Pitfalls of selling self-builds?

  MichelleC 08:34 02 Mar 2004
Locked

Offspring 1's finishing 6th form in summer and is thinking about doing self builds and selling them. He's got access to students computer market where parts are cheaper than most pc fairs. Are there any words of advice on any things to be careful of, and installing os's (assume you have to buy multi-license) and is it best to do restore partition etc?

The one thing I would be very careful of is the fact that many people will want "minor" problems and fixes dealt with FOC. By this I mean that you are always getting phone calls "How do I...." etc and this ends up as a large amount of wasted time. The tendancy is to do this at the beginning as you want to build up good will and support from your customers, however, in time the amount of time spent in this way means that you cannot concentrate on doing what you set up to do - make money. Be hard nosed and charge from the beginning - even if a little as it will put off anyone who is just too plain lazy to read the manual or find out for themselves. If it is a genuine hardware error then fine, but most of the time it is something that the like of PC world would charge £50 or so to fix!

The one thing I would be very careful of is the fact that many people will want "minor" problems and fixes dealt with FOC. By this I mean that you are always getting phone calls "How do I...." etc and this ends up as a large amount of wasted time. The tendancy is to do this at the beginning as you want to build up good will and support from your customers, however, in time the amount of time spent in this way means that you cannot concentrate on doing what you set up to do - make money. Be hard nosed and charge from the beginning - even if a little as it will put off anyone who is just too plain lazy to read the manual or find out for themselves. If it is a genuine hardware error then fine, but most of the time it is something that the like of PC world would charge £50 or so to fix!

  Sir Radfordin 12:22 02 Mar 2004

Not sure but wouldn't be surprised to find that there are various laws on the selling of electrical goods.

If he is going to be making money from this then the Inland Revenue will want to see it as income (Self Emplyoed) and then you get into the world of accounts, tax and NI. If he is only going to be doing the odd bit of work then he may be able to claim small earnings exemption on NI contribuitions.

Any software he buys needs only be a single licence for the computer he is selling it with. He won't want to be the only person with the licence when he sells the computer.

As Smiffy99 points out, when things go wrong customers will want it sorted. How will he deal with things like the Sale of Goods Act, Warranties and fixing those little problems that always come up.

I've been in the same position as he seems to be (and to some extent still am) but don't see the benefit in taking on the risks/hassle of selling custome build hardware. I'm more than happy to do upgrade/spec new PCs or buy off the shelf stuff but that is as far as I will go on that front. And then I try and do it using the customers credit card so the contract is always been them and the store. I still don't think there is enough money in hardware to make it worthwhile.

  Sir Radfordin 12:22 02 Mar 2004

Not sure but wouldn't be surprised to find that there are various laws on the selling of electrical goods.

If he is going to be making money from this then the Inland Revenue will want to see it as income (Self Emplyoed) and then you get into the world of accounts, tax and NI. If he is only going to be doing the odd bit of work then he may be able to claim small earnings exemption on NI contribuitions.

Any software he buys needs only be a single licence for the computer he is selling it with. He won't want to be the only person with the licence when he sells the computer.

As Smiffy99 points out, when things go wrong customers will want it sorted. How will he deal with things like the Sale of Goods Act, Warranties and fixing those little problems that always come up.

I've been in the same position as he seems to be (and to some extent still am) but don't see the benefit in taking on the risks/hassle of selling custome build hardware. I'm more than happy to do upgrade/spec new PCs or buy off the shelf stuff but that is as far as I will go on that front. And then I try and do it using the customers credit card so the contract is always been them and the store. I still don't think there is enough money in hardware to make it worthwhile.

  Stuartli 13:17 02 Mar 2004

If and when anything goes wrong then your customers will never be off your back.....

  Stuartli 13:17 02 Mar 2004

If and when anything goes wrong then your customers will never be off your back.....

I have mixed feelings about this thread.My livelihood depends on upgrading/serving computers and things have got so bad that I now charge a hefty premium for fixing a computer that has been aquired/purchased from an enthusiastic self build amateur who has walked away when things have got technically difficult.
Even though I obtain parts at trade prices, there is emphatically no money in building computers and providing a level of support that should be given. Even the big companies like Time,Mesh,Evesham etc, make little profit on a computer,and they buy components by the lorry load.
As others have pointed out; the minute you start selling your computers you become liable to whole raft of legislation; not withstanding the interest the tax man will have.
Just one small example - I have public liability insurance. If you don't have this and your customer is electrocuted, or even just looses valuable data, in this day age you will probably find yourself being sued for negligence,loss, and possible prosecution from the Health and Safety Executive. Hardly the best start in life for a sixth form leaver.

I have mixed feelings about this thread.My livelihood depends on upgrading/serving computers and things have got so bad that I now charge a hefty premium for fixing a computer that has been aquired/purchased from an enthusiastic self build amateur who has walked away when things have got technically difficult.
Even though I obtain parts at trade prices, there is emphatically no money in building computers and providing a level of support that should be given. Even the big companies like Time,Mesh,Evesham etc, make little profit on a computer,and they buy components by the lorry load.
As others have pointed out; the minute you start selling your computers you become liable to whole raft of legislation; not withstanding the interest the tax man will have.
Just one small example - I have public liability insurance. If you don't have this and your customer is electrocuted, or even just looses valuable data, in this day age you will probably find yourself being sued for negligence,loss, and possible prosecution from the Health and Safety Executive. Hardly the best start in life for a sixth form leaver.

  Diemmess 16:11 02 Mar 2004

Just look around at the present market and see how close is the cost between buying a readymade bundle and building one's own (both using new entirely new components). A lot of new equipment will have to be sold to make a modest profit

Smiffy99 hits the nail - - the certainty of early customers wanting unreasonable and free support.

No 1 son must be realistic. There is better opportunity for offering support, and maintenance, with construction in the background. This can all be done from a private address, saving the overheads of "premises with public access". (That's a full can of worms on its own).

But Hey, if it is just trying to earn some money during the long holiday before college education,,,, then try it (but ask for at least out of pocket expenses as a deposit before building anything).

  Diemmess 16:11 02 Mar 2004

Just look around at the present market and see how close is the cost between buying a readymade bundle and building one's own (both using new entirely new components). A lot of new equipment will have to be sold to make a modest profit

Smiffy99 hits the nail - - the certainty of early customers wanting unreasonable and free support.

No 1 son must be realistic. There is better opportunity for offering support, and maintenance, with construction in the background. This can all be done from a private address, saving the overheads of "premises with public access". (That's a full can of worms on its own).

But Hey, if it is just trying to earn some money during the long holiday before college education,,,, then try it (but ask for at least out of pocket expenses as a deposit before building anything).

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

AMD Radeon Adrenalin release date, new features, compatible graphics cards

8 brilliant character artists speaking at Pictoplasma 2018

iMac Pro release date, UK price & specs

Football : comment regarder la Ligue 1 en direct ?