Advice on one-man PC Support business?

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Mr Nice, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. Mr Nice

    Mr Nice Guest

    Hi,

    I'm an IT support engineer with a utility company in central Scotland.

    My skills range from PC builds and hardware upgrades, to software
    installation, configuration, email setup, virus removal, backups etc.

    I'm seriously considering setting up on my own - serving home customers and
    SMEs rather than being employed by a big company.
    A lot of my in-house clients tell me that as well as being competent enough
    to address their techy problems, I've got a great attitude to non-techys,
    putting them at ease, and not bogging them down with geek-details, and am
    generally very amiable.

    My questions are:

    is there much of a market for PC Users to use one-man PC Support /Repair
    businesses?
    is there an opportunity to make a reasonable income from such a business -
    I'm not talking about PC Builds here.
    are there such small businesses using this newsgroup, and have you any
    particular advice?
    Is it better to work from home, having customers come to you, or to be a
    mobile firm? (or a mixture even?)

    My thought is that in the same way that some motorists (including myself)
    prefer small family-run garages to the big named chains, PC Users may find a
    small repair business more friendly than the chains like Dixons, PC World
    etc. There's obviously other big/small consumer comparisons to be made, but
    you get the idea.

    Since this is potentially a significant change in my working status, any
    advice on this will be very much appreciated.

    Cheers

    Mr Nice
    Mr Nice, Feb 22, 2005
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Mr Nice

    trout Guest

    Mr Nice wrote:

    > Hi,
    >
    > I'm an IT support engineer with a utility company in central Scotland.
    >
    > My skills range from PC builds and hardware upgrades, to software
    > installation, configuration, email setup, virus removal, backups etc.
    >
    > I'm seriously considering setting up on my own - serving home
    > customers and SMEs rather than being employed by a big company.
    > A lot of my in-house clients tell me that as well as being competent
    > enough to address their techy problems, I've got a great attitude to
    > non-techys, putting them at ease, and not bogging them down with
    > geek-details, and am generally very amiable.
    >
    > My questions are:
    >
    > is there much of a market for PC Users to use one-man PC Support
    > /Repair businesses?
    > is there an opportunity to make a reasonable income from such a
    > business - I'm not talking about PC Builds here.
    > are there such small businesses using this newsgroup, and have you any
    > particular advice?
    > Is it better to work from home, having customers come to you, or to
    > be a mobile firm? (or a mixture even?)
    >
    > My thought is that in the same way that some motorists (including
    > myself) prefer small family-run garages to the big named chains, PC
    > Users may find a small repair business more friendly than the chains
    > like Dixons, PC World etc. There's obviously other big/small
    > consumer comparisons to be made, but you get the idea.
    >
    > Since this is potentially a significant change in my working status,
    > any advice on this will be very much appreciated.
    >
    > Cheers
    >
    > Mr Nice


    This sort of business can *potentially* be quite rewarding, but it
    will require a period of building. You might consider beginning as a
    sideline, and seeing how it goes.
    After all, it doesn't require much in the way of over-head. You
    don't really need much more than a defined service, a method of payment,
    and customers. The latter, obviously, is the hard part.
    The best way to build a business like this is word-of-mouth (so to
    speak). A good, commonly-used method of using newsgroups is to (really)
    participate in newsgroups such as 'this' one. If you use a newsgroup
    legitimately, it is usually considered acceptable to include a brief
    mention (up to four lines) in a properly-delimited signature. If people
    get to know you, and respect your abilities, they will seek you out.
    The most frequent mistake that I've seen in newsgroups is a new
    business that posts inappropriately, solely to advertise. They are not
    just reported for spamming, but are hard-pressed to shake that image.
    For a business like this to succeed; you must be both trusted and
    liked.
    --
    "Just a couple of thoughts."
    trout, Feb 22, 2005
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Mr Nice

    Mark Shaw Guest

    "Mr Nice" <no.spam@thanks> wrote in message
    news:421ae312$0$26729$...
    > Hi,
    >
    > I'm an IT support engineer with a utility company in central Scotland.
    >
    > My skills range from PC builds and hardware upgrades, to software
    > installation, configuration, email setup, virus removal, backups etc.
    >
    > I'm seriously considering setting up on my own - serving home customers

    and
    > SMEs rather than being employed by a big company.
    > A lot of my in-house clients tell me that as well as being competent

