Basic guide on starting computer repair business.
If you have been thinking on how you can start your own computer repair business, this article will give you a clue on how you can make it a reality. Without any doubt, computers have become indispensable working tools for individuals, small businesses and large corporations. Anyone using computer will know how frustrating a day may be if his or her computer is not functioning. It can paralyze almost all the day activities. Therefore, all users of computers like to ensure that their computers function effectively. In large corporations, they can afford to have an IT department that will handle computer related issues. In small or start-up companies, even though there is a need for IT personnel, they cannot afford to hire full time staff. The option left to them is to outsource this function to external body who can be either an individual or a firm. This creates a business opportunity for anyone that desires to start a computer repair business. Computer repair business is one of the small business ideas you can start with little capital. Also, you can start computer repair business as a home business.
Key Success Factors
Computer skill: If you like to start a computer repair business, you must have computer skill. You should have good understanding of both software and hardware. You should know about different system configurations and specifications. Before any customer can entrust his computer to you, you must be able to demonstrate your computer skill. Without adequate computer skill, you may find yourself destroying other people’s computer instead of getting it repaired. This can lead to damages being instituted against you. By the time you do this for one or two customers, you may be sending yourself out of the computer repair business. Therefore, you may need to hone your skills before you start your computer repair business.
Regular knowledge update: One thing you need to have at the back of your mind before you start your computer repair business is that you need to update your knowledge on a regular basis. If you cannot afford to go for training, you can access free resources on the internet. There are certain websites that are very rich in content when it comes to computer related issues. Such websites include CNet.com and ZDNet.com.
Basic certification: Although certification is not compulsory, having a basic certification will add credibility to your computer repair business especially if you want to deal with corporate clients. Individuals who want their computers fixed immediately may not ask you whether you possess relevant certification or not. Having basic certification will increase your chance of being considered for corporate works.
Good customer service: In computer repair business, you will need to know how to treat your customers very well. You will be dealing with different customers with different temperament. In most cases, your customers will like you to fix their computers immediately. You should learn how to talk to them in a way that you will not provoke them. Remember that they are already provoked for the fact that their system is not working. Therefore, you should not add salt to their injuries. Prompt delivery of service is part of good customer care.
How do you start computer repair business?
Having gone through the above key success factors, if you know you have what it takes to operate a computer repair business, let’s look how you can start one.
Register your business
Why do you need to register your computer repair business? It is the only way to prove the legality of your business. I don’t want to focus too much attention on this. You can read the article I have written on how to register your business name.
Develop a business plan
While preparing a business plan for your computer repair business, you need to describe the services you want to offer in detail. Also, you will define your target markets. As a guide, your target markets will include individuals and small businesses that cannot afford to hire full time IT personnel. For services, your computer repair business should not be restricted to computer repairs. There are other services you can add. Let’s discuss the services that a typical computer repair business can offer its clients.
Read Also: How to Write a Good Business Plan
Computer repairs: This is the main reason you are starting your computer repair business. This can be on-site computer repairs or you bring the computers to your shop if you have one. But for someone operating from home, on-site repairs will be suitable for you. This means that you need to always arm yourself with portable tools which you can use in clients’ offices.
Software support: Apart from hardware repairs, you should be able to provide software supports. This service will include testing the compatibility of the operating system with the software and the installation of such software.
Training: In this information age, everybody desires to be computer literate. You can provide training on how to use certain programs in computer. It will be okay if you can specialise in training of programs that are in high demand such as Microsoft Office comprising Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc. Also, if you are skilled in specialised software such as accounting software, you will be able to charge high fees.
Networking: For efficiency and quick dissemination and sharing of information, both small businesses and large corporation usually have their own Local Area Network (LAN). This can be wireless or through cable.
Software Upgrade: Information Technology is ever evolving. You see software manufacturers coming out with new updates on a regular basis. Helping your clients upgrading their software can provide steady revenue for your computer repair business.
Anti-Virus: If there is anything every user of computer fears; it will be virus attacks. Nobody wants his computers to be attacked or infected by a virus. Anti-virus software is in high demand. You can provide your clients both the installation and updating of anti-virus on their systems.
Backups: No matter how powerful an anti-virus may be, computers can still suffer attack. Apart from viruses, there are other things such as natural disasters which can make system to crash. Providing backup service could be a good one.
Hardware supplies: Though you are into computer repair business, there will be instances where people will approach you to supply them computers. They believe that you know the specifications and configurations that are right for them. You can buy the computers at a good price and then mark it up to accommodate your profits.
No matter how skilled you are, nobody will come and knock at your door to give you computers to repair. You need a lot of marketing. This is the most challenging part of the computer repair business especially if you want to start the business from home. You may need to print flyers and distribute them within your community. Also, you need to visit small businesses around you. To be sincere, gaining your first clients can be hard. Growing to the level of having recurring income is another challenge. That is why it is good to start computer repair business as a side business. By the time you have stabilised, you can then focus on it fully.
If you want to open a shop for your computer repair business, it is good if you can locate the shop very close to where they sell computers. Another option is to locate the shop in a place where there is good concentration of small businesses.
