A lot of businesses and public institutions in the African continent are today increasingly relying on computers and the service industry on their day-to-day activities, growing up around computers is a plus for serious entrepreneurs to start their own business.
In Nigeria, government offices (or parastatal), schools, businesses, and homes are becoming computerized and young people can take advantage of a growing part of the service industry. This is a great incentive to start a computer repair business because computers and its related peripherals will need maintenance and repairs in case of malfunctions.
Computer malfunctions can range from a minor setting that is incorrect, to spyware, viruses, replacing an entire operating system (Software Repair) and can go as far as replacing hardware (Hardware Repair)
A computer repair technician is a person who repairs and maintains computers and servers. The technician’s responsibilities may extend to include building or configuring new hardware, installing and updating software packages, and creating and maintaining computer networks.
The “Computer Repair Technician” generally works with five main categories of hardware such as:
- Desktop computers,
- Computer clusters etc.
Your field as a repairman will occasionally involve a range of peripherals:
- Input devices like keyboard, printers, mice and scanners, etc.
- Output devices like displays, printers, speakers, and data storage devicessuch as internal and external hard drives etc.
If you are involved in system administration then you will also work with networking hardware materials:
- Fiber optics and
- Wireless networks.
How To Start Up A Computer Repair Business
Computer repair business feeds when computer systems develop faults. It could be a hardware problem, a software problem or both. Either way, to repair them costs money (billable). Now consider the number of people using computer systems in our clime, going into computer repairs is a lucrative venture, highly profitable with good returns on investment. This business, if well planned and managed can grow so well to an extent of accommodating related businesses like computer sales and computer parts sales.
This is a knowledge-based business and to start a computer repairs business would require you to take the following steps:
- 1. Knowledge & Training
Knowledge of computer repairs is required for this business. You will need to undergo:
- Formal academic training where you offer computer engineering or computer science as a course in computer academy/school or
- An apprenticeship in a Computer repair shop over time.
Apart from learning how to fix systems, you should also learn
- Where to source for quality computer spare parts and costing,
- Customer relations’ skills,
- How to scout for clients and maintain them.
You should ensure that whoever is training you is also an expert and grand master in computer repairs and maintenance with long years of experience.
- 2. Business Plan and Registration
You need a business plan to run this business successfully. This will give you an idea of the financial implication; marketing strategy and a sneak peek into
- Fixed cost, Working capital, (Cost of tools)
- Long term & short term Financial estimates
- Total capital involvement/ Return on Investment
- Cost of computer spare parts, their peripherals
Simple register a business name with the CAC (Cooperate Affairs Commission) and obtain relevant permits from State and Local Government authorities to avoid unnecessary harassment.
A computer repair business offers a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to structuring your work environment. For example, you could opt to:
- Get and pay for a shop or store in a good location
- Work from home/go to client sites or home.
- Work out of a retail storefront.
- All (or some combination) of the above.
Decide which might be the best fit for your business, although they all have their pros and cons.
Some of the tools and equipment you need includes but are not limited to:
- Hardware Tools
- Different pliers
- Wire cutters
- Part retriever:
- Wire stripper
- Wire cutters
- Chip extractor
- Wire stripper
- Wrap plugs
- Dust brushes
- Electrical tapes
- Component holder
- Air blower
- Cable ties
- Software Tools
- Operating Systems (OS) installation – Windows, Mac, Linus and Android operating system installer,
- Antivirus and Antispyware programs,
- Other programs like Microsoft office app, web apps, games apps, music and video apps, photography apps, etc.
- Internet Reference Tools
The Internet is packed with a lot of tools for diagnosing specific hardware, software problems, and possible solutions: online reference tools, user-groups, Manufacturer FAQs, computer manuals, forums and chat, technical websites.
- 5. Finance
You do not need a lot money to start this business. The beauty it is that, once you are contracted the money given to you by the customer can be used to work on that particular project and still get your remaining pay after the job has been completed and delivered.
It’s important to build up a financial cushion in case there is not enough billable work to cover your expenses and salary at the initial stage. This is to keep your business afloat during those lean early months. Ideally, you should have enough cash to pay your bills for at least six months. Approximately (i.e. to get a space and buy some major equipment/tools) =N=350, 000 should be enough to start off your business. Begin by running a lean business and avoid financial excesses, in order to minimize the amount of money you’re borrowing. This will enable you focus your efforts and attention on building your business, and not repaying debt.
- Marketing Your Business:
Let people know of you and your business by marketing your business everyday. Come up with a marketing style that works for you. Try the following:
- Local community advert,
- Flyers/pamphlet drops,
- Web marketing,
- Networking among fellow technicians
- Radio advert
Cheers……Salient Tips for success in this business:
- Gain experience and professional reputation
- Evaluate you competitors
- Determine your ideal customer
- Recognize your strengths and weaknesses
- Be abreast with changes in the computer world
- Keep your pricing moderate and respect clients’ interest.