    enough
    > to address their techy problems, I've got a great attitude to non-techys,
    > putting them at ease, and not bogging them down with geek-details, and am
    > generally very amiable.
    >
    > My questions are:
    >
    > is there much of a market for PC Users to use one-man PC Support /Repair
    > businesses?
    > is there an opportunity to make a reasonable income from such a business -
    > I'm not talking about PC Builds here.
    > are there such small businesses using this newsgroup, and have you any
    > particular advice?
    > Is it better to work from home, having customers come to you, or to be a
    > mobile firm? (or a mixture even?)
    >
    > My thought is that in the same way that some motorists (including myself)
    > prefer small family-run garages to the big named chains, PC Users may find

    a
    > small repair business more friendly than the chains like Dixons, PC World
    > etc. There's obviously other big/small consumer comparisons to be made,

    but
    > you get the idea.
    >
    > Since this is potentially a significant change in my working status, any
    > advice on this will be very much appreciated.
    >
    > Cheers
    >
    > Mr Nice
    >
    >


    Yes, there's a huge business out there.
    As another poster mentioned, word of mouth is the best form of advertising.
    Formal advertising in places like yellow pages costs a fortune, so your
    contacts are key to success.
    First step you should speak with your local small business advisor i.e. the
    scottish equivalent of www.investni.com
    You'll have to get to grip with plenty of red tape, accounting, tax rules,
    etc.
    You may need a part time job to keep yourself going while starting off the
    business. This may take 2 years or more.
    Working from home will save you heaps of money in business rent. Go to the
    customers. If its a network problem, you'll need to be at the customers
    site.
    In your first few months, you'll be working a couple of hours per week
    wondering if you'll ever get any business. By your 4th year, you'll be
    working 60-70hours a week wondering if it will ever slow down for you to
    catch your breath.

    Good luck,
    Mark.
    Mark Shaw, Feb 22, 2005
    #3
  4. Mr Nice

    127.0.0.1 Guest

    "Mr Nice" <no.spam@thanks> wrote in message
    news:421ae312$0$26729$...
    > Hi,
    >
    > I'm an IT support engineer with a utility company in central Scotland.
    >
    > My skills range from PC builds and hardware upgrades, to software
    > installation, configuration, email setup, virus removal, backups etc.
    >
    > I'm seriously considering setting up on my own - serving home customers
    > and
    > SMEs rather than being employed by a big company.
    > A lot of my in-house clients tell me that as well as being competent
    > enough
    > to address their techy problems, I've got a great attitude to non-techys,
    > putting them at ease, and not bogging them down with geek-details, and am
    > generally very amiable.
    >
    > My questions are:
    >
    > is there much of a market for PC Users to use one-man PC Support /Repair
    > businesses?
    > is there an opportunity to make a reasonable income from such a business -
    > I'm not talking about PC Builds here.
    > are there such small businesses using this newsgroup, and have you any
    > particular advice?
    > Is it better to work from home, having customers come to you, or to be a
    > mobile firm? (or a mixture even?)
    >
    > My thought is that in the same way that some motorists (including myself)
    > prefer small family-run garages to the big named chains, PC Users may find
    > a
    > small repair business more friendly than the chains like Dixons, PC World
    > etc. There's obviously other big/small consumer comparisons to be made,
    > but
    > you get the idea.
    >
    > Since this is potentially a significant change in my working status, any
    > advice on this will be very much appreciated.
    >
    > Cheers
    >
    > Mr Nice


    first, drop the "engineer" from your title. engineering requires the
    creation of technology.
    second, you will make more $$ managing consultants instead of being one
    yourself.
    once you build a client base, there will be more work than you can handle.
    to keep up with demand, subcontract with other IT consultants. get them the
    temp jobs for a fee.

    here in the US, i suppliment my normal IT job by fixing home computers on
    the side. by word of mouth, i usually get 10 clients a month. at first, i
    went to the customer's site, now they just drop off their machines.

    only problem with being self employed is providing your own
    medical/dental/optical insurance for your family.

    -a|ex
    127.0.0.1, Feb 22, 2005
    #4
  5. Mr Nice

    Plato Guest

    Mr Nice wrote:
    >
    > I'm seriously considering setting up on my own - serving home customers and
    > SMEs rather than being employed by a big company.


    When peoples computers break and they need it fixed right away they look
    in the local phone book and hire the first person that answers the
    phone. They look at the mid sized ads for example we had a 1/8 page ad
    which generated about 1 - 2 calls/day. The ad was expensive but it only
    took a few days work each month to pay for it.

    The 8:00 calls are quite profitable as that's when folks open their
    business and find that the secretary cant type a letter or get on the
    network. Price is of secondary importance as the owner wants to be up
    asap. If you get the pcs working asap they WILL call you back next time
    even if your bill is quite hefty.

