Where's there money to be made?

  Bansaw 12:49 23 Jan 2006

If a computer support person was thinking of starting his own business, - just a local one man band type of business, where could he make money?

Building PCs and selling them may not be competitive enough to compete with Dell, and PC repair it a bit unpredictable perhaps. (?)
But in which area is there money to be made?

  jack 13:55 23 Jan 2006

The simple fact that you asked that particular question, indicates to me a mind set that will lead to failure in what ever enterprise you set upon.

Examine your stengths -what are you good at?
Look at local enterprises doing the same, and go for it.

It will be tough, you wont eat for a year or two- the Beemer will be a distrant dream- but stick to what you can do and dont divert to another string without giving it a good go.

  Bansaw 15:52 23 Jan 2006

Strengths would be PC building, but I don't think I'd be competitive enough to compete with Dell now as they are shipping desktops at £250 or so.

Other strenghts are PC repair, but as many PC supports are aware, fixing a fault can take five minutes or five hours based on what the underlying cause is. Its unpredictable.

Web design is a possibility also...
Local computer stores are springing up and they seem to be very busy just selling media and cartridges etc, but I don't know if they're "making it".
I just can't see an avenue in the domain of PC support/building that would be profitable.

Is there anyone out there that knows of a domain and thinks "yeah, this is really working, I'm busy and it's paying the bills?"

Any comments?

  jack 16:12 23 Jan 2006

You could then investigate the local large firms near by to see if they could do with 'outside IT support'
This could be a possibilty .Many years ago before computers I had a graphics business -photography/artwork/adverts- I found a useful source doing work for large international corps -who although the had big internal teans at head office and advertising agents - The out of town divisions very often did not get a look in or indifferent service for their needs. I had ddivision of Ford/ Army and Navy stores[when they were A&N] and good few others picking up the crumbs, because the appointed main lines would not come out of town
Now I could hazard a guess that a similar situation could happen in IT.

  Bansaw 16:58 23 Jan 2006

Thanks, thats helpful.

  ade.h 17:17 23 Jan 2006

I know someone whose main focus is small businesses and his workload has become such that he now sub-contracts some of the private work that he can't do due to other commitments (contracts, etc.) to a new startup. The new guy got his foot in the door because they share the same business advisor, and that's an important point: make maximum use of any and all networking opportunities. What you know is important, who you know can be priceless!

  ade.h 17:20 23 Jan 2006
  The Regster 19:36 23 Jan 2006

If you can reach the middle class suburbs I think there is a huge potential for a mobile support service, visitng people in their homes (ideally out of office hours).

My guess is you would not need to be qualified either.

It seems that as the digital revolution reaches those with higher disposable incomes, there are some huge gaps in the market for 'odd jobs' like installing a wireless network or transferring files from an old pc to a new one.

The technology exists to make life easy (wi fi is the classic example), but many people have no idea of how to set it up (and no wish to invest the time to find out). Therefore, people will spend £1200 on a slim designer laptop and still plug it into the phone line because they can't connect it to a wireless access point. If you can reach this market there is money to be made.

I have even heard of people who pay to have their ipods filled with music because they can't be bothered (or don't know how) to rip the tracks - easy money if you can find these people.

As technology in the home becomes more PC dependent, I bet that this type of service will widen further - especially with digital music and systems that stream around the house.

In addition, I bet that there are generations of people who had no interest in computers previously, but will start to see the benefits of email, the web and digital pictures. These customers will need lots of support as terms like 'cradle' 'USB' and 'port' mean nothing to them (not as far as PCs are concerned anyway). Many would happily pay to get their camera connected to the PC for example. I don't want to generalise, as many people do persevere and find out for themselves, but in places there is the wealth to fund an odd job man for such activities.

Once you have built up a reputation, I imagine you will be turning work away.

The other area of obvious support is virus recovery, anti-spyware and other work generated by malicious code. There are large numbers of broadband users who are not protected as they don't understand firewalls or other protection that many of the forum users take for granted. As such, when the PC upon which they have unknowingly become reliant keels over, they don't know where to start. You could legitimately carry out this recovery work at an hourly rate, so you wouldn't have to worry about setting fixed prices (but I would suggest you did for some of the work mentioned above).

With PC prices falling so fast people can get hold of the technology for very little (as you observe) and people are therefore turning to PC related technology more and more. Not only that, but they become reliant on it, especially as more and more services become available on line. For example, should you have an internet only bank account and your PC stops working, what options do you have to perform some transactions - the branch will be a trendy wine bar etc etc? The front end of PCs is far more friendly than it used to be, so it is easier to take them for granted. Therefore when things go wrong, novices are stuck. By providing a reassuring service, in person, and at a convenient time, people will pay for the privilege of a quick remedy.

All you have to do is find the market near you!!!

Finally, if you want proof, go and visit your nearest PC shop on a Saturday morning and watch the queues of punters holding PCs and laptops at the service desk. If you wanted to guage the level of interest, I suggest discreetly working your way along the queue giving out your phone number. See what level of response you get.

Good luck.

  richierich 22:58 23 Jan 2006

many colleges require people to teach part time adult education. I myself have been aproached to teach photoshop and digital photography but am aware there are many other skills where they require teachers.

  bluto1 23:10 23 Jan 2006

To The Regster, RESPECT.
To Bansaw, I hope you`re up and running.

  Indigo 1 07:05 24 Jan 2006

Very interesting reading this is a subject close to my heart and the information here is well worth reading.

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