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View Full Version : Starting a Macintosh repair business.


fuzzy7slippers
Jul 30, 2003, 05:17 PM
I have a few questions. I am looking to start a mac repair business and I am seeking a few opinions on things. Do you think it would be better to have a shop or work out of my house for a while until I start making a profit. I am also wondering wether you think in store or on site service is more important. There is only one store in my town for macs and repair, and they are The Happy Mac. The people there are real jerks. My friend and I are tired of them and want to do something on our own. So, any advice would be cool. Name suggestions would be great aswell. By the way I am a certified tech. But I havent been for very long.

hugemullens
Jul 30, 2003, 05:28 PM
Work out of your house. I've worked this summer doing pc repair out of my house and its the only chance you have. Dedicated a room to it. Get a good desk, a nice work bench, and keep it looking good and people will be impressed. Be honest, cause you will not be able to do warrenty work, and if you do you could violate apples warrenty and be on the hook for the full cost if something else breaks, even if it is unrelated. Do both pc and macs. Also, my MAJOR money maker has been 1 on 1 computer training. I built a PC, and i show people how to do letters in Works, how to get digital camera pictures sized and printed, and the like. Plus the custom PC impress's people. Maybe do other minor computer stuff too, i do VHS to DVD stuff, nothing fancy but it keeps money coming in. I've found that the bulk of my stuff has been in house upgrades (new vid cards, ram, and what not), i dont do a whole lot of house calls. But definetly dont be afraid to travel. Good luck!

Fender2112
Jul 30, 2003, 09:25 PM
Today I stumbled across a section on Apple's web site where you can get various types of certifications. It might be worth looking into.

http://www.apple.com/training/

AnotherMortal
Jul 31, 2003, 07:06 AM
And it I believe the conclusion was that Apple was very reluctant to certify new Apple Service Centers, because Apple wanted people to use the Apple stores. I could of course be completely wrong and misinterpreted the thread. I can't seem to find it right now but I believe SlashDot had a similar article about a store in CA that went under because of an Apple store in the vicinity.

But being a certified tech is a great step! Maybe you should look into what it takes to be a certified service center. iJon may be a good resource, because he works for his parents who own an apple store. (If I recall correctly)

jefhatfield
Jul 31, 2003, 07:54 AM
definitely check with apple in having your service center like mentioned above

for pc repair, it's a must to have a shop location to be able to make any real money and have walk by business...people need to be able to know where you are and carting machines in and out of houses may have liability issues and the city where i live makes this very hard unless you have a commercial license for parking in a residential zone which is limited to just a few houses that got the ok years ago

there is a reason there are commercial zones and residential zones

try having a muffler shop running from your garage and see what the authorities think of that one...it's almost as hard for any computer repair business of any real scope

as the saying goes, it takes money to make money

AnotherMortal
Jul 31, 2003, 08:03 AM
The zoning issue was also brought up, but if you live in the city, it might not take much to rezone. Many house right on a main street (or 'Main Street') could probably be rezoned for commercial/residential, but IANAL. The possibility of a neighbor whining is great, unless you have cool neighbors. Maybe you could find someone with money to burn, or a real sense of business management interested in running the business, and you and your friend can be the two (or was it three?) tech required to be a service center.

iJon
Jul 31, 2003, 09:13 AM
dont do it out of your house, buy a building and start, you need some techs and you need to get both certifications, which are fairly hard. you can start out of your house and stuff without the certs but you wont be able to do warranty work, which is what most people want. good luck.

iJon

fuzzy7slippers
Jul 31, 2003, 11:56 AM
I think I read somewhere on apples website that a mac repair business must be in operation for 2 years before it can become an AASP. iJon do you use AIM at all, maybe I could contact you and talk to you about some things.

jefhatfield
Jul 31, 2003, 12:01 PM
Originally posted by AnotherMortal
The zoning issue was also brought up, but if you live in the city, it might not take much to rezone. Many house right on a main street (or 'Main Street') could probably be rezoned for commercial/residential, but IANAL. The possibility of a neighbor whining is great, unless you have cool neighbors. Maybe you could find someone with money to burn, or a real sense of business management interested in running the business, and you and your friend can be the two (or was it three?) tech required to be a service center.