    Make sure the number in the phone book can be answered personally or
    even forwarded to your cell phone.
    Plato, Feb 22, 2005
    #5
  6. Mr Nice

    Mr Nice Guest

    Thanks for your response Mark.

    Can I assume then that you're in the business :)

    Are you US-based, UK or other? I'm curious that even though there's a
    market in the US, maybe UK or specifically Scotland could be different.

    As you've suggested, I DO intend to work from home with site visits if
    required. I've no intention of taking on premises.

    My wife runs a similar small business from home (not IT) and it's a great
    success, specifically *because* her customers love the more personal at-home
    service.

    > By your 4th year, you'll be
    > working 60-70hours a week wondering if it will ever slow down for you to
    > catch your breath.


    That's one issue I'll be delighted to have to deal with, seeing as how it
    suggests it's been a success.

    If you ARE in the business, here's to your continued success.

    Cheers

    M. Nice


    "Mark Shaw" <> wrote in message
    news:zfGSd.89$...
    >
    > "Mr Nice" <no.spam@thanks> wrote in message
    > news:421ae312$0$26729$...
    >> Hi,
    >>
    >> I'm an IT support engineer with a utility company in central Scotland.
    >>
    >> My skills range from PC builds and hardware upgrades, to software
    >> installation, configuration, email setup, virus removal, backups etc.
    >>
    >> I'm seriously considering setting up on my own - serving home customers

    > and
    >> SMEs rather than being employed by a big company.
    >> A lot of my in-house clients tell me that as well as being competent

    > enough
    >> to address their techy problems, I've got a great attitude to non-techys,
    >> putting them at ease, and not bogging them down with geek-details, and am
    >> generally very amiable.
    >>
    >> My questions are:
    >>
    >> is there much of a market for PC Users to use one-man PC Support /Repair
    >> businesses?
    >> is there an opportunity to make a reasonable income from such a
    >> business -
    >> I'm not talking about PC Builds here.
    >> are there such small businesses using this newsgroup, and have you any
    >> particular advice?
    >> Is it better to work from home, having customers come to you, or to be a
    >> mobile firm? (or a mixture even?)
    >>
    >> My thought is that in the same way that some motorists (including myself)
    >> prefer small family-run garages to the big named chains, PC Users may
    >> find

    > a
    >> small repair business more friendly than the chains like Dixons, PC World
    >> etc. There's obviously other big/small consumer comparisons to be made,

    > but
    >> you get the idea.
    >>
    >> Since this is potentially a significant change in my working status, any
    >> advice on this will be very much appreciated.
    >>
    >> Cheers
    >>
    >> Mr Nice
    >>
    >>

    >
    > Yes, there's a huge business out there.
    > As another poster mentioned, word of mouth is the best form of
    > advertising.
    > Formal advertising in places like yellow pages costs a fortune, so your
    > contacts are key to success.
    > First step you should speak with your local small business advisor i.e.
    > the
    > scottish equivalent of www.investni.com
    > You'll have to get to grip with plenty of red tape, accounting, tax rules,
    > etc.
    > You may need a part time job to keep yourself going while starting off the
    > business. This may take 2 years or more.
    > Working from home will save you heaps of money in business rent. Go to the
    > customers. If its a network problem, you'll need to be at the customers
    > site.
    > In your first few months, you'll be working a couple of hours per week
    > wondering if you'll ever get any business. By your 4th year, you'll be
    > working 60-70hours a week wondering if it will ever slow down for you to
    > catch your breath.
    >
    > Good luck,
    > Mark.
    >
    >
    Mr Nice, Feb 22, 2005
    #6
  7. Mr Nice

    Mr Nice Guest

    Thanks a|ex for taking the time to respond.

    > once you build a client base, there will be more work than you can handle.
    > to keep up with demand, subcontract with other IT consultants. get them
    > the temp jobs for a fee.


    This sounds similar to Mark's response - and having too *much* work sounds
    way more attractive than not enough.

    > here in the US, i suppliment my normal IT job by fixing home computers on
    > the side. by word of mouth, i usually get 10 clients a month. at first, i
    > went to the customer's site, now they just drop off their machines.


    Yeah, I though WOM would be the best, most valuable type of business - I've
    learned this from my wife's business, where she now never advertises, and
    all her business is WOM.

    Sounds like you also have the right attitude/skills for this - any reason
    why you haven't gone for it full-time rather than supplemental?

