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View Full Version : Starting a PC Repair Service (PC Dr.)



aussieolie2
10-22-2002, 11:31 AM
After a few suggestions and the need for extra cash, I am thinking of starting a a little home business doing PC Repair.
I am thinking PC Dr on call (I want to a on-call Dr. and also available 24/7) what do you think of the name (I know its been used)??
Also has anyone got any suggestions on any books? special tools (I already standard tools etc..), business techniques?
Im going to buy a cheap vechicle and also put some magnetic signs on it. :)
I am wondering are there any legal impliactions?? :eek:
Will I need to set up a business (its only like cash and cheques etc...)
If there is demand I may sell parts as well.

Anyway Im am just looking for more suggestions and comments from people's experiance,

Thank you,

Olie

YODA74
10-22-2002, 11:57 AM
I am thinking PC Dr

Been used


am wondering are there any legal impliactions??

Yes "Insurance"
Will I need to set up a business

Yes & no It would be smart to yes.And when you do then if you use that name you "may" have some legal problems.

People want to be able to trust you with there comp. so if you do not have a settled buisness practice (no fly by night) then it is going to flop.You need to fix a few friends neighbors or build a few yourself and sell them to get a reputation going.

aussieolie2
10-22-2002, 12:54 PM
When you say insurance, I am wondering what it would cover, after all there arent that many risk of computing??? All i can think of is data loss and eletrical hazard for legal problems. I think a disclaimer might do the job.
My work would only be for a few months (as i am a student)

Thanks

Olie

papertech
10-22-2002, 03:49 PM
I bought business insurance and license as a "consultant/pc tech". A lot can go wrong any time you touch any box. Especially the older systems. My insurance covers up to a specified dollar amount for any damage or theft that may occur to a customer's system as well as my own equipment.

Any damage that may occur to your physical being would be covered under health insurance. BUT, most health insurances do NOT cover injuries sustained at work. So, depending on the laws in your area, you may have to add worker's comp to your business policy.

My favorite resources are this forum, google.com, and Scott Mueller's books, "Upgrading and Repairing PCs".

deddard
10-22-2002, 04:04 PM
You'll need professional indemnity insurance - this covers the quality of your work.
e.g. if you put your hand in the back of someone's pc and fry it, and it just happened to be a multi-proc Xeon server with 10gig of RDRAM and the entire contents of the Australian Air Traffic control, you need to ensure your insurance will pay up, otherwise they'll come looking for your house.

Public Liability Insurance: This covers you for things like injury etc.
E.g. you're putting your hand in that fancy Xeon Multiproc system, and fry it - the shock makes you whip your hand out really quick, and you smack the MD who just happened to be looking over your shoulder straight in the face, and he's in hospital for a fortnight. They might want some compensation.

As for the name - just make sure no-one in the area is using it, or it isn't trademarked in your country.

Oh yeah - make sure when you look at anyone's PC, you rub your chin, frown, and say 'Ooh - I don't like the look of that..........':D

aussieolie2
10-22-2002, 04:35 PM
If I get a performance bond or personal bond, would this do the job, as I really dont want to go thru with the paper work to start a business in the USA (and it would only be for 3 months).
Any suggestions for cheap cover/insurance/bonds etc...???? I just want to go out there and make money (and not loose my house or life :D)

THanks,

Olie

papertech
10-22-2002, 06:13 PM
I use my actual name as my business name, so no need for a business checking account.....therefore, no need to register a ficticious name.

Paid $30 for a license from my county in Florida.

Needed only the license to get the insurance (used Nationwide.) The schedule of fees for coverage is pretty self explanatory - just need to contact the agent. Doubtful that they will write a policy for less than one year. so, bonds are really just insurance. Call an agent and discuss those options.

Good luck.

sea69
10-22-2002, 09:47 PM
Interesting topic.

Personally, I just put a sign in my front window here at a very busy intersection and you wouldn't believe all the people who want me to fix their computers.

They tell me what symptoms the machine is displaying, and if I want to (think it's worth fixing) I tell them to bring it in, or I can go to them. (I prefer them bringing their box to me- you don't have your auto mechanic come to your house very often)- sure pc's are different and many jobs I do for companies require me going to the bussiness.....

