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Old 12-01-2010, 02:37 AM
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Default Business opportunity or Liability

I have recently started my own business offering I.T. solutions and an opportunity has been dropped in my lap, may be. My brother finished his exams last year for I.T. and landed a placement with the education authority, he has been there 14 months and gained a wealth of experience, how ever, with cut backs a number of people in the I.T. department are facing redundancy. The schools in the area are supplying netbooks to students, the I.T. department do not have the resources to maintain these netbooks, last year they spent 7800 on an extra 1 years warranty for 150 netbooks, but this did not cover accidental damage, my brother informed his boss that I specialise in laptop and netbook repairs and that I could provide relevant cover for repairs, very thoughtful of him to push work my way! I can't offer warranties as such but could provide a maintenance contract with an annual fee, but they want accidental damage covered, the main issues are broken screens and damaged keyboards through drink spills and broken hinges. A figure of 1 a week per netbook has been mentioned and they have bought a further 200 netbooks this year with just the standard guarantee. I can't dispute my brothers enthusiasm towards me but I do not specialise in laptop/netbook repairs, I have replaced a couple of screens and a few keyboards and found it very fiddly and time consuming, how ever there is a potential to make money, or be burnt, kids being kids. I have asked for a break down of issues and breakages they have had for the last 12 months, just to gauge potential costs in parts and labour, but I am still waiting for that information, worst case scenario is replacing an unserviceable netbook, which is something they have indicated. What do you guys think?
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Old 12-01-2010, 02:51 AM
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but they want accidental damage covered, the main issues are broken screens and damaged keyboards through drink spills and broken hinges.

They need to have the kids/parents purchase an extended warranty then. Then you will maybe make some money. The school should be able to provide that when they provide the computers.
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Old 12-01-2010, 02:53 AM
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I would do it on a case by case basis.
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Old 12-01-2010, 02:58 AM
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I agree with Lisa. The taxpayers shouldn't foot the bill for accidental damages.
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:41 AM
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A fixed fee for somewhere between 0 and 350 repairs (assuming each one doesn't break more than once, I recall hearing about a story where one company replace mobos or something on average 2.5 times per machine), no matter what the fee is, means a high chance of either you working too much or the customer paying too much, and a very low chance of actually being fair for everyone. Unless you can get a bulk deal on parts or something, I see no benefit over paying on a case by case basis. On a less technical/business note, I agree the parents/kids should pay for drops/spills to learn to be more careful. Accidental damage coverage usually consists of getting another machine, often refurbished, with no data backup/transfer, and takes a couple of weeks. I'd stay clear of that for both you and the school. Software/OS support I'd consider doing a bulk deal, but with hardware if more kids break them, that's more parts, which don't grow on trees.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:26 AM
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Out source what you can manage to repair yourself I've sent you a PM.

I outsource some work I can do but don't like doing when it comes to laptop repair. And it works well! Also might be worth purchasing a few of the same model etbook when they become end of life. This will save you on parts and you'll always have backup.
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:30 PM
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Thanks for the input, I think I would prefer a case by case repair, much simpler, I need to establish the cost of parts, any recomendations of suppliers in the UK would be appreciated, these are Toshiba netbooks and the school currently have 30 that need some kind of repair. Hopefully if I get my pricing right I can get the contract.
The school has a further 300 net books on order for next year, no extended warranty nor accident damage so their is a large potential for regular income.

Apparantly the schools will be moving away from regular text books and using e-books for lessons and study, hence the eventual roll out of netbooks to students nationaly, if the trials are succesful. It seems the educational authority did not factor in I.T support, their I.T. departments don't have the resources for net book repairs!
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:35 PM
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So they are offering to pay 52 a year per netbook? Given you can get refurb netbooks for 100 it might be worth a punt.

You may need a licence from the FSA to offer such a thing though as it may be legally classed as insurance.
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