Top 7 Beginner Mistakes for New Computer Businesses
There are a handful of common beginner mistakes I often see in this business. A single one of these top 7 beginner mistakes can completely cripple a new business, yet I have found businesses that are actually making a few of these mistakes at the same time. I would like to share with you the top 7 beginner mistakes I have found:
Starting A Business Because You Like Computers
You love fixing computers and think it would be great making it a full time job by starting your own business right? If you just want to work with computers then you would be better off working for someone else as a salaried technician. When you become self employed the amount of computer repair work you do declines because you also have to be the business owner, manager, secretary, accountant, marketer and less of a technician.
Not Having Enough Start Up Funds
I believe that the bare minimum amount of money you should start a new business with is at least $1000 and that is not taking into account the amount of money you need to survive while you are starting up. You need to pay for official business registrations, accountants, tools, stock and advertising. I go into this a little deeper in my Computer Repair Business Start up Costs article.
Charging Too Low
We cover this a lot here at Technibble and it’s one of the most common mistakes. There are many young computer technicians believe that they can beat their competition by having lower prices but don’t realize the costs of running a real computer repair business. There are taxes, ongoing advertising costs, depreciation in your cars value, petrol, aging stock, business insurance and licenses for software. There is also another side effect of having very low prices and that is you attract cheap clients who want more for less and will eventually consume most of your time yet you will be making little money. Also, once you raise your prices to something more sustainable these clients most likely wont have any loyalty towards you because they will always be looking for the cheapest price.
Pirated Software Or Inappropriate Licenses
It is extremely risky to use pirated software or inappropriate licenses on both your business computers, or your clients computers. Not only is it unethical, but it is dangerous for your business because your competitors can take you out with one phone call to Microsoft, Adobe or any of the other big brands who go after pirates. Even if you don’t have any competitors in your area, all it takes is one angry client to “tell on you”.
Not Having Business Insurance
I find a lot of new businesses skip on having business insurance because of the costs involved. This can be a very dangerous move because you are more likely to make mistakes in your early years than you are in your later years. There are many factors involved in calculating the cost of insurance such as your location and the sort of clients that you deal with, but you can get good insurance for somewhere between $200 – $500 USD per year. Shop around for a good price using both local insurance agencies and online brokers such as InsuranceForTechs.com and TechInsurance.com
Getting In Over Your Head
I talked about this recently in my article “Don’t be afraid to turn down certain computer technician work” where I personally had a job in front of me that would have put me in over my head. While I could have done the job, if it went wrong I could have been sued into oblivion. Know your limits and don’t bite off more than you chew.
Learning On Clients Computers
This mistake goes hand in hand with the above “getting in over your head”. If I brought my car into a mechanics garage and found out that their mechanic was learning while fixing my car, I would be really upset. If you don’t know what you are doing, hand it onto someone else.
Of course, you need to learn somehow and there are many ways to do it without learning on a clients computer. You could work under someone else for a while or if you were like me and learning when you were young and penniless, I used to find abandoned computers on the side of the road and turn about 5 dead computers into 2 good working ones. If I did damage to any of the hardware, I would just put it back out on the side of the road. I would spend 3 hours trying to fix a problem that now takes me 5 minutes to do onsite. Its not fair chargrge the client for those 3 hours of learning time when it could be done in 5 minutes.