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Part-time computer builder/repairer

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The Revelation

Oct 23, 2002
Does anyone run a business part-time, fixing/building PCs for SOHO or personal use?I was thinking of printing out some flyers, to get some extra cash part time.

How do you go about getting business? I know word-of-mouth is the best advertising, but you have to get some clients before you can do that ;). I plan on making a small website for myself, along with getting referrals from my friends/family.

Are there any pitfalls to watch out for? To me it seems pretty straight forward. Talk to a client, get an idea of what they are looking for, price it out, mark it up a few hundred $, install in their home, and leave some business cards.

I'm just looking for any advice you could possibly give, as I'd like to get this going relatively quickly.

Did you incorporate the company? From what I understand, it doesn't make sense to go LLC until you make at least 30k/yr, since you end up losing a lot of money.

I need to talk to a lawyer :D
You can just start fixing other peeps rigs and let word of mouth spread you like the plague (thats what happened to me, lol) I live in a small town and there is only me, or the "Official" pc repair shop to choose from. Guess who has the better service and prices? that's right, and I am busy all the time, but making a very nice second income ::D

Plus I do have my A+ certification to varify to my customers that I sometimes do know what I am doing, lol
dont get ahead of yourself ;)
are u prepared to backup your work and warrantee it? what if it dies in 1 week and ur fixing it for free? do u really have what it takes to do all this? just alittle to think about if ur going to do that.

Good point, I'm pretty sure I can come up with... something. That's the one thing the big companies have... warranties, tech support, etc. I don't really think I want my phone ringing at 12:30 in the morning ;D

It gives me a lot to think about, thanks for the replies
What would you charge someone to build them a tower? Reason I ask this is because someone wants me to build them one and they want to know what I would charge. At first I told them I would do it for free... but, they insist I charge them for it. I was just thinking of taking their old 486 for payment... lol
I do a little of that on the side. A+ cert goes a long way in getting buisness along that line. So far, it only been word of mouth but ive been getting more and more buisness. As for building boxes, i think 100+ parts for a high end and 50+ parts for a low end sytem is fair.
Yea we all have dreams. I have started to do the build/repair thing. Ive sold 4 new rigs and done a couple upgrades. I have also fixed 1 of the rigs I sold due to using cheapo memory that went bad after 8 months and I gave the guy a 1 yr warrenty. At least I saved his company files so he was happy enough to have me fix it again after he tried to install a new proggie and screwed it all up. I charge 25 bucks an hour for repair and parts + 15 % ($50.00 min) for new rigs. Word of mouth is spreading in this small town and there is not a computer repair shop in town so I hope to have a decent 2nd income.
Good Luck to you and hope your not in my town. LOL
you just gotta watch out for the repairs.... if your sellin new systems, then your not to bad as all the stuff you put in is covered by a 12 month guarantee.....
just be careful as you'll find you build up a 'reserve' of old stock.. *old proccy's/mobos/hdd's etc* an may find yourself sellin '2nd user pc's' as I did... then you get the bargain basement 'repairs' where some ol' lady who's paid you a couple of hundred for an oldish system blows the damn psu/mobo/ram/hdd 'cos she couldnt get it to boot and thought the little 120/240 switch on the back would make it work better :rolleyes:.... make sure your sellin older systems with a very short guarantee.. or you'll quickly get p'd off with pcs :)
I started a small buisness a couple years ago, hoping to make money off a web server, but I've also been doing a lot of tech support on the side. For my own financial safety, I incorporated. I started out printing a couple hundred buisness cards and my mother kept asking for more. She was giving them out left right and center. Now, I'm easily covering my costs every month off the tech support, and my accounting/tax expenses.

My trick for old/second hand hardware is I write in big bold print right on the invoice that the part is secondhand and comes with no warranty. I often offer my client the choice saying I can provide a second hand part immediatly, but it comes without warranty, but I could have a new part within 2 buisness days (the shipping time my suppliers need).

As for the middle of the night calls... I haven't had any problems yet. If someone wants to call in the middle of the night, they can talk all they want... with my answering machine... I have certain hours that I will work, if a customer doesn't accept that, then I don't really care, they will probably complain about anything else that doesn't suite them. I prefer to loose an occasional client to getting that sort of a headache.
ya ive done alot of building to and stuff but were do u get supplyers????? supplies is the hard part anyone help me with this???
all i can think of is just make sure that the people you work with know very very clearly where your stand on repairs and warenty or anything

i always make the warrenty as long as where ever i got them from is mabey a day or two shorter so if it fails or soemthing you can rma it

also make sure that they know you will not come out after said amount of days for free
Because of the foibles of PC Repair I limit myself to how many people I will give computer service to. I only offer to build PCs for people who either live fairly close or agree to learn how to repair it themselves. This is how I can afford to charge only $50 for building and installing the PC.

The first 2 repair visits are free. Each consecutive visit costs $20 an hour. One of my clients has a destructive daughter and I think by now they've paid me atleast $100 in repair visits. But I saved them a couple hundred when I upgraded their machine instead of recommending that they buy a new one at $800 a pop.
They spread word of my skills and I often find ways to avoid repairing certain peoples computers because I know they really wouldn't be capable of taking care of that stuff on their own.

So I don't out-right advertise myself to everyone I know. THat would be like digging my own grave. I build PCs for people I know won't be calling me at 3am because they "downloaded this e-mail attachment" or removed fans because they were too loud.

I've built 6 PCs for clients, repaired/upgraded 8 systems, and earned somewhere around $1,500 doing so in my spare time.
i have done couple repair jobs for people

but i always had trouble dealing with the stress of hitting the power button and nothing happening
DUREX said:
were is everyone getting there supplys???????????????????????
Depending on what kind of system I'm building I order parts from...

www.newegg.com (everything other than specialty items)
www.teamexcess.com (monitors, and cheap refurb deals)
www.compgeeks.com (for really cheap replacement parts)
www.idot.com (for Flex ATX or ITX specific parts)

And a bunch of other places.