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PorterComp
04-14-2011, 12:23 PM
We provide your typical do it all services like repair, maintenance, networking and installs for businesses and residential. I heard of one guy doing background checks as an additional service as a "side service". What other services do you provide that generate extra revenue on top of your typical "full service" computer shop type stuff?

Thanks!

callthatgirl
04-14-2011, 12:43 PM
Due to the economy and my clients needing social media/website assisting, I hired my seo guy to do remote support for website installs/widget plug ins, word press help, SEO/SEM/Facebook iframe, etc. We are trying to stay in the core of repair/technicial assisting so I thought this would have a good synergy with our clients and what we do.

He will remote into their computers, just like we do for repairs. Clients will hire us to do it for $75 an hour and they can watch him do the work, or be on the phone with him to get their needs taken care of in the time they are paying for. If they need extra work that he needs to do offline, we may prepare a package, but this is probably going to be rare. We are marketing him a "social media technicial assistant". My research from asking the small business owners about their current website needs is that they don't want to pay for packages or $1000's for a website and they want to learn to do a lot of it for themselves, so this should be a win for us, so many just want a simple blog or a FB link put on their site.

minc3d
04-14-2011, 01:21 PM
I've been branching out to do a lot of stuff over the past year:

* Home theater installation & support
* Computer recycling & data destruction
* Smartphone support
* Website/email setup and support
* New computer purchase consultation (very busy with this recently - good money maker)
* CCTV installation (another good moneymaker)

And Im sure you can come up with a lot more items. That's what came to mind for me.

Mr I
04-14-2011, 01:29 PM
* New computer purchase consultation (very busy with this recently - good money maker)

Do you charge a percentage or a flat rate on this?

AdamsAPlus
04-14-2011, 01:34 PM
We are trying out doing classes. We are trying to get about 8-10 people per class. The class is to just teach the very basics. Like how to do searches on the internet. How to install software. Maybe get into a little bit of office.

We have discussed the idea with several customers and they really would like to try it out. We have some fine tuning, but hopefully we will be able to start some classes in 2 months.

NeutronTech
04-14-2011, 01:35 PM
This is an interesting topic, especially with the economy as it is. It's difficult to keep enough work coming in steady to cover operating costs, let alone anything extra. We all know you get good spurts and bad spurts, but having an additional source of revenue can be a life saver in terms of balancing the swings. Even better if the additional source provides recurring revenue.

One thing I have considered is buying a white label, online backup service. Then brand it my own and sell online storage to my customers. I wouldn't need to make a lot per customer, in the sense that I would be able to be competitive with other such services. A few dollars a month, multiplied by X customers will certainly bring in some cash for offsetting slow times, advertising, furthering education, beer, and even a relaxing poker game.

The key here is to implement a service that has a low overhead cost, whether it be time or money. Then implement additional services on top of that. You don't want to overwhelm yourself with side services, as you want to focus on your core business and quality of your other services. Having several low cost services, subscriptions, etc priced competitively, can build up over time to be a significant portion of your income -- with low requirements of your time involved, thus allowing you to enjoy a reliable flow of income.

Some services / products, with recurring income, I have or have considered adding:

Online Backup Service
Security Software Subscriptions
Remote Service Contracts
Routine Office Tasks - things like handling email newsletter distribution, blog updates, facebook updates, etc for small companies who understand that they need to use these types of services, but "don't like computers". We all know people like this.
SEO

And..... my mind is drawing a blank right now.

In any case, I think it is an important and essential part of running a successful business. As long as you don't overdo it with everything under the sun, and maintain the same quality standards and service that you have in your core business. You can't forget that those additional services will effect your reputation in just the same way. You don't want your repair business to drop with bad reviews just because some obscure subscription based software, that you resell, is bundling malware. Or a white label backup service you are branding that has frequent server issues.

-Adam


PS - As usual Lisa, you have come up with a unique, easy to implement, and profitable service to offer. That idea just flat out makes perfect sense, and is one of those "why didn't I think of that?" ideas. Even better part is that customers can see, in real time, the work they are paying for rather than just results. People often assume it is easy to get their page listed high in the search engines, so they can't comprehend how it could "cost so much for hitting a switch". Your service eliminates that concern and allows the customer to see all the intricate steps being done under the surface. They will learn an entirely new respect for the services you provide, and understand that the complexity and time involved is, indeed, worth every penny. Great job Lisa, you never cease to amaze me with your gift of creative business tactics.

minc3d
04-14-2011, 01:40 PM
Mr I,

I tend to consider the small difference I make between my cost on the product and the sale price as the consultation fee. It is, after all, time to consult, research, and procure product.

Works out well. I can get better pricing for customers than Best Buy and other big box stores and they receive product they actually need - not something oversold like they love to push.

It also builds good cred with customers when you get them a quality machine that lasts and they are happy with. I tend to push Lenovo systems a lot because I love their build quality and once people try them out (after telling me they haven't heard of them) I hear nothing but great things.

What do they do when friends/family have new computers to purchase? My name always comes up in conversation. You know where that leads to - connect the dots. And it's an easy referral chain to build.

Get your foot in the door on a computer sale, and keep them for the life of the machine with support/upgrades. It's a great recipe for repeat business, and they also keep you in mind for friends that have businesses and such.

Mr I
04-14-2011, 01:51 PM
Mr I,

I tend to consider the small difference I make between my cost on the product and the sale price as the consultation fee. It is, after all, time to consult, research, and procure product.

Works out well. I can get better pricing for customers than Best Buy and other big box stores and they receive product they actually need - not something oversold like they love to push.

