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Should I support home users?

By briwlls ·
I'm reading the recent article/thread about, 'What support services do you use for your PC?' and it's got me thinking about my business.

I'm currently a one-person shop and about 70% of my business is small business and 30% home/end-users.

I once read a statement, that at the time was 4 years old, that said the home user market was not a viable market segment to base your business on. While that has stuck in my mind I see Apple offering this new AppleCare Pro product, Best Buy's Geek Squad is growing and Dell is now entering this market segment plus a number of other companies providing end user support.

I'm thinking of taking on a contractor to handle this home user side of my business...and just wondering if I should do this. What are other's doing to make this product segment work? Do you have a monthly maintenance contract i.e. $39.99 a month for one hour of support, or $279 for 5 incidents etc.? I just know the average home user is faced with a large number of bills and they just won't take a new bill just to support their computer.

Love to hear others thoughts, ideas and concerns.

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Paid support for relatives/parents

by RexWorld In reply to Should I support home use ...

I don't know if this is a big enough market to be worth going after, but one service I've always wished for was something that let me pay somebody else to be tech support for my Mom.

I already pay for her internet access so she can get online and email with her friends and family. But I live across the country so can't be there to help her when she inevitably runs into technical problems. I would love to be able to contact a service in her area that could go out and help her on those occasions.

Again I'm not certain there's really enough demand to sustain this kind of business but I throw it out there. Of course if you make millions off this idea I want a share :-)

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I bet you heard this already...

by SaintGeorge In reply to Paid support for relative ...

but you are lucky. Mom lives 20 minutes from my home, so she can expect me to go by and fix the problems.. On the other hand, she gives me 50 bucks every time I fix something, so I shouldn't whine about it...

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No longer a commodity...

by Zengeek In reply to I bet you heard this alre ...

There you go! We are now crossing over to providing a valuable service. A few years ago, the home computer was seen as nothing more than a toy, but now it is seen more as a commodity or a necessary tool. And for this, people are now starting to realize that geeks are providing a valuable service which they are willing to pay for. As one of my "clients" put it: "You are like the mechanic who knows his way around under the hood; I get a mechanic to fix my car when it's broken and you fix my computer when it's not functioning properly. It's worth it for me to pay you for that service." Sure there will always be home hobbyists who can do a reasonable job, but there is a need to be filled by professionals like us and that market seems to be growing...

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Great Market!

by g.stabback In reply to No longer a commodity...

Go ahead everybody, keep believing the amrket isn,t enough for you. I presently make a good living from this market, in fact it is the only market I serve! A very good percentage of my clients are seniors or your mothers ! I am continually busy.

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Geeks-A-Knockin'

by SingerGuy In reply to Great Market!

In the greater Portland (OR) metro area there is a company called Geeks-A-Knockin' that caters to this market exclusively. They must be doing great as radio advertising isn't cheap and I constantly hear their spots.

http://www.geeksaknockin.com/

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You have to advertise a LOT

by Too Old For IT In reply to Geeks-A-Knockin'

Radio and lots of it. And you have to plan on mostly 1-time calls, of for no toher reason than a good PC tech gets real tire of every home visit starting out with "IT hasn't worked right since you were out here last" or some other whiney attmept to get free service.

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You have to advertise a LOT

by aidplus In reply to You have to advertise a ...

You have to advertise a LOT?
No way, unless youre an utter moron, word of mouth advertising will pay for itself. People are time poor, and need you. Advertising cuts the profit from the botttom line. You cant put in many more hours to cover it..

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Does this make sense?

by bheite In reply to Geeks-A-Knockin'

I looked at their site, and does it make sense to pay 96.00/hr, or 396/year plus 86.00/hr for service? This is proof of the argument against service, you can get a decent system new for almost as much as one year service! Just keep all your data files and backups in a seperate drive or flash, and transfer it every year!
Wow, what was the old saying about crowds and certain types of people in them???

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This seems to have degenerated

by jackie40d In reply to Does this make sense?

From the last message and this one I guess I am in the right area and I will take all your rejects !
And I could live very nicely on the say $25.00 to fix it even thought I may spend a few hours doing it
As I know the word of mouth wil get around and and I will have a Ga zillion customers times 25.00 is 25 ga zillion dollars

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Better You Than Me

by carey In reply to Great Market!

I am glad someone is willing to put up with the nonsense and take little pay. Please, keep doing it! It takes the pressure off of the rest of us. A lot of folks work in high pressure, low pay fast food jobs when they could make the same money in a low pressure video store or other occupation, but I am glad they are there otherwise no one would be left to serve me.

We all thank you.

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