fiza (7th March 2014)
One of the best advice articles I've found so far. I know most of us repair computers on the side and I found this to be extremely helpful. Hopefully you guys find it useful as well. This is not mine just something I came across on TechSupport originally posted by user Form84.
So I figured I should contribute to reddit or something and write maybe a quick guide on how to be successful as a craigslist computer repair technician.
Quick background on myself. 4 years ago, my wife and I were really poor, I was unemployed, she was working a minimum wage job, we were BARELY paying the bills every month, and we needed to find a way to pay for things without paying $1200 a month for daycare. So one day I decided to put myself out there on craigslist, and have learned many of these things as I've become successful doing it. I started out doing this with literally a phillips screw driver and my home computer. I now have a new car, an ipad I use solely for work, and all kinds of stuff, plus the ability to work from home, life is good. I help between 3-4 customers a day. I work typically about 3 hours a day, on my own schedule. I make about $150 a day on average. The average cost of doing this is roughly $10-15 a day depending on your vehicle, ISP costs, etc.
Things you will need to start. $30 to purchase tools. (tool recommendations below) Lots of guides will tell you to buy a big computer toolkit, but you really don't need that. You need
- PATIENCE, I cannot overstate this enough, this will make or break your business!
- Your tools
- Car (optional, increases your income potential by alot tho)
- Mobile tools (if you have a car, pick up a cheap basic toolkit from a riteaid or something and just leave it in the car, you'll be surprised how often you use it)
Ok, so having read all that you have decided to be a craigslist repair technician, awesome! If ya do it right, your life is gonna be awesome. So here goes.
People come to craigslist to get deals and to save some money, realize that when your writing your ad. First lesson I learned pretty fast, is hourly rates DO NOT WORK. In the first two weeks of doing this, I initially charged $25 an hour, I got one customer in 2 weeks. Charge a flat rate!
I charge a flat rate and plan on my jobs being fixed or resolved in under 2 hours. My charge is what I expect to do for 2 hours of work. So If you want to make $25 an hour, charge $50 to fix someones computer. This is a HUGE undercut of store services or the Geek squad or staples, your making a great wage, and Saving people a TON of money! You will be absolutely surprised at how often you'll get jobs that take only 20-30 mins to fix, then you just made $50 for 20 mins worth of work! Conversely tho, this is a #'s game, and you will run into jobs that end up taking for longer to fix than you originally planned. PATIENCE!!! Doing this kind of work will earn you FUTURE MONEY, suck it up and DO IT, NO COMPLAINTS to the customer either, JUST FIX IT! I've done screen replacements on unibody macbooks for $30 before, JUST DO IT!
If you have a car, your going to be making more money, you can now charge a gas surcharge! Make it reasonable and this will become your bread and butter. 3/4's of what I do is on-site visits now a days, keep some dog treats on you when you go to new customers' houses, they'll freakin love you!
Writing Your Ad
Craigslist ads search off of the title and the body of the message. Make sure to ad things like pc repair, mac, etc to the bottom of the ad to make sure it gets the most visibility. Your ad will get flagged from time to time, and don't take it personally. There are quite a few people who make their money off of craigslist and your now a competitor. Have a good smartphone, get your email on your phone and repost the ad when it gets flagged, and THEY WILL GET FLAGGED. Your ad can be reposted 5x a day before your account gets locked til the next day. When someone flags your post, thats great, you just got to top post it for another at least 30 mins.
It can be easy to develop flag and ad anxiety if this is your sole income, don't sweat it and just realize that these people are wasting more of their time than yours and enjoy the advertising "reminder".
Keep your ad primarily in computer gigs, if possible also in the barter section if your willing to take trades. I have gotten so many tools, tablets, mp3 players, movies, tv's, tattoos, etc from having my ad in the barter section it really pays itself off. Got paid in gold dust once, that was kind of cool!
