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Computers

Computer Repair and Maintenance

Take your tech knowledge to the streets and help people with computer problems.

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Business At A Glance

Computer Repair and Maintenance

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? Yes
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Everybody with a computer knows that moment of panic when the harddrive crashes–and for businesspeople, it usually happens when they’restaring into the eye of a deadline. But if you’re a computer physiciancapable of diagnosing virtual ills and then repairing them, you cantake on the appearance of an angel of mercy as a computer repairspecialist.

You’ll drive out to clients’ homes or offices with yourbriefcase of tools and equipment and heal those sickly computers andprinters. You can also earn tidy revenues with preventivemaintenance–dusting or vacuuming innards and cleaning disk drives on aquarterly or semiannual basis. The advantages to this business are thatit’s recession-proof–businesses need computers to operate, andhome-computer buffs can’t live without their virtual pals, either.

Andsince the computer industry is one of exponential growth, peripheralindustries like computer maintenance and repair are here to stay. As afinal plus, this business is satisfying–people are always appreciativewhen you bring an acutely ill hard drive or printer back to health.You’ll need to have the knowledge and skills of a good computerphysician, including how to change motherboards, repair and replacehard drives, and add memory chips. And you should have a goodcomputer-side manner so you can soothe panicky owners and tactfullyinstill the benefits of good preventive maintenance.

The Market

Your clients can be anybody with a computer, both businesses andindividuals. Mail brochures, perhaps with a dentist-type appointmentcard to be filled in, to local businesses. Leave business cards andfliers with computer and software retailers. Place ads in the YellowPages and your local newspaper, and get yourself written up in thepaper. Give talks on computer maintenance to professional and civicorganizations and at local colleges and other adult-education centers.

Needed Equipment

You’ll need a computer, an inkjet or laser printer, computer tinkeringtools like screwdrivers and miniature vacuums, computer cleaningsupplies, diagnostic software, commonly used parts and referencemanuals. In some states, you’ll need a license and a commercial shop toperform repairs; be sure to check with the business licensingdepartment.

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Computers

Computer Training

Use your computer smarts to teach others how to use their software and hardware.

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Business At A Glance

Computer Training

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

Computers and computer programs are among the most wonderful toolsavailable–as long as you know how to use them. If you don’t, youquickly learn the true meaning of frustration. And let’s face it: Mostprograms–despite what the blurb on the back of the box may say–arenot cuddly. Which leaves lots of would-be computer users, especiallybusinesspeople, floundering instead of working successfully.

But ifyou’re intimately familiar with one or more software packages, then youcan transform the virtually flummoxed into virtual wizards (or at leastcomputer-savvy souls) with a computer-training business. This is a hotfield–according to the International Data Corporation, the worldwidemarket for technical computer training is nearing the $28 billion mark,with an annual average of $8,200 spent for information systems stafftraining and $3,000 per person spent on general staff training. You canspecialize in the software program or programs you know best; in afield you’re familiar with like law or medicine; or, if you’ve got abroad base of software smarts, you can be a computer G.P., trainingclients in a wide variety of programs and packages.

And you can workone-on-one with individual clients–from tots to seniors–or train aroomful of employees at a time for corporations.
The advantages to thisbusiness are that you’re out and about, working with lots of differentpeople; helping folks overcome computer-phobia is always rewarding; andbecause you have to keep up with ever-changing technology and softwareupdates, you’ve got the best excuse in the world for buying newcomputer goodies on a regular basis. You should know inside and out atleast one software package, commonly used by the mass computer marketor by a particular industry. But it’s not enough to be a softwareegghead–you’ll also need the ability to communicate your knowledge toothers. Other must-haves are the patience to help clients conquercomputer-phobia and the communication skills to transfer yourenthusiasm and techniques to your pupils.

The Market

Your clients can be private individuals or corporate types who want tomake their employees computer-literate. To get the business fromprivate parties, establish relationships with computer retailers andask them to refer customers to you. (Be sure to leave a stack ofbusiness cards for them to hand out.) Place ads in local newspapers andthe Yellow Pages. Solicit companies and corporations throughdirect-mail campaigns and network at professional, civic and tradeorganizations. Place ads in industry journals and other publications.Another excellent technique is to get certified or licensed fromsoftware manufacturers or vendors who will then refer customers to you.(Sometimes there’s a fee involved for getting certified.)

Needed Equipment

You’ll need your own computer and up-to-date versions of the softwareyou’ll teach, along with a good word-processing or desktop-publishingprogram, and–naturally–an inkjet or laser printer, so you can spinout training materials. To go with this, you’ll want a desktopprojector and a laser pointer so a classroom of clients can see whatyou’re doing.

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Computers

Computer Upgrading Service

As technology advances at record speed, providing the occasional update may be the right niche for you.

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Business At A Glance

Computer Upgrading Service

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Starting a business that specializes in upgrading existing computersystems with new internal and external equipment is a terrifichomebased business to initiate that has great potential to earn anoutstanding income for the operator of the business. A computerupgrading service is a very easy business to get rolling, providing youhave the skills and equipment necessary to complete upgrading tasks,such as installing more memory into the hard drive, replacing a harddrive, or adding a new disk drive to the computer system.

Ideally, tosecure the most profitable segment of the potential market, the serviceshould specialize in upgrading business computers as there are manyreasons why a business would upgrade a computer system as opposed toreplacing the computer system. Additionally, managing the business froma homebased location while providing clients with a mobile service isthe best way to keep operating overheads minimized and potentiallyincreases the size of the target market by expanding the service area,due to the fact the business operates on a mobile format.

The Market

Businesses and individuals who need to upgrade their computer systems

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Computers

New Computer Sales

With new models constantly coming out, the market for computers continues to boom.

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Business At A Glance

New Computer Sales

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Selling computer systems and equipment isone of the most competitive sectors of the retailing industry. However,with clever marketing in place, it’s possible to earn a six-figureincome selling new computer equipment from a home based location.Operating the business from home will give you an enormous competitiveadvantage and minimal overhead expenses. The key to success in thisindustry is specialization. Concentrate on sales of one particular typeof computer or a computer that has been designed for a specific task.Marketing the product line can be done by way of the internet, printadvertising and networking with business owners and professionals atbusiness meetings and functions.

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