What software/hardware is essential for a small computer repair busine

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by Mewgia, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. Mewgia
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    Member Mewgia drifter

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    So I am thinking of starting a small computer repair business that I would operate out of my house. It would mainly involve going to people's houses to fix thier problems there, so it would be small problems like a few viruses ect.

    But what would I need to do this?

    I'm thinking that I will need a few disks like the Ultimate Boot CD, a data recovery tool, Windows XP and Vista install disks, and whatever else you guys think would help. I would also need things like a virus-removal program (I'll probably go with AVG since it's free), but I know that some viruses block the installation of virus programs, and thus I would also need to have something that will let me run a virus-removal without installing anything. And I have no idea what sort of warware, if any, I would need.


    It is things like these that I need/want suggestions for. I have about $60 to spend but I'd rather keep things free, preferably without pirating anything (since I may run into the odd customer who cares about that sort of thing) but if I need to I will.

    As stated above I really don't have any money and thus I would like to get this going soon, but I always like to have input from people who know what they are taling about.


    Also, not to sidetrack from the main topic, but about how much would be reasonable to charge people? I know it depends on what I am doing but I need things like a base fee and an hourly fee. I was thinking about $40 base fee plus $20 an hour, would that be too high? I'm not sure how much people are willing to pay a 14-year-old kid for this sort of thing.



    Thank you.
     


  2. Joe88

    Member Joe88 [λ]

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    well to start off AVG is bad (if not worst) at removing and detecting viruses
    theres a reason why its free

    you might wanna try that other free anti-virus (one that comes with windows xp)
    as far as all in one,

    well you could just install zone alarm all in one and dont tell them your "cracking it" via keygen
    that will bascially protect and remove anything harmful from viruses and spyware
     
  3. Richy Freeway

    Member Richy Freeway GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    You're not gonna get very far with $60.

    What about when you need to buy spares to fix something? Gonna get the money up front from the customer?

    That's all very well until you discover it wasn't what you thought it was. Then you're stuck with a component you don't need which is eating into your profit until you can sell it on or use it in another repair. In the mean time you need to ask the customer for more money so you can buy the other component that you think is causing the problem.

    I've been in the business for 12 years now and I've seen lots of people come and go. Fixing computers for a living sounds like easy money but unless you've got a decent budget to start off with, you're going to struggle.

    What happens if you have an accident with a customers PC?

    Wipe a their data? Drop their hard drive and damage it? Blow their motherboard up? Scratch their case?

    These things can and do happen!

    I'm not saying that you shouldn't do it, just that you should give it a bit more thought.

    There's a LOT more to a successful PC repair business than UBCD and AVG Free.
     
  4. Commander

    Member Commander GBAtemp Regular

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    AVG Free bad at removing viruses I never had any problem with it I have tested it several times on fake viruses and it detected them like it should have.
    Plus 100% protection is impossible, browse safely and a firewall and anti spyware is about all you need.

    ~ Commander
     
  5. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Laptop if going portable.

    USB/firewire based IDE and SATA drive reader. I use mine all the time when repairing machines (although mine to my eternal shame does not support sata and it was only £5 more) and it saves messing with the OS (which people generally mess up). If you like you can tack on a DVD burner (if you do not have a good one on the laptop) and give the people a backup.

    Screwdriver kit: Phillips are the main ones in computers although a flat one can help when screwing in various ports when thumbscrews do not exist.

    CPU cooler kit: I have had to occasionally redo the cooling on a CPU as the thermal paste was done badly (either by the builder or out of the factory). Tough one though as it is not needed very often. Then again it is a bit of rag, a small syringe and a razor blade.

    Headphones: after graphics sound is important and headphones work to test things.

    Network kit: if you rely on having the internet to grab drivers for them then you can come unstuck if their internet does not work (granted you could have the laptop for this) but a network cable is usually only 2m long at most and if you replace it there and then.....
    It may be worth considering an investment in the 3g stuff (drivers are but a few megs if done properly) but it is new here and US mobile phones are generally useless when compared to Europe so I have no idea how it will work for you.

