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Old 02-20-2013, 01:28 PM   #1
thestrangebrew1
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Default Question for you PC repair business owners

I'm getting my little PC repair business going and I'm trying to hammer down pricing etc. Do you guys charge for a diagnosis? Then if they want you to work on the machine for them, move to an hourly? How do you guys do your pricing scheme? I'll be calling the only "local" shop around my area to see what they're process is like, just curious what you guys do too.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:32 PM   #2
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This would have been what to get into in the mid-late 90's. This is a completely over-saturated "market". Everyone and their mum has a little brother/cousin/monkey that can fix everything from phones to HPC clusters now.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:38 PM   #3
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You can do it like many auto repair places. Charge a diagnostic fee which is credited against the cost of the repair. If the customer decides not to proceed with the repair,then customer pays diagnostic fee.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:41 PM   #4
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Most people just take it to Best Buy and have their Geek Squad take care of it.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:42 PM   #5
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2013
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by KlokWyze View Post
This would have been what to get into in the mid-late 90's. This is a completely over-saturated "market". Everyone and their mum has a little brother/cousin/monkey that can fix everything from phones to HPC clusters now.
I agree with you that I'm pretty late in the game, however, in my area there's 3 shops listed when I google PC repair, and I know at least 2 of them have closed down since. And that's in a town that's 15 miles away from me. It's going to basically be a hobby/business, something I don't plan on making significant income from (I have a normal 9-5) and I've already got a few people who want me to look at their machines. I figure I might as well make some $ on the side.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by thestrangebrew1 View Post
I agree with you that I'm pretty late in the game, however, in my area there's 3 shops listed when I google PC repair, and I know at least 2 of them have closed down since. And that's in a town that's 15 miles away from me. It's going to basically be a hobby/business, something I don't plan on making significant income from (I have a normal 9-5) and I've already got a few people who want me to look at their machines. I figure I might as well make some $ on the side.
local businesses with same business model are failing.. opportunity not found
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:05 PM   #8
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we are in a post-pc era now.

If you can fix smartphones, tablets, and everything in between in addition to laptops/pcs then you may have a business.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:08 PM   #9
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I visit customers and do the work there, therefore I charge a call-out fee (covering the first hour) and then a rate for additional hours.

If customers are bringing the computer to you, then I guess in your shoes I would consider a diagnosis fee (intended to cover an hour of your time). However, my pricing scheme changes if I have to take the computer with me (e.g. it requires a very time-consuming scan of some sort), if I'm working at home with it I just charge for the time I spend actually working on it, so starting a scan then observing the results later does not equal the amount of time in between.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:15 PM   #10
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Try to get into the business of fixing computers for professionals. Lawyers, doctors, accountants, etc. Not only do they pay, they need their systems working and don't generally have disposable PCs.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:24 PM   #11
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Frankly it depends on what your local competition is doing. After you have called around I would recommend doing what they do. As long as it is reasonable.

PC repair is not a business that is dying. In fact over the 12 years I have done it there have been 15 shops that have opened and closed. Now there is just me and Staples and the Geek Squad. If anything there are now not enough repair shops in my area.

It comes down to what is available in your area. Many people have gotten out of the business so areas are now under served. I am busier now than I was 7 years ago.

One thing I have learned about "free" diagnostics. Some people will literally pick up computers left on the streets as trash and bring them in for a free diagnostic. If it costs them nothing then they think why not. So, having at least a small fee will burn off those people who think they are so smart by taking advantage of your free diagnostics.

Recently a guy I know who just opened a shop about 70 miles from me in an underserved area is doing very well.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:25 PM   #12
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A geeksquad employee did an IAMA , you guys should check it out.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:27 PM   #13
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We ended up having to charge a diagnostic fee (deposit up front, which goes toward the final invoice cost) because people kept dropping computers off, having us fix them, and then deciding the bill was too high and never coming back to pick it up.

Meanwhile, we've put the effort in to putting it back together and making it work, and now we have to dispose of it.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:29 PM   #14
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Here is the issue, computers now are supper cheap. Most people will just buy a new computer every 3 years or so. The people that bring their computers in to get them fixed are too cheap to buy a new computer so they try to get them repaired. See the issue... Your cheap customers typically don't want to pay what your time is worth to fix their computers.

Plus most of you time will be removing a virus or spyware. Not fun...