Here's how I then proceed:

I do a diagnostics on the machine and make free recommondations as to what it would cost to fix/upgrade it and if the machine is actually worth doing the job.
(economically feasable)

Then they have their choice of either having me do the work, taking it someplace else (for a lot more $$ and no gauranteed results)

If I get a machine that I think would cost more in time and labor than it could ever be worth, I recommend a new machine to them.

I do not try to fix something that can not be fixed. I gaurantee my work.

I didn't flag them down at gunpoint and I am not K-Mart, I do not HAVE to fix any machine that anyone just happens to pop over with.

I have only had (3) machines that I could not fix, two because the customer did not want to purchase the parts that were needed, the other an old win3.1 - 386 that just DIED.


**need I add that these Forums have been INVALUABLE to me**


;)

papertech
10-22-2002, 10:07 PM
Hey sea69,

You sound like a great tech with the right attitude. My repair strategy and ethics are along the same lines you detailed.

The reason why I do the license/insurance thing is because I have a few personal assets that I prefer to keep. It's disaster prevention. You never know when someone will take you to small claims court. My husband (self employed auto mechanic) has been sued three times. He won all three of his cases, but had he been at fault, we would have been protected.

Kindest regards,
Papertech

sea69
10-22-2002, 10:19 PM
The person with the old win3.1-386 tried the "will report you to..." blabla- I responded by informing him that he brought me the machine non-working, I charged him NOTHING, and he got it back non- working.

I additionally informed him that I would take him to court with a counter claim of "frivolous lawsuit" and with court costs and my time he would wind up paying *me* around $800.00 for his still non- working old clunker.

I get the majority of my work from word of mouth by satisfied customers- they tell their friends and associates that I'm the guy that can fix it where other more expensive "techs" (with bad attitudes usually) can't.

heh

being honest pays



;)

Nooyawkah
10-22-2002, 11:23 PM
I help friends build PCs all the time. So far, :D , they are all still working. Sometimes I make stupid errors but only I know it. But I pretty much always get the job done, although a day or 2 after I'd have liked. No one has ever paid me and sometimes I give them an extra fan or 2, or a heatsink and maybe install a couple programs. Perhaps thaty's why nobody has ever gotten pissed at me. I wonder how much that would change if I started charging them?

I'd love doing repairs but I'm always afraid I won't have enough knowledge do do real troubleshooting.

aussieolie2
10-23-2002, 08:44 AM
Thank you all for your suggestions, comments and stories. Its great to hear about other people's experiances. I think I might get a personal bond (if its less than $150 ;) ) but otherwise Im am going to try and get some work (my other major problem is transport) - being a student I havent got a car and access to one in the day is tricky, Im going to try and find a cheap one.
For my startup costs I am thinking a bible (for repairs), a few more tools and some business cards, any other suggestions?? I might make a database to record my jobs, customers etc...

Thanks,

Olie

papertech
10-23-2002, 10:33 AM
Nooyawkah,

When you get enough confidence to cross that line and start charging for your service, it WILL change the attitude of the client. Even long time friends. And rightly so.

Remember, all systems are different. To keep yourself (and your customers) sane, be extra careful and do your research everytime. Don't ever assume that the problem you're fixing on one system is "just like" the one you did before.

Papertech

aussieolie2
10-23-2002, 11:11 AM
a valid point, act slow (dont rush in to it) - give it some thought.
I agree that no system (its that creepy thing again :eek: ) is the same (even the same model).

Olie

Nooyawkah
10-23-2002, 03:13 PM
Remember, all systems are different. To keep yourself (and your customers) sane, be extra careful and do your research everytime. Don't ever assume that the problem you're fixing on one system is "just like" the one you did before.

That's really excellent advice. I guess that's why I secretly recommend Athlon XPs and ABIT motherboards to everyone because I'm comfortable with them. :D

steveo
10-24-2002, 05:48 AM
I do work as well. It's completely informal, "run and gun" as I like to call it. I toss my name out there, no cards, nothing to advertise. I do one job, they tell someone, a family member tells someone who tells someone etc, you get the idea. I don't have a shop but part of my living room is like a little tech lab and it's all I need. I don't keep any new "stock" because what's the point?

Jobs I won't do are the ones out of my league. Never let your ego be your business partner.

