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The Death of the Computer Repairman...?

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posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 08:17 AM
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the only thing that stands between big box builders and Computer Users is these local computer shops. and now, it appears new computers with Windows7 are coming down into the price range of Computer Repair Prices. I saw a brand new Laptop for only $349 at Best Buy. I spec'd out a tower, for me to just buy the components to build this tower was $509.00 without an operating system. at BestBuy the tower had a MSRP of $399.00
with Windows7..??????.. talk about unfair business practices... or even playing field... were getting screwed... and if you let them install anything they give you extra software that makes your computer vulnerable to attack, they put a trojan on your computer so they can remote into it.

it takes approximately 5.5hrs to totally redo, upgrade and protect a computer.
what is 5.5hrs worth...? I charge $150 to do this job.
since around Sept. 09, I have seen an increase in TV commercials "Fix" "Fast" just call them and they will remote into your computer if possible, if not they just instruct you on reimaging your computer. but they only do about half the job.
and then they need a guy like me, but they by passed me and now i have to deal with a unhappy customer and reduce income potential... its a conspiracy I tell you.

any who, it appears out of the 20+ computer builders/servicers in my local area are taking other jobs just to keep the lights on... well, I switching from fixing virus infected computers into a Electronics Recycling Center, as this is the only growth I see that the big box builders are not ready to tackle yet... if you cant compete with WalMart - EBAY what do you do...? Go green and piss on fixing the machine.


[edit on 18-2-2010 by Anti-Evil]




posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 08:46 AM
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reply to post by Anti-Evil
 


if you are still trying to build PC's I am surprised you are still in business. I stopped trying to compete with Dell 5 years ago. I sell dell's to my customers. Buy them on ebay and resell. Thanks to viruses, I still have a job. you will not beat them at computer sales. don't forget, they can't run cable or set up a server. Adapt to the environment or be eliminated.



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 09:06 AM
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reply to post by network dude
 


Agreed. The sum of the parts cost greater than the whole, just like a car.

My buddy has a business installing/repairing phone systems and used to do tons of CAT 5 cabling. Due to wifi, he now mostly does multi-line commercial phones.

I would think that data recovery might be a viable venture since most people I know are too lazy for back ups etc. (Oh noes, all my pictures of Fluffy giving birth to her kittens are gone.)


Personally, I enjoy buying towers, power supplies and components etc. but just for my own personal use. I like to tinker.

The future.............Plastics.
( Refernce to "The Graduate")

[edit on 18-2-2010 by kinda kurious]



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 09:09 AM
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You can buy those cheap systems at wal-mart if you want but you'll be in my shop in a few months either wanting me to speed it up or fix it. Though malware is most of my business, it's been keeping me pretty busy. There are lots of businesses in the area that don't want to deal with the hassle computers can bring so just pay people like us to come out and maintenance them.

Those cheap systems have cheap parts and they'll need fixing to, especially after they get infected. Our biggest concern for our customers is their data. A lot of people don't want their systems wiped if they don't need to be and they sure as hell don't want to lose any data, so we try our best to take care of the customer, we don't cheat them or talk them into things they don't need. People see this and appreciate our business for it. We don't even need to advertise, we have enough mouth to mouth business.

Also our systems might cost more, but they are custom built with quality hardware and has 3 yrs parts & labor warranty with someone local to fix it. Your Dell or HP might never give you problems, but if it ever goes, good luck with their customer service...

[edit on 18-2-2010 by SeeingBlue]



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 09:30 AM
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reply to post by SeeingBlue
 


Very good points. I've customers who would rather pay a little more for a custom-built system, knowing every component is high-quality, as well as the fact of them having someone local and dependable to call if/when something goes wrong ... or they have a simple question or concern.

Many folks are still willing to pay that nominal difference for top-quality systems and same day service.

The "package" systems do tend to use lesser quality components when it comes to power supplies and peripherals, with the power supply actually being the Most important component of all... can't count the number of times where a cheap "bargain" power supply failed and took either the processor, motherboard or both right along with it. (E-Machines re notorious for that).



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 09:47 AM
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Computers have become so cheap its almost not worth paying to fix them. Much like the TV repairman back in the 60's and 70's. It was worth paying someone to repair your TV for a couple of hundred dollars when a new set cost you a couple of thousand. When TVs became cheap the TV repair business went away. People just throw their old TV away and get a new one now.

I gave up building PCs for people in the early 2000s when it just wasn't worth the time and effort for the price. Computers have become just another appliance in the home that people throw away when it stops working.

There is only a small niche market for custom built PCs these days and that is the hard core gamers. Even they are becoming a dying breed with consoles starting to catch up with the technology.



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 09:56 AM
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Since I seem to be among fellow geeks, there is some crazy funny stuff here:

www.thewebsiteisdown.com...

Contains adult language.

Episode #1 and #3 are Must Sees. I hope you enjoy.


