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Building Computers for Clients - I'm a noob

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December 31, 2012 5:16:24 AM

I have just recently built my new computer and really enjoyed it, and just yesterday a close friend came to my house with his PC and I fixed his awful cable management.
Being very experienced with hardware (Knowing what to buy and what not to buy, Price/performance ratios) and now having the experience with putting together multiple computers, a new idea came to me. Building computers for clients. I want extra cash for the things I want but I'm scared to go into this business. Let me be honest now....

I've never worked before and have no experience with any business. Why? I'm 15, almost 16.... but my age is besides the point (I'm quite mature for my age anyway). All i want to know is the basics. What to do, what not to do, things to watch out for, reasonable amounts to charge without being a rip off, and how to actually get people to want my services instead of buying a computer from best buy or some Alienware thats way too overpriced. Not to mention, how do I get people to know about me? What I'm hoping for is to build nice computers for people so they save money and for me to get a good amount of bank myself....(since building a computer is cheaper than buying one, could i build a 700$ PC for a guy who wants it to be up to par with a 1700$ pre-built pc *EXAMPLE* and charge 850-900$ to keep about 150-200$? would that be considered a ripoff?)

Help would be definitely appreciated, so please share with me what you have to say!

Thanks,
-Daniel
December 31, 2012 5:31:36 AM

"Building computers for clients" and "I'm a noob" are two phrases that don't go well together. Exactly how many systems have you built?
December 31, 2012 5:40:14 AM

Maybe I should have specified what I am a noob on. I'm a noob on Business. as far as hardware, i'm not. I have built my computer and basically taken apart my friends computer and reassembled it. I have messed with my old computer's insides a lot and occasionally taken apart my mother's and reassembled it.
In a few weeks or so I'm going to build my father a new computer as well.
I researched for about one and a half years all about computer stuff to build my brand new one. I know all about hardware.
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December 31, 2012 6:16:39 AM

xx5zigenxx said:
Maybe I should have specified what I am a noob on. I'm a noob on Business. as far as hardware, i'm not. I have built my computer and basically taken apart my friends computer and reassembled it. I have messed with my old computer's insides a lot and occasionally taken apart my mother's and reassembled it.
In a few weeks or so I'm going to build my father a new computer as well.
I researched for about one and a half years all about computer stuff to build my brand new one. I know all about hardware.


I would really build a few more before getting to the point of building for clients. Thats really is pretty thin experience. Doesn't mean you cant do it though.
December 31, 2012 6:28:34 AM

right now you cant start a biz unless it your dad name. in most states in till your 18 you cant enter contracts. I would start by walking into your local small bizz admin office in town. and the town down town rep. if your going to be ligit you have to register your biz with the town in most states as a dba. there be a small filing fee. on the tech side your going to need an a plus test under your belt. when i worked for micro center as a tech early 2000 hp and other vendors would not let you touch there products unless you were a plus tested and took there training classes. in real world now if you dont have home service warranty you have to mail the unit in or call the vendors now for the closest shop that has a registered tech.
one of the big killer of home repair centers is cross shipping of parts. most vendors now horde a lot of there parts for in house repairs first. I seen 6 month cross ship times on laptop mb. if you do want to get into the tech end of repair. start with getting basic tech school training. want start of with basic electronic theories. ohms law..wattage..caps..dc cir. for the store you want a muilt meter to start off with and some burn in software like ami diags a test bench with long ac and sata power leads. when you grown..pick up a power supply load tester and a ram tester. you also want pick up air compressor and have a spot in your biz for blowing out dirty pc. been few times opened old lazer printers and had roaches run out. (they love to eat the wires).
a good biz in pc is dont 5 and dime a customer to death. every pc that comes into my shop gets a free anti virus scan and part of the flat diags charge. lot of people dont know there anti virus stop working (expired) or there infected. as a tech cleaning a system or running a virus scan rules out one issue. also keeps virus from infecting your systems..(when we used boot floppy).
the biggest issue your going to see is saving my data/data transfers. had a woman come in..she ran over her hubby work laptop..was for lawfirm. asking if we could fix the carnage she made. (the laptop was in muilt pieces in a box). for the laptop itself it had the extra warranty on it..sat the customer down and we called the vendor on the tech line to see if they cover the repair once. was good day for the customer she got her one byte of the apple. on her hubby data i had her sign a release form telling her that the vendor may replace or wipe the data off the drive or she may get a new unit from the vendor if her old laptop could not be fixed. was up front with her told her we could connect her huby drive to our test bench and see if any of his files can be moved over to a cd. changed her a flate fee for it.
December 31, 2012 8:18:54 AM

You would need to register as a Sole Trader (or equivalent for your country/nation/state) depending on if it can be classed as a hobby or not.

eg: Under $8,000 revenue per year may be classed as a hobby, and tax free.


It totally depends where you live.


If you really like doing hardware work on the side then consider training to become a Dell Technician and work for Dell.
- There is no way you will be able to compete with the prices that Dell, HP, Acer, HP, Asus, etc. can offer to SMB clients.
December 31, 2012 8:26:11 AM

You're not the first one to ask. There are a lot of threads - use the search. Although I can give you the short version: not worth it.
December 31, 2012 9:30:18 AM

I've seen guys run ads like this on craigslist. Well, you really can't make money off of it nor is it worth spending the time to put into it. Wait up and maybe start a career in IT?
December 31, 2012 5:22:26 PM

I don't want it to be an official business, I want it to be more like..... "Hey Jimmy (a friend example) If you really like my computer, I could build you one just as good as it"
December 31, 2012 5:25:09 PM

If you were a good friend you wouldn't charge money! ;) 
December 31, 2012 5:41:36 PM

xx5zigenxx said:
I don't want it to be an official business, I want it to be more like..... "Hey Jimmy (a friend example) If you really like my computer, I could build you one just as good as it"



Hi :) 

I own computer shops in the UK that build computers ....

Have a think about the next few sentences...

So you build a machine and make $150...that's great UNTIL someone knocks on your door and says... that computer you built me just blew up and I want my money back (ALL of it, not just your 150 profit)

If you wont give it back, they SUE you in court.... OR YOUR PARENTS !

Or even worse...that computer you built burst into flames and burnt down their house.... which would cost you your earnings for the rest of your life....

Thats why Companies like mine have Public Liability and Legal Insurance... and THEY cost a LOT more than $150....

Also , your customers WILL expect a warranty....are you prepared to have them knock on your door whenever ANYTHING fails ???

I hope you see my point... at your age IT LOOKS like easy money...it isn't....get your parents to read this thread , as THEY WILL BE LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE for your debts, if and when you get taken to court...

All the best Brett :) 
January 1, 2013 1:59:42 AM

^What he said. But tl;dr: not worth it.
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