Are you interested in starting a computer repair business from home? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a computer repair business with NO money and no experience plus a sample computer repair business plan template.
Are you the person everyone calls when they have a computer problem? Have you considered getting paid for fixing near-fatal errors and turning your computer prowess into a business? According a recent report, sales of computer services are expected to exceed $47 billion this year in the U.S. alone, with computer repair leading the way.
Almost all small businesses and home offices use computers and depend on them to be working properly. They don’t have the skills, the time or the desire to do their own computer service, repair and upgrades, and that puts a computer physician right in the middle of one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.
Companies in computer repair industry are involved in repairing and maintaining one or more of the following: consumer electronic equipment, computers, office machines, communication equipment and other electronic and precision equipment; items that are not sold new.
Establishments in this industry repair items including microscopes, radar and sonar equipment, televisions, stereos, video recorders, computers, photocopying machines, communications equipment, scientific instruments and medical equipment.
Steps to Starting a Computer Repair Business With No Money
1. Understand the Industry
Computers have exploded throughout America and the world over 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. With this rapid growth there has been a corresponding increase in the need for computer services.
Interesting Statistics About the Industry
As of 2010 there were over 550,000 people employed in the maintenance and repair sector in the united states, and employment is expected to grow through 2018. More than 70% of those people work in small businesses of less than 5 people; another 20% work for companies with less than 20 people.
While previously the industry had been primarily focused on fixing and upgrading business computers, most of the companies now do more than just maintenance and repair.
Over the course of the 1990s, repair services were able to cope with more reliable and cheaper computers hurting business by replacing components instead of repairing them, using new diagnostic tools, and offering other services such as disaster recovery and virus protection.
The 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.
In recent years, large chains like Best Buy with their “Geek Squad” have opened up repair arms; powered by their name recognition and huge marketing budget, they immediately became a formidable competitor for any computer repair business.
In addition, with computers cheaper than ever, some people have tended to replace their computers entirely rather than bother to have them repaired.
The Electronic and Computer Repair Services industry has declined during the past five years. The increasing affordability of electronics and computers has prompted consumers and businesses to purchase new products rather than replace their existing equipment, and businesses and consumers typically have opted to purchase more advanced products and scrap damaged or outdated goods.
In the five years to 2022, the industry will continue declining, albeit at a slower rate. New, technologically complex products will lead the way for increased repair demand. However, the industry will still suffer from declining trends, as electronics and computer products continue to decrease in price.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographics and Psychographics of people who need the services of a computer repairer are so ambiguous that discussing about it can take us a whole day.
Modernization and technology has made the use of computer in our society a life sublime. Most of our activities are now done online using computers. Even our little kids are being thought how important a computer is and how to use them.
The extent at which the Internet and computer has taken over our world is a pure sign that every computer literate needs the services of a computer repairer when his/her computer malfunctions – be it hardware or software.
People of all classes, sizes and age ranging from the business class down to the foetus in the womb (for scans etc) needs a computer repairer to be able to attend to this device known as a computer that has taken over our day to day activities.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
When starting your computer repair business, choosing a niche helps you to know who your future customers will be so that you can target your business offering to their needs with precision. It takes proper research and familiarity to be able to point out what exactly you want to be doing and the particular computer repair niche you want to venture into.
Think about the needs of each demographic in your community, put yourself in their shoes, and you’ll come up with a more distinct niche. Here are few niches in the computer repair business you can choose from.
- Computer maintenance
- Repairing health related equipments like dental and surgical equipment
- General hardware repair
- Computer upgrading
- Virus removal
- Data recovery
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The very nature of the Computer Repair industry, with its extraordinary rate of technological development, creates a constant need for businesses skilled in updating and advising customers on computer-related issues. With every individual armed with a computer and with almost all valuable information in our daily lives being stored in the computer, the computer selling business is booming and with this booming comes a need for repairers by users.
Everybody with a computer knows that moment of panic when the hard drive crashes–and for business people, it usually happens when they’re staring into the eye of a deadline. The need for computer physicians is growing every day and more people are Venturing into this field, making it a competitive and goal oriented industry.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
Hardworking indeed is rewarded with success and with success comes class and recognition. Many companies have made their marks and are still dominating the computer repair business in modern America. Only consistency and hardworking could have been able to place them at the helm of the industry.
- Emerald Computers
- Smart Addiction
- A+ Computech
- Xpress Geeks
- Geek Squad
The computer repair industry is valued at over $20 billion a year and relies heavily on economic conditions. Due to the sluggish economy and job loss, this industry has seen a 1.5% decrease in annual growth. Rapid technological advances have caused electronic gadgets to go down in price making it easier for consumers to just replace other than repair their items.
