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Thoughts on starting home pc repair side business?

This is a discussion on Thoughts on starting home pc repair side business? within the Certification & Career forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I was wondering what your thoughts are on starting up a side business. This is pretty much just an idea


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Old 08-17-2009, 06:25 AM   #1
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Question

I was wondering what your thoughts are on starting up a side business.

This is pretty much just an idea in my head at the moment but here are the basics.

Hours: I would be working after regular hours from about 5 - 7 or so weeknights, and saturdays on weekends. Those are my tentative hours.

Advertising: I'm not really that outgoing of a person so I think advertising might be a psychological barrier for me. Are there things I can do to over come this, and also any suggestions on free or extreme low cost advertising?

Work area: I'd be working out of my house are there any issues with this?

Things I should know: I was wondering for those of you out there that do this is there any suggestions or tips you can give me, pros or cons, is it worth while, etc.?

Thanks,
Dd.

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Old 08-17-2009, 06:43 AM   #2
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Hello and welcome.

On the point of advertising there are many ways to do this.
I hand out cards to friends and family.I go to local free community centers and put notices on there boards.I have friends and family who post notices at there work places.

Some local supermarkets will allow you to post a notice to.

There are local news papers you can take a small add out in.

Even a Facebook page setting it as public may help.

I live in the UK and I know local housing do not allow us to work from home unless we get permission so I would look into this unless you own your own home.A permit maybe required.

Working from home will save you money as you would not have to pay rental on a shop,you would have to check on insurance premiums for running a buisness from home.

I think you need to look into running a small buisness from home and rules and regualtions depending on what country and area you live.

I am sure others can input on this thread for you.

JB.

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Old 08-17-2009, 07:18 AM   #3
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Thanks JB,

I live in Virginia, in the States (Wish I was in the UK right now could use a vacation and visit my family). Where I live they do not require a permit for a business and I'm pretty sure I can run one out of my house so I'm good with that. :)
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Old 08-17-2009, 07:38 AM   #4
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Were do your family live in the UK?

Just asking as I am a little nosey.

:)

Your welcome.

Well I am not sure of rules in the states I am sure someone can input on that one for you.

You will have to find a supplier for hardware as shopping online at such places as Newegg will cost you more.

I find storage of spare parts hard to store at my home as I am only living in a two up two down home.

Is there anyhting in the states that would fund you as in a one off payment to help you start your own buisness?

This would help in paying for a certain amount of parts and software you may need.

JB.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:45 AM   #5
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My family lives in Wales mostly, Cardiff, and the Beacons area.

I've not really given much thought to storing hardware, or anything. I figured that I would order the equipment as needed from wherever. I generally have used tigerdirect.com in the past but I think that having a more wholesale resource might be a bit better.

This is primarily going to be a secondary source of income. During the day I work IT for local government. So this will be a side business, and I doubt it would ever become full time.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:50 AM   #6
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Ahhh Cardiff is an hour way from were I live.

Yes I would consider finding a good wholesaler for parts.

As a secondary source of income I certainly would not order a large amount of hardware.
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Old 08-29-2009, 05:08 PM   #7
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I don't know a whole lot about running a business out of my own home but as far as a simple (and free) way to do some advertising is to post on craigslist. I actually found a computer tech person on there and they fixed my pc's issue pretty quick. It may just be something to look into.....just a thought.
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:37 AM   #8
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Hi,
I have a side business in California. You need a business licence to work in your city. I guess you said you do not need a permit to work form your home (make sure it is not zoned for non-business).

Get a business bank account to keep all your money seperate. Then you can write off your business expences like your cell phone and internet and other things you need for your busness.

You will need spare parts to swap out during your troubleshooting. You will also need diagotic software. The better stuff you have, the faster your toubleshooting. Remember, time is money and if you spend 4 hours troubleshooting a problem, you are wasting not your employers time but yours (welcome to the world of "you are the boss").

The small business is a great tax break while you build it up. It also makes you not feel so bad charging a small fee for doing work for people that would normally bothering you for free.

