Starting up a laptop repair business?

Starting up a laptop repair business?

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I had an idea back in 2008.  I wanted to run my own computer repair business.  What a learning process it was.  I’m sure there are a few of you with your own businesses or thinking of starting up.  I’m going to lay down with you my personal experience and why I quit the day job then went back to the day job!

2008

Money to me made here!  I supported a large user base of around 600 staff and dealt with their IT problems in a 9-5 job.  Off the back of this I would have staff come to me to fix their personal home computers and laptops.  Cash in hand jobs, £50 here, £100 there on a weekly basis.

This got me thinking – I could probably quit my 9-5 job and run my own repair business and be my own boss, the dream!  I sat down and worked my way through how I could generate more clients.

Set up a website and got it to the top of google for my local area.  I was taking 3-4 repairs on each evening after work and working up until around 11pm.  Did this for a good 6 months and banked some good cash.  However I was burnt out and knew I had to make a decision to quit my day job.  I spent another 6 months trying to make that decision.

I took 2 weeks off my work and put all my focus on the computer repair business.  At the end of the 2 weeks I broke down the figures and estimated if I could replicate the same volume of business through the whole year on a full time basis I would be earning an extra £15-20k a year!

I made the decision and quit it was not easy and I was luckily kept on as a contractor to fix my previous employers IT issues.

Setup a small office and started adverting heavily in local magazines, yellow pages, online and various other ways.  What I learnt about the advertising in printed media is that it’s a complete waste of money.  All your efforts should go to your online advertising and ranking your website at the top of google for your customers keywords.

I had a printed media budget of around £400($600) per month and I was lucky if I was seeing 1 customer from that spend.  On the flip side I had setup a blog about computer repair and was getting around 30 hits a day for various keywords with my local terms in there.  As well as longtails searches which is why you need a blog!

Anyway back to the business, I made on repairs £10,000 after 6 months.  This was shit.  And I was repairing on average 3 laptops/PCs a day 6 days a week.  My life saver was my previous support contract with my old employee.  Because I was a contractor and charging by the hour I was making more money on that compared to my old salary plus the £10k from the repair side of things.

However I had to look at my business model.  I had all these repair customers coming to me 20ish a week and having to deal with not only their repair but the customer service aspect – stock – orders – returns etc.  It was eating up most of my time and I was making shockingly bad figures from it.

Having 3 clients a day for repair seems like a good number let’s say £50/repair that’s £150 a day however what most people fail to factor in when planning (i really do hope you’ve planned this and not just used a business plan template) is expenses and overheads.

  • Office/premises rent
  • Local council/property tax
  • Electricity/Gas/Water
  • Advertising
  • Travel/fuel/maintenance
  • Vacation
  • Stationary
  • Office supplies
  • Customer returns/refunds

This is not a complete list however it’s a good start.  That £150 figure soon will become £100 then less if you truthfully look at.  Now that’s part of the problem.  You won’t come up with the correct estimates until you have to pay the bills.  The estimates you come up with will be much lower and the bills will be higher!  Mark my words I have learnt this.  You also will not be working 365 days of the year a better figure is 200 days this accounts for vacation/sickness/slow days.

The problem I personally believe with a computer repair business is the volume of customers is high and the commission is low.  I am now back working for someone else in IT however their model differs.  The business is 100% focused on IT support for other business and the model is almost the exact opposite.

High commission, low volume.

What to take away from this article?

  1. Make sure if you are about to start up your own business that you look at your estimates very closely be ruthless.
  2. You may be your own boss but you will have many additional stresses and challenges to deal with.
  3. Get to the top of google and have a good social media campaign going.
  4. Use and become a member of business networks like BNI/rotary club’s
  5. Focus on business-business work, avoid residential customers!

 

That’s it!  Good luck to you in your business.

PS: get to the top of google easier with a link on this website, we are an exact match domain name for the keyword “laptop repair” .  Listings are free, just register and click the submit listing (top right of the front page)

 

13

  1. Laura says:

    Pretty informative article. Seems like you’ve got a t-shirt about this topic. I am thinking of starting up my own computer repair business. I know that there is more money in laptops repairs so I’m thinking of doing them also.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for the comments Laura – sometimes you have to fail at things to see how they work – laptop repairs also!

  3. Jock M Sporn says:

    Bloody hell a bit truthful about the laptop repair business! So there’s no money to be made?

  4. Liked the perspective but I enjoy the business. I do not have a storefront because we do not sell retail products which limits my expenses and the customers don’t seem to mind. I also do everything electronically including billing and payments. I do make quite a profit. So one success story here!

    • admin says:

      Good to hear I was a bit disheartened when i wrote this article – there is always money to be made it’s just about having the motivation!

  5. Ben says:

    An excellent article. I setup a laptop repair business back in early 2010 while claiming benefits.

    It doesn’t earn me a vast amount of money but it’s alright on top of the JSA I receive as well although when I send my profit/loss accounts to the job centre each year they deduct a sum from my fortnightly allowance.

    My website is top of Google for most of my desired search terms and computer repair in my local area as well as IT support.

    I enjoy working self employed as I do the majority of the work at home in my bedroom and it is easy money.

    • admin says:

      Great to hear that story – I see so many people moaning about not having a job but with the power of the internet now anything is possible if you are good at something. Best thing about it is you can get to the top of google for free utilising a blog. I’ve ranked quite a few sites for laptop repair in specific cities and have passed the leads on for a price to local companies. Was thinking of starting a sort of back to work type service in some of these cities for people that know how to do computer/laptop repair. The main issue is the job is customer focused which does not suit all geeks :)

      Remember the long tail searches…. these are more than the exact keywords like “laptop repair in city” so make sure you have a blog.

  6. Paul Weal says:

    Like you I ran a small out of hours business whilst working daytimes in IT for a university. Like you it all got too much and I ended up with no personal time.
    I have now moved to south Wales from Cornwall and wondering if I should start up the business again…

    • admin says:

      There is more money to be made on the internet than fixing computers :) My motto – how many rich computer repair techs do you see?

      • Paul Weal says:

        Agreed… its a bit like asking how many rich car mechanics do you see :) I have a full time job currently so it would be in addition but i’d rather have the free time. Maybe I should concentrate on a software developement project I have, if I actualy manage to sell it… could be worth lots more in the long run.

  7. waseem nuaman says:

    hello sir i saw your website on net. im also technincian working in Dubai UAE from four years.if you need laptop technincian pleas reply.
    kindly regard
    waseem