People are spending more and more money on electronics. i-this and i-that, tablets, smart phones, Probooks, Pavilions… But the problem is that nobody wants to take the time to fix them.
The big companies are pushing the idea that every two or three years people are supposed to replace these things–so if it stops working you should just replace it. That logic might work for the millionaires in Silicon Valley; but for a typical family this could easily mean over one thousand dollars per year.
Computer repairing is still in its relatively early stage of development, meaning that computers still fail on a regular and enough bases to support the repair industry. Recessionary conditions in the economy can shift consumers’ focus away from buying new computers and towards maximizing the life of their current machines, providing further advantages to the industry.
But the major economic threat in the computer repair industry is caused by the lack of innovation and the competitive market
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
For the reason of this research, starting from the scratch in this industry is far better than buying a franchise. The only advantage of buying a franchise in this area is getting a system already in place and a franchisee to do the marketing. However, the name (branding) just doesn’t make much difference because the costumers involve in this field are just the average individuals within a geographical zone.
This business is not a business you can venture into if you don’t have experience or rather enjoy it as a hobby. Starting from the scratch is less expensive than buying into a franchise and it also gives you a clean slate which allows you to build the business in your own image without having to deal with a business’s previous problems or poor reputation.
Also, starting a Computer Repair business allows you to put your own unique business idea into effect without being restricted by franchise rules or the preconceived notions of previous customers of a business.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
No business idea looks simple; it takes courage and Competence to be able to survive. This is why experts will always tell new business owners to do all the necessary homework that is required of them. Every business has its own challenges but what makes you an outstanding entrepreneur is you ability to survive and build your business.
Here are few challenges of Starting a computer repair business.
- Choosing a computer repair niche
- Capital and financing your business
- Finding costumers
- Dealing with the stress of not having a steady pay check
- Managing your money, legal protection and taxes
- Dealing with negative people, loneliness and self doubt
- Building a reputation
- Fighting competition
- Hiring employees
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Normally, there are four legal structures in the business world; sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or a corporation. Every legal entity available in the business world has its own advantages and disadvantages, but you need to carefully examine your options before choosing a legal entity.
For the purpose of this research, the LLC is the best legal entity for a computer repair business. An LLC is a “pass through” tax entity. That means that the LLC itself does not pay tax, you pay tax on the profits you receive. The trick to reducing your tax liability is two-fold: start an LLC but tax it as an S-Corporation.
Pay yourself a small but reasonable monthly salary and once per quarter you can take out a chunk of the profits as a distribution. You will pay standard tax on your monthly salary but the quarterly S-Corporation distribution is not looked at as employee wages so you will not have to pay social security or Medicare tax on this distribution amount.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
- Desert repairs
- ABC technologies
- Hotrod Computers
- Rose link resources
- Repair palace
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
You can’t just wake up one morning and dive in head first into the computer repair business. You need to plan, lay your facts and draw your strategies before going into this business industry.
As a computer repairer, you should be aware of the enormous risk in the business. One mistake in your work and a client’s important data could be compromised – and that could quickly escalate into a lawsuit against your business. If their media devices are further damaged while in your care, you could be liable for those costs as well.
So Insurance is needed in the computer repair business to protect your business from the high cost of liability lawsuits, property damage, and cyber risks, you need a business protection plan that accounts for the nuances in your daily operations.
Basic insurance needed by a computer repair business include
- General Liability Insurance for computer and repair businesses
- Errors and omissions insurance for computers
- Business owners policies
- Bailee’s coverage: insurance for customer properties in your care
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- Workman’s Comp Case Study: WC Pays for Workplace Injuries
- Employer’s liability insurance
- Fidelity bonds: Insurance for Employee Theft
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance for Small Computer Repair Shops
- EPLI policy: Protecting Computer Repair Companies from Lawsuits over Firings
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Intellectual Property theft is committed by half of all employees and competitors, according to Symantec’s February 2013 Survey, “What’s yours is mine: How Employees Are Putting Your Intellectual Property at Risk“. Employees routinely transfer company data to the cloud through personal emails and on to their flash drives, as part of the day to day execution of their jobs, and then they never clean the data off of their systems.
What’s more significant, most employees, despite their non-disclosure agreements, believe that the creative work performed on behalf of their employers remains their own. Intellectual property protection is very well needed in the computer repair business in form of patents protection, trademark and copyright protection, Technical Data and Computer Software Protection.
In other not to lose your hard works and time, you have to implement and reinforce non-disclosure and non-compete agreements, use forensic techniques to monitor your network, maintain privacy and security through key word phrases, and develop a solid relationship with a digital forensics investigator.
