So I was wondering about my Future Plans...

February 11, 2010 at 15:27:30
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Hi all, in the future I'm planning to freelance for a bit, and then actually start a full time "Computer Maintenance" company, that specializes in Virus and Spyware removal, Registry Tweaking, Junk File Cleaning, and Desktop Cleaning (removing dust and etc from inside of Desktop PC components), and hopefully Remote Backup/Storage (which is another story for a later time), my question is, will it be possible to make money a good amount of money with these services?..Even though I'm not going to be running a traditional PC Repair company?..

I've seen some companies such as "PCultracare", and "Fastteks" who specialize only in Virus/Spyware removal (Which is what I'd LIKE to do), but I'm not sure what amount of money they bring in/and or what money I could bring in from only dealing with viruses and spyware, though I believe PCultracare charges at least a $40 flat rate fee. I'm also working on my A+ cert and a business plan.

edited by moderator: Post moved from General Hardware Forum


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#1
February 11, 2010 at 18:22:08
Contact PCultracare, set an appointment with someone from HR (a phone call will do, it doesn't have to be face to face) and talk to them about the industry, the employment opportunities, what training they would require, salaries, etc. Tell them that you are trying to break into the industry and looking for general information without letting on that you plan to compete with them.

That should give you some idea if your plans are viable.


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#2
February 11, 2010 at 21:59:04
I have, and they haven't gotten back to me, this was a month or so ago. The only thing I was able to get out of them was the type of software they use when they're fixing the computer (I.E. virus removal, etc).

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#3
February 12, 2010 at 07:25:14
Obviously, I can't tell what happened from where I'm sitting, but you may not have spoken to the right person or maybe you gave them the impression that you were going to be competing with them.

Try this...

There's an old social engineering trick to get people to help you: You start the conversation with "I need your advice."

That puts the person you are talking to in the "superior" position, builds up their ego and almost always makes them want to help you. Unconsciously, the person says to themselves "He considers me an expert, that makes me feel good and so I will help him."

I suggest you call back (trust me, by now they’ve forgotten about you) and ask for a supervisor or HR rep. Explain that you are a student and would like their advice on a career path. You’d be surprised how often that technique works.


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Related Solutions

#4
February 12, 2010 at 08:02:53
I suggest you call back (trust me, by now they’ve forgotten about you) and ask for a supervisor or HR rep. Explain that you are a student and would like their advice on a career path. You’d be surprised how often that technique works.

Awesome advice!

The following is just my two cents...............

You said you wanted to sideline, and then maybe even start a company, "that specializes in Virus and Spyware removal, Registry Tweaking, Junk File Cleaning, and Desktop Cleaning "

All I want to say is, if you do that, you limit yourself and therefore your potential for income and future growth of your business. Everything you mentioned is something most people can do on their own at home, or get free software to do it.

Nowadays with so many people growing up with computers, there are more and more people who can, and do, do these things for themselves. Add on to that the fact that every other computer company, electronics store and shop that has a computer repair tech does that and well, I suspect you won't make enough in the long run to really make it worth a go.

I would highly recommend you take a two year diploma course in computing or pursue some CompTIA accreditation and start a business that supports hardware, software and operating systems. All the things you mentioned above are a part of what you would do for your customers, as well as be able to build, repair, replace computers.

I used to run my own consulting business and while I did make a lot of $$$ off of people who messed up their PC's and couldn't fix it themselves, I made a whole lot more $$$ of businesses doing the aforementioned as well as building servers/client PC's, maintaining their network, printers and troubleshooting network/domain/printer/server issues.

Once you have some training and some experience, you make so much more money off of other things that you get to a point one day where you really want to stop working on peoples PC's at home because it sucks up too much of your time and doesn't return enough $$$ for the time it takes.


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#5
February 12, 2010 at 10:47:53
I can troubleshoot hardware (somewhat), and I can replace hardware/software if needed (Fixing BSOD and things like that are a bit hard for me without proper instructions), the only problem is that I'm not going to be making house calls. I always thought it would be better not offering to replace hardware, or etc, because of the chance of it being back ordered by whom ever I ordered it by, or etc. I've worked a lot with hardware/software in high school--servers/networks..not so much, haha. I have a learning disability and servers/networks confuse the hell out of me, where as replacing hardware, building bare bone PC's, Removing Viruses, and doing the things that I mentioned in my first post are easier for me. Also as I've stated, I'm currently studying for my A+ cert. I'm not the best with Laptops either, only desktops, which is what I'm more comfortable with fixing..so. If I were to offer hardware replacements or upgrades (such as RAM, a new Motherboard, or etc), where do you suggest I buy from?..And, also what should I charge?.. another question I have is, and I don't know if you've heard of "SupercleanPC.com", or any of the other thousands of names they've used (The company's name is Ascentive, IIRC), anyway what I'd like to do..is offer anything that software can do, but for a lower price, (They're a scam company from what I've heard, and their software is garbage). Should I try and compete against them?..Perhaps try and steer customers away from going to them?..

