The Pros and Cons of Starting a Computer Repair Business

Is running your own information technology business right for you?

man repairing computer
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Computer problems happen to everyone, and they often happen when people least expect them. From setup problems to computer crashes to software issues to networking challenges, every household and business with a computer has the potential to need computer repair and maintenance help from someone who is knowledgeable in the field of information technology.

If you have a technical background and an expert understanding of computers, peripherals, and software, a small business as a computer repair and maintenance service could be a great business idea for you.

Before jumping in, consider the pros and cons of starting a computer repair business.

The Pros

If you are weighing the benefits of starting a computer repair and maintenance business, make sure you include these pros on your plus list:

  • Basic start-up costs should be minimal if you are running the business from your home. If you already are an IT professional or otherwise are experienced with do-it-yourself repairs and maintenance, you likely already have much of what you'll need.
  • You have a large target market beyond only individual computer owners. Many small businesses or home businesses do not have dedicated IT departments and rely on contracts with outside vendors.
  • Contracting with small businesses, if you are able to do so, can provide a solid foundation of regular work for your business. If you do good work for them, this also is a way to grow your business through word of mouth and referrals.
  • You can choose how much or little you want to work. Your business can be a side job to earn extra cash, or it can be a full-time career once you've built up a large enough client base.

The Cons

Although the pros are significant, there still are some potential challenges you may face when starting a computer repair and maintenance business.

Add these potential issues to your cons list:

  • It's not enough just to have the technical knowledge and skills. You have to have the people skills to be able to explain technical processes in nontechnical terms.
  • Computer technology changes so rapidly, a significant amount of time and money needs to be invested in staying current with the industry. This may mean taking additional classes or attending seminars.
  • Marketing your business can add significant costs up front. In order to acquire clients, you need to let them know you are out there. This means networking with small business owners in your community in addition to establishing a presence on the web and advertising.
  • You will need to purchase and maintain your own tools and testing equipment.
  • You need an exceptional knowledge of hardware, software, and peripherals.
  • Depending on where you are located, you likely will need to be licensed to perform repair services. Check with your state to determine exactly what you'll need.
  • You also may need insurance and to be bonded since you may be entering clients' homes. Again, check with your state to determine exactly what is required.