You should also avoid reallocating equipment or information without making a forensic copy, discard the forensic image for at least six months, not allow your workers use personal flash drives, never underestimate the determination of a thief, and always try to do things yourself.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Becoming a computer technician is a great point of entry into the IT field, and computer hardware certifications will help demonstrate your knowledge and competency in maintaining computers, mobile devices, printers and more.
Having professional certification shows how good and trustworthy your services are to your prospective customers. Computer repairer professional certification includes
- CompTIA A+
- ACMT: Apple Certified Macintosh Technician
- CompTIA Server+
- CWTS: Certified Wireless Technology Specialist
- BICSI ITS Technician
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Understanding what licenses and permits you need for your computer repair business can be very confusing. Each document requires time, energy and paperwork for you to be able to obtain the proper registrations. As unpleasant a task as it may be, don’t risk your business shutting down before it fully begins.
Conducting business without the proper licensing is a criminal offense in some states, while others hand out hefty fines. Here are some legal documents needed for a Computer Repair business.
- Business license
- VAT registration
- Employment agreement
- Federal tax identification number
13. Write a Business Plan
A business plan is not just a document you can just get and overlook. Your business plan should be the guide that moves your business and also your incentive to attract investors. You need be well knowledge with adequate information about the computer repair business before writing a business plan or you can employ an expert to dot down a business plan for your business.
A well detailed computer repair business plan should be able to summarize the goals and missions of your business, analyze the market and describe your competitions, your business objectives and ways of raising funds. The business plan should be able to ascertain the projected income and Expenses of your enterprise.
Business is indeed a hard task but nothing good comes easy. It takes hard work to be able to dine with the kings. The computer repair business is a big business with enough competition and time constraint, and your lack of planning would simply mean your desire to fail.
14. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis
It is the dream of many computer technicians to start their own computer repair business. This dream is a great one to go for but before starting a business, you will need to face the realities of the business start-up costs. The computer repair business is one of the many businesses you can start from your backyard and expand with time and profits.
Here is a detailed analysis of starting a computer repair business
- Getting setup legally (tax, insurance, and other legal documents) – $2,000
- Rent and utilities – $1,200
- Tools – $1,900
- Business cards – $300
- Office items – $1,400
- Web hosting – $100
- Business forms – $100
- Reserve funds – $2,000
According to a detailed feasibility study carried out for the sake of this article, the estimated amount needed to start a small scale computer repair business is $9,000. Medium scale is $56,000 and a big scale computer repair business at $130,000.
15. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Every business known to mankind needs fund and financing to be able to stand firm and grow. There is a popular saying “that money is used to make money”; any business that lacks funding is literally dead and doesn’t exist.
The major problem faced by entrepreneurs is not choosing a business niche but the capital and funding for the business. You need fund to be able start up a computer repair business, buy tools, rent offices and utilities, pay employees, and also build a corporate identity.
Ways of financing a computer repair business may include
- Personal savings
- Loans from friends and family
- Small business loan
- Attract investors
- Bank overdrafts
- Community schemes
16. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Choosing a location for your computer repair business should be one of your paramount decisions when starting the business. The location you choose for your computer repair business has a direct effect on your operation’s costs as well as your ability to serve customers (and therefore your revenues). Also, location decisions, once made, are difficult and costly to undo.
A good location for your computer repair business should be a well-travelled street where the shop will be seen by many individuals who can easily pull into the lot and patronize your services. Also consider whether your location can benefit your business if you’re around similar businesses that are already drawing the type of customers that you want. Like starting your repair shop beside a shop that sells computer accessories.
It is also very important that you go for a location where you can easily afford its rent and not going bankrupt. Finally, the location that you choose needs to be legally acceptable for whatever you plan to do there. A certain spot may be good for business, but if it’s not zoned for what you plan to do, you’re asking for trouble.
You should never sign a lease without being sure you’ll be permitted to operate your business in that space. Your city planning or zoning board determines what activities are permissible in a given location. If your zoning board has a problem with any of your business activities, and it’s not willing to work out a way to accommodate your business, you may have to find another space.
17. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
It can’t be denied that anyone planning or wanting to venture into this industry must be well knowledge in computer hardware and software. Being a computer literate is far different from being a computer physician. It takes adequate training and concentration to be able to pitch a tent in this industry.
A computer repairer can easily fall into the trap of believing that he/she can pick up new skills on the fly or after quickly reading a manual. But if you fail to partake in continued education and training, your knowledge base may become obsolete.
The size of a computer repair business must surely decide the size of employees you need but always remember to hire smart.