Most people just want to upgrade so suggest they buy a new box because they're gonna have to get a new mobo to run the ram they want, speedy cpu, psu, burner etc. If they want me to build it I will but I don't "warrenty" the box. And what I mean by warrenty is don't call me 6 months later on a sunday night because the floppy drive won't read disks and expect me to come running over with a new one, for free. I always keep new boxes on my bench for a day and run diagnotics over a 24hr period so that I know everything is working.

If a piece of hardware fails then the manufacturer's warrenty comes into play (my local vendor is exceptional for returns this way). If I screw something up like toasting ram/cpu/mobo then I take care of it obviously. If something happens to the o/s or something related to software (wonky drivers) then I'll take care of it up to a certain point but I don't warrenty software either.

Now the fun part...charging!

I charge half of what the local shops do if I'm building boxes. I allot 4hrs per box...1hr to build/3hrs to install software (yeah like that happens). I will barter some of the cost if they have something I want. I will take their old hardware if they don't want it but I won't pay for it. Before I take on any job I haggle out what I think it will cost. I love to haggle over money and the customer likes it to because it's something they can't do in the local shop. But I do have one hard and fast rule. Any money needed to buy hardware is paid up front. I don't stick my neck out for anyone. If someone wants to spend 2 grand on a box then they have to give me something to work worth. I won't run off to my local vendor, drop a wad of cash and then find out buddy changed his mind and went to "Crappy PC's R Us" and bought a box there for 500 bucks because it looked like a good deal on TV while he was watching Buffy.

If it's service work I usually charge 20 bucks to walk in the door and then 20 bucks per hour. Most service stuff only takes a hour to do (reload a driver, install hardware, get the internet running, replace cable etc). If I can tell it's something major (gee, that mobo sure gives off a lot of smoke) then I'll just stop and put on my game face...."sir, your mobo is dying a fast death-have you considered buying a new one?". I don't work on laptops or mac's. I don't fix printers/scanners or monitors. I don't do dos cause I suck at it. That's still 30 bucks/hour cheaper then the local shops charge if they go in blind.

Overall, on boxes, I try and give the best deal possible while giving the customer a box they can rely on. That is to say when I drop it off and fire it up, it'll work. I'll sit with the customer as well and go through things like fire up every program etc so they see it all works.
But it's getting tougher. The local shops are discounting boxes to the degree that guys like me can't build them that much cheaper and the shops are doing the blanket warrenty gig now. I can't touch them on that front.

On service, I don't candy coat anything. If I think something isn't long for this world I tell them. If they want another opinion then I'll give them the numbers of all the local shops. If they want me to do something about it I will, if not, at least buy me a beer eh!

In closing all I can say is when you start charging, it's no longer a hobby.

sea69
10-24-2002, 06:38 AM
steveo's and my rates are about the same- I found people are happy paying $25.00 an hour- businesses I charge $25.00 with a (3) hour minimum-(weather the job takes 10 minutes or 3 hours, that's what it costs to get me there- $75.00 to walk in the door).

I could charge a lot more, but it is not my main source of income, and I still need to undercut my competition by half to elicit new bizz opps, as while my rep is SOLID, my only advertising is the sign in my window, and word of mouth- they like it that if they bring it to me rather than Radio Shack I can save their data/files and actually FIX something instead of just reformat or Restore the machine!

;)

Nooyawkah
10-24-2002, 08:59 AM
Stevio,
Yours is one posting I'll print out and save. And as for

"In closing all I can say is when you start charging, it's no longer a hobby."

I've thought about that many times.

papertech
10-24-2002, 05:28 PM
Wow! Steve!

Bare your soul, huh? Ok, here goes:

I get my jobs mostly by word of mouth. My clients are mostly yuppies, so business cards work. No advertising. I have a lab/office in a 16'x10' shed on my husband's business property, next door to our home.

I no longer go out, they have to come to me. They call and describe the problem and their systems (if they can!). It's usually software related. I will replace bad parts (but NOT a mobo). I try to keep a floppy, hdd, cables on hand. Mostly the customer is more concerned with file recovery than anything.

On the phone, I give them a rough estimate of repair time (and how may days behind that I'm backed up). I spit out upfront - $35/hr, $52.50 min. When I get the system, if I find I'm way off base, I'll update the quote before going any further.