Good luck friend
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:54 AM   #9
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Thanks for the information very helpful. I had thought about separating it out but wasn't sure if there was any benefits to doing it that way or not. Would you recommend setting it up as an LLC or just going with a sole proprietorship?

guyvii how did you start your business? Is this something you do in addition to a 9-5 job? Also what kinds of diagnostic software do you use?
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Old 09-17-2009, 11:46 AM   #10
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Me and my brother also have been thinking of starting our own business . We ALWAYS and i mean ALWAYS get calls from family friends, friends of friends ... people at work .. everywhere .. when they find out that we work on PC's , they always ask " okay how much u charge " im like " lmao its fine , no charge " and thats happened like millions of times~!! i coulda been a trillionaire ahahhahaha jk

but anyway , this old lady yesterday was like " geeksquad charges 100 $ just to come to my house " in an old lady squeaky voice and i was like " DANG~!! " and then she found out we do PCs on our own and she took out her book and shes like " okay how much do you charge~? " in an old squeaky voice again lol

i was like " me n my bro will go check it out on sunday " " ooohh thank you sweety you guys should start your ownbusinessandthenyouguysshoulsadakl;sjd ndnv nvsjk.... " and then she started talking fast and throwing out all these ideas and i was at work ...

and im like DANG IM MOTIVATED TO DO THIS~!! lol
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:06 PM   #11
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Sole proprietorship is easier and cheaper to start, get the business license, and set up Vista/MC/Discover with your bank, most people don't have/want to spend cash any longer and it's better then taking checks. Unless your selling a lot of items Newegg or Mwave offer the best pricing Tiger can be a pain with returns and substitutions for out of stock items, CDW and others offer discount levels depending on how much you spend with them.
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Old 09-26-2009, 03:21 PM   #12
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Those are some very priceless ideas you guys shared. Thanx so much to every one that responded. I logged on here looking to find ideas and ask the same question about starting a successful computer repair business. Here is what I typed out on notepad to ask you guys before reading Ddraig's post:
I've been trying to start a Computer Repair Business, I've done some paperwork, distributed some ads around, but I can't seem to have clients. Can someone please give me ideas on how to go about getting customers so I can use my skills, please. Very appreciated.
Thanks Ddraig for starting the post, and thanks to all you kindhearted friends for the reply. Let's keep this going pls. Thanks again. I currently work for Dell Inc. as a Technical Support Professional, I have lots of skills to be successful with my own business (technically), but don't know how to go about turning them into income. Thanks again.
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Old 09-26-2009, 03:34 PM   #13
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Small Business's less then 15-20 machines is good target market, biggest thing they want is fast, reliable, cost effective service. Once you get 1 or 2 and provide good service word of mouth will get you more.
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Old 09-30-2009, 09:37 PM   #14
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If you really want to grow your customer base quickly, it's all about REFERRALS!

Land your first couple of customers by making sure EVERYONE you know knows that you're open for business and looking for customers to support during the off-hours. Take it seriously and go at it full force. Get 100 quality business cards printed (vistaprint is cheap, easy and makes a quality product) and give them to everyone you can. Don't post them on bulletin boards or leave them on the bus. Hand two or three of them to each of your friends, family, co-workers (assuming it won't get you into trouble with your 9-5), your neighbors, your mailman, etc., etc.

Let them know about your Computer Support Business (you're starting a business - give it a name) and if they know anyone that can use some computer help, would they mind passing your card along?

EVERYONE has computer problems at some point and they almost never know who to call. Make sure your business card gets to them and they will know exactly who to call.

Then comes the most important part. After you do a fantastic job for your first couple of customers, make sure to leave them four or five of your cards. Then make them an offer that if they would be so kind to refer you to one of their friends that might need some help, you'll be glad to give your customer an hour of free service if the referral becomes a paying customer.

Assuming you've done a good job for your customer, you'll be amazed at how fast the calls from new business will start rolling in.

The key is to take this seriously. You're starting a business... not a hobby. If you take a half-hearted attempt at making it work, you'll find you'll get far less than half-hearted results. And that always results in giving up on your dreams.

If you're serious about this, then get serious about it and make sure everyone knows that you're the best Computer Consultant in town and that your open for business.