my previous resisdence was in the city center, so parking was not an issue, but it was upstairs

you need to be street level, because advertising, referrals, and word of mouth can only get you so far...most business comes from foot traffic and people simply driving by

it's definitely costly to rent a commercial space, but the payoff is that you will have a sustainable income...doing it from your house will most likely just end up in small change...i do know of a man who did well fixing macs from his house but he lived in a city which, unlike the rest in the area, was incredibly forgiving when it came to zoning and parking

iJon
Jul 31, 2003, 12:22 PM
I have AIM but honestly i dont know the details of starting one. i can ask alter and let you know, somebody here will probably know as well. JTaylor2D

iJon

fuzzy7slippers
Jul 31, 2003, 12:34 PM
Excellent iJon. If you can, send me an e-mail (brentjallar@yahoo.com). Thanks.

GeeYouEye
Jul 31, 2003, 12:53 PM
I've been doing the same thing for a while now, and believe me, if I had enough cash for a building, I'd get one. 1 on 1 teaching (which is a great side business, comparatively. Even if you have to work with PC's, it's a lucrative opportunity.) is better, but it means house calls. There's just not enough word-of-mouth referrals that can keep you going, and you get no random foot or car traffic coming if you work at home.

Gus
Jul 31, 2003, 01:31 PM
I've actually looked into this as well, and one of Apple's regulations is that you must have 2 certified Apple techs working in the center. I'm not sure why, but it was in the rules and regs. I think the biggest obstacle you are going to have is getting liability insurance, which you will need. Without an actual business name and plan, you may have a hard time getting liability, or you may have to pay through the nose.

Regards,
Gus

hugemullens
Jul 31, 2003, 01:38 PM
If i could afford a bulding, employees and the like i absolutly would. I live in the middle of nowhere and there just isnt enough income to sustain the cost of rent, insurance, taxes and whatnot. I'd just say dont be affraid to work out of your house. I've had good luck with it out of my house. I dont know how big of a chance your willing to take, i just couldnt risk bankrupcery and everything else if it didnt work out.

jefhatfield
Jul 31, 2003, 01:49 PM
Originally posted by hugemullens
If i could afford a bulding, employees and the like i absolutly would. I live in the middle of nowhere and there just isnt enough income to sustain the cost of rent, insurance, taxes and whatnot. I'd just say dont be affraid to work out of your house. I've had good luck with it out of my house. I dont know how big of a chance your willing to take, i just couldnt risk bankrupcery and everything else if it didnt work out.

the house thing is a good safe start, but if you want to get somewhere, you have to take the chance...hundreds of thousands, if not millions, take that chance on the american dream...which is having your own business

right now, i am in my house, and still learning as a cs grad student, and consolidating my bills

my next step will be a small commercial workspace, then ultimately, a store

if you can make a living income working from your house, that is good and there may be no need to get a store

just from watching my techie friends the last fifteen years or so, it's just so hard to make it from a house as a techie business...stuff like amway, telemarketing *my mom used to sell AT&T plans to businesses from her home, and medical transcription are proven home based businesses

many businesses in my depressed area are shutting down and sending the employees to work from home and coordinating the operations management via email like my wife's company which publishes millions of books..he he...isn't technology great;)

johnnowak
Jul 31, 2003, 01:56 PM
Originally posted by iJon
dont do it out of your house, buy a building and start, you need some techs and you need to get both certifications, which are fairly hard. you can start out of your house and stuff without the certs but you wont be able to do warranty work, which is what most people want. good luck.

iJon

Do it out of your house if at all possible. Depending on your location, overhead can easily slay your income.

jefhatfield
Jul 31, 2003, 02:00 PM
Originally posted by johnnowak
Do it out of your house if at all possible. Depending on your location, overhead can easily slay your income.

sure overhead hurts and there will be bad quarters

but what if apple or hp stayed in the garage?

