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Old 08-29-2012, 03:35 PM
BigMac BigMac is offline
 
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Default Questions on Converting from Business/Residential to Business Only

Hi Guys,

We have had a storefront for about 8 years now doing both residential and business work. As our business clientele has increased, I feel it is now time to close the storefront down and go business only. I want to close the store and move into a small office to save money on rent. I am wondering what is the best way to go about doing this. Should I post a sign outside saying that on XX date we will be going business only or should I simply "disappear" from the public? Also, what about the phone number? The number is everywhere and of course mostly the general public is calling. My plan was to simply cancel the current number and let all the businesses know a new number to avoid daily calls and having to explain we are business only.

What are your thoughts? Would be interested in knowing how the guys here that have completed this transition.

Thanks!


Edit: Thought I would also mention this.. Some of you may suggest hiring additional staff to take care of residential clients. I would like to not go in this direction simply because I want to avoid the headache in dealing with the general public. I know many may disagree with this direction but please take in consideration that it's the way I would prefer things be for several reasons.

Last edited by BigMac; 08-29-2012 at 03:39 PM. Reason: Additional Info
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Old 08-29-2012, 03:38 PM
tarik tarik is offline
 
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why not move to an office but keep your phone number anyway? no sense turning away easy money(mostly) just cos you dont want to deal with the public? Maybe in your store front you sell parts etc too? Just dont sell the parts but I definately wouldnt turn away repairs of laptops and pcs even from an office. Its all money at the end of the day. Just dont advertise your residential side anymore.
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Old 08-29-2012, 03:40 PM
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What about teaming up with another local business and getting a referral fee? Builds more good will all around, I think.
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Old 08-29-2012, 03:45 PM
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YeOldeStonecat YeOldeStonecat is offline
 
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Congrats on the decision to go to SMB!

I would still advertise the business transition.

*Mail out a letter to all business clients
*E-mail everyone in your database about your change in business
*Get as much signage about your business change and relocation as you can in your "old office"

My logic is....you want EVERYone to know of your change. Including home users. Why? It leaves a better taste in their mouths about professionalism. And some previous "home users" may open a business, or work at a business...where they need an IT guy that supports business computers. You'll be glad they know you did a change.

In looking for a new office location, when we moved out of our cramped offices in downtown....I wanted a new location that met the following criteria:
*Within 3x stoplights of the major highway
*Parking right up to the door of the building for easy loading/unloading
*First floor offices

We got the first 2 criteria. Our 3x suites are on the second floor...but the stairs are quite wide and roomy.

We got offices in one of the buildings of a self storage place...the second building back is a 2x story building with office suites that they rent out, we got 3 suites together. Works out great, because on the main floor, entrance, there's a large office for the storage place that is staffed. So deliveries always get signed. If people need to stop by to drop things off, someone always can take it or point them upstairs to us. So as we come and go, we don't have to worry much.

And I agree about staying away from home computer stuff...when you're dealing with SMB stuff, that is big money, MUCH higher hourly rates. Dealing with home computers, their laptops, their home desktops...you end up giving your time away, because you can't really charge them your full SMB support rates..and it cuts into your time that you're doing SMB support. SMB support, you don't really need overhead of stocking parts either.
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Last edited by YeOldeStonecat; 08-29-2012 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 08-30-2012, 01:58 PM
BigMac BigMac is offline
 
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Thanks for the replies. I suppose it would be rather harsh to simply close up with no warning. One of my fears is that I have so many residential clients that rely on me that they will still want me to do work for them.

One approach I have thought about is to keep doing work for my good customers that pay me well and simply say NO to the troublesome customers. We get a lot of the "just a quick question" and "do you fix printers" and "my email don't work." I simply am sick of these phone calls and want to avoid them altogether.

Another reason for ditching the public is people are constantly walking in with mistreated laptops with a bad hard drive and broken DC jack only to inform us "they didn't pay much for it so they don't want to put a lot of money into it." I am a believer that repairing consumer based computers is coming to an end so it's time to move on to bigger and better things.

This turned into more of a rant but I figured people would like to know why I am going in this direction.

Thank you all.
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Old 08-30-2012, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMac View Post
Thanks for the replies. I suppose it would be rather harsh to simply close up with no warning. One of my fears is that I have so many residential clients that rely on me that they will still want me to do work for them.

One approach I have thought about is to keep doing work for my good customers that pay me well and simply say NO to the troublesome customers. We get a lot of the "just a quick question" and "do you fix printers" and "my email don't work." I simply am sick of these phone calls and want to avoid them altogether.
Makes sense....we have a similar situation, long time "good" customers still seek us out, even though there are quite a few home computer support places around the area that are much cheaper. Loyal good customers can still be good customers. ....especially if they are good payers.

And for the bad clients you don't want....easy to weed out the chaff...tell them your new rates...and stuff like "I'm $150.00/hour now and we do businesses only." Find a local place that does residential..that you like, and tell him you'll be sending your home clients. Being able to pass that referral to your clients, they'll appreciate you for that. (your clients will...well, and actually so will the IT guy you're referring them to).
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Old 08-31-2012, 03:29 AM
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"do you fix printers" I literally laughed out loud when I read that.

I've had a lot of people ask me that question, and it's usually a cheap junk lexmark printer or something along those lines that's not even worth taking a quick glance at.
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Old 08-31-2012, 03:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lan101 View Post
"do you fix printers" I literally laughed out loud when I read that.
I did the same! We get that from time to time. Someone brings in an 8 year old, falling-apart, basic inkjet that stopped working and wants to know if we can fix it. Most of them don't realize that you can now buy one that will print 3x as fast plus scan/copy/fax for $50 at Worst Buy. These are usually the same people that bring in their Dell Dimension B110 sporting 128MB of RAM and want it repaired.
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