Which business would you start?

Which business would you start?

  • Consumer computer/mobile phone repair

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Managed computer services for businesses

    Votes: 3 60.0%
  • Business phone systems (VoIP / SIP trunks)

    Votes: 2 40.0%
  • General AV bitch

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    5

Porkchop

<Bronze Donator>
1,115
708
5d 1h 30m
So I'm going to start another business. I ran a mobile computer service business from 2002 til 2007 when I had to move, so I sold it and got a job. Since then I have been in corporate I.T. but running side gig businesses ever since. Now i'm living on unemployment, which I know won't last forever, so I need to at least get my gears turning for something of my own. If you had experience in all of these areas, and a bit of startup capital, which one would you start? I'm having a hard time deciding which makes sense in 2021 and which will still have demand 20 years from now.

Consumer computer/mobile phone repair - Advertise in my local area, flat fee repairs, repair PC's, Mac, mobile phones, tablets etc... Start in my home office via pickup/dropoff with the goal of opening a retail store front within 12 months. Revenue from break/fix, selling hardware and software. This would be OK, low startup cost but dealing with consumers is not fun. Could be the easiest to manage in the future when I can hire techs.

Managed computer services for businesses - Manage small business networks. Provide end user support, manage servers, networking, wifi, printers, everything. Businesses can decide to pay a higher flat fee break/fix prices or discounted monthly cost based on a per user basis. Home based business, onboard customer with remote software and manage everything remotely, only on-site for emergency and hardware fixes. Contractors for ancillary services like wiring, printers, Internet, VoIP etc. This is probably my least favorite idea, but low startup cost, lots of opportunity for recurring revenue and I have at least 3 businesses already interested. But dealing with end users is not fun, and I hate how UN-scalable service based businesses are.

Business phone systems (VoIP / SIP trunks) - Offer free phone bill evaluations to small businesses. Find ways to save them money by replacing their carrier phone service. Offerings would be local voip pbx server with sip trunk, hosted voip, new handsets and all the new features. I like this one, but in order to do it right, you need to start off by reselling a current providers products and they pay you shit for commission. Sure you can make some up on the hardware sales and moves and changes, but it is still the lowest earning option, Yet probably the most future proof. Personally I don't mind working with people on their phone systems, this is the most "set it and forget it" option.

General AV bitch - I like AV stuff. This one would probably be the least stress and most fun, but lowest earning. I would do things like wedding/event photography, video conversion from VHS, 8mm, etc., audio cleanup and recordings, scanning paper photos and cleaning them up. Most of these can be offered in my local area as well as online via ebay, cl, facebook. On top of services I can see making some money from printing photos on promo material like shirts, mugs, photo albums. Highest startup cost but this business probably has some good longevity. Would probably have to cam girl on the side for a little more income ;)
 
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Falxy-US

Ahn'Qiraj Raider
3,866
5,787
Man, those are some really interesting business ideas. You clearly know your tech shit and have a wide background. It seems like the first three could all go together since it could take a lot of time to build up clients in any one area.

One thing I'd like to ask is this: are you starting a business to give yourself a job, or to run a business? The goal should always be the second one. You want to be able to work on your business, not have to work in the business. So like you said, you should be setting things up where you may do the work at first, but with the goal of getting someone else in there that you can pay to do the work, so that you can go and add another service line.

An aside: I'm opening a small business right now, I'm going with Nextiva for my phone system. I did a decent amount of research, voip phones are such strange old tech.

---

... it doesn't sound like you like interacting with people. You really gotta treat your customers well. The mobile phone repair place I use, I walk in, they are nice, they have everything in stock (so it's not like oh we have to wait four days ...), they get their shit done and prices are fair. I had gone to another one first, it looked dreary, the people couldn't have given a fuck, and they said it would be like a week and didn't seem to give a shit that clearly a destroyed phone needs to be fixed today and not in a week. I never went back and never would consider going there again.

