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Running a Computer Repair Business

Last updated: 8/7/0

Q. What advice/comments do you have on repairing laptop computers?

A. I try to avoid them and have been burned quite a few times by attempting to work on them. One cannot usually work on laptops effectively without a very large supply of parts, extensive documentation, and experience. The parts are usually hard to identify and get, expensive, and difficult to return. The documentation is almost impossible to get. There are an “infinite” number of models and manufactures, and many manufacturers have gone under, and they keep changing. The cases have no rhyme or reason and are often hard to figure-out, and they are very fragile. They are difficult to take apart, put back together again, and avoid breaking or marring while doing it. You need a large shop (or depote--thats' what I usually use if I can't avoid them) in a large city that specializes in laptops, and you will usually pay to the nose for parts and labor. If it has a bad motherboard, chances are that it is beyond economical repair. Except for basic repairs and troubleshooting, the same is true for printers and monitors, although to a lesser extent, and they are now so cheap that in most cases they aren't worth fixing if they are outside of warrantee. Them’s the facts as I see ‘em… Larry

Q. Do you have a form that your technicians use when troubleshooting PC's?

A.  For many years my shop used a Nebs form 311.
A few years ago when my shop became part of a Mom 'n Pop store I designed my own form with Excel to cut costs :
http://duxcw.com/faq/shop/form.htm. You may need a recent version of the Internet Explorer or Mozilla to see the form properly. The original looks better (e.g., no space under the logo), but I think you get the idea.

There are computer programs designed to support this function, but we found that paper worked better for us.  A one person shop may want to consider using the customer notes feature in Quickbooks Pro as tool for doing this task.  However, that feature has a note size limitation and no structure.

Forum discussion on this subject.

Q.  What is a good way to clean a computer?

A.  See A Good Way to Clean a Computer (and a Computer Shop).

If you have more questions about running a computer repair shop, building custom computers, networking small businesses, etc. please post them in our Forums.  I've been doing it since 1987.  Also, see About Dux.

Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.