Starting a computer repair business is a major and serious endeavor. There’s more to having a business than simply fixing computers or laptops out of your garage. The way you speak, conduct business and accept payment will determine if you are ever called back again. While you don’t need to project yourself as being part of a huge corporate entity, you do need to be professional. The following is a list of our top ten things a new computer tech should not do.
Don’t Use The Word “Geek” In Your Name
Yes, you may be a geek. Yes, big black glasses with white tape on the bridge is hilarious. Short pants are humorous. But the whole “Geek (insert silly name here)” has been used and abused so many times, it’s time to break from that and create a professional name for your business going forward. The word “Geek” just isn’t funny anymore and there are a lot of negative connections with that name and other computer repair companies. A unique business name is essential. With that said, try to avoid names like Dave’s Computer Repair, as the name seems unprofessional. Consider branding your business name and carve a niche in your community that projects trust and dependability.
Don’t Print Your Own Business Cards
People can tell when you print your own business cards, so don’t. The fuzzy perforations around the outside of the card, along with the smudged type tell your clients you’re cheap and unprofessional. You certainly do not need business cards printed on the hides of imported baby seal butts embossed with gold leaf, but you should invest in a box of 500 business cards from your local print shop.
Don’t Use Your Home Phone As Your Business Phone
When a client calls, they want to speak to you or your receptionist–not your eight year old daughter. Nor will they ever leave a voice mail after hearing the family voice recording. Invest in a dedicated land-line or cell phone for your business. It’s a small, but necessary expense.
Don’t Show Up In A Metallica Shirt
Just because you do work out of your garage and you do like Metallica, wearing a Metallica T-shirt to your computer job may not be appropriate. While you’re at it, take out the nose ring and wear a shirt that covers your tats. Even better, you should invest in your own uniform and wear it in the field.
Don’t Install Pirated Software
While it may seem like a great way to save either yourself or your client a few bucks, don’t install software or Operating System upgrades on more than one computer. The customer may not like having to spend $129.00 on Windows, but they will certainly understand when you charge them for a new copy and open it right in front of their eyes.
Don’t Give Discounts On The Fly
It’s easy for a computer repair tech to go to a house and feel sorry for charging someone for parts or labor. Make sure you present all of your charges up front and never give discounts based on personal feelings. With that said, never overcharge a client because they have a new Corvette in the driveway.
Don’t Have A 1990’s Website
All businesses need to be on the Internet. A website will not only help you attract more business, but it is an opportunity for you to list your services, rates and contact information. With that said, a good website speaks volumes. Scrolling text marquees, animated “Email Us” icons and background MIDI music is not a good design choice. Get a domain name, a paid hosting company and design a simply, conservative website with a nice logo. And no, Facebook does not count.
Don’t Bill Clients
New technicians without a staff will have little time to bill and follow-up on payments from clients. Whether you take cash, check or credit card, try and arrange for payment when the work is completed. Prepare an invoice when the job is complete and present it to the client. Most people have checking accounts, so getting a check before you leave should not be an issue.
Don’t Forget Follow-Up Support
You must provide some type of follow-up support. Forming relationships with clients will set you apart from more popular businesses and your business will gain popularity through word of mouth. You should not, however, provide unlimited free tech support. If the conversation shifts to other computer topics, arrange for another visit to help them sort the new problem out.
Don’t Waste Advertising Money
If you don’t advertise, you won’t succeed. Advertising is a necessary cog in the wheel of success for your new tech business. Make sure you focus your advertising correctly, however. Community newsletters, local coupon books and weekly newspapers are a great place to start. You will want to keep the travel time to a minimum and these local advertising options are a great way to build your client base without spending a lot of time on the road.
You’ll no doubt compile your own “don’t” list as your business grows. If you’re an experienced computer repair company that has tips for newcomers, be sure to let us know.