I find there are certain businesses that just get shit done, and I *always* give them my money, even if its a little more expensive, because it's worth the money to have no headache. Even plumbers, local company just kicks ass and gets their shit done fast and does clean work. I always call them for any project, and whatever quote they give me I go with, I don't even get a second quote.

But when you talk to those customers, you have to make them feel appreciated, dont ever make them feel stupid for asking questions, and dont blame them for anything. I know tech can be hard because it seems so simple to you, but the customer can be so retarded. My mom couldn't understand a laptop computer had everything that used to be in the tower now under the keyboard.
 
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Fucker

Potato del Grande
4,524
9,568
... it doesn't sound like you like interacting with people. You really gotta treat your customers well. The mobile phone repair place I use, I walk in, they are nice, they have everything in stock (so it's not like oh we have to wait four days ...), they get their shit done and prices are fair. I had gone to another one first, it looked dreary, the people couldn't have given a fuck, and they said it would be like a week and didn't seem to give a shit that clearly a destroyed phone needs to be fixed today and not in a week. I never went back and never would consider going there again.
Seems like a lot of these little repair shops are owned by misanthropes. They never stay open for long.
 
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Porkchop

<Bronze Donator>
1,115
708
5d 1h 30m
Man, those are some really interesting business ideas. You clearly know your tech shit and have a wide background. It seems like the first three could all go together since it could take a lot of time to build up clients in any one area.

One thing I'd like to ask is this: are you starting a business to give yourself a job, or to run a business? The goal should always be the second one. You want to be able to work on your business, not have to work in the business. So like you said, you should be setting things up where you may do the work at first, but with the goal of getting someone else in there that you can pay to do the work, so that you can go and add another service line.

An aside: I'm opening a small business right now, I'm going with Nextiva for my phone system. I did a decent amount of research, voip phones are such strange old tech.

---

... it doesn't sound like you like interacting with people. You really gotta treat your customers well. The mobile phone repair place I use, I walk in, they are nice, they have everything in stock (so it's not like oh we have to wait four days ...), they get their shit done and prices are fair. I had gone to another one first, it looked dreary, the people couldn't have given a fuck, and they said it would be like a week and didn't seem to give a shit that clearly a destroyed phone needs to be fixed today and not in a week. I never went back and never would consider going there again.

I find there are certain businesses that just get shit done, and I *always* give them my money, even if its a little more expensive, because it's worth the money to have no headache. Even plumbers, local company just kicks ass and gets their shit done fast and does clean work. I always call them for any project, and whatever quote they give me I go with, I don't even get a second quote.

But when you talk to those customers, you have to make them feel appreciated, dont ever make them feel stupid for asking questions, and dont blame them for anything. I know tech can be hard because it seems so simple to you, but the customer can be so retarded. My mom couldn't understand a laptop computer had everything that used to be in the tower now under the keyboard.

Thanks, yeah I do have a wide background. I'm the kind of person that sees something interesting and spends a few years obsessed with it until I understand how it works. Then I get frustrated that I know how the sausage is made and never want to see sausage again lol

Nextiva is a solid choice, my only advice would be to plan for failover (cell modem in your router or at least rollover to an outside number) and don't be afraid to buy used VoIP phones from ebay. Not much has changed in handset technology over the last decade.

Good question about motivation. I definitely want to run a business. I know that there are always people out there that are more talented than me, so let them work in the business. I'm fine with not building something massive, as long as I can make it as automated as possible one day and take the rest of my life off, while the business still provides me with some income.

Good call on interacting with people. I generally don't get along with people. I can turn on the charm and have a good tech bench side manner if needed, but after a good accountant, the second person I will look for is a good customer service rep.

I hear you about the little shops too. The way I think about it, it would be a kick ass computer repair shop first, with mobile repair services. I have sources for bulk, but quality, computer and mobile device parts and know enough to find a good tech. Once I got my policies and procedures down pat, I would be able to hire a pc tech and a mobile tech to deal with the service and retail tasks. I'm still doing research to see if it's even viable to offer to fix computers anymore. Considering you can go to any big box store and get something to get you online for $200. Location might be the key. If the shop is near a university there might be enough traffic to survive.
 