If I try but can't fix it, I don't charge. (For my own sanity, I reject jobs on really old systems.) I suggest purchase of Dell or Gateway instead of upgrades that cost more than $100 in parts.

Now, let's talk about billable hours. If I go over the estimated time, I don't charge for the overage. (It's usually research time anyway.)

Once the customer has the system back, I do a follow up phone call. A few days later, I send them an email with suggestions for backup strategies, etc. - fishing for future business.

BTW, my most valuable hardware tool (next to a kvm switch) is my Kingston quickdrive.

Nooyawkah
10-24-2002, 07:57 PM
my most valuable hardware tool (next to a kvm switch) is my Kingston quickdrive.

What type of kvm switch? And what is a Kingston Quickdrive? Signed,
Ignorant

papertech
10-24-2002, 08:58 PM
Nooyawkah,

Here's the kvm switch - nothing special, just a real time and space saver:

http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=10232552&loc=101

And for the Quick Drive, Kingston is the mfg name on the power adapter, but finding it again on tiger, seems it's packaged under another name:

www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?sku=H22-1052 (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?sku=H22-1052)

aussieolie2
10-24-2002, 09:03 PM
All I can say is Wow :)
This is like the best topic I have read.
I have an idea, if you offer your services (also) during 6pm to 10pm and/or on weekends (when people are at home) you could make $$$ loads!
I am thinking what sort of benchmarking software to use to test systems? Does anybody think I should get insurance/protection or has anybody had legal problems (only with PC repair service ;) lol) - please so settlement stories (I want to make cash! ;) )
Can I ask what is the quickest way to get business, I am thinking of putting up a couple of signs down the road and also a few ad's in the paper.

This is exciting :D

Olie :) :)

Nooyawkah
10-24-2002, 09:44 PM
Great info, papertech, it's appreciated.

aussieolie2
10-28-2002, 10:16 AM
Where can i learn how to use a digital multimeter?? and what are the benefits of using one in IT repair?
As you probally see - I have never used one before.

Thanks,

Olie

YODA74
10-28-2002, 10:32 AM
http://www.doctronics.co.uk/meter.htm#digital

http://www.drintense.com/How%20To%20Use%20A%20DMM.htm

http://www.bhumika.ca/instrumentations/dmm/dl_body_v300_e.html

The choice is yours But if i were you I would do a little more schooling before tearing into someones system that you do not know.
Not being mean here thats not my intention... Just becouse someone can install a windows app. or fix a couple of software glitches does not a tech make.. There is a hole hell of a lot more to it then that..You need to run an add in the paper and see if you can get some cheap 2nd hand machines to play around with and put them thru some rigorous functions before tearing into someone's system..

YODA74
10-28-2002, 11:34 AM
here are some more you might be interested in

http://www.cabl.com/restaurant/electronics.html

http://www.geocities.com/zestronad54529/Elec101.html

http://www.integracoustics.com/MUG/MUG/articles/circuits/

http://www.p5taylor.btinternet.co.uk/Resistors.htm


http://www.pmel.org/HandBook/HBpage26.htm

papertech
10-28-2002, 01:02 PM
YODA74,

Absolutely right. "...There is a hole hell of a lot more to it then that..."

As I eluded to in a previous thread (this forum - "I'm a wanna be......":

Even with CompTIA A+ (core hw & os) and MCSE NT4.0 certs plus 2 yr entry level network experience and 2 yr self employed tech, BUT, NO computer science degree (at 45 yrs old).........I am still VERY much a "paper" tech. I am confident enough to pull it off - age helps and I am pretty talented.

Before I started charging, I repaired all my friends computers for free and invested a couple hundred dollars on old semi-dead systems for hands-on, NO-RISK practice.

Oh yeah, I still think business insurance is imperative.

Paleo Pete
10-28-2002, 11:52 PM
Well, I see some very good advice here, but I also see one thing I do not like.

The original post made a comment about this only being an operational business for 3 months...I'd be very unhappy if I were a customer with a dead part within my ONE - THREE YEAR warranty and discovered the "business" that sold/installed the part is now long gone...and would be even more unhappy...probably downright mad...to find out it was only intended to be a business for 3 months...