It also builds good cred with customers when you get them a quality machine that lasts and they are happy with. I tend to push Lenovo systems a lot because I love their build quality and once people try them out (after telling me they haven't heard of them) I hear nothing but great things.

What do they do when friends/family have new computers to purchase? My name always comes up in conversation. You know where that leads to - connect the dots. And it's an easy referral chain to build.

Get your foot in the door on a computer sale, and keep them for the life of the machine with support/upgrades. It's a great recipe for repeat business, and they also keep you in mind for friends that have businesses and such.

Brilliant! thanks for sharing this info

jdpetrov
04-15-2011, 11:28 AM
I am quickly becoming a fan of signing up for reseller programs of software that gets installed with yearly renewals (i.e. antivirus programs). Recurring revenue is the key to extreme profits for our industry.

I also do website design and hosting. For website design, I used to charge $800-$1,500 for a custom design, custom coded website. Client would pay 50% down, 50% on completion. A friend of mine suggested switching to a monthly cost model, so now clients pay $250 up front (to cover development costs) and then $100 per month for the next 12 months. It works perfectly because even small, small businesses can afford those prices, I get to charge full price for everything, and that $100 per month for 12 months requires no additional effort on my part to earn.

Currently I'm thinking about creating an affiliate referral program, where you can sign up and then earn $10 cash for each first-time referral that comes my way. I have clients in other industries that have the same thing going and they say it works really well in this crappy economy.

Tony_Scarpelli
06-13-2011, 04:36 AM
1. Quickbooks Pro advisor - install, setup and work around custom company files pays really well and also brings you small and medium business clients.

2. Rebuild corrupt database files- good money almost as good as hard drive recovery.

3. Recycle PC's- I accept pc's free, charge small fee for monitors and printers. I often can refurb & resell the computers or parts off same.

4. New hardware sales-danagerous to get too addicted to hardware sales but its nice to make a few sales now and then or a small network once in a while.

5. Network design, installation, security and management.

6. Virus repair and removal. Workstation maintenance and security.

7. physical backup service which includes test restores.

8. virtual data recovery (about 80% of failures are virtual).

9. laptop reflow, power jacks repair.

10. pcb repair, including mobo's.

11. I am looking into physical data recovery or hard drive repair.

12. specialized proprietary software support such as dental soft, tiremaster, mortgage broker and the like.

vdub12
06-13-2011, 05:19 AM
Mr I,

I tend to consider the small difference I make between my cost on the product and the sale price as the consultation fee. It is, after all, time to consult, research, and procure product.

Works out well. I can get better pricing for customers than Best Buy and other big box stores and they receive product they actually need - not something oversold like they love to push.

It also builds good cred with customers when you get them a quality machine that lasts and they are happy with. I tend to push Lenovo systems a lot because I love their build quality and once people try them out (after telling me they haven't heard of them) I hear nothing but great things.

What do they do when friends/family have new computers to purchase? My name always comes up in conversation. You know where that leads to - connect the dots. And it's an easy referral chain to build.

Get your foot in the door on a computer sale, and keep them for the life of the machine with support/upgrades. It's a great recipe for repeat business, and they also keep you in mind for friends that have businesses and such.

Have you tried selling new computers rather then consolations?

nesrinamb
06-13-2011, 10:55 AM
1)Data Recovery- Logical failure I can do my self and mechanical failure I outsource.

2)Managed Backups-After having to do data recovery people always go for this option as it gives them peace of mind. Basically I have scheduled Backups for the client and make sure that the backups are in fact working and aren't corrupt. I also make it a point that the backups must be to a physical hard drive on the premise and an extra one off the premise. The cloud is great and all but if the cloud goes down or the internet goes down thats an issue.

3)Website set ups and email set up- One of the things that my business customer want the most is having their email and their website be the same for instance my business customers want owner@flowershop.com not owner.flowershop@gmail.com. I set all this up for them and manage their spam settings so the right things go through and all the junk stays out.

4)Computer Recycling- Most people have a computer that broke and they just never cared about it or wanted it fixed so I will usually salvage the computer. But of course I always make sure to test everything and visually inspect the parts.

5)Isp affiliate- I get $25-35 dollars. One thing I dont do is try to oversell something a client wont need. For Instance if a client only checks his email and goes on social networking sites then a regular DSL connection would be fine.

6)iphone, ipod, and ipad repair- Its a good service to provide and even if you dont know how to do it then you can probably just outsource the work to another person.

minc3d
06-13-2011, 12:43 PM
vdub12,

I actually sell a little bit of each - new and used. Depends on the price point of the customer and their comfort with used machines.

Sometimes the price point a customer wants is hard to hit with a good machine that's new but we can get them a great unit used. If they are aware of the limitations and disclosures, I generally go with a used machine, and they have been overwhelmingly happy thus far. Used computers are a lot like used cars in that they trim off a lot of the "new car premium" a year or so after usage.

Either way, consulting them on the new/used purchase builds a lot of cred for future work potential with the client.

Rob
06-16-2011, 03:11 AM
I was very interested to see this topic, and there's some great ideas here. Here's a couple that we do that haven't been mentioned yet.

1. Internet Cafe/Public Access computers. The best days of Internet Cafes are behind us, but you can still make a steady revenue from them. They don't need to be new or high end machines - bitza something together from your dead and donated stockpile.
2. Fax/photocopy/scan. Make that multifunction pay for itself. It may only be a dollar here and there, but it's revenue from hardware you (probably) already own.
3. Wireless hotspot. If you're in a central location this could be worth considering. We've been using a wireless system from Chilliwave (http://www.chilliwave.com) that we host on our own hardware. Getting up to speed on this has also allowed us to set up wireless hotspots for hotels and caravan parks.