Fucker

Potato del Grande
4,524
9,568
I hear you about the little shops too. The way I think about it, it would be a kick ass computer repair shop first, with mobile repair services. I have sources for bulk, but quality, computer and mobile device parts and know enough to find a good tech. Once I got my policies and procedures down pat, I would be able to hire a pc tech and a mobile tech to deal with the service and retail tasks. I'm still doing research to see if it's even viable to offer to fix computers anymore. Considering you can go to any big box store and get something to get you online for $200. Location might be the key. If the shop is near a university there might be enough traffic to survive.
You might look into how many people are doing it in your area. There are 60+ in this metro and I have to think only a few of them do enough trade to make it worthwhile.
 

Porkchop

<Bronze Donator>
1,115
708
5d 1h 30m
You might look into how many people are doing it in your area. There are 60+ in this metro and I have to think only a few of them do enough trade to make it worthwhile.

I don't think my area is that saturated. I live in the mountains, and there is only 2 retail shops servicing about 4 towns.
 

Chukzombi

Silver Earl of the Realm
52,358
144,828
273d 10h 33m
VCR repair shop. All you need is 1 customer.
i would actually like to open up a retro tech thrift store. vintage appliances, vintage media, vintage bikes. all kinds of stuff like that. i might hire somebody to get the broken merch running.
 

Ossoi

I'm With HER ♀
6,476
2,581
30d 11h 57m
I laugh a little laugh.

It's true.

Back in January, I had a night out and we ended up back at a friends apartment. Me, two Dominatrixes and some other friends. It gets to like 5-6am and it's time to leave, one dude asks me if I want to get a taxi with him and his Dominatrix back to the BDSM studio.

I agreed, but on the way there was looking at the taxi window thinking "WTF am I doing". We get there, and he goes and gets pillows and quilt for the cage bed in the main room, then leaves. Me and her hook up then go to sleep. She doesn't speak much English so got him to ask me if I wanted to go back with her

He (the submissive) came back the next evening and ordered her a pizza, that's when I left. A few days later, he dropped her off at my place because I'd invited her round for dinner. I asked him a few weeks later if he felt weird, dropping her off at another guys place and he said no.

I have many other examples.
 

Ortega

Molten Core Raider
632
877
63d 2h 55m
I am a solo MSP. Money's awesome if you're good and can sell. If you get nervous meeting with teams of business leaders/owners or talk down to end users don't bother.

Not going to do some extensive write up, but every interaction matters. I've met people years ago and casually mentioned to hit me up if they ever needed IT services and had them reach out far past what I ever expected. I don't care who you're talking to it can be the lowest guy on the totem poll. Next thing you know they have a new job and recommend you to their boss who recommends it to theirs and next thing you know you have another 2k a month in contract revenue.

Beyond that just don't charge too low. I typically do $100.00 a month per user, but am in a lower cost area. That being said I probably devote 40 hours a month to maintaining everything and supporting end users. My monthly contract profits are 12K. I usually have a few special projects every month as well which are billed hourly such as camera installations, server upgrades, etc.

I would personally never do phones or repair shit. I will fix up customer computers as a courtesy typically, but I would never ever consider fixing a personal laptop for a fee. I also would never do user support for a business on an hourly basis. You will starve and be very frustrated plus it creates a bad incentive on both sides of the relationship. They will avoid calling you because they don't want to pay the fee, and you will want to milk time to make money. Much better to have a relationship where you have consistent income and they can rely on you for everything and know what to expect.

Anyways don't over think it. All you need is a decent brochure and good sales skills. If you don't have any immediate ins I would join your local chamber, toastmasters, rotary, etc. These groups aren't magic though. You need to actually be involved. Go plant trees and B.S with the group for a bit, or whatever projects they have going on. If you find yourself avoiding group situations, public speaking, or whatever then owning an MSP probably isn't for you.
 
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