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Computer Store

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September 7, 2011 10:30:20 PM

Okay, I know I have asked this a baggilion times already... :p 

Here is the deal. i want to start a small computer business.

-I am getting my A+ soon, put that on the list of crossed off
-I understand there needs to be capital, that is what all business needs
-I understand if you have a better idea, please do tell
-I am mental capable of operating a system of commerce.

Here is the thing; I know some of you have small businesses in computers, form repair to retail. My idea is this:

Sell computer components to the consumer via retail store.

There are many places where I am at that have vacant lots for a store, prefect traffic, perfect room, and perfect condition.

What I would like to know is any advice on start up.

More about : computer store

September 7, 2011 11:59:03 PM

I pass by shops that have done exactly what you wrote here. For years.

Those shops are now empty spaces for lease or have been re purposed to craft shops or some other type of business.

We are a college town with a strong tech situation however Newegg rules and the local shops just cannot survive on what was left over. I think there is one still standing in southwest little rock only because they somehow can still source EDO ram to upgrade the machines that trickle into those shops.
September 8, 2011 2:09:02 AM

Gotta agree. PC's are plug and play, too easy to build yourself, cheap, short lived, and disposable for most people. There simply is no demand for the neighborhood PC shop. The best approach I have seen from the successful few shops that are still around is they provide contract and/or emergency IT work for local businesses.
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September 8, 2011 2:13:25 AM

jitpublisher said:
Gotta agree. PC's are plug and play, too easy to build yourself, cheap, short lived, and disposable for most people.


Why not, then, after a PC is outdated, go out and buy a new one?
September 8, 2011 2:35:16 AM

Maybe you could start a business that focuses less on selling parts and more on service. For instance, you could acquaint yourself with virus removal, repairs, etc. and base your computer store around that instead of selling parts.
September 8, 2011 2:40:40 AM

did you also factor in and locale/state lisence fees? and why use a shop front? why not keep yourself moble/in house and save $$$$$$ each month.
September 8, 2011 2:45:36 AM

I own a computer business sales is a waste of time, getting retail space is a waste of time find a small office or work from home and do onsite repairs other than that you have to compete with other shops that do the same.
Problem is these big box stores can offer product lower than my cost, my sales are very very low.
September 8, 2011 2:47:06 AM

Thing is, there are already 2 shops here. I talked with one I always go see. They say they have had no increase of customers on service.

There is, however, not really a store that has a dedicated components shop. The one I go to has few. One or two CPU types, one motherboard type, few HDD, GPU cards form years ago, and the price is HUGE! However, their CPU sales seems to go clean, even with high prices...including Motherboards.
September 8, 2011 2:49:16 AM

Oh, did I mention the only 'computer store' that we have is Staples?

September 8, 2011 2:52:39 AM

Write up a business plan and take to your banker. Have THEM explain to you the real small business situation in your area.
Even Big Box stores have gone belly up selling computers and parts. Remember CompUSA or Circuit City?
September 8, 2011 2:55:47 AM

What about MicroCenter? Frys'? CompUSA?
Anonymous
September 8, 2011 3:15:17 AM

I don't think a business like yours do well if you try to compete in price or quality(the two most popular types of business competition).
Instead I bet a business like yours would do well if you made it more convenient than any other computer store. How about setup a store near a college(students are likely customers)? You can compete with newegg/microcenter/fry's/compusa if you make it more convenient for your customers(in this case college students). Many college freshmen will be likely to buy from your store and others may be willing to buy parts too to make their own. I would definately buy from your store if I was a college student since...
1. I would pay the minimum shipping making waiting for newegg too long
2. I don't want to or have the time to drive far to a microcenter or fry's.

If you become the closest electronics part store to a college I'll bet that many college students will find your store more convenient. Even if big brand's can get a lower price than your's many students will be willing to pay the premium for the convenience.

