OFFICIAL: Start your own computer business thread

ClutchClutch North Carolina
edited March 2010 in The Pub
Okay so to make a long story short here goes. I can't get into the airforce as you all know ( I know it's a bummer ) but for the past 2 months my boss has been a real dick at work. I mean he always ****s something up and we loose a customer and me and the guy I work with get the **** for it. This is a non stop process I might add. So me and the guy I work with our going to open up our own store front as a computer repair shop in our town. That is, if we can get this other guy to help us who makes websites for a living. So we will have a rang of services to offer.

So basically this thread is for anyone looking to start their own business or has already done so and could add some good info for us.

Basically I would like to gather a good thread with a list of things one would need to do Pc repair work, etc...



The things I can think of off the top of my head are...


Extra monitors
Extra keyboards/mouse
Spare memory, other hardware
Screws, screw drivers, IC pullers
Compressed air
Backup psu for testing
Memtest on a floppy
Boot disks for all operating systems
Adaware/Spybot on a cd for quick loading

Broadband connection, shared for test computers to use

Anything else please add. Starting monday we will be scoping out the competition to set our prices and all.

Also we will be offering in-house repairs, meaning I would drive to their house to work if they are elderly or can't get out of the house.

We will be doing ads in a local magazine and most likely yellow pages

Well lets get the ball rolling guys.
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Comments

  • panzerkwpanzerkw New York City
    edited February 2004
    A business license?
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited February 2004
    sigh....
  • edited February 2004
    I started to post on this earlier and the site went south so here's my thoughts (if it'll get on this time).
    Get a good laptop with a CDRW drive for doing onsite stuff.
    If a comp won't get online due to mal-ware or a virus you can get online from the site with the laptop and dl the fix and burn it to cd then apply the fix.
    It really helps for onsite fixes.
    I'd also suggest carrying a usb ethernet dongle for onsite diagnosing of lan woes, bad lan cards and the like.
  • profdlpprofdlp The Holy City Of Westlake, Ohio
    edited February 2004
    Re-read this.

    And good luck!
  • ClutchClutch North Carolina
    edited February 2004
    sigh....


    That better be a good sigh soldier :buck:
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited February 2004
    It's just that ... well, haven't we gone through all this before? Like a few times?

    I hate to be so blunt about it, but discussing and planning and thinking and nailbiting doesn't get a business to be successful. Every second that you spend planning it and asking for advice is wasted time.

    Look at it this way:

    there is a gigantic, huge, stupendous market for your services. 90% of the people in your town have a computer or are going to get one soon. I promise. They need you. Now. There is NO reason why you cannot make this work - there is no obstacle. Only you. Only your mind is the obstacle. That's it. Everything else is there for you to do this. Just do it, then.

    Yoda: Do, or do not.. There is no try.... :D
  • edited February 2004
    I'm putting an ad in the local paper for onsite service tomorrow (I was gonna do it today but I got side-tracked) and I'll fix any problem onsite for $35 labor plus any parts needed and those the owner can pick up at Staples or a local shop or online if they want to wait.
    I'll even build and load a system for $35 labor plus parts and software but it'll be here so I can use my broadband for updates and stuff and it'll be an overnight job.
  • a2jfreaka2jfreak Houston, TX
    edited February 2004
    I'm going to agree with prime.

    Obviously there does need to be planning as just jumping head-first into any business venture is not a wise decision normally, but there's a point when the "planning" is really "procrastinating" or "looking for reasons not to do it." If you want to do it, great. If you don't, that's fine too . . . eventually you will talk yourself out of it.
  • RWBRWB
    edited February 2004
    I am in a Buisness Class right now, my lecturers are lawyers, or have been lawyers, along with other fields also...

    They have been teaching this stuff, and we actually have to form our own Corporations(not a full legal way) so we gather all the paperwork and "pretend" to make a Corp. But other then actually sending out the papers, we just presume it was...

    I could easily write down any ideas or thoughts on the subject, and I could relay them to a teacher for an answer or something. We've already gone over so much, and while most think it is a ****ty boring class, I have found it to be full of information I hadn't known before and experience I didn't know how to get before.

    It's great... :D
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited February 2004
    a2jfreak wrote:
    I'm going to agree with prime.