You're not selling ice cream off a truck here, throwing newspapers or flipping burgers at the local fast food joint - and I use the term "food" loosely...You're dealing with peoples' computers, which in many cases cost them $1000 + and they both expect and deserve some sort of dependable warranty and service. They also expect and deserve to be able to bring it back if it doesn't work two weeks later, and not find out you closed up 3 days after their computer was returned.

I work in a shop now, and do this for a living. I assure my customers we WILL back up our warranty, we WILL be there if and when a part fails within its warranty period. We also are very quickly building a reputation for doing good work, and making sure the machine is right when it goes out the door is the only way it does go out...If you're not in it for the long haul, get into a different business that won't leave disgruntled customers when you close leaving them to hold the bag for their warranties, which last much longer than you plan to stay open.

In other words, if you aren't ready to go the distance, stay out of the race.

OK rant over...

Advertising: we believe in it. We're doing radio spots, just started newspaper ads in 3 papers, I've done 2 live radio interviews, and we're trying to work up a once weekly half hour call-in radio show. We pass out over 500 business cards a month, will probably start ads on a second radio station soon, and possibly TV in the future, although that hasn't been discussed. I print my own business cards on laser printer and card stock from department stores. Our ads emphasize quality and service.

Parts: Inexpensive as we can go and still make a certain percentage profit, NO generic memory whatsoever, and good quality parts in general. We carry just about anything we need to build or handle common repairs, but not a lot of it, most parts we can get overnight, no real need for a huge inventory. We do handle some refurbished parts, but the customer always knows from the start he/she is buying a refurbished component, and is informed of the warranty, which is usually 30-90 days.

Pricing: $25/hour in shop, $35/hour in-home. in-home will probably increase before long since I have to put in-shop jobs on hold for service calls. We also make allowances for military and just plain can't afford it...

Training: Will begin fairly soon, starting with basic how to classes soon as some other things are taken care of and I work out a basic outline.

3 months? Forget it...I couldn't get a good start in 3 months, this is a business that takes longer than that just to get a decent customer base built in order for it to be self-sufficient, and without some sort of advertising and a lot of footwork we wouldn't have half the business we have now. Nearly 3 months and it's just now getting close to self-sufficient. Most small businesses are running in the red for over 6 months, and very often more than year.

Investment/profit: Put every penny you can back into the business. A person with a newly opened business struggling to build a reputation and customer base should not be throwing money around on expensive toys...new cars, big screen TVs etc...just enough salary to stay afloat financially, the rest should be pumped right back into the business.

aussieolie2
10-29-2002, 10:07 AM
OK!
I am a student, I have worked for several firms in IT (for the past 8 years) as a technician, developer, and some consultancy.
As I donít have much work at the moment and have a little more time these days, I feel I could do with the cash (as I am only being employed 3 days a week now, and wanted to run a PC repair service), not really a home business or building machines for people, just one off repairs or services. I have been pulling machines to pieces for quite some time now (6 years or so) and do lack a little knowledge on the latest hardware (as I cannot keep up with it nor afford it), but I do know my limits and what I am capable of. I appreciate the suggestions and do see your points of view, but do look at it from my point of view, I am trying to make a living and learn.

Also I can see you point for only a few months, I would love to continue to do this at my current location, its just I am being transferred back to Australia as I am in the forces and will probably continue doing PC repair back there, so donít think its just for sake of making extra cash, I need to learn and need to make a better income - Plus I am trying to get my degrees and possibly a MBA.
If you have any positive tips, info or stories I would love to hear them.

Thank you to all of the people who have made great suggestions, and I think this is a great topic.


Olie ;)

papertech
11-01-2002, 09:17 PM
Pete:

Much respect to the Master.

Thanks for your insight. I totally agree with your point that one needs to be into the venture for the long haul. Your honesty is both admirable and honorable.

I'm surprised, however, that a shop like yours (especially with all the overhead) has such low labor rates. Here in central Florida, average in shop rates are $45/hr and on site rates are $65/hr. Consulting and/or software training can go upwards of $125/hr.

Paleo Pete
11-03-2002, 10:14 PM
]quote]I'm surprised, however, that a shop like yours (especially with all the overhead) has such low labor rates.[/quote]

Around here that's all the market will bear. This is not the big city, it's a much smaller place than Maimi, Tampa, Orlando etc. Shop rates in other larger cities in this part of the country are also lower, usually in the $40-50 range at most. You have to tailor your prices to the local fiscal environment.