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#6
February 12, 2010 at 13:19:07
I have a learning disability and servers/networks confuse the hell out of me, where as replacing hardware, building bare bone PC's, Removing Viruses, and doing the things that I mentioned in my first post are easier for me.

Sorry to hear that. I've managed to work around mine and become successful and I bet if you really tried, you could too.

Starting with your A+ is an excellent idea. It and the Network+ were my first two cert's.

Due to one of the positions I've held in the past I received a bunch of vendor certs. I'm certified on all IBM desktop/laptop platforms as well as a Compaq APS cert. I used to have my Toshiba TAT certification but let it lapse since I dont' work on their laptops any more. As I mentioned, I have a bunch of Lexmark and HP cert's. Again, all because of one job I had running around fixing servers, computers, and printers in bank branches. In a nutshell, all those certs mean is I can work on those vendor's equipment without voiding the warranty.

In today's world you don't have to worry too much about parts being back ordered. On the rare occasion I allow myself to be talked into working on someone's computer, I tell them what to buy and leave the actual purchasing (where/when) entirely up to them. They bring me the part and PC and I make it work.

If you're going to be working from home, you will inevitably get requests to fix/replace/uprgade hardware. This is a simple solution that doesn't entail you doing anything other than some google searches to read reviews on hardware.

Just so you know, a server is just a computer like any other. It may be designed differently (ie: a rack mount unit) and may have parts you wouldn't necessarily find in a home PC (ie: RAID controller and multiple hard drives) but if you can take a "regular" PC apart and put it back together, you could do the same on a server too.

Network can be a little confusing but if you get to know and understand subnetting and how it works, it makes it a lot easier to grasp. The physical aspect is really rather simple. It doesn't take a degree to figure out how to run cabling.

I'm sure you can do ok doing what you want to do, but I really think you should start thinking long term right now. While you could make money working from home doing relatively simple things. If you expand your horizon's you also expand your ability to earn income.

I found the up and down cycles of income running my own business frustrated me and finally set that aside to work for someone else. There's something to be said for guaranteed income and benefits and payed vacations.


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#7
February 12, 2010 at 14:17:27
" I tell them what to buy and leave the actual purchasing (where/when) entirely up to them. They bring me the part and PC and I make it work. "

That is what I was planning to do, I guess I'd just have to figure out a good pricing structure. As for servers, I know what they are, haha, I've just never used one. I'm thinking of buying a hardware server down the road if I save enough money, because one of the main things I want to do in my business is remote storage/file hosting (Like Carbonite, Mozy, etc), do they make "Portable" servers though?..if there is such a thing, that can easily be moved, and etc?..(I'd more than likely be running out of an apartment, so.).


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#8
February 14, 2010 at 17:17:52
Another thing I'm wondering about besides my question with servers from my above post, is what to do about advertising, I know I can make a good living off of this type of business, but, what are some ways you who run your own businesses advertise?..I'm gonna be a one man show, pretty much. And how many customers do you get per week?..

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#9
February 15, 2010 at 16:38:49
I am not at all the smartest when it comes to trying to run my own business. Once several years ago I had been working as a sheet metal mechanic when we had a bit of an economic slump and I got laid off. I never really intended to start a business. I drove a cab and started taking on small side jobs to make extra cash (just friends and etc..). Through word of mouth I had to quit the cab company to keep up with the side work I was getting. While I felt I was a very good mechanic I knew nothing of business. I finally had to get a license becuase the jobs were getting bigger and required permits. Now I had to worry about taxes and workmans comp for myself to keep things legal. I didn't have the time needed to handle everything by myself so I had to hire either a crew to do the work or someone to handle the business end. I have a problem trusting people so I was unable to hire someone to basically take care of my money. By then the comapany I had worked for was picking back up so I dropped the business and went back to them.

Now I am in school myself after this last economic downturn, to learn to work on computers and networking. Just through word of mouth I am getting slammed with work at home. I have been working on computers for about 9 years but it was a hobby more or less. I figured with the schooling I could get a real job doing it. I still have stuff backed up here from christmas. It has gotten to the point where I am missing at least one day of school every week.


My point is I have never advertised. Never wanted to. Talking to a neighbor he found out I was in school and asked me to look at his computer. From there he told his sister about me and I have also gone back to the last place I was working as a sheet metal mechanic and completely redid their network, I get at least 1 troubleshooting call from them a day. I don't want a business but I keep getting them. Usually for christmas lol. As for billing I have no real structure myself. I just try to be fair. I try not to mess with someones warrenty as I have no certifications yet. I make everyone aware of this up front. Some jobs I'll call aroubd and get price4s from other places if the average seems rather bloated for the amount of work I had to do (almost always) then the customer gets away a great deal cheaper with me.

Example: The average cost for labor to replace a dial up modem in this area seems to be $50. That's just labor! I charge $20 and sometimes that seems steep to me.

Likely


I want to go like my grandfather did. Peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming at the top of my lungs like the passengers in his car.

(\__/)
(='.'=)
(")_(")


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#10
February 16, 2010 at 06:14:15
Like likelystory I never advertised.