    * the earth shatters and now we are living in an alternate universe ;D j/k

    One of the things I've noticed about people who are always talking about starting businesses is this:

    (and before I start, I count myself in this group - I talked about my first business for months and then failed it two years later and then I talked about this one for months before I jumped in)

    People fall into the trap of "Hmmm. What will I need to start a business?" And then they worry about this or that, what they will buy, what tools they'll need, etc. This is all based on a perceived need - it is backed up by no actual client data or no actual business at all. They are guessing, plain and simple. This is a subtle but powerful form of fear and doubt (thus leading to failure). You want to "be prepared" for every eventuality and so you plan and plot and prepare and buy stuff and it gathers up and then when you're ready to finally start.................


    you still have no clients.


    Now that I have hindsight, which of course is 20/20, I can say this:

    That is SO BACKWARDS! First, go out and get some BUSINESS - forget the fancy shlock! Just go out, talk to your neighbor, and find out if you can remove the spyware from their computer for $50 .. They will say yes! Do that a few more times. Buy some business cards for $25. Cheap, simple ones. Nobody will care that you are a home-based business. Go out more, tell your neighbors to recommend you. Give friends and family piles of business cards. Then, suddenly when a day comes when you have four computers to do in one day, you realize that, gee, this would be faster if you had a CD with this-and-that on it. Then you make the tool. You make the tool based on the ACTUAL need - not the perceived need.

    Am I making sense? Just go out and get some clients, and THEN you'll KNOW what you need.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited February 2004
    RWB wrote:
    They have been teaching this stuff, and we actually have to form our own Corporations(not a full legal way) so we gather all the paperwork and "pretend" to make a Corp. But other then actually sending out the papers, we just presume it was...

    bah.. .total schlock..

    What you need as a small business owner is $10-$20.. You take a nice crisp $20 bill to the county office building and you get a "DBA" paper - Doing Business As. You fill out the paper, and then hand them the $20.. If you get change, you go out and get yourself a nice sandwich.

    Now, you take the $5 that you have left (if you got a cheap sandwich)... You take that to a bank.. You give the $5 and the DBA certificate to the service rep, and you open a business account.

    Now, you take the $50 that you got from your neighbor and you put it in the business account. You spend $20 to get the cheapest business checks that they offer, and you write yourself check #1 for $10

    Frame that ****ing check. You'll love it.

    Corporation papers - worry about those in two years. That's a bit more complicated, because it involves a nice steak lunch or sushi if you're into that (I was)... And it costs $60 instead of $10.. It's huge.

    Oh, and there's two places to sign instead of one. Totally nuts.
  • CammanCamman NEW! England
    edited February 2004
    Great advice from the primemaster. And I understand about the dwelling and such after we talked the other day....

    but a teeny tiny little question about "just going out and doing it" is there any legal problems with that or is it okay to just go out and start doing it but make sure to keep track of money coming in for tax purposes later on?
  • edited February 2004
    Here the DBA papers as you term them are $100 so that's a bit more but as a side service running in home I won't need them right away, only for a store front.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited February 2004
    See post #12 for the answer to that.
  • RWBRWB
    edited February 2004
    Is it not true that sole-propietorships actually loose 50% of their profit to taxes? Kinda ****ty don't ya think? One thing I need to get to know is how to work with the deductions or whatever it is called.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited February 2004
    Madmat:

    Bah.. schlock again... It's only $50... Here's the PDF file of the form you need to fill out. And you DO need them no matter what - if you are home-based, whatever. You need to file for business taxes and then fill out a federal W9 to get a Federal EIN so you can pay the man. Then you are in business.

