Determine Your Target Client
The first and foremost question you need to ask yourself, before starting the computer repair business is, Who are your Clients?
It would help if you determined who your clients are. That is usually small businesses or home users and their related demographics.
I’ve found that small businesses are great clients. I like to target businesses with ten or fewer PCs (some of my clients have ~20 PCs, including the server).
While I have a few home user clients, my business’s bulk is done with small business clients. Small business clients know that they need specialized service for their business and are happy to pay a fair price.
Sometimes home users don’t see it that way. Many of them are used to having the neighbor kid work on their PC for free or at a considerable discount.
That is fine, but small business clients know that they need someone more familiar with a small business’s technology needs – namely networking, servers, printer and file sharing, security, etc.
A small business client can be a real estate agent (working from home or an office), a real estate firm, appraisal Company, lawyer or small law firm, manufacturing facility, small doctor’s office, hospital, mortgage Company – anyone in business is your potential client.
The client’s size depends on how familiar you are with the technology required to support and run that business. Some small businesses don’t need a server.
They have a few laptops, a printer, and a DSL line and that’s all they need. Others have an email server, multiple printers, remote users who work from home or on the road and need more attention and expertise when their technology goes wrong.
If you’re not yet familiar with a type of technology in use at a potential client’s office, they might not be the client for you. If you are familiar, you need to determine how much time and attention a client will need.
One way to find this out is with an initial meeting with them. You can ask them their expectations, needs, etc. to get a feel for the service level they will be expecting.
One thing I’ve seen is an IT/computer tech getting in over their head. It’s important to know what you can handle exactly. If you come across a potential client using a Linux server and know how to even log in to a Linux box, let them know.
Messing up someone’s server is far costlier than merely turning down the client.
Find Ideal Clients for Computer Repair Business
So sit down and first define who your ideal client is.
- They are in which profession? (if that even matters to you)
- How many computers, per client, can you comfortably handle? Usually, the more workstations, the more attention they’ll need. Also, they’ll likely already have some dedicated server – so be sure you’re able to take care of the server too.
- Location – define where your service area is. How far will you travel? Are you willing to travel outside of your area if a job comes up? If so, will there be an additional travel fee?
- How much you charge will automatically filter out a lot of people. Your rate is appropriate for whom?
I have a wide variety of clients. I don’t specialize in any area – I’m more of a “jack of all trades”. The family doctor as opposed to the podiatrist (the foot doctor).
But specializing is a great way to go. I know someone who has a small IT firm that only takes care of doctor’s offices. Everything from their name to their logo says it.
They know exactly who their target client is. Plus, they are very familiar with all of the technologies doctor’s offices use.
Other guys only serve law firms – they usually have software and systems you only see with lawyers.
When it comes to my rates (what I bill per hour or service), I never lower them. What I charge is set in stone.
If a client says I’m “too expensive” or “more then than my last computer guy” – and they don’t want to pay my rate – they’re not my client.
My clients who pay my rate know that I’m worth it and don’t have any issues with it. Lowering my rate is the last thing I want to do.
My work experience and the amount of time and money I save my clients more than justifies it.
It’s good to get this figured out before heading out and getting clients.
Keep in mind your availability (if you’re doing this part-time, when can you see clients? Weekends and evenings only?) and your skillset.
If the potential client isn’t a good fit, to be afraid to turn them down.