Thinking of starting my own side business...

Dave Poehlman

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2000
Messages
3,813
The HTF's afterhours is a great place to think out loud.


This past weekend, a coworker of mine called me asking if I could help him with a computer problem. (I'm the IT guy in the office.. all you IT guys out there know how it is
)

Anyway.. I was in the middle of getting ready to go out with the family. So, I tried to talk him through running a windows repair over the phone. Pretty simple, really... but he just wasn't getting it (one of those "where's the 'any' key?" types.
). Rather than getting him frustrated and my wife more mad at me for ignoring my family, I told him I'd come by his house Sunday and take a look. I was going to be in the neighborhood anyway running some errands.

So, I stop by Sunday and do the repair and everything is working great. It takes about 30 minutes. He thanks me up and down and tells me he called geek squad and they quoted him something like $400 to come out, back up all his files and reinstall his OS!

After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I realized I might be in the wrong line of work.

Does anyone here do computer repair as a side-job? What are the pitfalls? How did you get started?

Being an IT geek, I'm fixing broken hard drives and recovering data all the time. I've gotten pretty adept at it, if I do say so myself. I thought perhaps this could fund the neverending completion of my HT.
 

Dave_Brown

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 6, 2001
Messages
666
"geek squad" is a joke. I don't know why anyone uses their services and why Best Buy is so pround of them. I'm in IT as well, so have a bit more knowledge than my friends/family but am by no means an IT geek. I work storage (SAN, NAS, backup and recovery, etc. not PC server OS and repairs)

My fiance's uncle was having troubles with his computer dropping his internet connection on an almost daily basis. He called the "geek squad" and about $325 later the problem was still not fixed.
I happened to be having dinner with them and heard his problem. I went and took a look and sure enough, his linksys wireless router was way behind on updates. I loaded the latest drivers, rebooted and after a few weeks no dropped connections yet. To bad "geek squad" couldn't figure out such a tough problem and instead recommended he backup his system and reload the entire OS. Idiots.......
 

Jay H

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 22, 1999
Messages
5,654
Location
Pittsfield, MA
Real Name
Jay
I think BestBuy hired some IT guys from where I work and called them Geek Squad. The first thing this one guy does when there is a problem is defrag the hard drive or if the stars are in alignment, reformat the hard drive. Doesn't matter what the problem is, better defrag the hard drive...

Jay
 

Dave Poehlman

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2000
Messages
3,813
Not to turn this into an IT or Geek Squad bashing thread, but... I know what you guys mean.. there's plenty of people out there that either don't know what they're doing or are too lazy to do it right.

But, I'm more curious how the business works. Does Geek Squad have you sign a waiver saying if they accidentally nuke all of your data, you can't hold them responsible?

And, if anyone is in this line of work, how are rates determined?

Maybe I should just say, get a quote from "Geek Squad" and I'll charge you half their price. I'd still make a pretty penny.

I mean, with a little ingenuity and persistence, I've been able to retrieve data from probably 90% of the corrupted/damaged drives I've worked on.

So, if "Geek Squad" is just out there nuking wedding photos, I think I might have a market to work with.
 

RichP

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 26, 1998
Messages
295
There's a reason that these people are working at "Geek Squad" and not in an actual IT department somewhere.

The only problem I can see you having Dave is attracting enough clientele to remain viable. "Geek Squad" for better or worse has all the marketing muscle of Best Buy behind it, while you have nothing. You need to be able to get people to call you instead of them, and that's the difficult part, not the actual repair work.
 

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