    RBW:

    Where do you get your info? Dude, they are lawyers and professors, not actual small business owners. :rolleyes: 50% is insane, and it's just plain false. For a sole proprietership, you are paying your regular federal and state income tax. Nothing inflated for DBAs . YOu still fill out 1040s for taxes, and there are no special forms.. When you incorporate, it's a different story, but we aren't at that stage yet. Let's keep this thread going for a year or so and when you guys all incorporate, I'll have a new slew of snappy advice for you ;)
  • profdlpprofdlp The Holy City Of Westlake, Ohio
    edited February 2004
    Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow
    (10 points if you get the reference.)

    madmat: Good luck, man. Hope you make a killing! :thumbsup:

    a2jfreak: You are right about the procrastination. Back when I was doing building rehab's I had a great assistant. Showed up on time everyday (sober, to boot!) and really knew his stuff. His Achilles Heel? He was always planning, re-thinking, re-planning, modifying his plan some more, then would scrap his idea and start from scratch. The only way I cured him was to give him a deadline for submitting a plan, then insist he stick to it. (And also tried to boost his self-confidence, which was the real root of the problem). Once he realized that his first set of ideas was usually as good as any, he was ok.

    There comes a time when you have to put down the blueprints and pick up your tools and get to work.

    RWB: As primesuspect said, "For a sole proprietership, you are paying your regular federal and state income tax". In order to actually pay anything near that you would have to earn over $500,000 a year. Taxes are too high, but if I was clearing $250,000 a year (over $20,000 a month!) I could probably live with it.

    Realistically, let's say you grossed $40,000 a year. You'd pay $3,910 plus 25% of the amount between $28,400 and $40,000 (another $2,900) for a total Federal tax of $6,810. You'd have $33,190 left. (Minus your State taxes.) Look at your current tax deductions (you should have your W-2 by now) and compare what you are paying now.
  • ClutchClutch North Carolina
    edited February 2004
    I totally agree with what you are saying prime. I know that we have had a similar thread like this but it kind if died away with time, and I even forgot the name of the thread ( am I really getting that old? hehe ) I know there is a fine line between thinking about doing this and actually doing this. But the info that I have collected so far, about the dba papers, etc..is great. Usually I am not one to go through with my plans, but this time I have 2 people that are going to be helping me. The main guy already has a succesful book store where he sells nationwide, so we got a good guy for marketing and to do all that taxes and all.

    Another main thing is that I want my dad to be happy that his son finally did something good for himself, I don't know how much time I got with him, so ever since Jan 1 every day to me is a valuable day.
  • ketoketo Occupied. Or is it preoccupied?
    edited February 2004
    Hi Clutch. The other warning here is to be very careful with partners. Everything has to be done totally "by the book". It's gonna cost some $$ but you need a partnership agreement that's very explicit about ownership %, who's liable for what debts, right of refusal to buy out if someone wants out, and I'm sure a lawyer will have several other important points to make about being in a partnership. No skimming to beat the taxman, not because it's illegal but because it will start arguments about who got what and who's owed what. Every penny has to go through the company books. Better yet, 2 partners have to sign ALL company cheques.

    I worked for a partnership when I was your age. The 2 guys were best friends for 15 years ++. The root of the problems they started having were that one was a drunk and one was a gambler. Great combination, not. I watched them argue about cash all the time, the gambler wanted to skim to feed his habit, the drunk wanted all the money to flow through the company so he could write off his drinking expenses as "entertainment". They had a pretty good little company going but it died a slow death as first the partnership broke up and then the drunk drank away what was left.

    The point is that that example is one of hundreds of different reasons that partnerships dissolve and many of them are *somewhat* avoidable if all the terms and conditions are laid out up front. These guys might be your best friends, on the other hand they might clean out the bank account one night and call it "their share" or just take off.

    Geez, aren't I just full of cheer and light today. :shakehead:
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited February 2004
    Partnerships rarely, if ever, work... There are all kinds of tiny little problems that can crop up that you can't ever forsee, and most of them have to do with emotions, feelings, and relationships - intangibles. Business partnerships run the risk of ruining friendships and family ties. I highly recommend against any partnership.
  • ClutchClutch North Carolina
    edited February 2004
    I can see what you mean about partnerships. But in this case I have to go in with someone. The one guy is a professional marketing guy, and me and the other guy will be fixing the computers, making sure we have all the parts we need. And I will be the one driving out to the customers house to work.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited February 2004
    That doesn't require a partnership - that requires an owner and two employees.

