Incorporating Computer Repair into our Business

mlahatte

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Nov 15, 1999
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We have a family business that has sold and serviced electronics (TV's, DVD's, etc..) and appliances (refridgerators, washers, dryers, etc..) for over 70years. We were thinking about adding computer repair to our business. Like build computers, sell them, service them, do house calls for computer repair, etc... We have made house calls on appliance and electronic repair for a long time and figured adding computers to the mix might be a good idea. My question is, do you just buy parts from New Egg? or would we need to get dealer contracts directly with the manufacturers? How would you go about doing it? Are there any links to websites that would be beneficial to this?

Thanks
 

BOLt

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Dec 11, 2004
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to do it legally you'll need a reseller's permit/license for starters.
 

Zepper

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May 1, 2001
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Obvious the OP already has a business license and related permits - don't need anything special for puters (unless your state/locality requires it) except some knowledgeable techs.
. You may do better going thru a specialized distributor like Ingram, Tech-Data et al. once you've got your volume up (actually I was buying from TD and Ingram when I had almost no volume - may still be that way), otherwise just get your parts inventory from Newegg or other reliable resellers when they have sales. Tip: keep as small an inventory of parts as possible as things just change too fast in the field. Consider the idea of keeping "loaner" parts to do a quick fix while awaiting the customer's choice of replacement. All toward the goal of keeping inventory lean and mean.
. The nice thing about going thru the distributors is that the full warranty passes to the end user, while if you buy from Newegg, et al., the warranty starts when you purchased it so you'll be passing a shortened warranty on to your customer and you will have to handle warranty RMAs etc. as you are the "owner".
. Where are you located? Some locales and regions have co-op parts buying warehouses so the local computer stores and shops can combine buying power. But any hint of favoritism or shenanigans will blow those apart.
. I don't expect that brown box/white box types could really handle the pace of change or complexity on the confuser side, so an appropriate type to manage the computer side might need to be hired.

.bh.
 

mlahatte

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Nov 15, 1999
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Originally posted by: Zepper
Obvious the OP already has a business license and related permits - don't need anything special for puters (unless your state/locality requires it) except some knowledgeable techs.
. You may do better going thru a specialized distributor like Ingram, Tech-Data et al. once you've got your volume up (actually I was buying from TD and Ingram when I had almost no volume - may still be that way), otherwise just get your parts inventory from Newegg or other reliable resellers when they have sales. Tip: keep as small an inventory of parts as possible as things just change too fast in the field. Consider the idea of keeping "loaner" parts to do a quick fix while awaiting the customer's choice of replacement. All toward the goal of keeping inventory lean and mean.
. The nice thing about going thru the distributors is that the full warranty passes to the end user, while if you buy from Newegg, et al., the warranty starts when you purchased it so you'll be passing a shortened warranty on to your customer and you will have to handle warranty RMAs etc. as you are the "owner".
. Where are you located? Some locales and regions have co-op parts buying warehouses so the local computer stores and shops can combine buying power. But any hint of favoritism or shenanigans will blow those apart.
. I don't expect that brown box/white box types could really handle the pace of change or complexity on the confuser side, so an appropriate type to manage the computer side might need to be hired.

.bh.

Thanks a TON for the info! What about designations? Would i need to be certified in anything? Right now we are Certified Electronic Technitians. Are there any certification requirements for computer repair? Also, is there a big price difference between Newegg and those suppliers you listed? Do those suppliers offer all the big brands (Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, Seagate, etc.. )?

 

JackMDS

Elite Member
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Oct 25, 1999
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Since you have already an establish buisness and Certified as an Electronic Technitians , you can start.

At the beginig you can order from NewEgg, the price difference on few components is not a big deal since big part of the Bill is working time.

After a while when you know in which direction ?the wind is blowing? in your local you can further look into other purchasing avenues as well as specific certification in the computer area that seems that keep you busy the most.
 

Zepper

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May 1, 2001
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Certifications are often not worth the paper they are printed on - verifiable experience is the better clue, but some states/locales are requiring basic A+ for confuser techs (supposedly for consumer protection). If your govt's aren't trying to run your business for you yet, you can set your own standards for techs. Since you are already a licensed business, you can get access to Tech-Data and Ingram sites via online forms. They carry most popular or name brands. You can see the brands they carry without even filing any forms, you just can't buy until you do the paperwork. There are smaller, regional distributors too. T-D and Ingram-Micro are two of the largest national ones. Get your hands on a copy of Computer Reseller News for more distributor names.

.bh.
 

Zap

Elite Member
Oct 13, 1999
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There are no certifications that are required for computer repair. However, if your business gets heavily into networking and starts cultivating larger business clients, then it may be valuable to have an employee that has some networking certifications.

IMO start with Newegg as a supplier. Some of the larger distributors have pricing tiers based on volume, and the lower tiers end up costing more than the cut-rate e-tailers.

As mentioned, keep a slim inventory (especially at first). Wouldn't hurt to have an optical drive and medium sized hard drives in stock (both EIDE and SATA), plus ALWAYS have your service technicians carry some popular RAM sticks with them on house calls. Those make for quick and easy sales. A handful of various PSUs are also important to have on hand, but make sure you don't get ones that are too crappy. Everything else can be ordered as needed. If system sales pick up, have "stock" configurations so that you can have a barebones ready and then just slap in the RAM/CPU/HDD needed.

You don't need to offer a huge selection of brands because most people you service won't be enthusiasts, so as long as you are comfortable using a part in your own system then go ahead and use it in a customer's system.

There is little markup in hardware. If there isn't much competition in your area you may be able to get away with 10-20% markup, otherwise you may be lucky to get 5%. Don't try to rip off anyone (such as doubling the price of the store down the street) because eventually some of them will find out, and any that do will be a lost customer plus bad word of mouth.

Service is your profit. Do not give it away, because once you do then that customer will come to expect it. You are charging for your expertise, knowledge and experience. I'm not a fan of anything "flat rate" so IMO tier your service in time increments (hourly or half hourly).

Do not BS the customer. If I really don't know something I will tell that to a customer. I have NEVER had one customer belittle me for it, and have had many praise me for my honesty. Long term customers always knew to come to me for real answers because they didn't have confidence in the answers my business partner gave (BITD when I did that for a living) since he would BS when his knowledge ran out.

Techs who can "figure out" stuff are valuable because not only do computer technology change so fast, there are so many possible things that can go wrong among the dozens of brands of hardware and billions of lines of code in a computer interacting with each other that many things won't go "by the book."

I'm not a fan of fanboyism (har har). While I may give strong recommendations, I can usually back it up with more than just "because the other stuff is crap." My business partner (and a lot of other techs I've met) were really opinionated and that seems to draw the less knowledgeable clients because most of them thought that someone with a strong opinion must really know their stuff. However, I've noticed that was a turnoff to other clients.
 

mlahatte

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Nov 15, 1999
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Ingram is the largest in the world but it seems like Tech-Data has better offering of brands? Like Asus, Gigabyte and MSI are offered by Tech-Data but not by Ingram. However; Ingram offers Abit but Tech-Data does not. Or am I missing something? Which is the smarter one to go with?
 

Zepper

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May 1, 2001
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You don't have to go with one or the other, you can buy from as many distributors as you want. It's obvious that you have to to be able to supply any brand to your customers.

.bh.