    Or does your last paragraph answer that?

    Cheers

    M. Nice


    "127.0.0.1" <get.rooted@localhost> wrote in message
    news:_4HSd.8325$...
    >
    > "Mr Nice" <no.spam@thanks> wrote in message
    > news:421ae312$0$26729$...
    >> Hi,
    >>
    >> I'm an IT support engineer with a utility company in central Scotland.
    >>
    >> My skills range from PC builds and hardware upgrades, to software
    >> installation, configuration, email setup, virus removal, backups etc.
    >>
    >> I'm seriously considering setting up on my own - serving home customers
    >> and
    >> SMEs rather than being employed by a big company.
    >> A lot of my in-house clients tell me that as well as being competent
    >> enough
    >> to address their techy problems, I've got a great attitude to non-techys,
    >> putting them at ease, and not bogging them down with geek-details, and am
    >> generally very amiable.
    >>
    >> My questions are:
    >>
    >> is there much of a market for PC Users to use one-man PC Support /Repair
    >> businesses?
    >> is there an opportunity to make a reasonable income from such a
    >> business -
    >> I'm not talking about PC Builds here.
    >> are there such small businesses using this newsgroup, and have you any
    >> particular advice?
    >> Is it better to work from home, having customers come to you, or to be a
    >> mobile firm? (or a mixture even?)
    >>
    >> My thought is that in the same way that some motorists (including myself)
    >> prefer small family-run garages to the big named chains, PC Users may
    >> find a
    >> small repair business more friendly than the chains like Dixons, PC World
    >> etc. There's obviously other big/small consumer comparisons to be made,
    >> but
    >> you get the idea.
    >>
    >> Since this is potentially a significant change in my working status, any
    >> advice on this will be very much appreciated.
    >>
    >> Cheers
    >>
    >> Mr Nice

    >
    > first, drop the "engineer" from your title. engineering requires the
    > creation of technology.
    > second, you will make more $$ managing consultants instead of being one
    > yourself.
    > once you build a client base, there will be more work than you can handle.
    > to keep up with demand, subcontract with other IT consultants. get them
    > the temp jobs for a fee.
    >
    > here in the US, i suppliment my normal IT job by fixing home computers on
    > the side. by word of mouth, i usually get 10 clients a month. at first, i
    > went to the customer's site, now they just drop off their machines.
    >
    > only problem with being self employed is providing your own
    > medical/dental/optical insurance for your family.
    >
    > -a|ex
    >
    Mr Nice, Feb 22, 2005
    #7
  8. Mr Nice

    Mr Nice Guest

    Another positive response - thanks Plato.

    I appreciate the importance of investing in good advertising in the early
    days, and don't mind forking out for this, even if it takes a while to pay
    back.

    Plato, are you in this business self-employed full-time or is it a sideline
    for you as well?

    Where are you based, if you don't mind me asking?

    Cheers

    M. Nice

    "Plato" <|@|.|> wrote in message
    news:421b5a5d$0$11307$...
    > Mr Nice wrote:
    >>
    >> I'm seriously considering setting up on my own - serving home customers
    >> and
    >> SMEs rather than being employed by a big company.

    >
    > When peoples computers break and they need it fixed right away they look
    > in the local phone book and hire the first person that answers the
    > phone. They look at the mid sized ads for example we had a 1/8 page ad
    > which generated about 1 - 2 calls/day. The ad was expensive but it only
    > took a few days work each month to pay for it.
    >
    > The 8:00 calls are quite profitable as that's when folks open their
    > business and find that the secretary cant type a letter or get on the
    > network. Price is of secondary importance as the owner wants to be up
    > asap. If you get the pcs working asap they WILL call you back next time
    > even if your bill is quite hefty.
    >
    > Make sure the number in the phone book can be answered personally or
    > even forwarded to your cell phone.
    >
    Mr Nice, Feb 22, 2005
    #8
  9. Mr Nice

    Mr Nice Guest

    Guys,

    thanks very kindly for all your responses - very encouraging.

    One thing I'm curious about is repeat business. I know of other folks whose
    successful businesses hinge on them getting regular business (say, monthly
    to quarterly) from clients. I'm wondering if there's much call for such
    repeat business in our line of work? I mean, once we've upgraded the
    PC/removed the virus or spyware/upgraded to XP/configured mail or broadband,
    how long before the customer DOES come back needing more of our services?

    I certainly would never over-sell services that the customer doesn't need,
    but if we do our job well enough first time round, chances are they won't
    need us back again?