    DVD drive (preferably one that works with the above adapter). I lose count of how many times a would customer has a lousy drive that does not work with a given DVD.

    Drivers: mainly graphics cards and get some generic laptop ones.
    http://www.omegadrivers.net/ is a good start. (most people do not update so if you install some nice stuff as omegadrivers provide....)

    AV: AVG is not free for business use although I am not sure how it rates as bad. Comodo do a bit of gnu/gpl AV kit these days and the only downside is that it is not quite as idiot proof as the others. As for not installing see boot discs.

    Boot discs: I use a combination of linux liveCDs (been using puppy linux for a day or two now and I could go that instead of some of the more demanding iterations). Bartpe (windows based) is nice when you get the addons working.
    People generally appreciate a custom OS so nlite is a nice idea as are general tweaking tools if you are going that far.

    Software: IT support for most of us is usually damage repair and limitation but customising stuff is nice if you get the chance (put ablock on firefox, drop the send message to MS....)
    There have been a whole bunch of what software threads so that is a good place, portable apps software is a good thing to have on a stick as well (notepad seems to be a nice virus target in my experience so if you can bypass it...).

    How much: tough one. If you can get a simple qualification (MSCE is a good bet) then people do not mind so much. Also some places like you to have a business license (token sum per year normally).
    You want to draw the line between undercutting the other people and convenience (few people will want to appear outside work hours which are slightly longer than school hours but hey). Word of mouth is important here so maybe dropping a price when working a new customer you think may get the word out.
    If you have 3 things in the same area lined up and it is 10 minute fix then it is often worth dropping the price (say the network cable is broken: you appear and replace it in 7 minutes flat. Your charging about would be $40+$20+cable price and they would be about $70 out of pocket then assuming you do the full hour thing for every one that rolls around).
    On the other hand I know IT people/shops who do similar things and get paid far more.
     
  6. Urza

    Member Urza hi

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    You lie and say it was inevitable. Anyone who would actually bring their computer to you in the first place would have no way to tell the difference.
     
  7. juggernaut911

    Member juggernaut911 GBAtemp Slut!

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    I'd use Avast instead of loser AVG
    i wouldnt charge by hour but bye bihour (?) 2 hours or whatever. their computer could be slow that your gaining money from their crap computer.
     
  8. Mewgia
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    Member Mewgia drifter

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    @Richy Freeway: Yeah I'm not gonna get far with $60, but that's all I have. I am 14, jobless, and in a bit of debt to my parents, so money isn't very easy to come by. And as for wiping data/accidentally deleting everything - I'd probably just take Urza's way but say that I could try to recover it for the regular hourly fee...

    @Fast6191: Good information as usual. I'll tkae all of those things into consideration - I should probably put XP back on my Laptop, m friend who is sort of my business partner has things like the usb to sata plus, ect ect. As for certifications, the best one I could probably get now is the A+ certification. I have the books and I've studied a bit but I know most of what's in there from prior experience so studing can get a bit tedious...And as for rates, I wouldn't charge for a full hour if I was only there for 7 minutes, that would be rediculous.

    Your post nailed what I was looking for when I made this thread, thanks lots [​IMG].

    This is true, thank jeebus for people who know nothing about computers. While I would not intentionally have accidents of course, with any sort of mishap like that it should be easy to lie my way out of too much trouble and get it fixed for them.



    @juggernaut911: ...bihour? Nobody charges like that, it's ridiculous. Why would I would charge like that so that I wouldn't gain so much money from their slow computer? That's sort of the point of a computer repair business. (at least that's how I desciphered your post, not exactly sure if I was replying correctly because it didn't make the utmost amount of sense)
     
  9. fischju

    Member fischju Rehabilitated Jaywalker

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    You HAVE to have an A+ certification to fix PCs as a business
     
  10. Urza

    Member Urza hi

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    A+ cert is pretty damn easy to get though.