[edit on 18-2-2010 by kinda kurious]



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 10:01 AM
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Originally posted by Erasurehead

There is only a small niche market for custom built PCs these days and that is the hard core gamers. Even they are becoming a dying breed with consoles starting to catch up with the technology.



And more and more game makers are gearing toward consoles first and PC's as an after-thought. Modern Warfare 2 on the PC is just a port from the Xbox360.

Its planned obsolescence and volume effects for standardization on cheapest cost vs quality and customization.

Its another area where we are becoming a "throw away" society.



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 10:08 AM
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I remember when I first got into the market back in 2005, thanks to the small location there was a high demand for a shop. I worked at a local shop for an internship and his business was booming. The only problems he ever had was the overhead for space. I thought that if I could remedy that problem (he was paying roughly $1000 a month) I would be able to succeed where he was failing.

Needless to say, I adopted a lot of his business practices when I opened up and he subsequently went out of business, moving on to teaching. While I do have a loyal following, I do realize that it is simply impossible to compete with the large companies any longer. I have basically adopted a policy where I flat out tell them they can get computers elsewhere for cheaper, be it a Dell or eMachine, but then I promptly refer them to my wall of cases of dead machines, most of which are the aforementioned companies machines. This usually works but most times people will run to Walmart to pick up their $299 eMachine and within a few months will be bringing it to me.

Now being in a small location, the only way I can actually compete is through "questionable" tactics. If I build a machine and people are happy with Windows XP, then I can give them a great deal on it and I promise them a guarantee for so long. However, if they are interested in Windows Vista (god forbid) or 7, well then the price jumps drastically to a point where they would much rather pay for the cheap machine.

I've found that I can build and sell a decent end PC for $400 (monitor not included) and still make a good draw on it, but even so that is $100 over what big corps are able to achieve. I'm sure it is cheap parts, but I am more confident in the fact that it is indeed unfair business practices. They are given access to better deals and opportunities than anyone else and yes, I do believe it is completely unfair. It is a modern form of monopoly and yet no one can do anything about it. It is simply collusion between big business to ensure their stay at the top is long and prosperous. Screw the little guy.



So I got into the business with unyielding interest and a hope for the future, but hope is pretty dim right now. Viruses still keep me alive, but after losing my main job I had last year, I've realize the hard way that just the computer repair business won't keep me afloat. As with the economy right now it is my only choice but I honestly can't see this job in my future much longer.

It is a shame, it truly is.



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 10:16 AM
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Originally posted by gwydionblack

It is a shame, it truly is.



Yup - and as I said, it isn't limited to computers. A few years ago my chainsaw went belly-up. I'll even give the name brand, Poulan.

I took it to the local shop and he told me it wasn't worth fixing. He could fix it, but it would cost just as much or more as a new Poulan and showed me his shelf of dead ones.

Basically at that point it was my call. I could run to Wal-mart and get a new Poulan - or get a saw of a higher quality and cost from him.

I opted for the latter. That was about 8 years ago and the one I got from him is still going strong. But, I know that isn't what most folks end up doing.



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 10:24 AM
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reply to post by Frogs
 


Sorry if I digress.
Same think happened to my wife's sewing machine. I finally found a shop across town to fix it. It was nothing special but had sentimental value.

Same for my late Dad who refused to learn computers but could type like 60wpm. I was buying him every typewriter I could find for $10.00. since he couldn't find ribbons and cartridges. Some were even manual and require no eletricity. Imagine that. Remember why White Out was invented?


When I was in school and beginning to learn about computers the were promised to afford us all more leisure time. Huh. Now I am virtually a slave to them in my field.

I used to love Alienware until Dell gobbled them up. Still have a huge tower with red neon. Slow by today's standards but sure gets attention.

Regards..kk

[edit on 18-2-2010 by kinda kurious]



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 10:45 AM
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reply to post by Anti-Evil
 


It is a dying business and as another poster said, pretty much the same as the TV world.

One area that you may want to investigate is doing is working with small businesses to help them with their infrastructure. Most of these shops (small lawyer offices, accountants, etc) have a bunch of stand alone machines most with local printers. They have inadequate security and don't do the basics, like back-up, etc. Windows 7 is a difficult upgrade and most of these shops simply are not going to be able to do it.

I have a friend who got laid off and that is what he does now. He calls on small businesses and sells an infrastructure/upgrade and training business. Networks the machines and printers, gets the security software up to date, gets automatic back-up configured, etc. Now he is doing the win 7 upgrades and training the folks on the new OS. He's doing pretty well, getting a lot of referrals and his business is growing.

Somebody with your know-how can go into a small business and make them a ton more efficient in short order. It is a good service to be selling and has repeat business. They buy new machines, they call him and he buys them for the shop, configures them installs them and gets rid of the old box. There are a lot of little things you can tack on to the service, including support. Might be worth checking out if you have a decent number of these kinds of businesses in your area.