Individual run computer repair stores run in downtown and any other places would not do well since people won't have the incentive to go to your store. Why go to your store and not somewhere like a best buy? I thought about running a computer store and in my opinion it would only do well if you could go close to a college. I don't think that you can find a better location with a large market of people. Not even inside shopping malls will it do better since although there's a lot of people they likely did not come to buy from your store and therefore don't need anything. It usually takes at least 2 or 3 years for an average small business in an average location to build enough rep to actually build a profit. Take note that for 2 years you could be losing instead of gaining money.
Anonymous
September 8, 2011 3:28:56 AM

Where exactly did you think of opening your store? What kind of market were you thinking of targeting?
I believe location matters most. Even if its a crappy lot with no parking, if its close enough to be walking distant from a college you'll do extremely well.
September 8, 2011 3:44:23 AM

I must perform a market analysis in my area. Specifics of demographics must be met. How about a cooperation with the local paper. It actually goes out of town as well to other locations where there is no service.
September 8, 2011 4:14:04 AM

That was the downfall of Kinko's, setting up shops all over the country close to or on college campuses, and Burger King nearly made the same mistake and changed their business plan somewhat before they got in too deep to pull them selves out. Taco Bell is another one that was on the same track and backed off a little. Sounds like a good plan but, the major flaw with it it that your target market is a group of people who really have very little money to spend!
Service will be the biggest part of your business if you can do it, if you can't, then of course you are going to rely on selling parts, and there is simply no money in that. Too much competition, unless you are big buyer like Microcenter or Frys who can get great prices, and sell parts all over the country.
When my PC is outdated I do buy or build a new one.
I am not trying to talk you out of your dream, but just playing the devils advocate of business 101 and you have to do think outside the box, or it's not going to be profitable for you.
September 8, 2011 5:19:28 AM

What do you recommend? I know service/repair, but what could I offer for service/repair? I feel like I can offer so little...
September 8, 2011 5:37:46 AM

Just go around to businesses, schools, churches, neighborhood and try to advertise your expertise or get into a maintenance contract. I work fulltime IT and then have 4 contracts outside of that. Rake in alot and all it really cost is time.
September 8, 2011 6:46:46 AM

I am pretty sure they have their won IT personnel. Although, the guy at my previous school wasn't so good...as for what I hear.
September 8, 2011 6:49:36 AM

Years ago the local computer shop across the street from college filled the math building with dozens of computers. Plainly built well with sticker logo advertising the business etc. Eventually most of the campus ordered hundreds of machines off this very lucky man and his shop. (Heck I even bought a lap top off him as well...)

One day Dell showed up and like the Borg assimilated the entire Campus and the poor man closed up his shop. I still run into him once in a while around my area and my response to his question is always the same, I build and repair my own now thank you very much. Again New egg.

We also learned that the College dumped obsolete and worn out computer parts and computers into local electronic shows for pennies on the dollar upon the clueless general public.

I hung out at Best Buy near the geek desk for a while one day. Virus this Idotten error (A cookie if you figure that one out) and numerous issues that is easily remedied by the user, but like taking candy from a baby because user is clueless. Once user is educated you would not see that business or person again. And eventually see that same person buying computer parts to build as well.

If you had gotten into the building of computers back when the 1 megabyte of hard drive space equaled about 1 foot wide, 5 inches thick and weighed about 20 pounds you would be at the top now. Those days have gone by.

You can always build your own once in a while and try to fix up family and friends. There were two things that drove me out of IT and computer work forever... these were:

Tech support calls when hard headed customers don't shut up and obey your step by step commands. Today you simply remote in and fiddle with it.

India and other nations sent students on Visas to the USA to learn what we teach, take my job and then go back home and teach hundreds more. No thanks.
September 8, 2011 6:53:48 AM

Ouch, this made me sad, for your friend and you. :( 

What if I started a business where the average users comes in to learn more than the basics for computers, but no certifications. On top of that, teach them to self-assemble units and how to choose and buy components?
September 8, 2011 7:12:57 AM

Those are called Seminars.

