gone lol you know cheesy stuff( i know its serious to them, but annoying to me) I am just wondering what do I do in that type of situation. do I configure it for free and say OO I MUST HAVE MISSED THE FACT YOU HAD 13 Tool bars installed into your browser LOL? I do not think that would be smart because people could easily take advantage of me.

This is just something I have always been concerned about since I have started working on systems on the side.

Thanks in advance, and if I need to make another thread I do not mind.
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Old 11-26-2009, 08:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC repair business advice

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Originally Posted by SThompson86 View Post
*I hate to make another about the same issue, so if its ok I will ask my question in here, and maybe it will be helpful to the thread starter*

I do a little bit of working on computers on the side in between school and my real job just for some side change.

This has not happened to me yet, but I would like some advice on what to do in a scenario where I work on someones computer lets say a complete reformat, and after reloading their data, and installing drivers ect and returning the computer the owner starts calling me and complaining over stuff like oooo my Chess game is not here anymore or my Yahoo browser is gone lol you know cheesy stuff( i know its serious to them, but annoying to me) I am just wondering what do I do in that type of situation. do I configure it for free and say OO I MUST HAVE MISSED THE FACT YOU HAD 13 Tool bars installed into your browser LOL? I do not think that would be smart because people could easily take advantage of me.

This is just something I have always been concerned about since I have started working on systems on the side.

Thanks in advance, and if I need to make another thread I do not mind.
Before proceeding with the format, I advise customers the following
* I am going to format your computer. You are computer's operating system will be broaght back to state that it was orginally like when you orginally purchased it. Any other programs after windows will need to be backed up.
* I will need your windows cd and lisence key or at least the license key which should be on the side of the computer.
* Data I can back up will be Documents, Photos, Email, Favorites, Music.
* Any application you want me to install (Office, MYOB, Adobe) I am going to need your CD. If they have lost thier CD, too bad. Do not load any WaReZ on your clients computer.
* I will do my best to save games file, but I an not making any promises.
* Is there any thing you want me to back up, let me know.
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Old 11-26-2009, 08:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC repair business advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyboard Cowboy View Post
Before proceeding with the format, I advise customers the following
* I am going to format your computer. You are computer's operating system will be broaght back to state that it was orginally like when you orginally purchased it. Any other programs after windows will need to be backed up.
* I will need your windows cd and lisence key or at least the license key which should be on the side of the computer.
* Data I can back up will be Documents, Photos, Email, Favorites, Music.
* Any application you want me to install (Office, MYOB, Adobe) I am going to need your CD. If they have lost thier CD, too bad. Do not load any WaReZ on your clients computer.
* I will do my best to save games file, but I an not making any promises.
* Is there any thing you want me to back up, let me know.
Right on, yea I would not want to load up any warez, but some people are quite fond of their Weather Bug in the icon tray lol

Thank you the advice. I will diffidently remember those tips and include them next time I have to do a format.



I have another question if you do not mind. Whats your take on pick up and delivery. I do not really like working on a clients computer inside their house unless its something I have done before and can do blind folded. Other wise I like to take the computer with me so i can concentrate when I work on it, and not have the client starring down my back watching my every move. Nevertheless, is pick up and delivery something I should stay away from? and if not how much should I charge for pick up?
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