If you’re the first person your parents call when they’re having computer issues or the person coworkers reach out to when the IT department is busy, you might want to consider starting your own computer repair business. This could give you the opportunity to hone your IT skills and make some extra income on the side.
Starting any self-employment job isn’t easy, so here are a few tips to review before you go full-speed ahead.
Consider the Big Picture
Decide what you want to accomplish before setting up shop. Do you want to run the business full- or part-time? Is this a short-term project or a dream you want to follow in the long-run? Asking yourself these questions helps you determine how much you should invest in your business beforehand.
Also, don’t forget to research how much money you’ll need to save up in order to successfully run your business. You may have to take out a loan or apply for grants before you’re financially stable.
Set your Price
Speaking of finances, figure out how much you’ll charge for your services, and exactly what services you’ll offer. Hourly rates are the most common method of charging for computer repair services, but any parts or software you might have to order will likely change the final price — a point you should make clear to customers right away.
Know your Customers
As you’re deciding what services to offer, consider the kind of customers you want to attract. Doing repairs for businesses probably isn’t feasible if you’re running a solo operation, but a well-staffed office can handle the demands and services associated with repairing multiple computers for businesses.
If you do take residential customers, they’ll likely need different services than businesses. Some customers — like the elderly or disabled, for example — may need you to make repairs in their homes, so decide if you’ll charge extra for in-home repairs, include the travel time in your hourly rate or treat it like a typical repair.
Choose a Location
Where you want to run the business makes a big difference in how much preparation you’ll have to make beforehand. Running a business in your home has its pros and cons, as does working out of a dedicated office:
· In-home Repairs:
Running a business from home is great for a one-man operation — you won’t have to worry about renting an office space or hiring employees; however, you’ll have to work harder at marketing and gaining loyalty. A remote home base won’t attract as many customers and doesn’t seem as trustworthy as an established business.
· Office Space Repairs:
For those intending to run a full-time repair business, an office space is a good investment. You’ll have more opportunities for growth — not just in size, but also in reputation and number of loyal customers. But you do have to make the effort to find a good space, save or borrow enough money to rent that space and purchase supplies.
Equip your Shop
Whether you’re running your operation in an office or at home, you’ll need to invest in equipment to ensure smooth sailing.
A home business won’t need much as long as there’s a room you can dedicate to repairs. A work bench or two is useful for making repairs, and shelving or drawers can be used for storing tools. Labeling bins is a good way to keep track of whose device you’re working on, and for organization.
An office space requires more equipment, as you’ll have to provide for employees and more frequent orders. Each employee should have his own work area and tools. Retail carts, dollies and wagons are useful for safely transporting devices around the office.
If you’re ready to put your IT skills to good use, starting your own business is an obvious step. Just make sure you’re adequately prepared before committing to a long-term plan, and you can succeed.