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General Chat Thread, Startup Business - PC/Laptop service/repair in General; ...
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    stevenwba's Avatar
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    Startup Business - PC/Laptop service/repair

    Right, so recently i have noticed in my area (west midlands) an awful lot of compurter/laptop service/repair shops coming from no where and setting up. So be being curious was thinking so much money can be made/how easy to setup etc.

    Recently i had someone at work come to me and tell me they took their laptop in for virus removal and got stung for £180 which i think is a joke, also when you look at the prices the tech guys at pc world charge i just cant believe people are willing to pay this!

    So as you know while doing the jobs we do, and im sure this is the same for a lot of people here, family/friends/work colleagues asking us. my pc/laptop is broken, can you come and fix it please, or can you come around and set the "internet" up for me etc.

    Just wondered how many people have started off doing this, and actually started to make a full time/part time living from it??

    As you can see, nothing like a resession to look for a 2nd source of income

    Regards

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    simpsonj's Avatar
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    As long as you've got a good base of potential customers to start with, it shouldn't be too hard.

    The trouble is, as soon as I hear "Laptop/Computer repair" I instantly think conmen who will look and steal any and all bank details/passwords/pictures off of any machine that comes into their shop. Or complete rip off merchants whom your colleague obviously ran into...

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    no fix no fee is the best way to go

    90% percent of the time i bet ure just gonna be reinstalling xp

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    Completely agree with simpsonj... there are many dingy little shops around with really old Compaq workstations in the windows....a lot of these places are run by people who havent a clue!!!

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    stevenwba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simpsonj View Post
    As long as you've got a good base of potential customers to start with, it shouldn't be too hard.

    The trouble is, as soon as I hear "Laptop/Computer repair" I instantly think conmen who will look and steal any and all bank details/passwords/pictures off of any machine that comes into their shop. Or complete rip off merchants whom your colleague obviously ran into...
    Yeah its places like that, which most of them are, which i was hoping to under cut by so much they wouldnt be able to compete and stop people being ripped off, trouble is, people see i nice professional looking sign, and because they have a shop its almost like bees to a honey pot. so i can imagine some of these places make a killing, i mean take that for example, £180 for virus removal, now that couldnt have took more then half hour to an hour! which all of it is profit!

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    The problem is with the tech guys at pc world, *shudder*, is that its a well known high street brand so members of the public tend to go and trust there. Its a sad state of affairs unfortunately. Like you said, with so many companies starting up most people will go to a brand/store they recognise despite what it costs.

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    theeldergeek
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenwba View Post
    Yeah its places like that, which most of them are, which i was hoping to under cut by so much they wouldnt be able to compete and stop people being ripped off, trouble is, people see i nice professional looking sign, and because they have a shop its almost like bees to a honey pot. so i can imagine some of these places make a killing, i mean take that for example, £180 for virus removal, now that couldnt have took more then half hour to an hour! which all of it is profit!
    If you are charging £30 an hour - which is a fair rate if you want to be recognised as a professional and not a fly-by-night - then £180 soon becomes a reality depending on the extent of work required.

    The person who got charged £180 for "removing a virus" probably isn't aware that the machine was rife with spyware, and maybe required a lot of work to clean up. Without specific details, it's impossible to say if they were ripped off or not. The public don't understand viruses, malware, spyware etc in the same way as techs do, so to them, removing a virus is a simple task, when the reality might be you are required to restart the machine several times, edit the registry, back up data 'just in case', etc etc.

    I know, I've been there, got the t-shirt and lost money because computer repairs aren't seen in the same vein as plumbers, electricians etc. Customers don't see the value of not only their data but also your knowledge. They aren't paying you to clean their PC, they are paying for the knowledge you have to be able to do it. They wouldn't dream of asking a plumber to fit an extra pair of taps gratis, but you can guarantee they will ask you to do something else scot free after you have cured a malware infection.

    As for making a killing, it's not quite £180 in the back pocket stuff - there is transport cost, there is liability insurance, indemnity insurance, taxes, advertising, accountants perhaps, software licences for malware removal tools and so on.

    That's of course if you want to operate legit?

    I was good at what I did, and I charged a proper rate for it. Being a victim of my own success, I sold the company and moved on. I'd not go back to doing it again, that's for sure.

    And you say yourself a lot of these places have sprung up. I'd suggest the reason is high unemployment, and anyone who is anyone thinking they can repair a computer decides to do it. You'd therefore have a hell of a struggle to get yourself noticed amongst all this 'noise', and wouldn't be making that much money. Your advertising budget would have to be a fair chunk to get noticed past all the shop fronts for one, so that's going to chew away at whatever money you make on the first two or three jobs a week.

    Of course, if you are going for cash in hand, back pocket work, then my opinion is that you are simply joining the ranks of those who give the industry a bad enough name as it is.
    Last edited by theeldergeek; 18th January 2010 at 11:01 AM.