The people you hire are going to create an impression about your company with your customers, so be sure to screen candidates on more than just their tech skills and certifications. Your employees should be driven and well-versed in both technical expertise and interpersonal skills.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
The computer repair business is known to provide maintenance and repairing of computers and other related appliances.
The responsibilities or jobs of a computer physician may also include building or configuring new hardware, installing and updating software packages, and creating and maintaining computer networks. The targeted costumers in this industry are Individuals who use or need the services of a computer.
The service process of a computer repair business is based within the on-site services usually at an hourly rate; off-site services were charges are given based on the level of work. A client can also drop off his gadget that is to be repaired at the repair shop; wait for them to be repaired or picked them up later. Some technicians may also take back old equipment for recycling.
18. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Proper marketing of your computer repair business can blow your business into great Heights. You can’t just sit idle and expect your business to grow itself, you should be able to expand and promote your services.
Before even thinking of marketing procedures, you need to first and foremost understand yourself and your targeted costumers – What they want and how they think. If you want to market a computer repair business, there are different strategies that you can use. These ways may include
- Through word of mouth.
- Social media marketing.
- Cold Calling
- local newspaper ads
- Print some attention-grabbing flyers
19. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
The main objective of every business is to create wealth. Losing or not getting adequate returns can bankrupt your business if care is not taken.
If you wish to get the right pricing in your computer repair business, you need to be able to understand the job you are being offered and analyse your means of performing them before charging your customers. You’re also advised to inculcate all your expenses into your billings and remember not to make it outrageous.
The idea you should have in mind when dictating the right service pricing for your business is that “if you fix it, they will come back.”
20. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
Competition they say brings about innovation. You should be able to see competition as a fuel that can bring about creativity, success and hope to your business. In order to beat your competitors in the computer repair business, you need to move beyond the computer repair business. You also need a CIO for greater business strategy and direction – without the cost of a full-time salary.
You also need to prepare for the inevitable and strive to stand your business. When you are planning for the future of your business, you need to prepare for the worst, so it won’t happen or you will be prepared for when it does. Your small business needs IT personnel to help you and also construct Internet strategy around your business growth plans.
21. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
Your customers are the bedrock of your success, without them there is no need for your business to still stand. In the computer repair business, you must learn to satisfy your customers in other to retain them. Reward loyalty and ask for their suggestions on how to create brand awareness.
You also need to develop an established reputation for providing services across a wide range of platforms in order to attract consumers’ confidence. A good reputation also helps attract large outsourcing deals.
Build your credibility and gain your customers trust, be friendly and show hospitality. Also in the bid to retain your customers, try offering them a reasonable discount, offer free delivery services, host a thank you party, and always deal with Customers complain immediately.
Build a viable sales base by using your strong knowledge of niche markets, technical expertise and financial resources.
22. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Building a strong brand awareness strategy isn’t just a great idea but a solid strategy that helps you by directly impacting your company’s bottom line income figures. A great brand awareness strategy requires a multi-faceted approach to improving brand engagement with past, current, and future customers.
In order to boost brand awareness and create a corporate identity in the computer repair business, you need to engage in offline guerrilla marketing practices. This type of practices will help you achieve the best of results.
- Leaving sticky notes in random places (bars, coffee shops)
- Using markers and chalk to advertise promotions on a sidewalk
- “Accidentally” leaving a branded pen at the bank, donating branded bookmarks to your local library.
- Using sticky notes to create temporary images on buildings, cars, etc.
- Giving out business cards
- Donating gifts or coupons
- Speaking and sponsoring events.
23. Create a Suppliers/Distribution Network
Choosing a business niche and establishing it is not an easy task. No matter how buoyant and well connected you are, the stress involved in building a business wouldn’t pass you by.
The Supply chain of the computer repair business can be on-site or off-site, with Customers relating their computer based problems and a computer physician striving to repair them. No business is easy and making money is also not an easy task but only creativity and steadfastness can help you build your computer repair business.
24. Tips for Running a Computer Repair Business Successfully
Computers are one of the most basic needs in today’s world. A venture dealing in computer repairs will often succeed if you plan it properly.
Running your computer repair business successfully involves you tackling each problem as if it’s your last. The more you satisfy your customers, the more they will keep coming and in the business world, one satisfied customer would sure come with two friends the next time.
Also, learn to repair computers in front of your clients, most people are not comfortable leaving their computer at a repair shop and you’ll gain customer satisfaction immediately if repairs can be performed on-site.
You will also be able to talk to the customer – thereby building goodwill, which is the most important component of any business. The customer will not only call you in future, but will also refer you to others. Always remember that one customer is worth ten in the streets