Overhead is really not that bad, since most of the parts can be available overnight. A huge invventory is not needed, other than a few common and less expensive items like mice, modems, and memory. Even those don't require a large shelf...3 or 4 on hand is fine, we're not Wally World...

aussie I can see your point as well, but you'll have former customers looking for further service, and you certainly don't want to end up returning to your present location later to find yourself with a bad reputation. I went back to Texas a few weeks ago to get some things I needed, found a message from someone I did work for previously, looking for me again. Since it was Sunday and a nice one I couldn't get in touch, and they didn't seem to have an answering machine. So as far as they are concerned I don't return my messages or support my work...not good...

And sorry I haven't kept up too well with this thread, I haven't had a lot of time the past few days and haven't been online much. Had a really rotten week, and spent the last 3 days manning a display booth at the local annual fair...till 9PM or so...I'm usually up by about 5...needless to say I didn't want to do a thing but fall in bed when I got home for about the past week...

aussieolie2
11-12-2002, 05:33 PM
Well so far I have had 2 jobs (I've be runnign for 5 days). I know it takes a while to get going and things, does any body have any suggestions to getting word about and advertising campaigns.
I am putting an add in the paper this week, I've been giving out my card to people and leaving them in (resonable) public places...B.Card cabinets etc....
Anyone got any other tips?

I also setup a kind of switchboard, people phone in and listen to the options then they leave a message under the problem area (So i can classify the more important jobs) - so far no late night or early in the morning jobs... But if people press the digit for immediate/emergancy service I am trying to set it up to transfer them to my cell.. I kinda got it working..But im looking for another piece of voicemail/call software...

Anyway thanks for all your help - always appreciate it,

Olie

papertech
11-13-2002, 08:27 PM
See Pete's earlier post in this thread (from Oct. 29), middle paragraph has some interesting advertising tips.

sea69
11-13-2002, 09:46 PM
and also there is "indirect maketing"-


indirect marketing is alternatively known as image-building, friend-raising, membership development, community relations, political activities, or citizen education. It's all marketing.


David C. Hammack wrote to ARNOVA-L (see http://www.arnova.org/list_srv.html) on 11/1/02



the more people you get to pitch your business to, the more chances you have to make them remember you- and refer you to their friends and associates......


;)

papertech
11-13-2002, 09:55 PM
BTW, word of mouth can be your best friend or worst enemy. However you find them, be sure to keep your customers happy.

aussieolie2
11-14-2002, 09:53 AM
Thanks!
The customer I delt with on Tuesday wants me back on Thursday night to do some tweaking, cleaning up and also wants his cable modem and nic card installed.
Anyone got any voicemail/switchboard programs that they suggest (I am currently using a demo) and am interested in researching other programs.
I think word of mouth will be my main target area...
Thanks,

Olie

papertech
12-03-2002, 01:11 PM
Happened to run across this page today which reiterates Pete's "rantings" earlier in this thread.

aussieolie2
12-03-2002, 03:20 PM
Damm man, thats a really good article.
Good on ya!

Regards,

Olie

andreadebiase
12-03-2002, 09:36 PM
At this point I have a question:
when you start a small business like this and in addition to repair the pc you also build them, how are you supposed to deal with software copyright issues? are builders requesting from microsoft a special deal or they add $200 for each WinXP to the customer`s bill? aside of the illegalities among friends how does it work with M$ and a serious business?

Budfred
12-03-2002, 10:11 PM
If you start to build machines and you plan to be reputable, you would need to either contract with MS for wholesale purchase of OEM Windoze, buy and install OEM from a reseller, use a copy that the buyer has that he/she is willing to forgo using elsewhere, or charge for the full version cost.

You are getting into much deeper waters when you start selling new builds. I did this for a friend at cost and he paid what I paid for everything. I now feel responsible to provide essentially unlimited support, even though he couldn't have gotten that from any retailer.

Budfred

Ghost_Hacker
12-04-2002, 06:04 AM
There are 2 ways to resell MS software.


One way is to buy it from MS and pass the cost on to the customer plus 10% for your trouble. This is a one to one transaction. You can't buy once from MS and resell the same "CD" over and over. You might also choose not to add the 10%, it's your call.