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    bertster (18th January 2010)

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    timbo343's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sippo View Post
    The problem is with the tech guys at pc world, *shudder*, is that its a well known high street brand so members of the public tend to go and trust there. Its a sad state of affairs unfortunately. Like you said, with so many companies starting up most people will go to a brand/store they recognise despite what it costs.
    I heard that they charge £70 just for looking at a PC nevermind doing any work on it.

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    Your best way of competing is by word-of-mouth rather than flash advertising or opening up a shop in the high street & paying council tax, rent & all the overheads .......

    I think the biggest challenge would be breaking into the marketplace, then establishing a reputation of fair play & fair pricing that is publicised by your 'happy' customers for you ....

    It's a model that many successful tradesmen employ in other service industries.... plumbers, mobile mechanics etc. A lot of tradesmen get repeat business & rely upon personal recommendation. How many electricians & plumbers have high street shops?

    Ok if you think you can make money selling components in addition to repairs/new builds, but I think this business model has been tried by many, most have failed because of cut-price shopping on the Internet.

    I think 'mobile PC mechanic' is the most likely to succeed, but I wouldn't bet my daytime job on it
    Last edited by broc; 18th January 2010 at 11:04 AM.

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    theeldergeek
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    Quote Originally Posted by Htech View Post
    no fix no fee is the best way to go

    90% percent of the time i bet ure just gonna be reinstalling xp
    ...and Office, and sorting out the email, and hooking up broadband, and spending hours on the phone trying to find out the customer's username and password from their ISP, and then restoring what back up of data they do have. Oh, and "can you reinstall The Sims for the kids please"...

    etc, etc, etc.

    And then when you ask for a realistic fee of £180 due to you having been there six hours, the customer will look at you in disgust, refuse to pay and suggest you come up with a figure 'the bloke down the road said he'd do it for'.

    It's a mugs game doing it part time, in my humble speaking from experience opinion.

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    simpsonj (18th January 2010)

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    stevenwba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theeldergeek View Post
    Of course, if you are going for cash in hand, back pocket work, then my opinion is that you are simply joining the ranks of those who give the industry a bad enough name as it is.
    You raise a good point about how the prices can add up, and your insight is really helpful to me, but im already employed full time, so i wouldnt want to give up my job to try this out, so that is why if i were going to try this, is do this after work and see "how it goes" im looking at getting business from word of mouth, so good customer service and fair pricing is key to this otherwise i wont get anywhere, as for giving the industry a bad name, i cannot agree, im not a fly by night shop, im looking at fixing computer issues of people i know and friends of theirs so ripping them off and doing a bad job wont be an option, its surely this dodgey little shops opening everywhere run by people looking to cash in on peoples lack of knowledge, i suppose its the same as car garages really, hard to find people pricing right for the quality of work done!

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    stevenwba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theeldergeek View Post
    ...and Office, and sorting out the email, and hooking up broadband, and spending hours on the phone trying to find out the customer's username and password from their ISP, and then restoring what back up of data they do have. Oh, and "can you reinstall The Sims for the kids please"...

    etc, etc, etc.

    And then when you ask for a realistic fee of £180 due to you having been there six hours, the customer will look at you in disgust, refuse to pay and suggest you come up with a figure 'the bloke down the road said he'd do it for'.

    It's a mugs game doing it part time, in my humble speaking from experience opinion.

    You really have made some good points, now im not entirely sure about it at all, might just stick to helping a few friends out, and payment by a few pints!

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    My brother and I (both techies in diff schools) set up shop together, and we didnt turn over any profit for the first 2 years, we were in deficit. It takes ALOT to keep it going when your figures are putting you into the minus's, but when we made our profit (first year of profit we only made £10000) it went straight back into the business. 2nd year we made £25000 due to repeat business and word of mouth. in the 3rd year we sold the business and neither of us would do it again. It takes alot and in todays climate, you are better off working from home by word of mouth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenwba View Post
    You really have made some good points, now im not entirely sure about it at all, might just stick to helping a few friends out, and payment by a few pints!
    A safer option in my opinion.... I think you should heed the very sound advice offered by theeldergeek

    Even with friends (& family) you need to watch out; once you have done one job for them 'on the cheap/free/for beer', they have a habit of coming back for more & more & more, or offering your services to their friends at your 'friends' rate without asking....

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    stevenwba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    A safer option in my opinion.... I think you should heed the very sound advice offered by theeldergeek

    Even with friends (& family) you need to watch out; once you have done one job for them 'on the cheap/free/for beer', they have a habit of coming back for more & more & more, or offering your services to their friends at your 'friends' rate without asking....
    Your right, its just another trade people want to use to get another cheap job, like a plasterer etc, but for some reason with computers people seem to think its okay to try and get a free job, they wouldnt expect a friend who is a builder to come round and knock up a wall without any payment!!

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