Computer services occupy a billion-pound market, making PC repair a potentially very lucrative business idea. With both domestic and commercial markets open to entrepreneurs, the options available are extensive.

Computer services occupy a billion-pound market, making PC repair a potentially very lucrative business idea. With both domestic and commercial markets open to entrepreneurs, the options available are extensive.

Why start a PC repair business?

Computer use is ubiquitous throughout the country. From home users to small businesses and charities, computer systems keep things running smoothly. Bugs and problems can make even the best-oiled machine grind to a halt. Most people don’t have the time, skills or inclination to service and repair PCs meaning there’s a massive market for specialists. With the increasing reliance on technology, the market for PC repair will no doubt increase in the coming years.

What skills will I need?

A diverse background in computer repair is essential; you need to be comfortable with a wide range of systems, potentially up to enterprise-level depending on your company’s position in the market. You also need to be rational and realistic, backing up all data and implementing fail-safes to protect your clients’ most valuable assets. A logical mind is important to help diagnose and fix computer issues efficiently, as is a commercial awareness of time constraints as PC repair will often entail.

Training

Training courses are available; you can take a general computer repair course or specialise in a wide range of key areas. Laptop repair, for example, offers as increasingly large market as consumers make the move to mobile computing. In terms of recognised qualifications, the National BTEC Award scheme offers a qualification in Computer Engineering which can add credibility to your business. You should combine commercial training with training in your spare time; you’ll be amazed at how much you can pick up by engaging with a wide range of software and hardware systems.

Start-up costs

Start-up costs can vary widely depending on the position in the market you’re going for. For a basic PC repair business you’ll need some tools, such as screwdrivers for removing cases, specialist recovery software and external hard drive enclosures for salvaging data from damaged drives. You’ll also need to spend money on promotion and marketing as it’ll be tough to generate leads via word-of-mouth alone. Insurance will also be essential. You may also need to brand your company to establish credibility.

Insurance and compliance

You’ll be dealing with valuable hardware, software and data so insurance is essential. Public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance will protect against damage to third party property and any professional negligence. If you employ staff you’ll also need employer’s liability insurance. You’ll also need to comply with local and national data protection laws and copyright provisions, particularly with regard to software licenses.

Your first step

Gaining sufficient experience in PC repair is essential. Training need not be expensive – many of the best PC repair technicians are self-taught, although professional accreditation may help if you’re looking to work with commercial clients. If you have a weak area make sure you concentrate on this, as many jobs will combine a range of different techniques. Market research will also be essential. Make a list of potential clients around your local area; you may wish to send out speculative letters.