    On a slightly different topic - what kind of rates do you charge? Fixed
    rate for certain jobs, or hourly rates?

    Any further comments most welcome.

    Cheers

    Mr Nice

    "Mr Nice" <no.spam@thanks> wrote in message
    news:421ae312$0$26729$...
    > Hi,
    >
    > I'm an IT support engineer with a utility company in central Scotland.
    >
    > My skills range from PC builds and hardware upgrades, to software
    > installation, configuration, email setup, virus removal, backups etc.
    >
    > I'm seriously considering setting up on my own - serving home customers
    > and
    > SMEs rather than being employed by a big company.
    > A lot of my in-house clients tell me that as well as being competent
    > enough
    > to address their techy problems, I've got a great attitude to non-techys,
    > putting them at ease, and not bogging them down with geek-details, and am
    > generally very amiable.
    >
    > My questions are:
    >
    > is there much of a market for PC Users to use one-man PC Support /Repair
    > businesses?
    > is there an opportunity to make a reasonable income from such a business -
    > I'm not talking about PC Builds here.
    > are there such small businesses using this newsgroup, and have you any
    > particular advice?
    > Is it better to work from home, having customers come to you, or to be a
    > mobile firm? (or a mixture even?)
    >
    > My thought is that in the same way that some motorists (including myself)
    > prefer small family-run garages to the big named chains, PC Users may find
    > a
    > small repair business more friendly than the chains like Dixons, PC World
    > etc. There's obviously other big/small consumer comparisons to be made,
    > but
    > you get the idea.
    >
    > Since this is potentially a significant change in my working status, any
    > advice on this will be very much appreciated.
    >
    > Cheers
    >
    > Mr Nice
    >
    >
    >
    Mr Nice, Feb 22, 2005
    #9
  10. Mr Nice

    Plato Guest

    Mr Nice wrote:
    >
    > Another positive response - thanks Plato.


    You're welcome.

    > I appreciate the importance of investing in good advertising in the early
    > days, and don't mind forking out for this, even if it takes a while to pay
    > back.


    You have to do that before the referrals start working. You cant get
    referrals without existing customers or lets say, a local pc
    hardware/software to provide referrals assuming you got some buddies
    there.

    > Plato, are you in this business self-employed full-time or is it a sideline
    > for you as well?


    Full time onsite service since 1995. You're going to need perhaps 1500
    Euros worth of crap in your boot to take with you. Everything from
    modems to keyboards to cables to a spare 15" used monitor and a new hub,
    router etc. You have to carry anything you'd need to fix the problem
    asap. Dont stock cases or motherboards, cpus tho. But you'll need a nice
    assortment of RAM, spare mobo batteries, several types of new power
    supplies, etc. You get the point. You'll see what you need after a bit
    of return calls when you dont have what you need :)

    > Where are you based, if you don't mind me asking?


    The place with the highest car insurance and taxes on Earth, New Jersey.
    Plato, Feb 22, 2005
    #10
  11. Mr Nice

    Guest

    i have been working for myself and after 1.5 years have just broken
    even.

    one thing was i arranged to work for an existing employer 4 days a week
    as a cheap contractor - he prefered to do that than lose my services.

    this gave me a regular income and a couple of days a week to set other
    things up such as accounts package, domain hosing server, decent
    printer, ticketing system, office at home etc etc etc.

    and accounts package is vital - and a ticketing system such as request
    tracker helps you send regular daily logs and updates to clients so
    thet can see what you've been up to.

    then when other work was requested don't be afraid to charge enough - a
    business plan should tell you how much to charge - but remember you may
    only be working a couple days a week and this should earn you enough to
    pay the bills.

    the other days are then used for admin and demoing and trying out stuff
    at friends companies.

    avoid ordinary users especially with windows machines - these machines
    are nothing but trouble - they are usually screwed royally by viruses
    and customers are not happy to pay you $500 to fix a $400 machine. if
    they can't afford a mac mini then they can't afford you.

    again - be really careful about being sucked in - even if you take a
    quick look you are (in their eyes) responsible for that machine and
    they will call you for any little problem.

    if a company wants you to work with them explain how bad windows is and
    get paid for every hour worked - leave the choice to them.

    i see you posted to the linux group - well use your linux skills - i
    have been into companies and replaced windows servers with linux
    servers for file sharing and email etc. when the clients have these
    working reliably they are happy to pay bills.

    windows machines ALWAYS play up - remember this adage - you can always
    rely on microsoft to let you down - make sure the customer understands
    that if driver installation A, affects SP install B which requires,
    alteration to app install C and then diferent NIC install D that they
    will have to pay for every penny.

