Computer Repair and Maintenance
Startup Costs: $2,000 - $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? Yes
Online Operation? No
Everybody with a computer knows that moment of panic when the hard drive crashes--and for businesspeople, it usually happens when they're staring into the eye of a deadline. But if you're a computer physician capable of diagnosing virtual ills and then repairing them, you can take on the appearance of an angel of mercy as a computer repair specialist. You'll drive out to clients' homes or offices with your briefcase of tools and equipment and heal those sickly computers and printers. You can also earn tidy revenues with preventive maintenance--dusting or vacuuming innards and cleaning disk drives on a quarterly or semiannual basis. The advantages to this business are that it's recession-proof--businesses need computers to operate, and home-computer buffs can't live without their virtual pals, either. And since the computer industry is one of exponential growth, peripheral industries like computer maintenance and repair are here to stay. As a final plus, this business is satisfying--people are always appreciative when you bring an acutely ill hard drive or printer back to health. You'll need to have the knowledge and skills of a good computer physician, including how to change motherboards, repair and replace hard drives, and add memory chips. And you should have a good computer-side manner so you can soothe panicky owners and tactfully instill the benefits of good preventive maintenance.
Your clients can be anybody with a computer, both businesses and individuals. Mail brochures, perhaps with a dentist-type appointment card to be filled in, to local businesses. Leave business cards and fliers with computer and software retailers. Place ads in the Yellow Pages and your local newspaper, and get yourself written up in the paper. Give talks on computer maintenance to professional and civic organizations and at local colleges and other adult-education centers.
You'll need a computer, an inkjet or laser printer, computer tinkering tools like screwdrivers and miniature vacuums, computer cleaning supplies, diagnostic software, commonly used parts and reference manuals. In some states, you'll need a license and a commercial shop to perform repairs; be sure to check with the business licensing department.