Hello all. I've just started a small in-home computer repair business in my town and I have a few things I need help with. I wonder if some of you who have already figured these things out would help prevent me from looking foolish in front of my customers.
The business is called dernCricket Computer Help and Repair. My site is at dernCricket.webs.com. I'm planning on charging 40$ per hour with a 1 hr minimum (trying to get customers). I also plan on working with customers who mention the price being high to make them happy.
I graduated from a Tech College with a 2 yr in Network Engineering. My certs are A+, Net+, Sec+, MCP, DCSE (Dell), I have about 10 other Dell Certs, and 2 HP/1 Xerox Laser Printer Certs.
My IT experience has been short lived jobs with Intergraph Corp (Helpdesk), US Army (Field Tech), Dell (Warranty Field Tech), Edward Jones Investments/ CBIZ (Network Field Tech). Don't ask why the jobs were short lived. It's called schizo-something but I prefer not to talk about it. dernCricket is where my heart is now.
I have several questions if anyone of you would please mind answering.
1. My Dell certs are 5 yrs old now. Should I stop claiming them?
2. Dell Mini-Towers. Are the motherboards upgradeable? Is that a micro-ATX board? (I can check that on Tigerdirect but I want to hear it from experience)
3. How to handle parts. I'm an in-home and small business tech. I was guessing that I could charge them a small fee for gas and just go get the part at the local best buy, or charge a small fee and help them order it online. But if I do end up going to Best Buy, who pays for the part? I'm broke and I can't just take my customers credit cards.
4. Has anyone had trouble with refurbished CPU's? I use a Gateway refurbished laptop and my only complaint is that the keyboard is kinda lame. I bought it online so I couldn't have known that then though. But I did the research on getting someone the best System cheap. It appeared that building one from scratch would cost about as much as a dood refurbished system. I would then just go with best refurbished model. Does that sound right?
5. From anyone of you who have done this before. What do I need to look out for? What will I see the most of?
6. I'm guessing I should put this thing into an LLC at some point. Is legalzoom the way to go? I've heard that lawyers say it screws people up but that might just be because their lawyers. I'm guessing I should find a cheap lawyer. Yes?
7.What do I need? I have some tools, but is there anything I might have forgotten? I have ESD Stuff, Little Screwdrivers, The dern cold paste or whatever for the cpu's. Plyers, Extra mouse and keyboard, an Ethernet Cable Thank you for whoever put that smiley there
I have very dynamic business cards, I've put flyers up wherever I could and business cards everywhere...
Please share your experiences with me. I'm all ears.
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a this stage of the game make sure you get payments before doing any work and getting any parts, smaller business can be easily screwed over by just one bad customer that makes it impossible for you to turn around your finances in time.
did you register your self as a business with your local law enforcement / bus registry / legal crap? some places don't allow you to do a shop without licenses and crap.
I would say what you need is at least a test platform for desktop (aka a spear computer) that accepts the major items that allows you to test them without needing to second guess things (ram/pcie/hdd/pci/agp?), and this should be a throwaway thing that you can afford to burn up or be destroyed by bad parts. Obviously don't test their psu if it was a grey box on this because psus are notoriously bad if they are these grey box crap.
for laptops, if you are working with them make sure to have the necessary service manuals to fall back upon.
for software (which makes up more issues from what I heard in a shop than hw) makes sure you have license to use those software in a business capacity or simply use open source stuff. have some bootable live cds and external hdds for those really bricked and know how to work them to restore the OS without erasing data (charge extra for data recovery if you are confident you can get them back, make a note of it that it is not guaranteed that you will save data, because it is always a pain for those situations)
I have to say tho, IDK if you put this in the right section, since this is more like a review place than anything, but i don't see any section about starting your own shop on the forum so...