    as i said - installing linux boxes is the way forward because the
    clients don't have to spend thousands on licenses, they're much quicker
    to work with, they can be maintained from home over the net and
    generally seem to be more reliable.

    always invoice at the end of the month for work carried out during the
    month - work always seems to get added to and if you're not careful it
    may be months before you get an invoice in - breaking it up is easier
    for the customer - also - you will notice a bad payer more quickly and
    do no more work for them.

    also - never give a quote - always estimate the number of hours the job
    will take and STOP when you've reached that number. if the job ain't
    finished then call the customer, explain where you've got to and get
    them to ok paying for any further work. if you give a fixed price the
    client will then be really unresponsive to any help/data/info you need
    and also will keep saying that the job ain't finished.

    initially say to them - 'i don't know what's involved - are you happy
    to pay for a couple of hours work whilst i check it out - yes or no'


    BTW - encourage comapnies to double up all servers - it''ll help you
    sleep at night!

    good luck - kev
    , Feb 23, 2005
    #11
  12. Mr Nice

    Plato Guest

    wrote:
    >
    > i have been working for myself and after 1.5 years have just broken
    > even.


    Then you chose the wrong occupation.

    > avoid ordinary users especially with windows machines - these machines
    > are nothing but trouble - they are usually screwed royally by viruses
    > and customers are not happy to pay you $500 to fix a $400 machine. if
    > they can't afford a mac mini then they can't afford you.


    Silly advice. Half your income will come from home users with
    virus/trojan/spyware trouble. Cap the service call at $125. But stay
    there until the job is done, even if it's four hours. After all, it's a
    new business and you'd be sitting at home anyhow waiting for the next
    call. Wilh a cell phone you wont miss the new customer anyway, and at
    least make the $125 instead of nothing, which aint bad for a days work.
    And---the customer you fixed up WILL call you back and refer you.

    > again - be really careful about being sucked in - even if you take a
    > quick look you are (in their eyes) responsible for that machine and
    > they will call you for any little problem.


    Cool you hope for that. Spend 10 - 15 minutes on the phone and try to
    fix the problem for them for free over the phone, after all, they are
    your customer. Most often what happens tho is you cant do it over the
    phone so tell them that you can come over and fix it in a hour
    personally. Of course, now you got your second billable appointment.

    Again, you're in the wrong business.






    --
    http://www.bootdisk.com/
    Plato, Feb 23, 2005
    #12
  13. Mr Nice

    127.0.0.1 Guest

    "Plato" <|@|.|> wrote in message
    news:421cc8b8$0$11375$...
    > wrote:
    >>
    >> i have been working for myself and after 1.5 years have just broken
    >> even.

    >
    > Then you chose the wrong occupation.
    >
    >> avoid ordinary users especially with windows machines - these machines
    >> are nothing but trouble - they are usually screwed royally by viruses
    >> and customers are not happy to pay you $500 to fix a $400 machine. if
    >> they can't afford a mac mini then they can't afford you.

    >
    > Silly advice. Half your income will come from home users with
    > virus/trojan/spyware trouble. Cap the service call at $125. But stay
    > there until the job is done, even if it's four hours. After all, it's a
    > new business and you'd be sitting at home anyhow waiting for the next
    > call. Wilh a cell phone you wont miss the new customer anyway, and at
    > least make the $125 instead of nothing, which aint bad for a days work.
    > And---the customer you fixed up WILL call you back and refer you.
    >
    >> again - be really careful about being sucked in - even if you take a
    >> quick look you are (in their eyes) responsible for that machine and
    >> they will call you for any little problem.

    >
    > Cool you hope for that. Spend 10 - 15 minutes on the phone and try to
    > fix the problem for them for free over the phone, after all, they are
    > your customer. Most often what happens tho is you cant do it over the
    > phone so tell them that you can come over and fix it in a hour
    > personally. Of course, now you got your second billable appointment.
    >
    > Again, you're in the wrong business.
    >


    i can see his point of view.
    he is avoiding the residential customers in favour of the comercial (more
    lucrative) customers.

    my main income comes from corporate customers.

    -a|ex
    127.0.0.1, Feb 23, 2005
    #13
  14. Mr Nice

    Plato Guest

    127.0.0.1 wrote:
    >
    > i can see his point of view.
    > he is avoiding the residential customers in favour of the comercial (more
    > lucrative) customers.


    OK I see your point. On the other hand I think it's best if starting out
    new to not turn away new business, no matter if corporate, small
    business, or home.

