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Selling PC's in today's PC "market"

 
 
techshare
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      11-11-2003
Hey all,

Is anyone out there running a new PC business? I'm really trying to figure
out what the market is for this anymore. I'm in a fairly big metro area ...
but it only half supports a PC service business with a dollar size YP ad.
I've sold several new custom built PC's ... and actually those jobs are some
of the "better" ones. Good profit margin, and I know what I am working with
since it's all new.

I'm thinking about it as a "path" to owning a shop ... but all my experience
tells me the shop would soon be a money pit with nothing but the cheap SOB's
showing up for "used" computers and such. The question is how many people
still prefer buying their PC's from real PC shops as opposed to Best Buy. I
am not interested in turning the shop into a computer "flea market" as many
of my callers would like. I would only sell new equipment ... and hopefully
most of it would be non-OEM or I would back it up with some kind of
warranty. I've seen some promising profit making episodes at these local
"computer shows". Then again, a lot of that is psychological buying frenzy
present only at the show.

I think a good measure on this is if you are able to average selling at
least one new machine every other day. Anyone out there doing this? Anyone
out there with experience and some insight? Please no flamers or useless
replies. Thanks


 
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hootnholler
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      11-12-2003
Hey techshare,

First, I do not own a shop, but have spent quite a bit of time in them.
Even though I may lack the experience you are probably looking for, it will
be an honest opinion

If you are thinking of selling all new parts, maybe learn some of the higher
end hardware and learn some modding skills. That seems to be a pretty hot
market. I worked as an industrial technician for 15 years, and you would
not believe how many people are amazed that I can run hand tools and mold
steel... even if it is only sheet metal.

I saw your previous post, on what to charge for some of the services.
Here's some ideas that I have learned from my tenure in repairs... First,
the flat fee for repairs seems to work pretty good, at least in my area.
For companies, like any field service person, we charge by the hour, but for
the normal walk in, it's a flat rate. Plus, if you bought your pc from us,
assembled, we move it to the front of the repair line, wether it is under
warranty or not. We like to stand behind our product. Best bet, search the
web for local repair shops, what the larger stores offer, etc... and gauge
your expenses as you see their's.

Don't be afraid to spend some time with your customers. I worked for one
guy that thought I did too much 'chit chatting'. After about 3 weeks of me
talking to the customers, I was literally averaging about $2000/day in
repairs for him. Don't try to guess what's wrong, but be honest, and tell
them all the different scenarios that you think it could be. Ie, don't say,
'it's definitely a virus, I'll charge you $50 to remove it...' since you
don't really know without looking. Tell them it could be hardware,
software, misconfiguration, virus, spyware, etc... You need to diagnose it
before you can give a concrete answer, but tell ya what, we charge a $40
diagnosis fee, and here's what we do.... and once we find out what the issue
is, we'll call you, tell you our flat rate, and then you decide if you wish
for us to continue. Just sign here that we are not responsible for lost
data, and that you agree to the service fee. That's all you're obligated
to. Pay now? Naw, pay when you come back, make it a bit easier... Then,
when done, show them what you did, show them their machine, have them play
with it while you work on another machine, then when they tell you they are
satisfied, please sign here that you are satisfied, and here's your itemized
bill for your records. Oh, you really like that set of speakers over there?
Tell ya what, since you are such nice people, lemme knock $10 off that price
for ya. Suuuree, I can put that all on one bill for ya. Take me a few
seconds. Take care, tell your friends about us! Then, when business is
rolling, hire some younger people to manage the desk and minor repairs. Try
to match your customer demographics with your workers. While that kid is
'chit chatting', he just sold that other kid a new gamepad, game and a
bigger hard drive. Nice little profit for 15 minutes of talking gaming.
Oh, and he'll be back later for you to cut that window in the side of his
case, and can we put a couple more blowholes in it, too?