I have not considered those. Who knows? You might be the first.
September 8, 2011 7:14:19 AM

Don't I need a degree in order to do that?
September 8, 2011 12:05:05 PM

I hereby present you with your THGC Seminar Degree! :lol:  :lol: 
September 8, 2011 1:24:28 PM

I agree with everyone, i see numerous PC repair and parts shops close down in my area. One however seems to have grown amongst the rest. yes, they still do PC repair in there shops, but on top of that, the provide onsite services for homes and businesses. They are able to pull network cables, setup wireless networks, be a one stop shop for all IT for a small business. Besides getting your A+, why not get your Network+ and Security+ so you can have the certifications to backup setting up a complete business network and server for them? Pulling cable may sound pretty labor intensive then putting together a PC, but I guaranty that it pays more ;) 

One thing if you are gonna be doing that, you MUST make it look pretty. Perfectly strait cables into the networking closet, always use a rack with cable management. Also have perfectly cut cables into patch panels. Do you research on it before doing it. when you complete a project, you want that customer to show of the work you've done. Plus, you are able to have that customer for life, in other words, you are able to charge a yearly fee to come in, perform maintenance on all the equipment and get some more cash income.

Any nerd 16 year old can fix grandma's computer. But give em a Cat6 cable and crimpers and tell em to make a patch cable without using google for a diagram, and you got yourself a business. ;) 
September 8, 2011 10:27:01 PM

Any ways possible to perform a market research in my area to see what people want?
September 9, 2011 12:31:58 AM

Hm, you could go to the local computer stores and ask what that majority of their business is, maybe you could even find out their rates for certain services, and base your rates around that, being slightly cheaper so you can be competitive.
September 9, 2011 1:19:58 AM

kilo_17 said:
Hm, you could go to the local computer stores and ask what that majority of their business is, maybe you could even find out their rates for certain services, and base your rates around that, being slightly cheaper so you can be competitive.


How do I do that? While being sneaky?
September 9, 2011 2:39:57 AM

Well you would probably want to go in and inquire about the rates for various services first, and then go in at a later date and ask them what the majority of their business is so you know what stuff is worth getting into and what is not.
September 9, 2011 3:07:24 AM

Or, I could go there look around like I want to buy something and get friendly with the guys. They are a good bunch, always friendly...
September 9, 2011 3:36:30 AM

Ah yes, I didn't think about that, good idea.
September 9, 2011 4:44:13 AM

Will try that tomorrow.
September 9, 2011 4:47:13 AM

Anyone recommend a good vendor/distributor?
September 13, 2011 6:18:19 PM

Anyone who will take your money, I think you would need a Wholesaler's license to buy less than retail and a license to do business in your State, County or even City.

Beware, if you do get a license for something at the Courthouse you are going to be buried in Spam from all over your chosen industry in the mail box.

Seperating your business from your personal life is important too. You will need a CPA or equivalent to manage your cash flow and keep records to the taxman which will include numerous Obama added details designed to make you quit trying to make it on your own as a honest American Citizen.

I just as soon build a rig for X number of dollars, add a mark up with shipping and slap the thing onto Ebay or what not. Make a few dollars that way, but not too much.
September 13, 2011 7:31:28 PM

Went to the local 'competition'. 600 dollars for HDD file recovery. the cheapest system which involves an Intel i3 2100 is 800 USD.
September 13, 2011 9:08:35 PM

Six HUNDRED? As in six zero zero? Just for data recovery? That's ridiculous! And I know I could build an i3 machine for way less than 800 easily. It's amazing they stay in business with prices like that!
September 13, 2011 9:35:35 PM

Well, they are the only ones.

Also, malware removal is 250.00 USD.
September 13, 2011 9:48:50 PM

Don't even bother getting into the retail parts sales business. With low prices everywhere and the hassle of customer returns, it's not worth it at all. I've run my own shop since 2004, and 90% of my revenue comes from labor. We sell parts with repairs and special order parts for custom builds, and that's about it. Malware cleanups are my bread and butter these days, and make up probably 60% of all of my labor income.
September 13, 2011 9:50:03 PM

How does one perform malware removal. I know, A+ material here right? :p 
September 13, 2011 10:01:14 PM

Yeah I'd like to learn how to do malware removal too, that's a pretty good skill to know these days.
September 13, 2011 10:04:30 PM

Sure...and give them an Intel 990x CPU as well for free!
September 14, 2011 3:00:22 AM

So far the only issue i have is getting a license.
September 14, 2011 3:46:52 AM

kilo_17 said:
Six HUNDRED? As in six zero zero? Just for data recovery? That's ridiculous! And I know I could build an i3 machine for way less than 800 easily. It's amazing they stay in business with prices like that!


If memory serves Knoppix or Coffee made for good Forensic software. I am probably showing my age, but when you really get into recovery they charge a bunch of money.