    > my main income comes from corporate customers.


    Cool.
    Plato, Feb 24, 2005
    #14
  15. trout wrote:
    > Mr Nice wrote:


    >> Hi,


    >> I'm an IT support engineer with a utility company in central Scotland.


    >> My skills range from PC builds and hardware upgrades, to software
    >> installation, configuration, email setup, virus removal, backups etc.


    >> I'm seriously considering setting up on my own - serving home
    >> customers and SMEs rather than being employed by a big company.
    >> A lot of my in-house clients tell me that as well as being competent
    >> enough to address their techy problems, I've got a great attitude to
    >> non-techys, putting them at ease, and not bogging them down with
    >> geek-details, and am generally very amiable.


    >> My questions are:


    >> is there much of a market for PC Users to use one-man PC Support
    >> /Repair businesses?
    >> is there an opportunity to make a reasonable income from such a
    >> business - I'm not talking about PC Builds here.
    >> are there such small businesses using this newsgroup, and have you any
    >> particular advice?
    >> Is it better to work from home, having customers come to you, or to
    >> be a mobile firm? (or a mixture even?)


    >> My thought is that in the same way that some motorists (including
    >> myself) prefer small family-run garages to the big named chains, PC
    >> Users may find a small repair business more friendly than the chains
    >> like Dixons, PC World etc. There's obviously other big/small
    >> consumer comparisons to be made, but you get the idea.


    >> Since this is potentially a significant change in my working status,
    >> any advice on this will be very much appreciated.


    >> Cheers


    >> Mr Nice


    > This sort of business can *potentially* be quite rewarding, but it
    > will require a period of building. You might consider beginning as a
    > sideline, and seeing how it goes.
    > After all, it doesn't require much in the way of over-head. You
    > don't really need much more than a defined service, a method of payment,
    > and customers. The latter, obviously, is the hard part.
    > The best way to build a business like this is word-of-mouth (so to
    > speak). A good, commonly-used method of using newsgroups is to (really)
    > participate in newsgroups such as 'this' one. If you use a newsgroup
    > legitimately, it is usually considered acceptable to include a brief
    > mention (up to four lines) in a properly-delimited signature. If people
    > get to know you, and respect your abilities, they will seek you out.


    But how many people will he reach via Usenet, with that shiny new sig,
    that will - regarless of his reputation here - become a *local* customer
    for him? That description of his location implies - to me, anyway -
    that he lives in a little burg in the middle nowhere. Even if he were
    sigging newsgrops "such as '[sic]this'[sic] one", it seems like the odds
    of someone down the street hearing about him would be incredibly small.
    Perhaps he'd connect with someone in a Hometown-Interst newsgroup
    ([hometown].local.gossip); but what are the odds that there are even any
    [hometown].foo groups out there in the sticks? I might be able to make
    a couple bucks a month here in Los Angeles (metro area 13 million); but
    it's a whole different picture if you live out in the boonies (which he
    may not, but LIS, I have a hunch he does (even though they apparently
    have electricity <g>).

    --
    Blinky Linux Registered User 297263
    Who has implemented Usenet Solution #45933:
    Now killing all posts originating at Google Groups
    Blinky the Shark, Feb 24, 2005
    #15
  16. Mr Nice wrote:

    > One thing I'm curious about is repeat business. I know of other folks whose
    > successful businesses hinge on them getting regular business (say, monthly
    > to quarterly) from clients. I'm wondering if there's much call for such
    > repeat business in our line of work? I mean, once we've upgraded the
    > PC/removed the virus or spyware/upgraded to XP/configured mail or broadband,
    > how long before the customer DOES come back needing more of our services?


    Well, if you're looking at mostly working with MS boxen, every couple
    of days, when they release their latest "security" (as defined by MS,
    which doesn't necessarily correlate to anyone else's idea of security)
    patches.

    --
    Blinky Linux Registered User 297263
    Who has implemented Usenet Solution #45933:
    Now killing all posts originating at Google Groups
    Blinky the Shark, Feb 24, 2005
    #16
  17. Re: Doesn’t anyone understand how i feel.

    Blinky the Shark wrote:

    > I absolutely hate the way i look, because of one main reason...the
    > amount of hair on my body. I have really thick dark long hairs across
    > my eyebrows, up my stomach, over my chest, on my hands, my back, in
    > fact everywhere!
    Blinky the Shark, Feb 24, 2005
    #17
  18. Re: No interest to be popular.....is it normal?

