Shop owners.....is it even worth it in this non IT demanding world

Discussion in 'A+ Certification' started by Bry, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. Bry

    Bry Guest

    Am considering opening a shop here locally. Been to alot of others in
    my area.
    There is local, a city outside of small town I am in now. To the
    north is a small city that thinks its a big one as the whole area is
    engulfed by colleges, Lots of colleges.
    Anyways, these "other" shops I have been in, even as of late to check
    em out and see what they have to offer, are CRAP. There is this one i
    was in the other day that was just full of junk and the associates
    were very rude. There is another one that has a reputation of a good
    repair shop cause they have been around for quite some time now, but
    they charge too much. Well I know that what I charge could be far less
    than them.

    Another is your Best Buy that, as a coincidence when I was there, had
    a "tech"( use this loosely) on the phone with a customer waiting for
    their PC to come back in. "Tech" said that it was completed and was
    now in the testing stage before it is released back to the cusotmer.
    Oh, he told them that this would take a WEEK to do!!!! Ya...a week.
    WHenever I fix a neighbors PC I normally have it done in a day, 2
    tops. Theres a selling point to use.

    Another is good ole CompUSA. I dont even think that this company
    deserves to use the USA as part of their name, kinda makes the country
    look bad for the crappy service they offer.

    I would still, however, have to worry about competing with these giant
    chains.
    I felt like offering the people dragging their PC into best buy that
    day that I could fix it for them within hours. But I held myself back.
    And I know that most of the tech work done at A best buy type place is
    cause of their warranty and that most people are stuck having to bring
    them there.
    Which leads me into sales and customer PC's I could sell.

    I have such a great idea for this. Service, friendliness, cusotmer
    satisfaction, numerous things to do, a clean shop where Im not looking
    pissed off and not rude.
    What I dont have. Im a shy person so I have a hard time selling
    myself.
    Being a shy guy I would have a hard time advertising if i were doing
    it.

    And most of all I fear failure, I am afraid of uncertantity, sorta
    like not a risk taker.
    But I really want to do this. This other places in the area should be
    ashamed of themselves.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

    Has anyone had success doing this?
     
    Bry, Oct 28, 2003
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Bry

    Tony Sivori Guest

    Bry wrote:

    > Am considering opening a shop here locally. Been to alot of others in my
    > area.
    > There is local, a city outside of small town I am in now. To the north
    > is a small city that thinks its a big one as the whole area is engulfed
    > by colleges, Lots of colleges. Anyways, these "other" shops I have been
    > in, even as of late to check em out and see what they have to offer, are
    > CRAP. There is this one i was in the other day that was just full of
    > junk and the associates were very rude. There is another one that has a
    > reputation of a good repair shop cause they have been around for quite
    > some time now, but they charge too much. Well I know that what I charge
    > could be far less than them.
    >
    > Another is your Best Buy that, as a coincidence when I was there, had a
    > "tech"( use this loosely) on the phone with a customer waiting for their
    > PC to come back in. "Tech" said that it was completed and was now in the
    > testing stage before it is released back to the cusotmer. Oh, he told
    > them that this would take a WEEK to do!!!! Ya...a week. WHenever I fix a
    > neighbors PC I normally have it done in a day, 2 tops. Theres a selling
    > point to use.
    >
    > Another is good ole CompUSA. I dont even think that this company
    > deserves to use the USA as part of their name, kinda makes the country
    > look bad for the crappy service they offer.
    >
    > I would still, however, have to worry about competing with these giant
    > chains.
    > I felt like offering the people dragging their PC into best buy that day
    > that I could fix it for them within hours. But I held myself back. And I
    > know that most of the tech work done at A best buy type place is cause
    > of their warranty and that most people are stuck having to bring them
    > there.
    > Which leads me into sales and customer PC's I could sell.
    >
    > I have such a great idea for this. Service, friendliness, cusotmer
    > satisfaction, numerous things to do, a clean shop where Im not looking
    > pissed off and not rude.
    > What I dont have. Im a shy person so I have a hard time selling myself.
    > Being a shy guy I would have a hard time advertising if i were doing it.
    >
    > And most of all I fear failure, I am afraid of uncertantity, sorta like
    > not a risk taker.
    > But I really want to do this. This other places in the area should be
    > ashamed of themselves.
    >
    > Thanks for letting me vent.
    >
    > Has anyone had success doing this?


    Bad time to ask. The most well known shop owner in this group is on
    vacation. You could google this group for his nym on the from line,
    "Ghost".

    He paints a tough picture for the independent shops these days, and I have
    no reason to disbelieve him.

    People go to the big shops because they feel safe there. Why should they
    trust their computer to someone they have never even heard of?

    You're also unlikely to beat the big chain's sale prices on parts and
    upgrades. How could you? They buy by the truckload, and negotiate price
    accordingly.

    For service, CompUSA will often advertise free installation if you
    buy the parts from them. It's hard to complete with free.

    Then you've got guys like me. I may be your worst enemy. Ok, not really
    because we are almost certainly in different locations. I'm new to
    computer repair, but I am certified and I get the job done.

