Computer Health & Fitness - Home Based Business Profile
We all use a computer for one task or another. They are great when they operate properly, but when they fail or falter, what a mess! All those components, all those bits and bytes, and all that software doing things that we can’t see, and most of us can’t even fathom.
Thank goodness for people like John Austin. He runs a small home based business in Cheyenne, Wyoming to help folks like me who can't tell the difference between a bit and a byte.
He describes his business as being a lot like a personal trainer for your computer. Well, let’s take a look.
Computer Health & Fitness is a sole proprietorship that specializes in on-site servicing and repair of PCs that many of us use in our homes and businesses. Those sound like good small business ideas to me.
John provides help that focuses on PCs running Microsoft products, so his market potential is rather large.
His services include:
- Software installation, configuration, updating, and troubleshooting
- Adware, spyware, virus, and trojan detection and removal
- Consultation and upgrades for hardware, software and peripherals
- File, folder, hard drive maintenance, backup and restoration
- Installation, configuration, security implementation, and troubleshooting for wireless networks and peripherals
I don’t know about you, but this seems like a rather full complement of services available to those of us that aren’t all that computer savvy.
During our interview, one of the things that struck me most was John’s attitude about customer service. It is impressive. He wants his customers to be satisfied with quality service at an affordable price.
That sounds just fine to me, and it probably pleases his customers too. I think he has a bright future that is supported by his entrepreneurial initiative and good attitude about providing customer service.
In the photo right, John works on a portable printer for one of his customers.
He's a hands-on guy that isn't afraid of taking on challenges. One of the best parts about running your own enterprise is that you get direct satisfaction for solving customer problems - and the boss always recognizes and rewards you accordingly.
It all started when…
John started his business in 2006 as a part time effort. His focus was to provide affordable computer services to people with limited computer training and experience. He is proud to provide in-home services to those who are reluctant to disconnect the spider web of cables that often hang over the back of their desks.
Why pack up your computer and drop it off at a repair facility when John Austin can be at your door with just a phone call? I wish I had known about him months ago when I had a hardware failure on my machine.
He could have saved me lots of time and aggravation.
Two years since he kicked off his business, he is busy about half time. He saw a need for affordable on-site computer troubleshooting and his marketplace assessment was right.
In the photo above, John performs some limited work in his home office where he has access to a high speed Internet connection, but otherwise all his services are performed at customer locations.
How the business grows…
As it is with many folks in a smaller city like Cheyenne, business referrals are key to success. And, as you might expect, business referrals hinge on doing a great job. Doing good work is one of the best of all small business ideas.
John is a regular advertiser in the local trading paper, but gets most of his computer troubleshooting work by word of mouth.
As time permits, he also distributes advertising cards to local businesses to let them know the services that he has available. Although he supports small business needs, John is focused on providing affordable on-site services to home computer users. This spells “low cost and convenience” to me, so this should also be appealing to his potential customers.
Benefits of the business…
John enjoys working from home as do others with home based businesses, but he also enjoys the flexibility that his chosen enterprise provides. It allows him to have a regular job with Domino’s Pizza while building his PC support business.
Much of his hardware and software support work is performed in the evenings and during the weekends, and often it can be scheduled around his regular work, so providing services is convenient for him and his customers.
John’s sole proprietorship keeps him busy when he isn’t promoting lunchtime pizza sales and delivering pizzas for Dominos.
Resources you’ll need…
For a business like this, you’ll need some specialized education and experience in the area of hardware, software and networks. Although a degree is not required, it certainly adds a bit of authority to the services offered, and would probably make customers feel a bit more at ease.
And for the occasional computer and printer repair, you'll also need a set of tools. Mostly small specialized tools like jeweler screwdrivers for fasteners that are usually much smaller than the average screwdriver is designed for.
No hammers, right John?
Having access to high speed Internet is essential for downloading programs and drivers, and accessing online tools and resources to help solve customer problems. A powerful laptop is also a must for this mobile in-home troubleshooting service.
See John Austin’s website for additional information about his certificates of education and training. Just click here for more information about computer health and fitness and this successful home based business.
Computer repair and troubleshooting has the potential to provide a gross income of somewhere in the range of $45K to $90K each year. The wide range is offered here because it largely depends on the rates you charge and the extent to which you keep your appointment calendar full.
Also, for this kind of business, you'll make most of your income from labor hours, not the resale of hardware upgrades. It is also important to note that travel time and expenses can chew into your net income, so be sure to compensate for that with a minimum house call charge or small fee to offset mileage.
In these days of higher transportation costs, this won't come as a surprise to customers. Either you come to them, or they have to bring their problems to you. Either way, there is a transportation cost that someone has to absorb.
Challenges to overcome…
John has a good attitude about pressing forward with his business. He envisions making it big some day when his services are better known in the community.
The biggest challenges to greater success seems to be getting the word out about his services and making his services a higher priority in the household budgets of his customers.
John’s greatest accomplishments and satisfactions are associated with “making a home user’s computer hum along like it did when it was new.” Like many other budding entrepreneurs, John is very satisfied when his skills and experience solve a customer problem and the customer recognizes the value of his service.
Another interesting achievement for John is setting up his large flat screen TV to accept input from his laptop. He can work on the Internet and still enjoy a sports game using the "picture in a picture" technology that the TV offers.
I don't watch TV, but I have one for movies. This application of a TV set is appealing. What a great way to surf the Internet with a small group.
Special message from our featured entrepreneur…
John suggests that anyone wishing to implement small business ideas such as this should “advertise more” about the services offered. “It takes time to establish a presence in the marketplace and secure peoples’ trust,” he says. He also advises “Don’t quit your regular job until you’ve secured some minimal client base.”
For those interested in contacting John about his business experience or services, here is the information you need:
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