Ninite - Ninite.com saves me so much time since I probably do a windows install EVERY SINGLE DAY. People love getting free software and MANY of your customers don't know that the words Free and Antivirus can exist in the same sentence. You handing out free copies of Microsoft security essentials and open office is like giving lil charlie a golden ticket to your customers!
Rkill, TDSSKILLER, Malwarebytes, OTM, Gooredfix - Common tools to remove viruses. All very useful and can fix most "viruses". There are tons of other alternatives to these, and use w/e your the most comfortable with, but I've found these are fast, lightweight, and easy to use for users, as many times I'll leave a copy with the customer to help themselves in the future. WinToFlash - This will let you "burn" any version of windows to a bootable usb stick and install it from it, just like the CD. Great laptops with broken dvd drives and netbooks, etc. Other things I keep around are common registry tweaks, like default_exe, taskmanager.reg, wallpaperenable.reg, InstallTake_ownership.reg, etc.
- Your customers think of you in the same way that many people think of mechanics. They don't trust you, they think your going to try to screw them over. You will have to prove through your words and your actions that you are worthy of trust. Trust is your absolute best asset towards growing this kind of business.
- Many of your customers will be people that are FAR FAR FAR from literate with a computer. Patience and GOOD customer service are FAR more important to the benefit of your business than your actual skill with the computer. Patience will get you repeat customers! Repeat customers are the heartbeat of what you do, NEVER take any customer for granted. I helped a lady in a Starbucks once, she told her boss about me, I got a $1500 EMR contract to help migrate his dentist office to a new medical billing system.
- Be realistic and DON'T scare people. People don't want to hear "You have 300x things wrong with your computer". They want to hear "Oh, don't worry about that too much, I can fix it!" You will become their go to computer guy for anything. Be prepared to take phone calls and don't charge people for stuff like this. If your willing to bend a little and help people out, they won't be afraid to toss money at you like it's setting their wallets on fire. I once drove 30 miles to a guy's house to fix his WiFi only to find the WiFi switch was off, I didn't charge him and I've earned him as a repeat customer, and probably made $150 off of him over the course of a year. If i didn't eat the initial visit, I don't know If he would've kept me around.
- Be prepared to not make much for a while until your name gets out there. Your reputation is WORTH WAY MORE THAN ANY SINGLE JOB! Do not take any job your not comfortable with, or don't think you can fix. Be honest and upfront with people about expectations, and do your best to empower your customers to fix things themselves. They'll trust you and pay you for the convenience! Stand by WHAT YOU SAY, and be willing to go the extra mile for your customers, THEY WILL LOVE YOU!
- Take pictures of your customers on your phone, and write a small note on their contact (if you have a smartphone) so that you can remember them and what you did for them. You'll be helping lots of people every month and it can be very hard to remember them all, but people love knowing you remember them.
- BE SAFE! Write down any addresses to new customers and keep them around at your home if you don't know these people. Let people know where your going. You are dealing with people off of craigslist, yes most people are awesome, but be prepared for the crazies, which you WILL run into eventually. (yes, I Have crazy people stories)
- A precision screw driver set WITH HANDLES, do not get the skinny ones, you'll hate yourself for it. Something like this is good. http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...500_AA300_.jpg
- A set of normal steel-shafted screwdrivers. Stanley has a great set of steel-shaft screwdrivers with an interchangeable handle (not head). Cost like $10
- A solder gun (if you know how, this can increase the variety of jobs you can take) $7 at radio shack. $3 for solder.
- An anti-static wristband is typically about $5-7 and is easiest to find in one of those computer toolkits, but can easily be ordered off of amazon also.
- A can of compressed air
- A tiny flashlight of some kind. No, your phone is not good enough, Go buy a $1 TINY flashlight that you can hold in one hand without having to mess with touchscreens, it will instantly become your favorite tool.
- At minimum a 4gb flash drive. That you can keep on your keychain.
If you want to see the original or see some comments How to start being a computer repair technician off of craigslist. : techsupport
Last edited by Yeo695; 15th January 2014 at 03:19 PM.
fiza (7th March 2014)
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