fuzzy7slippers
Jul 31, 2003, 02:41 PM
I know I can fix the machines and do the work, but I dont know anything about starting a business. I would like to know what you guys think is the best way to go about it, and you are helping. I want to have enough resources to get a good start but I cant really go out and spend a whole ton of money, because I dont have that much. I am really debating between the house and the store. What other costs do you guys know of beside rent for a place, taxes, insurance, etc. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

tjwett
Jul 31, 2003, 03:07 PM
i'm in the process of something similar. i'm starting a small Macintosh consulting agency. for now i'm concentrating on software help, OS tutoring, file transfers, general computing stuff, etc. i'm also focusing on the creative fields for now. my strong area is music and video suites so i'm helping people out with that stuff mostly. however #1 priority on my list is to get Apple Certified for hardware repair. there is a VERY helpful little tool i have found that teaches all the ins and outs of Mac repair and offers full preparation for the exam. it's available at an Apple Retail Store near you. after you feel comfortable enough to take the exam you'll have to cough up $250 to take the test. it's well worth it in my opinion. i'm also learning AppleScript, Unix, and FileMaker Pro. i don't have an office yet since i am only making house calls but after i move (from NYC to Boston) i'm considering getting a store front eventually.

pseudobrit
Jul 31, 2003, 04:56 PM
I'm in a particularly unique situation.

I have (work at) a building, but no Apple certs. We're a small company that's already an HP authorized repair center, and I've been thinking about looking into Apple.

What exactly is required to become an Apple Authorised Service Provider? Just two techs? Does anyone know for sure?

tjwett
Jul 31, 2003, 05:03 PM
Originally posted by pseudobrit
I'm in a particularly unique situation.

I have (work at) a building, but no Apple certs. We're a small company that's already an HP authorized repair center, and I've been thinking about looking into Apple.

What exactly is required to become an Apple Authorised Service Provider? Just two techs? Does anyone know for sure?

this is info is available at Apple's website, i've seen it before. problem is it's buried somewhere and it can be a pain to find. try starting here and exploring a bit. it should turn up eventually.

http://train.apple.com/cert/roadmap.html

pseudobrit
Jul 31, 2003, 05:21 PM
Found it by Google-ing.

http://resellerapplication.apple.com/reseller/svcpgm.html

Mal
Jul 31, 2003, 05:49 PM
I'll warn you now, it's hard to get off your feet as a Mac Repair shop. I know, I was part of one. We started 3 years ago, and just this year we had lost so much that we were forced to close. If you can get advertising and customers that will be loyal it will help, but it's really hard to do. If you're going to do it though, you either need to go big and get a nice place with good visibility and easy access or you need to stay in your home, run it out of a garage or something. Anywhere in between and you'll end up like us. Good luck though!

JW

medea
Jul 31, 2003, 06:11 PM
First I'd like to applaud you for taking your first steps into owning your own business. You need to make a pro's and con's list of the benefit of working at home or setting up an official shop. A building will cost you rent, but you will have a place people can actually visit and view from the road (that is how I found my local mac repair shop, driving down the road and spotted it...) and you will be able to do Warrany work etc. If your not ready for that though you can certainly start off at home and set a higher goal for the near future, that way you can safely make a name for yourself locally without much to worry about. And I doubt that the authorities would come knocking on your down to stop your illegal computer repair service.....

Oh and check out the SBA http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/index.html for more info on setting up a small business.

medea
Jul 31, 2003, 06:25 PM
oh yeah, I forget to mention this.
Why don't you look into franchises as well? I don't know of any Apple only franchises personally, but I'm sure some exist. If not, you could always start the first..... ;)
But seriously, if not Apple only I'm sure there are plenty of computer repair franchises that involve apple, and if you own the shop then who says you can't limit it to only macs?

pseudobrit
Jul 31, 2003, 07:23 PM
Originally posted by medea
who says you can't limit it to only macs?

I wouldn't.

PCs have more trouble than Macs. They also comprise ~85% of the computers in the world.