I had a friend who started a dialup ISP back in the day when internet was first really becoming available to everyone in the early 90's. He didn't know squat about NT 4.0 and neither did his partner. But I did and being as how we were friends, he asked me if I'd help in return for free internet. Being no dummy I said yes quickly.

I set up their two NT servers and helped him setup his digiboard and modem pool and get everything working. Until he and his partner felt comfy enough with what they were doing I also offered them a lot of support. Over the next year or two they started throwing site visit's at me for clients who had issues.

This led to a lot of word of mouth adervtising and within about two years I had to get a license and hammer out some contracts. I ended up with a couple real nice corporate clients, one of which had two big offices in my city and 4 other offices in 4 other cities/towns. I was only responsible for the 2 in my city as they were contracting out locally in every case.

I never advertised. Every company I did work for added to my client list as people who worked for that company would then call me for their personal PC's. Then those people told friends and so on and so on.

Eventually I was turning away private customers as I never had any free time and I was basically working 7 days a week. After about 3 years of never getting a day off or a vacation I quit. As corporate contracts came up for renewal, I didn't renew and began saying no to private clients. I went back to school one more time, got my MCSE, A+ and Network+ and then got a job working for someone else.

Now I get regular vacations, work only 5 days a week AND, I don't have to keep track of mileage, hang onto every receipt and do my own business taxes and I'm a lot happier!



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#11
February 16, 2010 at 18:46:40
Thanks for all the help with that. Two of my final questions pertain to servers (again), and freelancing. My question that relates to servers is, is there an "idiot proof" type of hardware server out there?, and are there such things as small compact servers?..similar to that of a USB external hard drive?..(That's what I'm mainly looking for is something that I won't screw up, but also something I can take on the road with me when I travel but work) .I've only seen how to set up said Desktop as a server using Ubuntu, which confused the holy hell out of me, and I guess that's why I find servers a bit confusing.

My second question is, would it be possible for you to tell me any freelancing sites (such as gofreelance.com, guru.com, ifreelance.com) that also have catagory's for Computer Repair?..All the ones I know of only deal with Programming, Web Design, Graphic Design, or Networking.


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#12
February 17, 2010 at 13:23:53
There's never going to be any such things as "idiot proof". Generally speaking, if you're talking about purchasing, you have to first discuss requirements with the client.

If you're really not comfortable with setting up servers I would stay away from it.

I know of no sites like the ones you're asking about.


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#13
February 17, 2010 at 15:59:43
It was actually suggested today to me that I should let another company do the file hosting/back up option I'm going to have (similar to Mozy). Which after thinking about it, is a good idea. I know of some companies who give you their back up software that you can put your own logo on or etc, for a hefty fee. (I've seen packages of up to 5,000 dollars or so.).

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#14
February 17, 2010 at 23:30:20
I've set up a couple servers through school, actually at other schools in the county. Seems fairly easy but that is the limit of my experience with servers. I have learned one very important thing in the past several years of tinkering with these computers however: There may be several ways of fixing the problem but the number of ways a person can screw up a system is unlimited. As Curt R pointed out "idiot proof" is not likely to happen.

As for the hosting of anothers files I am betting there could be major insurance issues not yet mentioned. If Joe Smith gives you his wedding photos to store and they get corrupted him and his wife are going to be angry. If a comapany asks for you to store financial information and it gets corrupted you may be on the wrong end of a law suit. Stuff happens and it just simply is not possible to say without doubt that a file can not get corrupted. Since people pay for this service and the gaurrenty someone is the financially responsible for those files.

Likely


I want to go like my grandfather did. Peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming at the top of my lungs like the passengers in his car.

(\__/)
(='.'=)
(")_(")


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#15
February 18, 2010 at 05:51:06
There may be several ways of fixing the problem but the number of ways a person can screw up a system is unlimited.

I nearly woke up my wife and dogs cause this cracked me right up and made me LOL

That is soooooooooooooooooo true!

With regard to remote storeage. If you were to go onsite and inspect companies that do this type of thing you'd find they have very nice data centers that would in all likelyhood have all the latest and greatest for UPS's and air conditioning, generators in case of major power loss, network bandwidth etc.

I've known a few people who wanted to try to do this from home but the simple answer is, you can't afford what it would take to do this right.

Aside from A/C and UPS's you also need your own backup system to back the data you're storing on your server(s) up. This most likely means tapes although if it were me and I had the $$$, I'd be doing tapes and a SAN/NAS and, backed up to another remote location. My reasoning being, if your home burns down (or place of business) you still have to be able to provide the end users with the data they've backed up on your server(s).

If your server(s) burn up in the fire along with your backup tapes......well.......I hope you incorporated your business because if you didn't, they'll sue you personally and you'll spend the rest of your life working to pay them off when you lose the court case.

There are so many ways something like this can go wrong it's best to stay completely away from it.


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#16
February 18, 2010 at 20:00:26
Well, what about acting as a reseller?..Say, like an option for me to resell said person an external hard drive to back up their data on, and then said data would be sent to them, or etc. I've seen a few companies (PC Repair) who are resellers of LaCie external hard drives, and Western Digital.

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