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Making computers for people as a side job, need help

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#1 Steadyhndz


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Posted 22 August 2010 - 07:49 PM

With the economy right now it is just horrible to get a job around here, the only places that are hiring right away are fast food which I won't do, so I've been applying at retail stores, and soon going to start applying at warehouses. But just in case I do get a job and it doesn't work out too well, I want to do something that I can fall back on for a short time until I find a new job just to have some money in my pocket to do whatever, you know just in case.

So I was wondering, has anyone else done this? Making computers for people in your area so they don't have to go out and spend more money at best buy, or maybe make it your job while you were in high school? I already have some specific packages set up through newegg wishlists, like a basic package with a cheap AMD CPU, 2gb RAM, decent case, decent PSU, and a cheap 7 series Nvidia card, and a 120 or 250 gb harddrive, motherboard, and I also have packages for hardcore gamers whether it's a low cost budget or someone who wants to spend a lot of money and have the best of the best graphics. I'm just wondering of how I should advertise in my area? I was thinking about having one of my friends post flyers in the school, maybe go to other businesses, and just other ways to get the word out. Right now I just want to stay local though, don't want to get scammed online through fake checks. But what are some ideas that maybe you've used or you can come up with to help get the word out in my local area.

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#2 dpunisher


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Posted 22 August 2010 - 09:12 PM

It's a tough row to hoe competing with OEMs on low end builds. The people that buy the low end econo models usually want /need a new monitor/keyboard/mouse/speakers/OS and when you figure that in, it is impossible to make a buck for a small builder. The hard core gamers usually already know how to build a system themselves. The evil truth is almost anyone can build their own system, it just never occured to them to do it. Just hard to find a niche if you only want to build computers. Figure in as well, you are the tech support. Dealing with moronic questions from clueless customers gets old. It seriously gets old. Warrantying parts is your responsibility as well.

I don't want to p*ss in your Wheaties, but I was in the same boat 12 years ago when I retired and needed a new line to get into. I went through the evolution of building systems for next to nothing, then business support/service contracts/generic repair and virus cleaning etc. If you build systems, you will have to front the money yourself for parts either out of your pocket or credit until the customer pays. Sometimes customers change their minds. Figure you will have to file a DBA, state tax info, but you will likely not have to mess with an EIN for the IRS.

In order to establish yourself you will have to offer something other retailers/shops cannot. You will have to be able to compete on price (which you cannot on builds), or compete for the service business that home PCs generate. What can you offer a business with no experience and no track record? I made my mark by having fast response on site service, and guaranteed response times for contract customers. Main thing is to find out who/what your competition is for whatever niche you decide to occupy. My nearest competition is 20 miles away, with no onsite service, and not the sharpest crew on the planet for techs. My other competition is Bestbuy and the infamous Geek Squad that is 40 miles away. Once a customer's Dell hardware service contract ends, and they figure additional fees, I start looking good .

Get a lot of business cards, leave em everywhere. Work cheap in the beginning. Build a client base. Word of mouth, positive word of mouth, is a good thing. Volunteer your services at churches, old folk's homes, adult day care centers etc. Many of them have computers. Fix em cheap/free, recycle them for the church to give to the less fortunate parishoners, and GET KNOWN. I got a lot of business by teaching a group of elderly people how to use their first PCs so they could communicate/swap pix with their grand kids. Get those business cards out there. Be the "guy that was really good working on our computer, I have his card here".

Warehouses really aren't so bad.

I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)

#3 zamzia


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Posted 27 August 2010 - 06:11 AM

You may find this hard work. My friend used to have a shop here in the UK and he did quite well years ago, then we got a PC World and other major electronic retailers and he just couldn't compete. He offered all the services they did... upgrades, full builds, repairs, software installs etc etc. His shop is now a coffee shop! And more recently, my brother-in-law and a few of his friends have set themselves up a an IT support network, but again, they are not having much luck. Like the poster above has said, you need the unique angle. Good luck with it anyway. It's all about supply and demand. If you can supply something people want and they know you can, you should be ok.

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