starting a pc business

  bally1020 21:00 06 Oct 2004

Hi there!
If i wanted to start a small business which basically people called me to explain their computer faults, or generally needed advice, how much would it cost to get up and running? Are there any hidden costs or suggestions which you can make for me ?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  THE TERMINATOR 22:42 06 Oct 2004

If people need pc advice they can come here, for any other kind they can go to the Citizens Advice Bureau, which is your best bet for setting up business....TT

  dan 11 23:13 06 Oct 2004

Would this be just a telephone helpline or will you be going to, or receiving, units to repair?

If it is just a helpline, how would you extract payment for services. Would you set up a premium rate helpline or would you take credit card details? Invoicing may leave you with a high percentage of bad payers.

If you intend to do 'hands on' repairs then you will need a big layout. You must be prepared to have a large stock of items. The minimum would be enough for 2 units, pentium and amd. No use going to repair an item if say, the ram chip is faulty and you don't have a spare. Spare monitor, printer, psu, operating systems 98- ME-2000- X|P,anti virus software, firewall software, ad aware, spybot, spywareblaster, cw shreder, everest, recovery software. This list goes on. You must be prepared for any situation.

A selection of screwdrivers, pair of tweezers and a magnifying glass.

Oh and you may need something to cart it around. lol

  pavel 23:21 06 Oct 2004

You forgot the most useful piece of equipment
dan 11, a universal translater to convert "user speak" in to what really happened and what they really did.
Good luck

  dan 11 23:36 06 Oct 2004

Rats, forgot about that.

Seriously I forgot 2 important items.

Insurance. If you are going to or receiving items to repair. You must have a good comprehensive insurance policy. This is not just for the cost of the units but just in case the customer suffers an accident. Heart attacks may be induced by over pricing and the occasional power lead dropping into refreshments must be avoided. :-)

The second item is the, 'universal' blame my cock up on the customer manual. This is indispensable and is totally the opposite of pavel's manual.

  spuds 23:43 06 Oct 2004
  pcgal 00:07 07 Oct 2004

If you enjoy numpties pestering the life out of you at all hours of the day then go for it !!

Don't give out your landline home number or you'll be changing to X-directory very

  Forum Editor 00:16 07 Oct 2004

that you may be in for a steep learning curve here. Lots of people think it sounds like a good idea to set up as a kind of computer doctor, and indeed it does when you first think of it.

Unfortunately the reality is often very different. Apart from the obvious problems such as the need to cover yourself against the risk of wrecking someone's machine, or having it stolen when your house is broken into, or losing it in a fire, there's the inevitability of customers blaming you for just about everything that happens after you lay a finger on the computer.

Long long ago I learnt the lesson that it's a fat mistake to accept other people's computers for repair - you must always visit the machine, rather than have it visit you. No matter how much you think you can do it you cannot easily fix computer problems over the phone - just take a look at the Helproom threads for an idea of how a problem can go back and forth. Customers will not pay a worthwhile rate for telephone help, and in any event - how are you going to ensure that you get paid that way?

If you take my advice you will forget the idea. By all means set yourself up as a visiting troubleshooter, but be prepared to find out that although the average person is quite prepared to spend £50 or £60 for a washing machine repair engineer to come to the house they'll whinge if you try to charge the same amount for computer repairs. Unless you do charge that kind of fee you'll find you can't make a living out of it.

I know this sounds very negative, but I've seen lots of people try, and lots of people fail. If there was a decent income to be made from providing telephone computer help their would be hundreds of people doing it, but there aren't.

  Cook2 00:29 07 Oct 2004

It's not that easy bally1020. Some years ago when I was working as a Domestic Appliance Engineer I decided to 'go it alone'. I did all my research, part of which was looking at the competition in the adverts. Only two people doing it. Two years down the line and there were 25. Needless to say the work slowly but surely dried up and I just couldn't make a livimg from it any more.

Doing it from home wan't really a good idea because I couldn't hold all the stock I required. I looked into opening a shop but the rent and rates were too dear plus I would have had to employ someone to be in the shop while I was out doing the repairs.

I'm not aying you couldn't make it but the odds are against you.

Good luck if you go for it.


  billyliv 01:04 07 Oct 2004

Hi, Dont listen to negative replies. If you have the knowledge and the know how, and you have a nice warm workspace, Advertise that you will either repair or upgrade on a home or office visit, or, the offending machine can be brought to your premises complete.(Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor and all installation CDs). (This is where the nice warm workspace comes in ) The drawback is informing your local council and your insurance company and the dreaded 'Inland Revenue'. Buena suerte. Bill

  Noelg23 07:45 07 Oct 2004

I am in the same sort of position as you except I want to build PCs for people as well as upgrades and repairs...I have already printed out business cards and far not really had any its picking up very slowly...altho saying that I have built a few systems for people in the pst and so far no complaints (touch wood). one other thing to remember is where your going to get your bits from...make sure the supplier has a decent returns policy and you always have things tracked when ordering...I buy my parts from click here or click here both very cheap but the former having a wider range of stock and both very good with delivery. so what I can say to you is if you want to do it...go for it...what have you got to lose in the end? and yes it takes a lot of time. I have spent 7yrs learning about PCs and its only now I have finally been able to say I am ready...when I thought I was ready 7yrs ago...but I am sure in another 7yrs I will have gotten good luck mate...

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