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Old 03-08-2007, 04:19 PM   #1
esteeven
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advice needed re self-employed IT support


Hello
I am looking for advice from all of you that are involved with IT support in the Domestic / Small Business environment. Arsehole decisions at work have left me "logged out" of the computer world (the idiots farmed out my work after 7 years to a consultancy to save money I don't want to rant. Stop!!) I am still gainfully employed doing other stuff at the same company : I can't walk out because I have kids and a mortgage (I don't want to rant. Stop!) I am setting myself up as a "I'll fix your computer guy" and wonder if there is any advice to be harvested here?
Thanks in advance
 
Old 03-09-2007, 03:35 PM   #2
hob
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That kind of job is largely Windows-related - outside of academia and specialist science/engineering places Linux is mainly used for mail and Web servers, rather than desktops. I don't know Bristol at all, but it's large enough to have an active Linux User Group, some of whom will probably be self-employed IT professionals who could give you a much better idea of the market.
 
Old 03-09-2007, 07:03 PM   #3
St.Jimmy
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buy some hardware testers, and one of those frames to test pcs on. and learn windows
 
Old 03-09-2007, 08:28 PM   #4
Micro420
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esteeven, fortunately I am not in the same boat as you, but I tried going into an independent consulting business where I would fix people's computers. I advertised on the internet and still got no business because there is Geek Squad (bestbuy.com) which people recognize and take their computers to. GeekSquad charges like $69 just to look at a computer! Crazy stuff. Anyway, long story short, I did get some business by word of mouth and by telling people that I would fix their computer for cheap. Then my real systems administration job got busy and I have not done any computer work outside of my real job. WORD OF MOUTH works! Good luck
 
Old 03-10-2007, 01:44 AM   #5
Crito
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If you were in the U.S. I would have recommended xxxxxxx

Last edited by Crito; 06-18-2007 at 04:52 AM.
 
Old 03-10-2007, 03:07 AM   #6
Micro420
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crito
If you were in the U.S. I would have recommended http://www.onforce.com/
Thanks, I have never heard of Onforce. Is it an easy way to attract clients? I mean, heck, according to completed work orders, some guy just installed a printer for $70 in my area. If that isn't easy money, I don't know what is!
 
Old 03-10-2007, 06:03 AM   #7
pixellany
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If I were 40 years younger, I have a hunch that I would be looking at setting up turnkey systems for people. Inside would be a mix of Linux and Windows, or a mix of OSS and proprietary---the only important thing would be that the system worked reliably and did the intended task. That is--or should be--all the customer would care about.
 
Old 03-10-2007, 09:01 AM   #8
Crito
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micro420
Thanks, I have never heard of Onforce. Is it an easy way to attract clients? I mean, heck, according to completed work orders, some guy just installed a printer for $70 in my area. If that isn't easy money, I don't know what is!
Well, it's piecemeal work, so not very steady. And you might have some guy with tons of certs competing against you in your area. But in general it's pretty easy to setup and get started.
 
Old 03-10-2007, 12:50 PM   #9
St.Jimmy
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computer shops in huntsville, al, charge $45 an hour just to dignose things!
 
Old 03-10-2007, 01:54 PM   #10
Micro420
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Quote:
Originally Posted by St.Jimmy
computer shops in huntsville, al, charge $45 an hour just to dignose things!
Ouch! I guess to us it seems expensive because we know how to do this stuff. Honestly if I had my own computer repair business, I wouldn't even charge people just to look at their computer. It only takes a few minutes to boot up the computer and see if there is a problem or not. If there is, then start charging them. If there isn't, give them their computer back and give them your business card for the future.
 
Old 03-10-2008, 03:31 PM   #11
esteeven
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Wow. I can't believe a year has sailed by since I started this thread.

Thanks to those that answered.

Just for future reference : in my limited experience, there is no one way to get clients. I leave cards in cafes (this has worked) and I advertise in the local free press (I do just a little better than cover costs), I deliver leaflets to residences (2000 so far : not a bad return = 4 clients) and I speak to people all of the time. I haven't tried *very* hard yet but I have had enough work to go part-time in my other job.

The next six months is the beginning of the BIG PUSH. Can I go 100% self-employed? Big question and fun finding out.

Incidentally, it's interesting to note that the majority of my work is training people to use their computers effectively. I thought I'd be replacing hardware etc - I do that but more or less always manage to sell training to clients.

Cheers
 
Old 03-14-2008, 12:53 AM   #12
chrism01
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also try Newsagents windows cards.
It's all about advertising until you get enough clients to do word of mouth.
I'll bet it's 90% MS unless Small business, in which case you may be able to get Linux servers in.
 
Old 03-14-2008, 07:54 AM   #13
Dox Systems - Brian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrism01 View Post
also try Newsagents windows cards.
It's all about advertising until you get enough clients to do word of mouth.
I'll bet it's 90% MS unless Small business, in which case you may be able to get Linux servers in.
MS must be pushing some real good cheap prices to small businesses. I'd say that over 90% of the small businesses I've seen recently are MS on the server side now. The mid-sized ones still have a mix of MS, Unix, and Linux, but even there MS seems to be on the way to displacing *nix...
 
  


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