How do we deal with the big pc makers? Well, that's a bit tough, but again,
be honest. Usually, you will get people of middle income, and they are
dropping a load of money on this decision. When gramma comes into the shop,
don't tell her she needs that new P4 extreme chip... unless she's got some
mad gaming skills. Mrs. Smith, what do you plan on using your new pc for?
Talking to the kids and grandkids via email? Sure, that's not a problem.
Ever think about doing some camera work while chatting to them? Make it a
bit more personal? Of course we can do that for ya. Let's see, we offer
these 7 different types of motherboards, but I'm sure you don't need
hyperthreading, so let me get you the one that's pretty good, but minus all
the bells and whistles. Yep, that's right, it's $50 less then the other
one. What's the difference? Well, not sure you need gigabit ethernet, 64
bit processing, 8x agp, etc... so we'll get ya what you need, with a little
breathing room. Grandkids like to game? Hmm.. maybe you won't quite want
this 32 meg video card, but tell ya what, let's split the difference. We'll
get ya this ati 9500. It's about $50 more, but you know what, the
grandkiddies will love it. They won't be able to play all the latest games
at the outrageous frame rates, but it will work good enough. Naw, you don't
need that $500 card for a couple hours a week. This one for $200 will do ya
just fine. If not, bring it back. We'll fix ya up. Uh oh, your first
computer, and you're not sure how to run it? Tell ya what, you spend your
money here, I'll throw in 2 hours of one on one training, free. After that,
cut you a special rate, $25/hour afterwards. We'll just do it after
business hours, so there's no distractions. Okay, think we got most of this
covered, here's a list of what you will be getting, what we charge to
assemble, with the training and special rate included in writing. Aw, Mrs.
Smith, that's sweet of you to say so, but tell ya what. You take that quote
home, think about it. Talk to your friends, your kids and grandkids, etc...
and make sure that you are getting a good deal. You get a better deal,
lemme know. I'll give you an honest answer. Either I can or cannot match
it, but I will tell you the truth. When she calls back, which is usually,
they found an emachine at WalMart for $200. Yep, that machine will work for
ya, it sure will. But I can promise you that you will not get windows, you
will not get the personalized service that I am offering, and not to scare
ya, ask what their repair policy is. Sure, I can fix it for you, but we
give our machines priority. And, sadly, will have to charge you the
standard rate. Yep, the machine is under warranty, but I don't do warranty
work for other manufacturer's. Okay, Mrs. Smith, you take care, too.

About 75% of these people come back and purchase a machine. The other 25%,
most of their machines I see in about a few months. Same story, "I shoulda
bought the machine from you guys..." Aw, that's okay. You made what you
thought was the right decision. Sure, your next machine, come see me.
We'll talk. Now, for the bad news, here's your bill for your repairs...

Techshare, I feel it's all about the personality (in case you hadn't guessed
) People will spend money, but they want service. They don't get that
at Best Buy, Wal Mart, etc... how many times have you gone into one of these
'superstores' and been ignored? Then, when you get someone, the kid wants
to argue with you, on how the Intel 810 chipset 'iz way kewler' than the new
870... Or, when I want Crucial mem, and they try to throw me PNY... ask them
if they are Samsung chips on there... that get's them every time....

Hoot

"techshare" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> Hey all,
>
> Is anyone out there running a new PC business? I'm really trying to figure
> out what the market is for this anymore. I'm in a fairly big metro area

....
> but it only half supports a PC service business with a dollar size YP ad.
> I've sold several new custom built PC's ... and actually those jobs are

some
> of the "better" ones. Good profit margin, and I know what I am working

with
> since it's all new.
>
> I'm thinking about it as a "path" to owning a shop ... but all my

experience
> tells me the shop would soon be a money pit with nothing but the cheap

SOB's
> showing up for "used" computers and such. The question is how many people
> still prefer buying their PC's from real PC shops as opposed to Best Buy.

I
> am not interested in turning the shop into a computer "flea market" as

many
> of my callers would like. I would only sell new equipment ... and

hopefully
> most of it would be non-OEM or I would back it up with some kind of
> warranty. I've seen some promising profit making episodes at these local
> "computer shows". Then again, a lot of that is psychological buying frenzy
> present only at the show.
>
> I think a good measure on this is if you are able to average selling at
> least one new machine every other day. Anyone out there doing this? Anyone
> out there with experience and some insight? Please no flamers or useless
> replies. Thanks
>
>



 
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stew
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-04-2004
It is a difficult market with DELL and the other major players selling their machines at the 6 to 7 bill range
and their entry level machines at around 4 to 5 bill service is where the money is at.
On Tue, 11 Nov 2003 13:51:23 -0500, "techshare" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>Hey all,
>
>Is anyone out there running a new PC business? I'm really trying to figure
>out what the market is for this anymore. I'm in a fairly big metro area ...
>but it only half supports a PC service business with a dollar size YP ad.
>I've sold several new custom built PC's ... and actually those jobs are some
>of the "better" ones. Good profit margin, and I know what I am working with
>since it's all new.
>
>I'm thinking about it as a "path" to owning a shop ... but all my experience
>tells me the shop would soon be a money pit with nothing but the cheap SOB's
>showing up for "used" computers and such. The question is how many people
>still prefer buying their PC's from real PC shops as opposed to Best Buy. I
>am not interested in turning the shop into a computer "flea market" as many
>of my callers would like. I would only sell new equipment ... and hopefully
>most of it would be non-OEM or I would back it up with some kind of
>warranty. I've seen some promising profit making episodes at these local
>"computer shows". Then again, a lot of that is psychological buying frenzy
>present only at the show.
>
>I think a good measure on this is if you are able to average selling at
>least one new machine every other day. Anyone out there doing this? Anyone
>out there with experience and some insight? Please no flamers or useless
>replies. Thanks
>


 
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