    I'm working very cheap to build up a customer base. I work out of my home,
    so compared to a shop owner I have zero overhead.

    Tomorrow I'm going to troubleshoot a dead HP that I believe needs a new
    power supply. I've already promised to fix it for $15 labor plus parts
    (which I won't make a cent off of, unless I sell used parts that I happen
    to have laying around). Last week I sold a used 15" monitor for $10, one
    that I got for nothing by salvaging it from the curb on a trash pick up
    day.

    And oh yes, when no one calls I have a day job to keep me eating. Unlike
    you which has shop rent (and probably least one employee) to pay, even if
    not one customer walks through the door.

    I've noted several shops in my area come and go. There are a few that
    endure, but I'd say if you plan on starting a new one be prepared to lose
    money for at least a year or two.

    About building and selling computers, when you do that you're competing
    with Dell, and Dell has made a true art of cost cutting. Never mind that
    what you would sell would be superior to Dell, because the customer
    doesn't look inside the computer to see the brand of motherboard and ram,
    or the wattage of the power supply. They just know the speed of the CPU
    and perhaps how much ram it has.

    And anytime any of the software on the computer malfunctions, or they
    can't figure out how to use it, they will expect you to provide free
    support. Dell outsources to India, where they pay about 50 cents and hour.
    You'll have a hard time matching that.

    Starting to see why so many of those independent shops are filed with
    cranky employees and owners? They're bleeding money, and they know it.

    Of course, you may make it big and make tons of money. But it won't be
    easy, and the odds are against you.

    --
    Tony Sivori
     
    Tony Sivori, Oct 28, 2003
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Bry

    Pat Guest

    "Bry" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Am considering opening a shop here locally. Been to alot of others in
    > my area.
    > There is local, a city outside of small town I am in now. To the
    > north is a small city that thinks its a big one as the whole area is
    > engulfed by colleges, Lots of colleges.
    > Anyways, these "other" shops I have been in, even as of late to check
    > em out and see what they have to offer, are CRAP. There is this one i
    > was in the other day that was just full of junk and the associates
    > were very rude. There is another one that has a reputation of a good
    > repair shop cause they have been around for quite some time now, but
    > they charge too much. Well I know that what I charge could be far less
    > than them.


    Forget selling systems, the only money to be made's on service. You get the
    same hourly rate whether you're working on a machine you built or a Dell,
    and if you can set up networks and do office rollouts, you can usually keep
    busy. Don't undercut your rates or you'll never be taken seriously be local
    businesses and in most cases, they're your best customers. Home repair's
    about the least lucrative and "fun" sort of work.

    I got into an existing store once, and service alone should've been enough
    to keep the doors open, but the corporation was a mess and old mismanagement
    stripped everything it made. Our rates were too low, I was getting people
    bringing in boxes of old 386 parts to make something out of, and we had
    several regulars who were bringing in their relative's machines. When I
    left, the store closed soon after which should've been a clue that I
    should've opened my own shop. Apparently when I stopped being available,
    the regulars stopped being regular and they made nothing on service, likely
    because of the attitudes around there.

    Anyway, it's a large enough industry that independents can survive. Even tv
    repair shops are still around though I only know of a handful of people
    who'd use one.
     
    Pat, Oct 28, 2003
    #3
  4. Bry

    Guest


    >Bad time to ask. The most well known shop owner in this group is on
    >vacation. You could google this group for his nym on the from line,
    >"Ghost".
    >
    >He paints a tough picture for the independent shops these days, and I have
    >no reason to disbelieve him.
    >
    >People go to the big shops because they feel safe there. Why should they
    >trust their computer to someone they have never even heard of?
    >
    >You're also unlikely to beat the big chain's sale prices on parts and
    >upgrades. How could you? They buy by the truckload, and negotiate price
    >accordingly.
    >
    >For service, CompUSA will often advertise free installation if you
    >buy the parts from them. It's hard to complete with free.
    >
    >Then you've got guys like me. I may be your worst enemy. Ok, not really
    >because we are almost certainly in different locations. I'm new to
    >computer repair, but I am certified and I get the job done.
    >
    >I'm working very cheap to build up a customer base. I work out of my home,
    >so compared to a shop owner I have zero overhead.
    >
    >Tomorrow I'm going to troubleshoot a dead HP that I believe needs a new
    >power supply. I've already promised to fix it for $15 labor plus parts
    >(which I won't make a cent off of, unless I sell used parts that I happen
    >to have laying around). Last week I sold a used 15" monitor for $10, one
    >that I got for nothing by salvaging it from the curb on a trash pick up
    >day.
    >
    >And oh yes, when no one calls I have a day job to keep me eating. Unlike
    >you which has shop rent (and probably least one employee) to pay, even if
    >not one customer walks through the door.
    >
    >I've noted several shops in my area come and go. There are a few that
    >endure, but I'd say if you plan on starting a new one be prepared to lose
    >money for at least a year or two.
    >
    >About building and selling computers, when you do that you're competing
    >with Dell, and Dell has made a true art of cost cutting. Never mind that
    >what you would sell would be superior to Dell, because the customer
    >doesn't look inside the computer to see the brand of motherboard and ram,
    >or the wattage of the power supply. They just know the speed of the CPU
    >and perhaps how much ram it has.
    >
    >And anytime any of the software on the computer malfunctions, or they
    >can't figure out how to use it, they will expect you to provide free
    >support. Dell outsources to India, where they pay about 50 cents and hour.
    >You'll have a hard time matching that.
    >
    >Starting to see why so many of those independent shops are filed with
    >cranky employees and owners? They're bleeding money, and they know it.
    >
    >Of course, you may make it big and make tons of money. But it won't be
    >easy, and the odds are against you.