Second way is to join Microsoft's OEM system builders program.
Look here for details:

http://www.microsoft.com/oem/main.asp

or call MS directly.

rrosenwald
01-02-2003, 04:09 PM
I realize this post is late in the subject but I have been doing computer repair for quite awhile. I do it for family and friends mostly and have had happy customers. Most times I don't charge for what I do but there are times that friends insist on paying me. I don't mess with the old systems unless I specifically state upfront that this is basically "beating a dead horse". I tell them this so they know the limitations of their equipment and that only so much can be done. If they still want me to look at the machine, I get my hands "bloody". I don't jack with motherboards because I just don't have the knowhow to deal with them. I do software upgrades, hardware upgrades. These are things that fall into the fairly routine duties. Like anything else there are glitches to contend with.

Myself, I like making house calls. My reason for this is, if someone has a problem they most likely will not bring the entire system into the shop. I have found that working on the system with everything hooked up is much easier to diagnose then just say the CPU or a printer by themselves. What pisses me off is computer shops charge the hell out of you for looking at something and then tell you it is fine only to find it was a settings problem. Lets face it, most folks out there have no clue how to look for these things. This is where we come in. We as honest computer repair people can help stop some of this kind of crap. That is why I do this as a hobby. I do it to make some "mad money".

I know there are differing opinions out there, I thought I would say mine for what it is worth. I have read some good advise though. Thanks for it, too!!

papertech
01-05-2003, 08:47 PM
rrosenwald,

Once your hobby becomes a business your overhead increases dramatically. You'll find that most shops ARE reputable, but they have to charge a bench fee even if they did not actually fix a problem. Keep in mind that these techs have licenses, pay rent, and buy business insurance - all of which are benefits for the customer.

Also, when you do eventually cause damage to someone's system, insurance will prove to be a benefit to you, too!

Kindest regards,
papertech

Technotic
02-08-2003, 07:29 AM
Olie,
If you're into computers, which it does seem that you have some reasonable experience, then you should know someone that already has something going on and may need some help. That's where I'm at right now, I'm 37 yrs old and going back to school to get that piece-o-paper that tells everyone that I know what I know I have known for quite some time now... you know? I earn side money through an established tech service that I do "contract" work through. I'm covered by their legal stuff, the customer is covered by their legal stuff too, and if I never do another job for them from tommorow to forever I can leave with a clear consci.. conciens... consiens... MIND on the matter because I know that the customer will still be able to get service through my friends business.:D
A win-win-win situation for all seeing as how my friend with the business HATES, or even LOATHES, setting up networks and I'm on the other end of town than he is so he can call on me to work a job or make a service call for a whole new group of customers that he previously had to turn away because of the distance. There is enough $$$ for all concerned when the job is done, usually (one of my friend's talents), unless something doesn't work out the way it should. But, in that situation EVERYONE is "taking it in the butt" so to speak, and I have yet to see it be because of human error on any party's part (unless we indirectly attribute it to the Great MACROsoft people).
It's a damm BIG field of possabilities and outcomes this "computer biz" stuff, with infinate results to happen even if we remove location and digi-karma and just plain bad choices out of the equation. (as evidenced by many other people's experiences as well as my own) And here I started out working on computers to relax and indulge in a hobby because I thought it would be just that!( hehehehehehe ahh the devil will drag you under ) Personally I DO work on the OLD one's and the ODDBALL's, on my own time and with no guarrantee that it will even survive the operation! I have found out that one good old differant system is more of a learning experience than 10 new boxes, it helps me in the new systems to see where they came from and what they did way way way back 5-10 years ago. A Prolinea 5100 Compaq model circa 1990-1993 166mhz 132mb simm RAM and 2.5 gig HDD sits on my shelf in a spot of honor still today. Maxed out to the gills for it's model it was the first box I ever saved from the dump and it runs like a champ, I will with reluctance use it as a loaner box, but I'll never part with it until it goes up in a blue puff of ozone smelling smoke! hehehehaa
Good Luck Whatever You Work Out Though - there's allways room for one more on the "Hamburger Train" in the "Computer Car" (you know... the car way down at the end of the train by the caboose... the one with the glitchy electric doors and the funky colored lights flashin' and ... what's that funny smell?)