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 10:48 AM
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Originally posted by network dude
reply to post by Anti-Evil
 


if you are still trying to build PC's I am surprised you are still in business. I stopped trying to compete with Dell 5 years ago. I sell dell's to my customers. Buy them on ebay and resell. Thanks to viruses, I still have a job. you will not beat them at computer sales. don't forget, they can't run cable or set up a server. Adapt to the environment or be eliminated.


There are plenty of good cheap places online to get parts. A Perhaps you have had a different experience to me but anything named Dell has only generated more calls for me to come over and make Dell computers work like normals computers. Maybe it is just around here but Dell has been better for me than anything in the world. Yay DELL! Keep churning out crappy, cheap computers riddled with proprietary parts and software! It keeps me very busy.



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 11:06 AM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 11:07 AM
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reply to post by CoMPuTeR RePaiRMaN
 


Uhh, What ???



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 11:10 AM
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The last computer I built was about 7 years ago. At that time, I could go to Fry's, purchase the components and build a computer for about 1/2 of what it would cost me to buy the computer.

Now, I can't put one together for what you can buy it for from large box stores.

We're going to replace our desktop later this year. It's just so cheap now, what is the incentive for me to scratch build?



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 11:11 AM
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I'm a telecommunications/IT engineer and would like to offer a couple of thoughts:

Firstly I could upgrade and protect a computer much quicker than 5 and a half hours, at a quick guess I would say one machine would take me around 2 hours max - obviously this is dependant on the machines specifications (processor speed, RAM, operating system etc)

The reformatting and re-installation of the operating system takes the longest, after that the anti-virus and security protection only takes a matter of minutes.

Secondly, kinda kurious has said his friend used to go through alot of CAT5 cabling but now doesn't because of the rising use of WiFi. Well at work I still use a large amount of CAT5 cabling, think VoIP!

That leads me onto my third and final point, the problems people are describing are common to the industry, thats IT for you!

10 years ago a 10Mb USB stick was unheard of, now we have 500 Gb NAS boxes available to purchase for the average computer user.

IT, unfortunately, is an industry we you need to keep up with the times to stay successful, VoIP for example is all the rage at the minute and theres money to be made in that area.

Like others have said, computers today aren't really worth repairing. It's easier and usually cheaper to simply go out and buy a bigger & bigger model.

But to stay successful and to keep earning money then learn the new technologies. As a poster says above, viruse's will always exist and thats an avenue of work a computer repairman will always be useful for.



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 11:24 AM
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Originally posted by 12m8keall2c
reply to post by SeeingBlue
 


Very good points. I've customers who would rather pay a little more for a custom-built system, knowing every component is high-quality, as well as the fact of them having someone local and dependable to call if/when something goes wrong ... or they have a simple question or concern.

Many folks are still willing to pay that nominal difference for top-quality systems and same day service.

The "package" systems do tend to use lesser quality components when it comes to power supplies and peripherals, with the power supply actually being the Most important component of all... can't count the number of times where a cheap "bargain" power supply failed and took either the processor, motherboard or both right along with it. (E-Machines re notorious for that).


Dells too. I recently took a Dell apart and found a small, 200 Watt power supply in it. The board had plenty of RAM, 2x512 MB sticks, and a nice 160 Gb Sata drive running Vista. The motherboard has shorted out because of a case screw got behind it during a customer install of a Ethernet card. Most computers I repair anymore either do not run anymore, and haven't for awhile, or computers that have Norton Aniti Virus installed (a virus itself) or some other kind of virus.. or convert to a Linux machine, I seem to have a lot of that anymore.

I work cheap, full DoD HD erase and install either XP or Vista, or Vista Black Edition, fully tuned virtual memory, spyware and addware protected with Airvia virus protection and Zone Alarm Pro firewall, along with VLC Player installed. For $45-50. I also build custom units, but my area is not able to support a computer repair business. I will be moving shortly to another area where the median income is much higher. Yopu are all right though, computers are coming way down in price, but in computing, just like in cars, you get what you pay for. Best thing is build it yourself, newegg.com and tigerdirect.com are both good places.



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 11:36 AM
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reply to post by Death_Kron
 


The IT field is always evolving you have to evolve right along with it or you will be left behind. I have been in IT for over 15 years and have seen so much technology come and go.

My advice to anyone in the computer repair business is to start getting into the support/consulting business. Offer to provide software/hardware upgrades, networking technology and training to small businesses. There is good money to be made once you build up a client base.



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 12:13 PM
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Originally posted by Erasurehead
reply to post by Death_Kron
 


The IT field is always evolving you have to evolve right along with it or you will be left behind. I have been in IT for over 15 years and have seen so much technology come and go.

My advice to anyone in the computer repair business is to start getting into the support/consulting business. Offer to provide software/hardware upgrades, networking technology and training to small businesses. There is good money to be made once you build up a client base.


Exactly my point my friend.

I also agree and think that the support way is the right way to go, build up a client base and set up a contract. Install VNC or remote desktop and you don't even have to visit the customer site, you can happily remote in from the comfort of your own home and perform backups, network tweaking, virus scans etc and make good money doing so.

[edit on 18/2/10 by Death_Kron]







 
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