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Would you open a local PC repair shop nowadays?

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Hi all,
as the title says, I'd like to know your opinion about opening a pc repair shop as an investment in future years.
My principal thought is decline of pcs as they are, in fact, personal in favour of cloud. Fixing smartphones would help income too (or even become the bigger part of it) , but I refer specifically to computer repair. A little money could come from dealing hardware parts, even though competing with online stores will be hard.
Across the years, several shops sadly shut down in my town, and some popped out.
what do you think guys?
 
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I wouldn't bet on you lasting more than six months before closing the doors. Tech giants like Best Buy/Geek Squad are already so well established that they dwarf the market.

Doing this in your spare time might be an option, but to turn it into a proper, functional business is not something I could see becoming a reality.
 

crazyeyesreaper

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Depends on location but typically its a dying profession of sorts.

Most people by clunker junk laptops and desktops. My local repair shop charges $150 just to look at a system not counting part replacement. When figure that + parts is around $250-300 most will just opt to buy a cheap laptop.

They make their money off business contracts. Which means you need to be established and capable of handling desktops / laptops / servers and other hardware solutions.

The only real money to be made is fixing Mac shit, but well you better have some expensive equipment and be ready to learn on the fly since Apple tries to make it as difficult as possible.
 
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You have to have cell phone repair to have any business for PC repairs to be successful.

I taught my friend pc repairs over years and he learned cellphone stuff and most of the business het gets is all cellphone. Rarely pc stuff.
 
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Indeed , it's the smartphone repair business that's the most viable. Actually I reckon you'd have orders of magnitude more success compared to just having a PC repair shop.

Although, smartphones are too becoming more and more difficult and expensive to fix. You brake one of those OLED panels that's going to be 200$ plus dollars just for the display and again most people are going to just buy another phone when they hear that.
 

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You really gotta diversify if you can.... Be more than just a PC repair shop - Be an internet cafe + PC repair shop that way you still have some coin coming in. You really have to diversify and spread your net so much unless youre operating out of our own home/garage.
 
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well, you all are confirming my worries :(.
Desktop and notebooks are what I love, phones would be only for profit.
will computer shops end up like repair radio ones?
 

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well, you all are confirming my worries :(.
Desktop and notebooks are what I love, phones would be only for profit.
will computer shops end up like repair radio ones?
Basically yes they will end up disappearing at least in the eyes of a regular consumer. Businesses etc they will remain as specialists.
 
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I have been thinking about this my self, but in my country a small workshop wount work. Competition is just to large.

If I some day still open a workshop to repair and buy older pc and repair/give the old pc a make over and then resell them. It will only be as a hobby store, to make some extra cash. But it will not be my main cause of income as said competition is sometimes hard and I have seen small stores come and go a bit to often.
 
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I'd like to know your opinion about opening a pc repair shop as an investment in future years.
As an investment in future years? No way.

I have a shop I've had for about 14 years I started after I retired for the 2nd time. Mine is out of my home and that is significant as it means I don't have to have an occupancy contract or pay rent to someone else. It is important to note mine is an electronics repair shop. That is, we repaired TVs and home audio equipment, in addition to computer repair, custom PC building and IT consulting.

I never advertised so I was lucky that word-of-mouth advertising was good enough to keep customers coming back, and to bring new customers in. But again, I was lucky in that regard. If I hadn't previously worked for 10 years as a hardware guy among 400 programmers in a software development company, I would not have had the instant contacts to bring any business in.

In terms of computer repair, in the beginning, it was very profitable. But it should be noted the majority was for malware removal - which kept us busy. But starting with Windows 7, as more and more people migrated away from XP and to W7, malware removal jobs started falling off. And that drop off became dramatic as W10 came about. Contrary to what many want us to believe, if the defaults are just left alone, W10 is very secure.

My point is, repairing computers would not sustain my business today. Even just repairing electronics in general would not sustain my business. Most electronics fail when brand new and still under warranty, or they last nearly forever and tend to be retired before they actually die. That is, when repairs would cost more than buying something new.

Fortunately, being retired for real now anyway, I don't need the income from this business to survive or else I would be going hungry - especially if I depended only on PC repairs.

So as mentioned above, you will need to diversify. IT consulting is where I made the good money - designing and building networks and custom PCs for businesses. But you need contacts or a big advertising budget to grow that side of things.