It's faster to simply reformat and then rebuild a system. After all everything worth saving is on 3 computers and a bunch of disks.
September 14, 2011 10:03:55 PM

OMFG $600!!!

HAHA!!! Geek Squad can break your computer for less!

Dude.. you gotta get you hands on some of that cash bro. you can totally do better than that. look to see how well there business is..
September 15, 2011 12:44:19 AM

not good. They are overstaffed as of now. If I see what is going on, components seem to be helping them.
September 15, 2011 1:47:11 PM

Those who can tech, work in corporate IT departments or have successful IT businesses of their own. Those who can't tech, work for Geek Squad.
September 15, 2011 2:01:30 PM

dogman_1234 said:
Why not, then, after a PC is outdated, go out and buy a new one?



People will go out and buy a new pc but it will be from bestbuy or some other big box store. It is hard to compete with big box store prices cause they order huge amounts of products. I am not trying to kill your dream but you have to have a good bit of money if you want to get hardware cheaper. I have noticed from the few computer repair shops around is they also have contracts for maintenance for business's to off set income to stay in business. With the economy in the toilet now is not a good time to open a new business. Hope this helps in some way..
September 15, 2011 2:14:58 PM

$600 for data recovery isn't all that much if it's the ONLY data you have and can't be replaced. Not so prevalent anymore in data critical applications due to off site data storage and redundant backups in house. But back in 'the day' if the only source of your critical data was accidently erased, burned in a fire or otherwise corrupted, you would pay a giant sum of money to get it back.
As for malware removal, there are many free programs out there to do it. Google it.
September 15, 2011 2:55:42 PM

Here is something to consider. Speciality shops. Something i do not see any of is high performance parts, water cooling etc. Modding shops, gaming centers. Venture capitol would be a beast. Not to mention you would have to have extreme expertise in those fields. A+ does not cut it.
I personally love local store to buy my stuff if possible. No shipping and fast and easy to return for replacement if there is a defect. Plus I am a impulse shopper. I buy more crap when I am walking the isles of Micro center than I would have thought about shopping on newegg.
September 15, 2011 3:11:52 PM

dogman_1234 said:
Okay, I know I have asked this a baggilion times already... :p 

Here is the deal. i want to start a small computer business.

-I am getting my A+ soon, put that on the list of crossed off
-I understand there needs to be capital, that is what all business needs
-I understand if you have a better idea, please do tell
-I am mental capable of operating a system of commerce.

Here is the thing; I know some of you have small businesses in computers, form repair to retail. My idea is this:

Sell computer components to the consumer via retail store.

There are many places where I am at that have vacant lots for a store, prefect traffic, perfect room, and perfect condition.

What I would like to know is any advice on start up.


What would be your unique sellingpoint, the thing that will make people come to you, what makes you different, perhaps having no pre-builts, everything is custom/boutique, but that takes time, and people want instant? or do they? you gotta figure out what people want and will pay extra for and provide that. Just doing what someone else has done is pointless, you'll be dividing the market between you and them, and you're the newcomer, you'll lose.

Go for extreme power, extreme slience, extremely cheap, but not all three, you don't have the buying power to compete with dell, or newegg, and every single bit of stock you buy will be depreciating as the next thing comes in, look at newegg/scan/ebuyer etc. they haven't reduced their prices on the sandforce SSD's yet, but they are selling SF2 SSD's for nearly the same price but they can't sell it for less than they brought it (perhaps they should they'd get something back at least) component shops are very capital intensive and can easily get caught out unless you want to de-stock on the rumour of next gen kit coming out.
September 15, 2011 3:13:33 PM

Device Unknown said:
Here is something to consider. Speciality shops. Something i do not see any of is high performance parts, water cooling etc. Modding shops, gaming centers. Venture capitol would be a beast. Not to mention you would have to have extreme expertise in those fields. A+ does not cut it.
I personally love local store to buy my stuff if possible. No shipping and fast and easy to return for replacement if there is a defect. Plus I am a impulse shopper. I buy more crap when I am walking the isles of Micro center than I would have thought about shopping on newegg.


Good point, water cooling stuff does not depreciate much, ditto with fans, but are there enough customers to support a business?
!