Read Also: Best Business Ideas in a Recession
SWOT Analysis of Computer Repair Business
Good practical experience: Computer repair business requires skills and experience. This is not about theory. If you know everything about computer without hand on practical experience, you can’t claim to be skilled in computer repair. Before you start a computer repair business, you need to learn the skills. It is either you work with an existing computer repair company and learn on the job or you sign on as an apprentice. Whatever the option you consider better, please there is need for skills and knowledge. If you rush into starting a computer repair business without the needed skills, you will end up damaging your clients’ computers. This can even lead to litigation and you may in the process damage your reputation.
Good reputation: Computer repair business is all about trust and reputation. If you have a good reputation, you will not have problem getting jobs. Customers will have confidence in you. And they will be willing to refer other customers to you. However, reputation is not built in a day. You need to keep doing the right thing consistently and continuously.
Certification in computer related course: Although certification is not a must for you to start a computer repair business, it will give you leverage over your competitors if you have one. We are talking about your strengths. This is strength in the sense that you will be able to secure corporate clients more easily than someone who doesn’t have any certification.
High quality service: If you are into computer repair business, your service should go beyond fixing computers for your clients. Your quality service delivery including how you relate with your clients will go a long way in boosting your business. Positive feedbacks from your customers may be a good way to measure your quality service delivery.
Variety of services: A computer repair company that offers variety of services will out-perform another that is just providing a single line of service. Adding pick up, drop off, on-site services and hardware support to your portfolio will help you ensure that you have wider clientele base. With variety of services, you may not experience any slack period in business.
Customer loyalty: Customer loyalty is the reward of high quality service. Your customer retention rate is a good indication of whether you enjoy customer loyalty or not. If your customers usually come back to you, it means that you satisfy them. Retaining existing customers is actually cheaper that chasing after new customers. This means that you don’t need to spend much on marketing before you get jobs. The savings in marketing expenses will definitely have positive effects on your bottom line.
Access to computer parts and accessories: How accessible are computer parts and accessories to you? If your computer repair company is located where you can easily get computer components easily and cheaply, it will help you in resolving customers’ problems promptly. The fact that you don’t need to travel far before you can get any part or component you need is also helping you to save costs.
Alliance with used computer vendors: Those people that sell used computers understand that there are tendencies for many of them not to work. Therefore, they usually need the services of people that are good at computer repair to help them fix the systems before they make them available for sale. If your shop is located close to these used computers vendors, you will always secure business from them. However, you should bear in mind that they will negotiate your price to the barest minimum so that, they too, can make gain on their inventories.
Any of the points mentioned above can turn out to be your weakness. If you realise that you are weak in any of those areas, you need to quickly work on them. Apart from the point already mentioned, one major weakness that your computer repair business may have is when you work from home. It is a general belief that working from home saves you cost as you don’t need to pay additional office rent. By the nature of your work, you may need to constantly go out there to where you can get businesses. By the time you consider the amount you will have to spend on transportation and the cost of carrying computers to and fro your client’s offices, this can amount to a huge amount at the end of the day. Also, corporate organizations may prefer working with computer repair companies that have official address located in a business area.
Recessionary economy: You may be wondering what has recession got to do with computer repair business? It has a lot to do with it. During recession, people can’t afford to buy new things including computers. People tend to spend mainly on basic needs. Therefore, they will prefer maintaining or repairing their existing computers since they cannot afford to buy new ones. This makes computer repair business to be one of the small business ideas that are recession proof.
Import of used computers: If you have ever been to Computer Village in Nigeria, you will be amazed to see junks of used computers everywhere. Surprisingly, people are buying them. One day, I said to myself that if people were not buying them, definitely they would have stopped importing them. People keep importing because there is market for them. Therefore, this is a business opportunity for anyone that wants to start a computer repair business as your services may be needed to fix some of these used computers before they can work.
Increasing number of computer users: The numbers of people who are computer literate are growing daily. The dream of any computer literate person is to own a computer. The more computer users we have; the more the need for computer repair.
New software and computer components: There is constant need for computer upgrade by reasons of new software and new computer components that manufacturers roll out now and then. I still remember when the highest computer memory we had was 250MB. Today, even ordinary flash drives not to talk about memory cards contain far more than that.
Computer viruses: The use of flash drives, memory cards to transfer data from one computer to another coupled with various viruses on the internet expose computers to dangers. A large number of computers are being attacked by viruses on a daily basis. At times, this may result to having the computer reformatted. That is why computer repair business will keep booming. Having an anti-virus software installed on a computer is no longer a guaranty that the computer cannot be attacked by a virus. New viruses are being released every day. If the anti-virus on a system is not strong enough to fight the virus, the system may still get damaged.
New markets: Computer repair business is not limited to desktop repairs any more. There are new markets for laptops, smartphones and Androids. This means that the markets have been expanded. It is almost impossible for one person or company to capture or dominate all the markets. There are opportunities for new entrants without these constituting a threat to the existing computer repair businesses.
New technology: A large number of computers don’t come with operating system any more. This means that after a customer must have bought his computer, he will need the service of a computer repair company to help install different software and carry out the initial configurations.
More reliable technology: Manufacturers of computers are not unaware of the challenges the end users might be experiencing. Therefore, they are being proactive by ensuring that the new systems they manufacture meet both current and future needs of the users. Therefore, system upgrades may not be necessary.
Do it yourself tendency: With free information on the internet and the in-built help on computers, users can learn how to troubleshoot and fix minor issues on their systems without seeking the help of any computer repair company. This is, to some extent, cutting down the revenue potential of computer repair business.