I don't even think cell phone repair would be a good "investment" strategy. I base that on the number of cell phone repair shops in the Omaha metro area that have folded.

Even if you could land a service contract with Dell, HP, Acer, and Lenovo to be an authorized service tech, it would be a tough go to make a long career out of it.

will computer shops end up like repair radio ones?
As more and more users move to hand helds, yes. Especially when people are willing to buy new every couple years.
 
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Depends on your location, and on your willingness to expand beyond PCs.
I mostly specialize on laptops and component-level repair, so instead of dealing with customers directly I fix stuff for few other small repair shops. Only have a few on-call regulars (mostly small businesses).
Laptops are 100% the best place to start (maybe except US), but even then I had to expand to other things, like occasional display/touch replacements on smartphones and tablets, fixing weird stuff like metal detectors, iptv boxes, networking equipment, etc. etc.
Most of our local workshops that survived the past decade usually do the same: "generalized" consumer electronics repair, or "servicing other service centers". There are always new workshops that open and close year after year, but it's mostly due to bad practices and complete lack of work ethics. Mostly it's kids that became "specialists" after watching a few youtube videos. Most of my outsourced orders come from places like that: they can do basic stuff like clean up dust, change TIM, reinstall Windows, but too stupid to perform trivial tasks, like measuring voltage on a CMOS battery or finding a correct replacement LCD without messing it up.

If you only want to deal only with PCs, then it's hard to do without at least a few medium business clients, and even then it's not permanent. One of my biggest clients closed down two of their offices in Kiev recently, which hurt my earnings for several months. It's good when you have'em, but it sucks when you lose'em.
 
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It's just become too easy to do it yaself... for many folks the cost of a repair would exceed jut going to Walmart and buying a new one.

We build, do repairs, disinfect everything mostly for free (well ya gotta bring a pizza) ... started doing it as a hobby with my kids. Aslo did little league, scouts, professional associations etc ... Our goal is never to have a repeat custimer. We rarely actually do anything ... we provide the test apparatus, tools and show or guide the owner / user thru the process. At this point in time, all of our "former customers" are pretty much self sufficient. They all do come back with build lists and we sit (have pizza on their dime of course). At this point with MoBo diagnostic LCDs, tech forums, i don't really see a need.... folks just won't shell at the money for anyone with actual skill set. Just the pimply kid from the Geek Squad. As a business owner , if you are not breaking $100 an hour, your business won't be able to cover necessary costs.
 
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Every type of business carries certain amount of risk. If you make a good promotion (marketing), create good customer basis (good prices, fast and professional service etc.) you might earn something, but it also depends on where you live. I'm in the same business, upgrading & repairing PC's/laptops, except this is my side non-registered business and I make very little money from it because it's mostly based on barter; eg. I'll fix your PC, you'll help me for 2 days in my vineyard (free of charge) or something similar...
 

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As said, if you live in a decently populated area being a general fixer can get you along. But you pretty much have to know your stuff, mostly electronics, but the more fields you know the more you can do. Like car electronics. Learn to fix stuff on a component level (as opposed to replacing entire units) and you will earn a living. It still won't make the big bucks though.
 
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In order to be successful in a venture of that kind you would have to live in and be an active part of a community with more than 50% disposable income among consumers. PCs are luxury items after all and a smartphone or tablet (even consoles nowadays) are no different than the best PC in terms of function.
 
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I will share my own experiences and allow you to take a look on it from other perspective.
When i was working at local computer shop in my city 10 years ago (omg, time flies like crazy...) i loved the job, i like to build and fix desktop PCs, laptops i enjoy less but are ok too. The problem is we had really small amounts of customers and what is the worst thing: not all customers were nice. People can be restitutionary, rude, thinking they know consumer laws and simply just dumb. For example one situation: one customer comes to our shop, literally throws on desk a stick of ram and says "this one is failed, give me new one, now". He didn't even want us to check this ram to confirm if it really doesn't work or if it is fine, he just demanded new one right away as he was standing in front of us. All he had to say was that he had some sketchy IT repair guy to check his pc and that guy told him to do what he did because "all ram sticks have lifetime warranty" which, as we all here know, is not true. After basic inspection based on serial number from sticker on that stick we checked this particular one didn't have lifetime warranty and actually is after its 5 year warranty period.

