Need best true positive advice for building & selling custom computers

How, where, & with what do i sell quality computers for a reasonable profit? i am a home computerbuilder & have no designs to go any higher than a website & maybe some local sales, but no local business. i can & have successfully designed & built computers, my first one is this very one, which i am running from the utility room using long cables as a central computer (running out 'computers' (monitor/keyboards/cd roms/etc) to places in the house)) - my own idea - & it is running like a champion after 5 years. (i was actually helped & taught - not just 'had it built for me', but was taught how to build computers - at that time by a VERY good home computer repairer, builder, enthusiast. i am now looking to play 2 of those roles: enthusiast & builder - & a builder beyond designing/building ones for my parents, friends, & self.

my question stands: How, where, & with what (parts) (& for how much) do i sell quality computers in order to make a reasonable profit.

all of my builds/repairs have run solid - there was one outage due to a barebones-kit (pre grouped parts kit) with a came-apart (cheapy) connector that shorted, otherwise no design flaws i can remember. i actually built my friend one (designed bought & built) as a gift (he is in a grouphome, has 90$ a month personal spending..) - he loves it & has had no problems with it. now if they'd just let him have internet =//

anyway - all good advice welcome.

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  1. my purpose of course (look at my nick) is to go back to the future, but to do that i need money hahaha =).

    also - many people (i have been researching this for hours the last couple days) bring up the issue of, if you sell homebuilt, custom computers, people will want a warranty for repairs. i have 2 points re custom/home/enthusiast built computers & warranties:

    1. Can we, & if so why don't we - hassle as it may be - offer the warranty we were given for the brand new parts, instead of acquiring what they want & then 'throwing it away' effectively? i read on (not my site but seems like a good one (no conflict of interest promotion here =)) that this is a hassle - too big to do, but if that really puts you one up on the competition, maybe that is what i/we should do.

    2. for someone like me, i do not want to get into repairs, for personal reasons. however i am interested in giving quality builds that last AND continue to run despite manfacturer, my or user missteps or flaws - so, why don't we (enthusiast builders) include (again, no conflict of interest / payment / personal acquiantance with this guy) - include a copy of this computer repair *flowchart* -

    for users? it is not hard to follow a simple-language flow chart, for the inclined.

    (i would include the *print* version - a ebook isn't going to help you if your computer won't turn on.)
  2. First define your target group, the price range that the target group can and will spend, identify your competitors and investigate where your USP's are. Once you have done that, report back.
  3. I think your best option is modding(if you are creative and good with your hands) because for anyone who knows which parts to order, knows how to build a PC. Choosing (balancing) a PC is much harder than assembling it. I did it without even changing a ram stick before this build, which gives me an opportunity to say THANK YOU TOM's HARDWARE! :D
  4. @Harm Millard, i'm more doing like you would if you looked at graphs & graphs & graphs: where are the best places, what/who ARE the best target groups, what are the best practices/strategies in general, etc, for selling builds. those are good things to think about, what you mentioned, but i'm surfing for the best markets/places for me, those are just additional questions i have you are giving - very helpfully. i want to answer your questions, just need help/guidance in doing so, Harm.

    @Duzzi. i'm not sure i fully understood. but if it helps, i have designed/co-designed a couple computers, & think i could manage doing the designing, perhaps - read this Harm ;) - for older / atechnological people who just want to use it & not deal with 'what's under the hood'.
  5. as far as what makes it better for them to buy from me: i would not be charging too much: i am looking for "a reasonable profit", not the "maximum" profit i can milk, just for ethical / desire reasons, (i don't desire a whole ton of money,) as well as it's good business.

    another "USP" (hadn't heard that before) is i would include a tutorial (not a big deal but it helps) & a linux live cd for fixing OS issues.

    that paired with the book means they have good hardware AND OS basic repair toolkits; not exactly 'a walk in the park' but it would get them out of jams & free me from the 'you're responsible for repairing my computer!' obligation.

    i have a 3rd trick up my sleeve, but i'll save it - these are supposed to be "unique selling points" right? lol
  6. IMO you have to distinguish three market segments:

    Low budget, which is ruled by Dell, HP and the like, just moving standard boxes. Not attractive.

    Custom build for specific applications. This is rather fuzzy and needs further investigation. For instance setting up render farms for 3D applications.

    High end custom build, low competition in numbers, but high competition in terms of reputation and expertise. Think HD video editing workstations and storage solutions.

    Assembly has no value added and will not give you an edge. It is the expertise in selecting the right components to build an efficient and balanced system that delivers a good 'bang-for-the-buck' for specific applications, that Dell and HP and the like do not have.
  7. I run a similar sideline in additon to my Nightshift for a company and some of the things I have learned are,

    low end 'surf-boxes' can sell, but equally can stack up in your house very fast, be careful what you take in part-ex for your builds :)
    Gaming computers should be built to order, the market moves too fast,
    by the time your top end card ( ordered today@16:00) arrives, (tomorrow @14:00) its mid-range and you just lost money, if you sell it at all,
    I have £1500 worth of rig on my desk that I designed and built to sell and...
    well short version, its my main rig now hehe
    if you are local it will help as aftercare can be one of your main sources of income, I made more last year form virus cleans and re-installs than actually selling Pc's, with netbook upgrade/repairs a close second
    getting yourself 'known' is another important one, I often drop computer talk or discuss projects at work or socially, just to refresh my name in friends minds that I'm 'that Pc-fixing/building' guy, pass-on business is easier to get that way than directly trying to advertise (which costs as well ofc)
    for brand new units I supply a printout of reciepts or the actual reciept (ebay/paypal etc I print off) and the client can sort warranty themselves if required, not had any calls yet though so its more a failsafe practice so far,
    I wouldn't dream of trying to do this as my main income, its a hobby that pays for my other hobbies, and something I love doing, but its not my rent and food, if it were I may not enjoy it as much with that pressure on me lol
    I wish you every success in the venture man and hope it becomes what you want it to in due time :)
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