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Just starting out on my own...

By dave ·
Hi everyone,

After years at college and university i've decided to try and start up my own business fixing and upgrading pc's (the usual complaints, such as spyware, internet connections that sort of thing)

Does anyone have any recommendations as in applications that could save me time when it came to finding out exactly what is wrong with a machine and exactly what it has installed hardware and software wise?

Also any advice that you guys can give me would be appreciated.


Big Dave

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by korgmeister In reply to Just starting out on my o ...

i dont think so unless you know how to integrate those antivirus, spyware ... etc applications. i think there is some standard procedure you should follow in repairing pcs etc..

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Repair and restore

by murray737 In reply to Just starting out on my o ...

I have useing a product called (Everest Home)From lavaly this is the home version, gets all i need to work out the computer, there are other programs that you can use to test the machine, they will cost

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by mikelis8 In reply to Just starting out on my o ...

well i guess if you need to ask then you may not be ready to charge people money. when you are at a clients site, you need to know exactly what you are doing and to get it done asap or you won't get a call back or a positive recommendation. knowlege comes with hands on eperience and time and though you may not have a problem fixing your own computers when not under pressure, try it when a client is watching you and paying you 50 bucks an hour. also expect to pay a lot of money for advertising in the first year until you get established.

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How I did it.

by ozi Eagle In reply to Just starting out on my o ...


First you need to define what area of IT you wish to pursue.

I am a one man band and started life as an electronics design engineer,and through various career changes found out that small businesses didn't have a clue how to effectively use their computers. Started my business in a town of 200k population and have gravitated into retail point of sales and accounting systems, as well as general PC support.
I now supply computers, point of sale hardware, software and consulting.

Learn to build and mess around with your own system(s), then you will have some of the basic skills needed to trouble shoot later on. Note that many commercial programs have test drives that only run for a short time, but will enable you to learn about them at minimal cost.

Unless you are really gung ho stick to systems using p2p networking of a maximum of 4 or 5 computers. Learn about security, viruses, spyware and how to protect against them.
Also learn about backing up and UPSs, these being the main areas where I have found total ignorance out there.

Link with one or two suppliers of software and become proficient in your understanding of what they do and how they work. Also find good wholesale suppliers of various computer and peripheral hardware.

When supplying anything always get a hefty deposit up front, to at least cover your expense.

With charging, I would recommend that you start fairly low, due to your lack of experience and gradually increase your hourly rate as you learn more.
I don't know what industry standard rates are in your neck of the woods, but here they start at $120 per hour. I started charging at $50 per hour and am now charging $88 per hour, which I will stay with ( allowing for inflation, of course), because I work from home and don't have overheads such as rent.

Because I chose to go with accounting software, I did mail outs to all the accountants in my city, offering my services to their clients (ie supply a computer, software and training in accounting packages) to eventually make the accountant's life easier, through being given decent information, not a shoe box full of receipts etc.
I would therefore suggest that when you have decided what area you are going into, that you canvas a group that services that area in a way that can be helped with your services.

The basic tools that I use are virus and spyware removal software and firewall software also disk imaging software.

Hardware tools I use are a small tool pouch containing a phillips and flat screwdriver, side cutter, long nose pliers, 4" adjustable spanner, tweezers and a cutter with snap off blades.
At my workshop I find that a modified USB disk caddy that doesn't have any covers, for easy changing of disks and an adaptor for 2 1/2" to
3 1/2" Hard drives are invaluable if a HDD needs to be accessed without using it in its system (for virus and spyware checking or disk imaging) if the faulty system won't boot.

If a you can't easily fix the problem on site, its back to the shop for more though testing ( and head scratching).

Good luck in your adventure.

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by sharkeys.machines In reply to Just starting out on my o ...

I saw a user mention everst home edition. Its a very nice tool, although I use the pro edition, it allows for netwrking wich is nice in a small business enviroment for collecting full reports across the domain( including serials for software). I also use a variety of boot discs. The techiez tool kit is a nice collection of tools all bootable from cd , as are Nortons Ghost, a Windows PE disc and Acronis- "I use a 9 -1 bootable". You may want to look at creating your own PreIstallation Enviroment discs. I am currently rebuilding my own discs using Barts PE so as to have my own company logo appear on the screen ( Impresses the customers and realley makes them feel comfortable when I tell them that I built it). I use two machines with the sides open to allow installation of HDs for scanning, data recovery ect... and have several extra HDs laying around for backing-up systems. It also makes it easier to troubleshoot cards( video, memory ) using stress test software. My machines tend to be way faster than what I work on so saves me time.
I find software to be my biggest help. Im a mobile service and have found that a laptop or pc being lugged isnt necessary, although there are times when it may be helpful. Other tools I use are : power supply tester, dvm,cd/dvd drives( both internal and external),and a flash drive. I also keep alot of the harder to find MB drivers on disc. A couple cans of air ,a couple of flash lights, and assortemnet of screws and case parts. I also keep a small phone to test wall jacks for dial up customers and a network test kit for tracing and testing lines. I make more money building my own cables on site than running memory tests for a bad stick. Knowing software is a big help. As is knowing what to look for and where to look quickly for infestations. As well as what will make scanning quicker for removal. There are many reliable sites on the net to gain info and expierance and have found them very helpful.
Hope some of this helps and Good Luck. Sharkey

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