Another thing, people heard something about consumer rights but they do not know them well enough and on myths they base their claims. Local consumer law states customer can return purchased product/close contract without stating reason and without any penalty within 14 days... but this is applicable only when purchase/contract was made outside shop/office and product has to be intact or turned out to be failed on first try of use. So we had plenty of situations where customers did purchase something and were coming back the same day or few days later trying to return their purchase reasoning their claims with that particular law and basically we had to educate people about that law. Some were threatening us that they will call police if we will not accept return, somehow this never happened, ever. Yes, some shops go beyond law and do these 14 (some expand this period to longer ones) day return periods even if products were purchased in office of shop, not just online. This is just will of people running these shops and if they can afford to cover costs of such returns that's good on them.

Answer to main question i would say: no and not because of low interest from customers. Demand from customers exists and is worth to cover. Personally i stopped doing repairs/analysis even for friends and i'm doing them on really rare occasions. I wouldn't go back to this only because of how rude and dumb some customers can be. Yes, we had plenty of nice customers and some were really cool people to talk with not just about hardware and their problem with hardware they brought. If you have patience to deal with assholes and you enjoy fixing things i would say go for it part time. Advertise yourself on advertise boards like olx, craigslist and similar and do that for fun.
 
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The desktop market is has seen a huge decline. You would have to do laptop, phone and other electronics repairs. The profit margin is so small that you would struggle to make a profit. No
 
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I wouldn't expect a shop that focused just on desktop/laptop repair to survive for too long. Most "shops" that I see nowadays have branched into also doing copier/mfp work in addition to having contracts with small and medium businesses for outsourced IT, email and data server hosting.
 
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As others have said, location is key to this, not to mention whether the country you live in has a culture of repair because of the economy. From what I can gather, most first-world economies simply discard broken tech.
On the other hand, where I live in Argentina, people repair stuff until it finally dies beyond hope. I've been doing this for ten years, but now do it from my home workshop to avoid overheads and beaurocracy.
You must know your fixed costs.
 
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if you have such expertise, definitly profit at my country:toast:
 
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Not unless you plan to specialize in (and are certified for) OS & software fixes, then the hardware part would just be a side gig, since we all know how relatively easy & affordable it is to build/replace computer hdwr nowadays..

Of course, in a lot of places, there will almost always be a small group of people who are clueless about hdwr and would need your services, but whether or not that would be enough to sustain a solid business model is somewhat doubtful....

However, if you are capable of performing actual REPAIRS on electronics, like replacing pcbs, transistors, capacitors, vrm's etc, then perhaps you could make a go of it, but that would still depend on the demand for such services in your particular market area....

Also, unless you can attract some wealthy backers to support your goals, obtaining normal, bank-based funding for such a venture would be difficult at best, and would most likely require significant, personal out-of-pocket expenditures just to get the business up & running from the start, along with considerable cash reserves to hold you over until business gets going..

Good luck if you do decide to move forward with this plan ;) :clap:
 
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I would go to a small town if I were to do that. Still, in the internet days that means less and less. And in Madrid for example you got a lot of low cost chinese stores who also do electronic repairment, so unless you do so some professional grade either by having a lot of experience or having a contract with a major brand, that would be difficult.

An actual more or less fitting partnership is audio equipment. I suppose things are changing, but I remember back in the day going to a local audio shop who also sold related computer parts and they really didn't knew much about the pc part. Apple, audio and pc repairs and selling and counseling could be a nice business.
 
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I have a number of electronic experts that I rely on for when I get out of my depth and frankly, that's of no concern to the customer when they simply need their machines repaired.
 
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thanks for all those replies and sharing you experiences!
Well, I have a certain experience on fixing pbcs, what to check and how with my equipment, even though I wouldn't define myself an expert.
Where I live most people throw away perfectly fine devices since they are lazy, dumb, or just look for an excuse to buy a brand new item.
Opening in a small town to be the unique point around was an option I considered too.
Taxes are extremely high and killing traders, even local electronic components shops are in trouble nowadays, and this makes me really sad. Anyway I'd prefer a licensed shop instead of roaming irregularly home to home (I did it for a year when I was fourteen and was kinda fun) for my sense of integrity and joy of having my own shop.

If this takes off (now it's just dreaming), seems I will encounter lots of obstacles and challenges, better be prepared.
 
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