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Howdo you open up your own computer repair business in the US?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by Professor-Falken, Mar 15, 2008.

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  1. Professor-Falken

    Professor-Falken Kilobyte Poster

    How do you open up your own computer repair business in the US? Do I need a license to repair computer
    in peoples homes and in businesses please, let me know.

    Professor Falken
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia Network +
    Honorary Member

    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

    Probably not a license to fix a pc, just certification. But if you going into peoples houses I would imagine you would need insurance for that also a business plan and an accountant - otherwise the inland revenue will be after you!:biggrin
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+
    Honorary Member

    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

    What about your other threads/questions PF?

    Computer Stuck at Post
    I dont get video from Computer
    How do I installing an AGP card?

    You never said if the advice given here on CF help or are you still having problems?:blink
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+
  4. Rob1234

    Rob1234 Megabyte Poster

    Also if you struggle with the above I think you would struggle running your own computer shop.
    Certifications: A few.
  5. harpistic

    harpistic Byte Poster

    I agree with Rob - it'd be better for you to finish the A+, do the MCDST and work on the MCSE until you're comfortable with solving typical problems.
    Certifications: Pet Geekery
    WIP: cure for insomnia
  6. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster


    I've said this before and i'll say it again. Running your own IT business is not for the faint hearted, you litterally have to be an expert in the field. You cannot blag your way through this. Who is going to be fixing these home and business machines, you or us?
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  7. popeye67

    popeye67 Bit Poster

    For pc repair shop you need A+ and some common sense. Start resolving problems by process of elimination. In time you'll acquire skills. If you want to run your own business make sure you have adequate skills and aptitudes for running the business.

    I'm sure CF collective will give helping hand if you ask nicely.

  8. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    No, you don't need a license... but you do need an employee who is an expert at fixing PC problems. Do you have someone in mind that you will be hiring?

    If you don't know how to fix a computer that is stuck at POST, how to troubleshoot a video card problem, or how to install an AGP card, you are not ready to open up a computer repair business on your own. Those are easy tasks... what will you do with the tough tasks?
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  9. The_Geek

    The_Geek Megabyte Poster

    You go to work for a large company doing whatever and you do PC repair on the side.

    I say this because in the area I live in I have yet to see a pc repair shop stay open longer than 6 months.
    Certifications: CompTIA and Micro$oft
    WIP: PDI+
  10. sunn

    sunn Gigabyte Poster

    As I understand, it's a cut-throught business. For the amount of hours needed to run such a business, you should be a natural, or have a 'real' desire for the work.
  11. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

    Completely agree, unless of course you will be offering other services, which bring in a steady income stream then this probably wont bring in the cash.
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  12. neutralhills

    neutralhills Kilobyte Poster

    I run a small PC repair business in Canada, and I imagine that the requirements are mostly similar. I have the following:

    • Municipal business license
    • Trade name registration
    • Federal tax number
    • Business liability insurance
    • Service vehicle
    • Business insurance for service vehicle
    • Numerous technical certifications

    You may want to start out as a sole proprietorship and become a limited company or corporation when your business gets to a level where this is warranted.

    You'll need the usual complement of diagnostic tools (POST testers, PS testers, voltmeters, etc.). The most important piece of equipment I own is a Buffalo Terrastation.

    Every single machine that comes through my shop has its hard drive pulled and an image made and stored on the file server before I start working on it. Machines are easily replaced, the data is usually irreplacable and must needs be backed up as a first step. I make each customer sign a data loss waiver before I touch their boxen, but that's often no help if I wind up on the pointy end of a lawyer. The best defense is not to lose the data in the first place.

    Do you need certs to open a shop? Not really. But you'd damn well better know what you're doing. If you screw up you can really hurt someone else's business (e.g. lost business records) or hurt them personally (e.g. loss of irreplaceable family photos that were not backed up). From the questions I've seen you posting, I'd honestly advise you to hold back a bit. You're having trouble with some pretty basic issues.

    This isn't to make you feel bad -- everyone has to start out somewhere -- heaven knows I was pretty green when I first started working as a tech.
    Certifications: Lots.
    WIP: Upgrading MS certs
  13. neutralhills

    neutralhills Kilobyte Poster

    I've been in business for three years now. I wouldn't consider working for someone else full-time and doing this part-time as I have no interest in taking a pay cut.
    Certifications: Lots.
    WIP: Upgrading MS certs
  14. neutralhills

    neutralhills Kilobyte Poster

    Nope. This is one of those sink or swim things. Besides, I've got customers of my own I'm being paid to help.
    Certifications: Lots.
    WIP: Upgrading MS certs
  15. BrotherBill

    BrotherBill Byte Poster

    Very similar in the states.

    • Municipal business license - Required by almost every municipality of size in the states.
    • Trade name registration or fictitious name - Required by your banking institution before an account will be opened.
    • Federal tax number - Required for employees. US citizens without employees can use SS number.
    • Business liability insurance - A definite must have.
    • Service vehicle and insurance - Optional depending on services provided.
    • Numerous technical certifications - Not necessary, but they do help build customer confidence. Most customers will not even know what they are, but they're still impressive on display behind the counter.

    All this said, you can open up shop in your home without most of this, but if you're caught, the fines and penalties are hardly worth the risk.

    As someone else stated in one of these threads, in the states, you can check the Small Business Administration's website and get enough legitimate information to base your game plan on.

    Just make sure you know what you're doing before you try. A business run improperly or half-hearted will fail faster than you can build it.

    Good Luck
  16. BrotherBill

    BrotherBill Byte Poster

    I might also add that if you intend to sell or otherwise replace peripherals or componants you'll also need a state specific Retail Sales Tax Permit. Sorry, slipped my mind earlier.

    Most of this is required to legally operate almost any business in the states. We could probably list a slew of items that may be beneficial. Few people are impressed with a repair that will take days or weeks to complete because of a lack of knowledge, tools, or parts. And no one wants to hear that a repair is going to be double an estimate because the repairman thought it would take less time than it actually did. Most of this simply takes experience to get it right.

    Building a customer base can be as simple as an add in the phone book or printing and distributing business cards. You can introduce yourself to your neighbors, let them know what you do, and leave a card with them. Even this will take time. Your best advertising is "word of mouth". Keeping the customer happy is a priorty.

    As the others have said, starting and operating a business is not a walk in the park. You find yourself performing two separate jobs right from the git-go. One is doing the actual service work while you become established or grow enough to hire help. The other is the actual administration of the business. And in most cases, you're very lucky if you can actually make enough at first to draw a wage designed for one person.

    When you put your business plan together, I would suggest you set aside enough cash or resources to provide at the very least 6 months operating expenses. And that's after you account for licenses, permits, deposits, equipment or supplies, or any other start-up expenses you might encounter.

    Mirroring what Neutralhills said, this is not designed to discourage you or keep you from trying. You just need to be aware of all the little speedbumps you might encounter. I applaud anyone who has the courage and drive to start out on their own. And anyone that's willing to put in the time and effort and make the sacrifices required to be successful has my utmost respect. It's not an easy task.

    Again, Good Luck.

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