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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.
 

irvin

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I actually wrote an article about this. I haven't published it anywhere yet. And I understand this is an old thread but I feel if anyone wants an answer still then you should hear it from someone who actually owns a computer repair store.
Read my article below.

So, you want to start your own computer repair business?
We should become aware of the importance of having your own company first, and that is this. A
company can serve as the foundation for an impactful event that can benefit you in numerous ways. It can
affect you financially, bring personal growth, and affect other facets of your life for the greater good. No
matter what kind of company niche you are looking to invest your time in. One thing is certain. Starting
a company is going to cost you sweat, blood, and tears. And here is the truth. Not everyone is ready nor
is everyone going to succeed in this endeavor. Keep reading to find out if you got what it takes to start
your own computer repair business as a veteran from a veteran perspective and keep it running.
My name is Irvin I am the owner of 702pcrepair, I served in the 82nd airborne division 2-501 as your
typical E-4 paratrooper. I got out after having deployed to Afghanistan having accomplished what I
wanted from my career, and that was receiving my combat infantry badge and my 82 nd deployment
patch. When I got home, I ended working various jobs, while attending college. None of those jobs
seemed to bring a form of internal fulfillment or belonging to a higher calling. A feeling a lot of veterans
get when we separate from the military. On top of that, I noticed that most entry-level positions where
low paying jobs and most required a higher level of education I did not have as I was a part-time
the student still and of course my MOS was infantry so the progression for career advancement ended for
the most part right there in the civilian sector. So, I sat down and looked at my options. One of these
options happened to be starting a computer repair business. I have always been very passionate about
computers, and everything to do with them. And this is critical to starting any form of business. You
have to be passionate about what you are doing because passion is what brings progression when you have
nothing coming in at the start of your journey or when you have stale moments. And I promise you, they
are going to be countless days no clients, no money coming in, nothing. It does take time, and
sometimes it can feel very unmotivating! It was also an option because I have been collecting a large
sum of money in the case, I ever decided to purchase a house. The total amount I had in my savings was
around 15.000 dollars. And you can probably guess what the crazy E-4 did. That’s right I invested it into a
dream, that I did not know would cost me greatly. The idea alone seemed good enough for me not
knowing what was to come. Luckily for you I'm going to give you some insightful information from my
experience going down this rabbit hole.
Who are your clients?
Look here is the reality of the situation of starting a computer repair shop. It is a very hard field to
survive in longer than a couple of months let alone years. Any business is, but if you have passion,
determination, and commitment. There is no company niche that you can’t fulfill if you are willing to
stick around enough. The demand is there, but it is very marginal. Take a look at who your clients are
going to be. They are going to be
  1. Older people.
  2. Very young.
  3. And people looking to save money
So, this three demography of people is important. Let's break it down even further. Yes, you’ll get a
lot of not tech-savvy people who are looking for help. It is very bare-bones with them, you perform the
service, and you get paid. Young people can either be problematic or very easy to work with. It’s no
secret that younger people are already equipped to handle most computer problems. So, when you

market make sure to stick with the older people, and people who are looking to save money. Our third
demographic group is people looking to save money. When you market your company makes sure to
have a payment plan that balances what they want, and what you need to stay in business. There are
going to be times, where they may be a little too cheap, and where you are going to be overcharging.
You can find the sweet spot with practice, and time. One thing that I will add to this is never underselling
yourself. No matter the task you are still performing a task that deserves compensation no matter how
small it is In regards to your knowledge as a technician. This brings me to another point.

What education training do you need to start a computer business?
You should try and get certified in CompTIA A+ at a minimum. Even though you could be tech-savvy in
the long run you are going to meet with people who want to see how creditable, or just want to see that
you are component enough to handle a computer repair. This is a major step in the right direction
especially if you are running a mobile computer repair service. The certification gives all your clients
proof of your knowledge. You can go for a degree, but I would recommend going to a trade school
instead as most trade schools are based around certifications. In all actuality, however, you can squeeze
by with just knowing your stuff. But as I mentioned before you are going to run into someone who
wants to see how smart you are. So, get the certification to shut them down.

How much money do you need to start a computer repair company?
The answer is a lot. To this day, I still invest in my company. This is a breakdown of where my initial
investment of 15,000 dollars went towards.
  • Store deposit.
  • Store sign.
  • Store furniture.
  • Rent.
  • Utility bills.
  • Equipment.
The store deposit was around 3,000$ alone. Some locations require more, some locations require less. I
recommend doing research and digging to find a good location. Ask the stores next to the spot you
want to lease how much they pay for rent and what the current situation is with the landlord. There is
no need sign to a lease right away. In fact, this was my first mistake! Take your time. The reality is this.
You don’t need a storefront to start a business or specifically a computer repair service. There is such a
thing as mobile computer repair. Start small, and build upwards. Don’t build into a computer super
repair store with a storefront that has all the bells and whistles just because other people have it. You
can generate just as much as storefront would if you put in just as much money into your marketing
then you would in one month's rent. I promise you that. The reason why this is important is simple.
Overhead. If you sign that lease, you’ll realize that you’ll now be committed to paying a monthly bill of
insert monthly amount here. That’s right, when you start a business you don’t become rich instantly.
You get into debt if you aren’t generating enough income already or have means of paying for it. A
typical store monthly bill is around 800 (in the poor part of town.) up to 1,500 (in a nicer part of town.)

This mixes into my next piece of information. And that is if you get a storefront some landlords require
you to purchase a store sign. It is in the leasing agreement typically, and let me be the first to tell you
this. They are not CHEAP. Get the most minimal number of letters you need for your store and don’t
make the same mistake I did that was being the E-4, I was at heart ended up purchasing the biggest sign
possible that set me back around 6,000$. So, to sum it up for this portion of the article. You should keep
your overhead as low as possible, when you are ready to move into a storefront make sure to get a sign
that is as simple as possible. With that money, you save to use it to generate clients by marketing properly.
Focus on your marketing, equipment, and quality of work. Everything else will come into place.

I haven't finished it yet as you can see. But if you have any questions you want to ask just message me.
Overall though It's a very tough profession...But if you want to do it, and you want to give it a go. You can succeed in almost anything.
 
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