    Don't fall into the trap of thinking "I need the support" - because the support of "co-owners" is an illusion - what you need is two people to help you - there's nothing saying that they have to have ownership.
  • ClutchClutch North Carolina
    edited February 2004
    Prime: When starting up a business, would it be the best bet to add up how much your payments are each month, then take out a loan to cover those payments for about 4 months and just pay off the loan? Or how would the best way to go about doing that be? I thought about just taking out a loan and doing the above.
  • CammanCamman NEW! England
    edited February 2004
    Why would you need massive loans for starting up a computer business? I'm just curious.

    I am working on getting something going for small businesses around the area to do computer/small network maintenance etc and I've already done some for a few businesses around here, but I dont need like large amounts of money to buy stuff. Even when I did some work and I had NO money, they were having a problem with a computer, it needed more memory, I told them they needed more memory, I setup the ordered, the guy entered his CC and the stuff shipped to their office and I came back and installed it, he paid me. I mean, I guess I'm assuming you would need loans and such to buy extra parts but I would think that would be bad practice to stock extra parts.

    I dont own any businesses or anything and I've only done limited amounts of this type of work for people, but, even in this really very basic overview book I bought called "Starting a computer business" it says that trying to stockpile extra parts and rent storefronts when you're not pulling in any revenue/starting out is a really bad idea. I'm getting the paperwork together to "officially" launch this little outfit and I'm just going to be running it out of my house until I actually start making enough money to warrant spending lots of money on the business.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited February 2004
    What camman said. What exactly do you need to buy to run a service-based business? You definitely don't want to stock parts - you're biting yourself in the ass if you do that. You need a nice shirt and pants, nice shoes, a bright smile, a professional attitude, and the skill to do what you do. Spend $100 on clothes if you have to.

    Don't, I repeat: DON'T GET A LOAN to start your business - many people I've talked to over the years who are successful business owners say that you should never take out a loan, ever. If you have to take out a loan, that means you don't have the business to support what you're buying.

    I took out one loan ever, and it was from Dell Financial so I could buy 2 servers and 4 workstations for a client - about $6,000... I regret it so much. After interest I will have paid around $9,000 for parts for a job that I made $2,000 on... Therefore, I lost $1,000 on the entire job. It was my biggest mistake I ever made with sarcnet industries. Don't do that, please.
  • ClutchClutch North Carolina
    edited February 2004
    You guys must have read it wrong. What I meant was take out a loan big enough to make my car payment, insurance, etc for about 4 months. That way I will have my payments out of the way. I mean if we start this up and I dont make enough money to make my car payment for that month then I'm screwed. We don't need any parts, I wasn't talking about that.
  • ketoketo Occupied. Or is it preoccupied?
    edited February 2004
    If you need quick SHORT TERM cash flow for hardware purchases, a credit card might work. Most still charge 0 interest net 30 days (pay off from statement each month). The problem is the temptation is there to run up the balance on wants not needs, and maybe personal items. Then the balance is too high to pay off without interest and you start costing yourself money.

    Most banks have student credit card programs (Visa/Mastercard) with small limits $500-1000, but you need to be enrolled in a college/post secondary institution to get one afaik.

    Overall borrowing is a bad idea tho because if the business fails, you're still on the hook for the loan.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited February 2004
    Yeah, that's my point. If you have to borrow money, for whatever, it's bad news. Instead, what you should do is say "Hmm.. My car payment for March will be $xxx... I NEED to go out and earn that much or I'm screwed...."

    I highly recommend against borrowing money. HIGHLY... That's all I can say about it.
  • a2jfreaka2jfreak Houston, TX
    edited February 2004
    Again, I agree with prime.

    Prime, sure you're not a closet-conservative? ;D
    Yeah, that's my point. If you have to borrow money, for whatever, it's bad news. Instead, what you should do is say "Hmm.. My car payment for March will be $xxx... I NEED to go out and earn that much or I'm screwed...."

    I highly recommend against borrowing money. HIGHLY... That's all I can say about it.
  • ClutchClutch North Carolina
    edited February 2004
    I have two credit cards already. I'm really good at buying things with them as well, I almost got both paid off, as soon as I send off the next payment they should be with a $0 balance. I was going to keep them that way incase we needed to buy a part or something. I was just curious as to your opinion on borrowing enough money to take care of my payments for a month or so until we get everything on our feet and ready. I will talk with my parents also to see what we can work out.
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