    Tony don't take this personally as you do have some valid points. But
    the only customer base you are developing is the bottom feeders, those
    that are looking for the cheapest possible solution typically the
    consumer but not always. I will gladly pass on those customers to you.

    But you are right it's a tough sell out there with plenty of
    competition, especially from the low budget guys like you just looking
    to make a few extra dollars. What I tell my customers is that I'm
    there when they need me not after my day job. Plus I'm a legitimate
    business even though I work out of my house to keep expenses low. I
    think the secret to success in this business is to go after the small
    busines customer who has the dollars to spend, but they are still to
    small a fish for the larger operations. It's kind of like a niche
    market.

    Gary
     
    , Oct 28, 2003
    #4
  5. Bry

    Tony Sivori Guest

    havinfun69nospam wrote:
    >
    > Tony don't take this personally as you do have some valid points. But


    No offense taken at all.

    > the only customer base you are developing is the bottom feeders, those
    > that are looking for the cheapest possible solution typically the
    > consumer but not always. I will gladly pass on those customers to you.


    And I'll be glad to take them! :) Seriously, I've got to start
    somewhere. My long term plans don't involve servicing that type of client
    forever. Like I said, I'm working cheap to build a customer base.

    > But you are right it's a tough sell out there with plenty of
    > competition, especially from the low budget guys like you just looking
    > to make a few extra dollars. What I tell my customers is that I'm there
    > when they need me not after my day job.


    My day job is self employment too, so when I get a call in the daytime, I
    can drop what I'm doing to provide service.

    > Plus I'm a legitimate business even though I work out of my house to
    > keep expenses low. I think the secret to success in this business is to
    > go after the small busines customer who has the dollars to spend, but
    > they are still to small a fish for the larger operations. It's kind of
    > like a niche market.


    I agree, and I think we are going about similar goals in two different
    ways. My plan:

    1. Get hands on professional experience (as opposed to book knowledge,
    practice on my own machines, and charity work) with, as you call them,
    bottom (price) feeders.

    2. If / when they become too numerous to service, raise prices until the
    workload load is manageable. Simultaneously, seek price conscious small
    business work as you describe. Work up to those willing to pay a little
    more.

    3. Continue to self study and accumulate certifications, with a goal of
    working on large networks. A person qualified on multiple NOS, especially
    if you have security expertise, could do very well. In my opinion that is
    where the money is (either as contractor or employee), not in repairing
    PCs and small LANs.

    While I'd like to open my own PC shop, I don't see a lot of money there. I
    also see a real risk of actually losing significant amounts of money.

    And since I may never obtain work on the large networks, it is possible
    that I'll end up just as you describe, in the servicing small businesses
    niche.

    --
    Tony Sivori
     
    Tony Sivori, Oct 28, 2003
    #5
  6. Bry

    Guest

    On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 14:30:23 -0500, "Kathy"
    <> wrote:

    >Excellent idea about working out of the home, Bry, like Tony said, if
    >you also have a day job :) I was thinking about doing this myself a
    >while back. My husband works so I would have no problem with this.
    >Except I didn't advertise only at one place and that was on the
    >Internet on one of my hometown's sites, and that was only on the site
    >for one day. And believe it or not, I got one customer out of it. I
    >can imagine that I would get more customers if I put more effort into
    >advertising, such as making flyers and putting them up in stores,
    >restaurants, or whatever place that would let me do this around my
    >hometown. You could also put an ad in the newspaper.... just a thought
    >:)
    >
    >Kathy
    >A+
    >

    Kathy I advertise in several weekly papers, plus I have a website.
    Gary
     
    , Oct 30, 2003
    #6
  7. Bry

    Guest


    >Gary,
    >
    >Did it work for you at getting customers? I really think that it would
    >work.... umm, it's just that I haven't gotten up the ambition to do it
    >yet :p
    >
    >Kathy
    >A+
    ><> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> >

    >> Kathy I advertise in several weekly papers, plus I have a website.
    >> Gary

    >


    Kathy, I would put an ad a cheap weekly and see what response you get.
    Some weeks the phone doesn't ring at all amd some weeks i get several
    calls. Remember it takes a while to build up a customer base and in
    the residential market they really only call you if they have a
    problem, and don't work to cheap. Viruses can be your best friend and
    bill gates your second best friend. One of the weeklies I advertise in
    costs me $25/ month and the other $32/month to give you an idea, and
    every ad has paid for itself. You may have a Pennysaver where you are
    in NY.

    Gary
     
    , Oct 31, 2003
    #7
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