Mr. Fix-IT

A self-proclaimed geek heeds a sign to start a computer franchise.
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This story appears in the October 2005 issue of Startups. Subscribe »

Matthew Lewis was interested in computers, but he wasn't sure exactly where that interest would lead him-until he saw a sign, literally. In spring 2003, just after he graduated from the University of Texas, Arlington, with a degree in web design and e-commerce, Lewis drove by a Geeks on Call billboard. He immediately made some calls to learn about the company.

About a year later, Lewis attended Discovery Day, a Geeks on Call event that gives future franchisees the chance to learn how the business started and where it's going, as well as meet with the president and CEO of the franchise. That day sealed the deal for Lewis. "I knew this is really where I needed to be," says Lewis.

Geeks on Call sends technicians in their offices on wheels-Chrysler PT Cruisers-to customers' homes and offices to help with anything from troubleshooting and upgrades to training and consulting.

Lewis, 34, recognized the franchise as a great service for small businesses that can't afford an on-staff IT employee. With a startup investment of about $55,000, he opened his first Geeks on Call franchise in December 2003, a second in April 2004 and a third in December 2004. This rapid growth exceeded even his expectations. "My original goal, after being up and running for a year, was to buy my second franchise," Lewis says. His new goal: to have 10 Geeks on Call franchises in the Dallas area in the next five to seven years.

With estimated combined sales of $250,000 for his franchises in 2005, not counting sales of computer parts, Lewis believes other prospective Geeks on Call franchisees can achieve this level of success. "Depending on what your desire for growth is," says Lewis, "the only one who can stop you from getting as big as you want to be is you."

Edition: September 2017

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