    Only costs like 150USD to take the test.
     
  11. Saylient_Dreams

    Member Saylient_Dreams GBAtemp Fan

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    A bidoof to carry it all.
    As for anti-virus, I work at a small computer repair business(it's pretty crappy though >.>, so disorganized....), for virus scans, we just use trendmicro's house scan, just installs a plugin I believe, works with IE and Firefox. It's quite handy, works in safe mode, which I think AVG 8 doesn't do anymore.

    Fast6191 hit most of it I would think. I would also add in a spare external display. Some people have laptops, and the screen themselves go out. This would allow you to test if its just the screen or if the video card went out.
     
  12. Mewgia
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    Member Mewgia drifter

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    Of course, I already have 4 members of my secret bidoof army that have volunteered to carry things for me. IMEANUM
     
  13. deathfisaro

    Member deathfisaro Narcistic Deathfisaro Fan

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    I had a bad case of infection couple weeks ago.

    It was eating through files in the system32 folder and I started losing features: system recovery was unusable, lost internet, unable to use clipboard, explorer (not IE, the system explorer) was pretty much busted here and there.

    So I thought screw it, I'm gonna backup (since clipboard was nuked I had to use command; so glad I'm a DOS generation) and format.

    But I contacted a repair service just in case.
    They told me it costs $40 for checkup, virus/spyware removal something like $50~60, ~$25 per single layer DVD backup and blah blah.

    Yeah.. I backed up 150GB worth of stuff myself and formatted it myself.

    I'm not gonna pay $40 to hear them say "Sorry the only solution is formatting." I can ask guys from this free computer repair club in my university to say that for free =(
     
  14. Lee79

    Member Lee79 Hyper...Active...Team Fortress 2 Addict

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    You need Hiren's Bootcd 9.5 All in one Dos Bootable CD (95.4MB) http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd. You will have to download/search it from Bittorrent as some programs are cracked. It is one CD i could not live without when i am fixing PC's.
     
  15. IainDS

    Member IainDS GBAtemp Regular

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  16. boblen

    Newcomer boblen Advanced Member

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    CHKDSK [​IMG]
     
  17. gizmo_gal

    Member gizmo_gal QWEEN of the RadioActive Force!!!

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    A monitor.
     
  18. Trolly

    Member Trolly GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    I'd imagine this would be quite a difficult job to make money in as a 14-year-old. I would have never considered getting a job at 14, never mind a computer repair man.
    I think LiveCDs (OS ones) are the most important of course, though they've been mentioned. And as for a good scanning application, I think Hitman Pro is a good app. Unfortunately, it takes ages to install all the anti-viruses and update them everytime. As for an Anti-Virus you can use on the go, surely you can just copy the installation directory onto a USB stick or DVD and it will run straight off that?

    I seem to remember the only time we've had a computer repairman out, was a couple of years ago, to get our router to work. He was a nice guy, and he got it to work (turned out only one cable was wrong), but he was about £60-70 an hour (That's about $120-140 to you American folk [​IMG].
    Pretty steep. So that seems like a much better price to me. Also, being able to get a customer to understand what you're doing in some basic form will really help them trust you. Just a tip lol!

    Anyway, good luck with the whole thing.
     
  19. Mewgia
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    Member Mewgia drifter

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    It probably will be difficult to make money in but I don't really have much of an alternative. Nobody's hiring people my age and this is my main area of technical expertise, so it's the only way of making money that I can see in my near future. I tried petsitting in my neigborhood last summer and only one person ever went for it (I think someone spitefully tore down all my fliers because they were all gone within 2 days and only one person did anything with it), lucky for me they are rich and go away about once every two months but I think they have a roommate or renter now...

    Anti virus you can use on the go - I have read about this and it seems that that often does not work, the program needs to be installed in the computer it is working with.
     
  20. notnarb

    Member notnarb Not narbing it up

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    A keylogger to begin the REAL moneymaking
     

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