Good luck.
-Rob
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryny View Post
If you really want to grow your customer base quickly, it's all about REFERRALS!

Land your first couple of customers by making sure EVERYONE you know knows that you're open for business and looking for customers to support during the off-hours. Take it seriously and go at it full force. Get 100 quality business cards printed (vistaprint is cheap, easy and makes a quality product) and give them to everyone you can. Don't post them on bulletin boards or leave them on the bus. Hand two or three of them to each of your friends, family, co-workers (assuming it won't get you into trouble with your 9-5), your neighbors, your mailman, etc., etc.

Let them know about your Computer Support Business (you're starting a business - give it a name) and if they know anyone that can use some computer help, would they mind passing your card along?

EVERYONE has computer problems at some point and they almost never know who to call. Make sure your business card gets to them and they will know exactly who to call.

Then comes the most important part. After you do a fantastic job for your first couple of customers, make sure to leave them four or five of your cards. Then make them an offer that if they would be so kind to refer you to one of their friends that might need some help, you'll be glad to give your customer an hour of free service if the referral becomes a paying customer.

Assuming you've done a good job for your customer, you'll be amazed at how fast the calls from new business will start rolling in.

The key is to take this seriously. You're starting a business... not a hobby. If you take a half-hearted attempt at making it work, you'll find you'll get far less than half-hearted results. And that always results in giving up on your dreams.

If you're serious about this, then get serious about it and make sure everyone knows that you're the best Computer Consultant in town and that your open for business.

Good luck.
-Rob
man that was pure inspiration right there , i just did a backflip off my seat
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Old 10-01-2009, 07:36 PM   #16
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Thanks. I really hope you guys make a go of it. As long as you have the tech skills to do a good job, there's no reason why you can't make some serious bank doing Independent Consulting.

Having a professional image is very important. Most people don't want the "kid next door" who happens to be pretty good with computers tinkering with their systems.

They'd LOVE however to have a Professional Computer Consultant in the neighborhood.

Once you've gotten in the door, you'll be able to win them over with your skills and professionalism. But to first get in the door, they're going to have to form an opinion of you by the marketing materials you present them with.

In this case, we're talking about your business card. If you've already come up with a name for yourself, go the extra mile and have a solid logo designed by a professional. I highly recommend logonerds dot com. They can deliver a great logo for less than fifty bucks. It's well worth the investment and it will make your business card that much more effective.
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Old 10-04-2009, 05:42 AM   #17
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The most important thing: Don't try to turn a hobby into a job. Make sure you know what you're doing first and have what you need to do it.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:56 AM   #18
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I agree with perryny . . Referrals are about 75% of my business
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:44 PM   #19
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This is a good thread full of valuable info~!! Me and my bro are seriously thinking about starting a Business , and im bringing all this to the table~!!
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Old 10-05-2009, 05:11 PM   #20
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I started doing my freelance comp repair biz about 10 months ago. I get about 1 job per month from customer who did an Internet search for "computer + repair + [my city name]". I'm #1 on google and yahoo. I think most people look in the yellow pages; Unfortunately Verizon completely BOTCHED my listing and NEVER listed me. So I've gotta wait another year! Yes I've had a referral and 2 repeat customers. I sent out 250 post cards and probably broke even from doing that. I used zillow.com to find street addresses in my area.

I say save $$ and print up your OWN post cards and laminate them using laminate sheets from Staples or Office Depot.

Also incorporating is a waste of money (especially in California where it costs about $1,200 a year in taxes, statement of information doc fees, Turbo Tax, etc, etc). I say the only thing that could make you liable for a large sum of money is being accused of losing someone's data, but if you have them agree that you are not responsible for lost data then you are covered. Every computer repair place has customers sign something that says that they are not liable for any lost data and the customer is fully responsible to back up their data. So what does that leave you with? Fry a motherboard? You're still looking at nothing more than a small claims case. No need to incorporate. Email me if you need more info.

Someone said that it takes 2 - 5 years to establish a computer repair business. I'd be curious to know how many customers some of you get per month and how long you have been doing it for. ???

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