You need to come up with some other services that you can offer that will be more profitable. Maybe home wiring, multimedia instalations. Home theater set ups, maybe digital streaming setups with tablet and other smart-tv devices.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:36 PM   #15
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Well like I said, it's just a small on the side business. I'll be doing it legit, ie business license, fictitious business name etc. I'll just be operating it out of my house and getting my permit for that also. It appears that the shops that did close in my area were either consolidated into one big shop or were bought out/closed down. Funny thing is, one of the guys who owns this business lived 3 houses down from me and either sold or foreclosed on his home about a year ago. I think I'll do the diagnostic fee and if they still want me to work on it, I'll roll it into the work needed.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KlokWyze View Post
This would have been what to get into in the mid-late 90's. This is a completely over-saturated "market". Everyone and their mum has a little brother/cousin/monkey that can fix everything from phones to HPC clusters now.
You'd be surprised how many people take their computers to best buy, office depot, and stores like that to get reemed.

This lady I used to work with once paid like $300 for bestbuy to ' optimize ' her new laptop which mostly consisted of removing junk that comes pre installed and cleaning up start up items.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
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we are in a post-pc era now.

does anyone actually think this way?
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:39 PM   #18
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Meanwhile, we've put the effort in to putting it back together and making it work, and now we have to dispose of it.
How do you dispose of it? donation or selling as refurbished?
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:40 PM   #19
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We ended up having to charge a diagnostic fee (deposit up front, which goes toward the final invoice cost) because people kept dropping computers off, having us fix them, and then deciding the bill was too high and never coming back to pick it up.

Meanwhile, we've put the effort in to putting it back together and making it work, and now we have to dispose of it.
You can turn around and sell those abandoned/repaired machines, can't you? I assume this would work in a college town.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:40 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by drebo View Post
We ended up having to charge a diagnostic fee (deposit up front, which goes toward the final invoice cost) because people kept dropping computers off, having us fix them, and then deciding the bill was too high and never coming back to pick it up.

Meanwhile, we've put the effort in to putting it back together and making it work, and now we have to dispose of it.
Why not donate them? Save the earth + get tax credit?
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:41 PM   #21
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Plus most of you time will be removing a virus or spyware. Not fun...

You need to come up with some other services that you can offer that will be more profitable. Maybe home wiring, multimedia instalations. Home theater set ups, maybe digital streaming setups with tablet and other smart-tv devices.
My wife brought this up to me as well. I'm definitely looking at different services I can provide for my clients. I think home theater setups/streaming media services would be a great service I can provide.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:42 PM   #22
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How much sre you going to charge for on going tech support? Or after hours "emergency" calls?
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:43 PM   #23
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You can turn around and sell those abandoned/repaired machines, can't you? I assume this would work in a college town.
What's an old P4 worth, and who wants one? You might be able to dribble them out to partially cover losses, but it's almost more hassle than it's worth. You could do it as a charity thing for poor people, but if you don't really believe in the cause, it's just pointless work.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:43 PM   #24
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A buddy of mine owns a computer repair shop and has been doing really well for the last 5 years or so. However, he doesn't do just PC repair he sells and installs surveillance systems, ecigs, and he also does wedding photography with his brother on the side. His biggest business cash wise is the surveillance systems he sells.

As far as prices what he does is charge a flat rate of 25 for diagnostics and its 60 if you get the PC fixed there (diag fee is included). If it needs parts it's whatever the cost of the part is plus the 60.

Its quick cash for him (used to be geek squad) but like I said that isn't his main money maker anymore. If its something you plan to do on the side as supplemental income you'll be fine as long as you don't over charge for basic stuff.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:51 PM   #25
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Here is the issue, computers now are supper cheap. Most people will just buy a new computer every 3 years or so. The people that bring their computers in to get them fixed are too cheap to buy a new computer so they try to get them repaired. See the issue... Your cheap customers typically don't want to pay what your time is worth to fix their computers.

Plus most of you time will be removing a virus or spyware. Not fun...

You need to come up with some other services that you can offer that will be more profitable. Maybe home wiring, multimedia instalations. Home theater set ups, maybe digital streaming setups with tablet and other smart-tv devices.
This's isn't always true, I run a PC repair business. I can't count how many people I've come across who paid the Geek Squad $350 to remove viruses and malware off an old ass computers. A lot of times buying a new computer would make sense, but people don't know how to get their data transferred off the old one, and places like Geek Squad charge a stupid amount for this. Sure a lot of people do just buy new computers, but there are tons who don't. Removing viruses is boring, but easy work that pays well. On a good day I get 5 calls, I charge a flat $100 + mileage to go to a home or office and do the cleaning. A new PC + xfering data, even if it's going to be way faster will cost a lot more than the $100 I charge. Cheap people want to spend as little as possible, so even $200 to fix an old ass computer when they can get a new one for $300, they'll fix the old one. As evident as people who use Geek Squad and pay out the ass to fix Pentium 4 age pc's

If you're good at fixing computers there's plenty of money out there to be made. For every person who has a son or nephew who can fix their computer. There's 1 who doesn't, and 1 who has a family member who "fixes" it only to make shit worse. And I even get a lot of calls about smartphones now,
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