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So… I’m opening a shop(r/computertechs)
First, go to the biggest computer repair chain and get their prices. Slash them all by a random percent and make those your prices.
Second, almost all of your profit will be labor, not parts. Make sure you add a decent markup on your parts. These people want to pay you money – the hardest time a tech has is determining what value his time/services have in the eyes of the customer.
Power Supply’s: Bread and butter. These go out often (about 8% of our customers are in because of power supply’s); you can get them for $10-$20 (with a several year warranty), sell them for $50-$60. Plus a standard hardware install ($25-$35). When replacing them under warranty, replace the part for free but charge labor again.
Surge Protectors: Ask every customer “When is the last time you replaced your surge protector?”. If it’s been more than 2 years, the surge protector is probably acting as a power strip only (they do wear down).
Hard drives: Every time you check out a computer, test the hard drive. Otherwise, they might come back a few months later and expect a free one. Plus, a replacement hard drive (which is usually $50-$100) needs to either be cloned from the old to the new ($50), or have the OS reinstalled ($120). Keep a few of each type – laptop SATA/IDE, desktop SATA/IDE. Don’t bother with higher capacities, just get them cheap.
Offer free recycling if it’s something you can use – did that laptop have a bad hard drive, but they would rather replace it? You can throw a hard drive in there at cost and resell it to someone that needs a cheap system.
Get the right tools. Screwdrivers from small to large, torx, hex, security bits, and magnetic (don’t worry, never seen a magnetic screw driver mess up a computer). Alot of shops don’t deal with anything anti-static (the electronics seem to be better protected these days). Cordless drill, scotch tape, tweezers, flashlights (LED), pliers, scissors, cable cutters, digital camera.
When you take a laptop apart, collect the money up front, tell them they need to pay whether it’s repairable or not, and tape every screw next to its hole with scotch tape.
Burn a copy of every XP/Vista/7/32-bit/64-bit/Retail/OEM/VLK disk you can find. Buy a subscription to Microsoft Technet (it’s like $200/$250 first year, gives you 3 licenses to everything and fast ISO downloads).
Build a server. Install Untangle on it (in a VM) to manage your network; in the host OS (should be Windows), host any files/programs you need in the whole shop; for example: WSUSOffline, Driver Packs, etc.
Keep a room for your spare/used parts. Make sure everything is labelled. There is a limit to what you should keep – don’t keep DDR sticks less than 256MB, DDR2 less than 512MB, or DDR3 less than 1GB; don’t keep processors before P4; don’t keep heatsinks unless they have special fans; don’t keep more than a few used power supplies.
Buy a few of these.
Buy microfiber cleaning cloths.
Buy a small compressor and keep it where you can take the hose out back and blow out a computer (oilless compressor, less than 35 PSI or you blow parts off the motherboard).
You should build workbenches (U shaped) with built in power/network/USB/PS2 switches. Connect them to these KVM’s (they have USB and PS/2 connectors so they work with pretty much anything).
Have a solid disclaimer.