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Build a computer for someone else

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June 4, 2011 4:19:29 AM

Hello,
I would like to start building custom computers for other people to make a couple of extra bucks. The problem is, I have no idea where or how to start. If anyone here has ever done anything like this could you please tell me how to get my start? Any advice would be helpful.

More about : build computer

June 4, 2011 4:23:22 PM

Wow. Commendable ambition. I basically learned by reading a ton of reviews and these threads in the process of building my first PC.
June 5, 2011 12:44:24 AM

yep i really like building em and id like to start making a little money doin it
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June 6, 2011 1:26:48 PM

tph15 said:
Hello,
I would like to start building custom computers for other people to make a couple of extra bucks. The problem is, I have no idea where or how to start. If anyone here has ever done anything like this could you please tell me how to get my start? Any advice would be helpful.


Although I do not claim to be the master by any stretch of the imagination I have built/upgraded a lot of systems over the years; mainly for friends and family. I am assuming your question is in regard to the actual knowledge of computers and not of the business of building custom computer (of which I have very little experience).

First off I would recommend doing some basic research on the components that typically go into a system: Motherboard, CPU, RAM, Graphics, Hard Driver, etc. As kajabla said, looking at reviews and specs on a website for components is a good way to learn (as it is how I did as well). Good sites to visit in my opinion are: newegg.com and tigerdirect.com for looking at components as these are likely where you will order from (i do all my shopping on the egg). Also I would look at some of the NCIX tech tips; some are more advanced however there are many that would be good to look at like: #3,#4a,#4b,#6,#11,#81. I'd look through some of the forum posts under system as well however you sometimes have to take opinions with a grain of salt due to brand loyalty.

You basically want to get an understanding of how it all fits together and go from there. Once you have a basic understand of what will go into the system and the compatibility of each component to the motherboard then I would go onto the actually pricing out of systems for you clientele which would involve comparing benchmarks & specs of the components you wish to put into the PC vs the price. If you expect to build many systems each month I would start a spreadsheet for components that you will use in your systems with varying prices and performance such that you just do research on components to populate the list and then when you need to build a computer you simply pick components from the list for the build that they are appropriate for. I typically do this even if I am building a PC for a single person because it allows me to more easily chose components that will result in a balanced system (see tech tip #81) that gives the most bang for the buck.
June 6, 2011 7:42:30 PM

Actually I was more asking on how I should get business. I'm not very old and I just wanna do this every once in a while, maybe 3 systems a year. I already have built my own gaming rig, so I understand how to put one together, I would just like to know where to get business. Should I put out an ad on craigslist? But thanks for your previous answer, the spreadsheet of parts was a good idea.
June 6, 2011 7:56:39 PM

Oh, sorry about the misunderstanding then. I was just going with what everyone else was :pfff: 

As stated in my previous post I've never done it for profit but if you are only doing 3 systems a year or so then I would imagine craigslist would probably work depending on how populated of a place you leave in. Maybe pay for an add in the newspaper or add bulletin if you want some more people. I've considered doing this myself but I stay away from it mostly because I feel I would be roped into doing routine maintenance and solving software issues for the people I build for which would get old.
June 6, 2011 8:17:11 PM

Yeah I would just wanna build em and be done because I don't really have a great understanding of software. Thanks for the help man
June 6, 2011 8:41:48 PM

tph15 said:
Yeah I would just wanna build em and be done because I don't really have a great understanding of software. Thanks for the help man

That's the main problem you'll face.Once you build one for profit, whoever you sell it to will come back to you whenever they have a problem with the computer. Finding a point to say "Sorry, I can't help you" is extremely difficult, and is a possible way to lose business in the future. Good Luck with whatever you decide! :sol: 
June 6, 2011 8:42:50 PM

All right, a couple of things.

1) If you also want to do some computer work on the side Get A+ certified. It's not that hard but seems expensive if you don't have much money. You're going to have a hard time getting people to trust you over local techs without at least that.

2) If you're building systems for gamers hang out where the gamers are. If you want to make a decent profit on a custom machine you'll have an easier time if people know you already rather than haggling with someone responding to a craigs list ad. Comic book shops, anime clubs, or table top gaming places may be good places to start.

3) Sell yourself. It's not just that you'll be providing custom rigs, but local support. Just don't offer 24/7 support if you don't want people calling you while you're sleeping :lol:  . To some people that means alot and they are more likely to pay for it.

4) Know your competition, local and online. If you have local competition make sure you are competitive with them as far as price and parts. It's also good to get ideas from ibuypower and cyberpower. You may notice that ibuy has catchy names like "Gamer Mage" and "Paladin".

5) Make it easy on yourself. Have base configurations to work from like the big boys rather than customizing things all the time. I'd also recommend sticking with a particular motherboard or two as well as the case. The more familiar they are to you, the easier it will be for you and the better support you can provide rather than giving everyone a different motherboard and a different case. If they want to deviate from that charge extra for your effort even if the component is priced the same
!