    Blinky the Shark wrote:

    > I'm not smart enough to think up something new by myself.
    Blinky the Shark, Feb 24, 2005
    #18
  19. Blinky the Shark wrote:


    > Well, if'n yew is lookin' at mostly workin' with MS boxen, ever couple uh
    > days, when thuhy release thuhir latest "security" (as defined by MS, which
    > don't necessarily correlate tuh innyone else's idea uh security) patches.
    > *spit*
    Blinky the Shark, Feb 24, 2005
    #19
  20. Mr Nice

    trout Guest

    Blinky the Shark wrote:

    > trout wrote:
    >> Mr Nice wrote:

    >
    >>> Hi,

    >
    >>> I'm an IT support engineer with a utility company in central
    >>> Scotland.

    >
    >>> My skills range from PC builds and hardware upgrades, to software
    >>> installation, configuration, email setup, virus removal, backups
    >>> etc.

    >
    >>> I'm seriously considering setting up on my own - serving home
    >>> customers and SMEs rather than being employed by a big company.
    >>> A lot of my in-house clients tell me that as well as being competent
    >>> enough to address their techy problems, I've got a great attitude to
    >>> non-techys, putting them at ease, and not bogging them down with
    >>> geek-details, and am generally very amiable.

    >
    >>> My questions are:

    >
    >>> is there much of a market for PC Users to use one-man PC Support
    >>> /Repair businesses?
    >>> is there an opportunity to make a reasonable income from such a
    >>> business - I'm not talking about PC Builds here.
    >>> are there such small businesses using this newsgroup, and have you
    >>> any particular advice?
    >>> Is it better to work from home, having customers come to you, or to
    >>> be a mobile firm? (or a mixture even?)

    >
    >>> My thought is that in the same way that some motorists (including
    >>> myself) prefer small family-run garages to the big named chains, PC
    >>> Users may find a small repair business more friendly than the chains
    >>> like Dixons, PC World etc. There's obviously other big/small
    >>> consumer comparisons to be made, but you get the idea.

    >
    >>> Since this is potentially a significant change in my working status,
    >>> any advice on this will be very much appreciated.

    >
    >>> Cheers

    >
    >>> Mr Nice

    >
    >> This sort of business can *potentially* be quite rewarding, but
    >> it will require a period of building. You might consider beginning
    >> as a sideline, and seeing how it goes.
    >> After all, it doesn't require much in the way of over-head. You
    >> don't really need much more than a defined service, a method of
    >> payment, and customers. The latter, obviously, is the hard part.
    >> The best way to build a business like this is word-of-mouth (so
    >> to speak). A good, commonly-used method of using newsgroups is to
    >> (really) participate in newsgroups such as 'this' one. If you use a
    >> newsgroup legitimately, it is usually considered acceptable to
    >> include a brief mention (up to four lines) in a properly-delimited
    >> signature. If people get to know you, and respect your abilities,
    >> they will seek you out.

    >
    > But how many people will he reach via Usenet, with that shiny new sig,
    > that will - regarless of his reputation here - become a *local*
    > customer for him? That description of his location implies - to me,
    > anyway -
    > that he lives in a little burg in the middle nowhere. Even if he were
    > sigging newsgrops "such as '[sic]this'[sic] one", it seems like the
    > odds of someone down the street hearing about him would be incredibly
    > small. Perhaps he'd connect with someone in a Hometown-Interst
    > newsgroup ([hometown].local.gossip); but what are the odds that there
    > are even any [hometown].foo groups out there in the sticks? I might
    > be able to make
    > a couple bucks a month here in Los Angeles (metro area 13 million);
    > but it's a whole different picture if you live out in the boonies
    > (which he may not, but LIS, I have a hunch he does (even though they
    > apparently have electricity <g>).


    Well, we've read the question in different ways, perhaps. I don't
    see any reference to 'local' customers, unless you take the phrase
    "having customers come to you" in a peculiarly literal manner. I would
    expect that the gentleman knows his neighborhood, and whether 'local'
    advertising would be best served by a local newsgroup, the Yellow Pages,
    or a note pinned-up at the laundromat. In any event; I didn't see it as
    a business that would entail anyone popping-around to anothers house;
    but I suppose it could happen.
    Also; let me compliment you are your spanking-new Dizum troll. Sure,
    it's not much to look at *now*; but I'm sure it can learn a few
    rudimentary tricks and be cavorting merrily enough to keep all of your
    dinner-guests entertained for minutes on end.
    --
    "Don't forget to put down fresh paper."
    trout, Feb 24, 2005
    #20
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