Repair centres make their money when things go wrong with computers. Less trouble = less business = less money = out of business.

fuzzy7slippers
Jul 31, 2003, 08:09 PM
Well, I dont really know much of anything about windows machines. I havent ever owned one. So, I was planning on keeping it all Macintosh. I am getting the idea here that it would be better to start up out of my home and make a name around town for myself before I put alot of money into it. I plan on advertising right from the get go, anywhere I can. Keep the thread going this is a good one. Very informative guys.

hugemullens
Jul 31, 2003, 09:46 PM
Learn PC's quickly. If someone calls you, you tell them you cant fix it cause its a PC, they arent gonna understand that Macs are different. There goes your word of mouth. 95% of those mouths in the world are windows users. You need to be a "jack of all trades" so to speak. Your gonna limit yourself to 5% of the market doing just macs, then that 5% is gonna go to the apple cert. center in your town for warrenty and most other repairs, where do you fit into that? Your gonna have to open yourself up to the other 95% of the world.

medea
Jul 31, 2003, 09:54 PM
I disagree, the only mac repair shop in my town only does mac repairs and they are doing really well for themselves. Trust me if your the only shop in town (next to the one other you mentioned earlier) you will find plenty of mac customers, you could quickly become real busy and you might have too much to handle if you start taking pcs in as well. Just my view on it though, I could be off.

hugemullens
Jul 31, 2003, 10:32 PM
Depends on where you live too, where i live i am the only game in town peroid, pc or mac. Maybe you'll have enough customers to sustain 2 mac shops in your town. i would worry that most of the mac users in your town would already be customers of the other place in town, and now your try to steal maybe 25% of there bussiness while working out of your home, which is only 5-12% of all the pc's in your town, it could make it very difficuilt. I would say join some mac user groups in your area, see if you can gather a "cult" following that could snowball into something big, cause average joe consumer is gonna go to the retail store with lots of pretty macs on the floor and software on the shelves.

jefhatfield
Jul 31, 2003, 10:37 PM
Originally posted by medea
I disagree, the only mac repair shop in my town only does mac repairs and they are doing really well for themselves. Trust me if your the only shop in town (next to the one other you mentioned earlier) you will find plenty of mac customers, you could quickly become real busy and you might have too much to handle if you start taking pcs in as well. Just my view on it though, I could be off.

..WELL, it better be one large, large, large, large, huge, gigantic, enormous town if you are banking on fixing 5% percent of the market share of computer users of a much more reliable computer...namely the mac;)

jefhatfield
Jul 31, 2003, 10:45 PM
actually, having a mac only repair house does stand to make more money than having a dot.com selling sand to saudi arabia at inflated prices

i would pose nude on macrumors if someone could make a great living fixing only macs in any town that isn't huge...but then again you wouldn't want to see me nude so that is a bad example...he he

fix pcs, they are more numerous and they break down more often;)

...and with the money you make, buy reliable macs;)

hugemullens
Jul 31, 2003, 11:31 PM
Originally posted by jefhatfield

fix pcs, they are more numerous and they break down more often;)

...and with the money you make, buy reliable macs;)

exactly what i do :D

AnotherMortal
Aug 1, 2003, 09:27 AM
Why not apply to work for Apple? There are apple stores that obviously need certified techs behind the counter, and in the back room. Who knows, maybe in Best Buy stores they'll be doing warrenty mac repair. If you can build a good customer relation working for another business...well. that is a big help. Though, some companies make you sign no-compete agreements, and such.

iJon
Aug 1, 2003, 10:14 AM
Originally posted by AnotherMortal
Why not apply to work for Apple? There are apple stores that obviously need certified techs behind the counter, and in the back room. Who knows, maybe in Best Buy stores they'll be doing warrenty mac repair. If you can build a good customer relation working for another business...well. that is a big help. Though, some companies make you sign no-compete agreements, and such.
but over time he will make more money owning his own business then working for someone elses business.

iJon

jefhatfield
Aug 1, 2003, 09:52 PM
Originally posted by iJon
but over time he will make more money owning his own business then working for someone elses business.

iJon

it could be a good start for six months though...and safe

that's what i did with working for a computer sales store then being a desktop tech for other businesses to learn the ropes of what's out there and how to fix it

but if you are brave enough to lease a store or office space straight away, more power to you

in the end, it takes more guts than technical know how