Computers have exploded throughout the United States and the world over in the past 30 years – from 2,000 units shipped in 1960 to 900,000 in 1980 to 7 million in 1990 to over 15 million per year by 2003 to over 65 million per quarter in 2015. Owing to this rapid growth, there has been a corresponding increase in demand for computer repair services.
Computers are everywhere, therefore, there is an ever – increasing need for skilled computer repair technicians to help customers install hardware and software; diagnose problems; repair corrupted computers; and source data. A little glitch from computer or network issues can cause issues on both the bottom line and company reputation – showing that the market to keep systems operating reliably is both large and valuable.
According to reports, there are presently an estimated 636,600 computer repair technicians in the United States. The computer repair technician job market is projected to grow by 11.3 percent between 2016 and 2026. Within the next 10 years, it is projected that the US will need 77,200 computer repair technicians. Note that this number is based on 72,100 additional computer repair technicians, and the retirement of 5,100 existing computer repair technicians.
Modern and sophisticated computers are more stable and tend to break down less frequently. Also, as computer costs decline, users may prefer to replace their faulty computers rather than repair them. It might also be less expensive to upgrade to a new system rather than invest in software updates and face the possibility of future repair bills.
Owing of how critical computers are to business and consumers, especially due to the vast number of computers in use, and since many users lack the technical knowledge required to diagnose and repair computer problems on their own, demand for computer repair technicians is expected to always remain healthy.
The computer repair industry is still dominated by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), which are companies that will visit a customer to repair or replace the same products that they make. Also, it’s important to note that this is one of the few businesses that can thrive in a down economy.
So if you have a technical background, with an expert understanding of computers, peripherals, and software, a small business in computer repair and maintenance could be ideal for you. Just like starting any other business, there are advantages and disadvantages. Initial costs, licensing, certifications, and relevant business knowledge should all be considered before starting your business.
Advantages of Starting a Computer Repair Business
If you have the technical background and you are considering starting a computer repair business, here are few advantages to going down this lane:
- First and foremost, you do not need exorbitant capital investment to start this business. If you are already an IT professional or otherwise, with an expert understanding of computers and software, you likely already have much of what you’ll need to start this business.
- A large target market beyond only individual computer owners: Your target market for this business goes beyond just individual computer owners. For instance, a small businesses or home businesses do not have dedicated IT departments and may have to depend on contracts with outside vendors.
- Contracting with small businesses, if you are able to do so, can establish a concrete foundation of regular work for your business. Also note that if you do good work for them, they will be apt to keep using you and refer you to others.
- You have control over your time and work. Also note that you can start this business as a side job to earn extra cash, or it can be a full – time career once you’ve built up a large enough client bases.
Disadvantages of Starting a Computer Repair Business
Even with the many enticing benefits of starting this business, there still are some potential challenges you may face when starting a computer repair business. Even though they might not be so much a challenge, they are still worth mentioning.
- Have it in mind that just having the technical knowledge and skills to start this business will not guarantee business success. You will also need good communication skills. You have to be able to translate your actions in nontechnical terms for those that are not as technically inclined.
- Laws may vary in different states, but you might need to acquire a business license to perform repair services. Start by checking with your state to determine exactly what you’ll need. If nothing else, registering as a limited liability company will keep your business and personal assets separated, in case of legal issues.
- Also note that you will need insurance and to be bonded since you may be entering clients’ homes. Again, check with your state to determine exactly what is required.
- Some clients may want you to be certified to work on their systems. Some common industry certifications are ACMT and CompTIA A+. It is helpful to have some networking certifications as well if you’d like to work on business networks. CompTIA Network+ and CCNP from Cisco are a few of the more common certifications.
- Marketing your business can be quite costly. Note that in order to acquire clients, it falls in you to let them know you are out there. You might choose to network with business owners in your community and create a presence online with a website, social media campaign, or advertising, but note that marketing your business cost’s money and time.
- You are also expected to acquire and maintain your own tools and testing equipment. Basic computer repair tools—such as screwdrivers, power supply testers and grounding straps—are not that expensive, depending on the services you want to provide. Some equipment, such as an oscilloscope if you want to test and fix individual components, can be costly.
As computers continue to dominate our lives, there is still need for computer professionals in both business and residential settings. Because computers are always changing, that need can only increase as time goes forward. Computers, like everything else, wear out over time. While unfortunate and costly, it can be turned into an opportunity for someone that knows computers and networking well enough to repair them and rescue people’s information and media.