Using an iPad in the Computer Repair Business

ipad-business

Guest post by Craig Lloyd:
The iPad is a great device for computer technicians to carry around while out in the field. It’s a small and portable, yet powerful machine capable of assisting computer technicians with their work. Here are just four ways that computer techs can take advantage of Apple’s tablet.

1. Organizing Client Information

A great iPad app that’s specifically targeted towards computer technicians is called iFix. It’s an app that aims to ensure that repair orders and client data stay organized and can be easily and quickly accessed. You’re able to add specific information about each client including info about their computer, a list of their service orders, status of said service orders, and a history of past repairs for each client. The app also has a handy search feature where you can quickly look up a specific client or bit of information in a very short amount of time. Essentially, every text field in the app is searchable.

The only drawback of iFix is multi-user support and the lack of database backup options. The developer said that these features are being worked, but that was a year ago, so just be aware of this if these features are important to you.

If iFix isn’t measuring up to your needs, an alternative is an app called mHelpdesk. It accomplishes some of the same features that iFix achieves and it can even schedule and sync appointments with your Google Calendar, as well as the ability to create and email invoices in PDF format. It even has a pretty comprehensive billing system of sorts that allows you to create estimates, email invoices, and record payments.

CommitCRM is another great piece of software geared toward computer technicians that keeps track of clients. While it doesn’t have a dedicated app for iPad, it has a feature-packed web interface that can be accessed through the web browser on the iPad. Just like other popular CRMs, CommitCRM is widely-used, so the community support is undeniable. However, it’s not free (or cheap), but a 30-day trial is available for anyone who wants to give it a try before diving deep.

2. Easily Accepting Credit Card Payments

The iPad is a great device to use as a register of sorts that you can use to accept credit card payments. You can hook up a Square credit card reader to it and begin taking credit card payments from clients right away. It’s an easier – and possibly cheaper option than having to open up a merchant account at a bank and purchase bulky processing equipment. There’s no cost to get started using Square – just a small transaction fee of 2.75% for every swipe.

If Square specifically doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, other options for easily accepting credit card payments via an iOS or Android device include PayPal Here and Intuit’s GoPayment, both of which have awesome competing features.

3. Remote Support

There are many remote support applications available. LogMeIn Ignition is just one option that’s wildly popular, but I find TeamViewer’s iPad app to be dead-easy to use. You simply enter in the TeamViewer ID and password for the computer you want to access and you’re controlling the desktop remotely within seconds. And just in the case the client is rather computer-illiterate, installing TeamViewer on a client’s machine is very simple and doesn’t involve multiple, confusing steps. They even have a standalone version that can simply be launched right after being downloaded — no installation required.

4. Inventory

Something that we all kind of loathe nowadays is doing inventory. However, the Computer Inventory iPad app can makes things a little easier. It allows you to manage your entire business’s inventory all the way down to what software is installed on which computers. It can also act as a more minimalistic CRM of sorts — being able to keep track of the type of machine a client has, as well as what software they have installed, that way you don’t have to keep asking them every time they report a problem to you. The app also allows you to export your lists to XML and email formats to send and store them accordingly.

Are you using an iPad app in your computer business that we didnt mention here? Let us know! Drop us a comment.

Guest post by Craig Lloyd. Craig has been tinkering with computers for over eight years and is CompTIA A+ certified. For the past three years, he’s been writing about and sharing his love of technology at various websites across the internet.



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Comments (18)

  • Thomas Gaume says:

    I’ve been using quicksale since its 1st release. Very nice, easy to use product with CC, and barcode integration.

    Every business has to track expenses, I use XpenseTrkr for this. Tracks mileage & even shows the deduction at govt. rates. Tracks all type of expenses for tax purposes.

  • Taysr says:

    Are there any free alternatives?

  • Taysr says:

    Sorry i should have been more specific, I mean are there any free alternatives to apps such as mhelpdesk of ifix? Something to organise jobs and the ability to be able to email invoices from the app?

  • Sean P Murphy says:

    Use Evernote to keep PDF manuals, notes etc….

  • Nick Hatton says:

    I’d rather know about how an Android based tablet can be utilised!

    • Bit says:

      Nick – the android can everything and more.
      Kind of rude to say ipad instead of tablet.
      There is no benefit with crapple.

      • gunslinger says:

        Not even close.

        • Gantou says:

          Fanboyism aside they both have pros and cons, but in reality they both have apps for just about everything. There’s no need to dis each other, we all have our preferences. Me being a android guy I too would like to see some android alternatives.

  • David Kane says:

    I’ve been using Invoice2Go. There is a desktop app and an iPad app that sync together with a service called Cloud2Go. Very customizable billing and invoicing. An add-on for the iPad app allows for signature capture into the open invoice.

  • Ice seller says:

    It’s killing my business so I am not going to use it!’

  • Steven says:

    I actually just got my first Ipad yesterday so this will be very handy. While it is taking some business away I find I am getting asked more to configure them for business customers.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for office type apps for general speadshe

    • extremecomputers Deb says:

      I use quickoffice similar to microsoft office without the big price. I paid something like $19.00 from the app store
      Cheers Deb

  • Adam says:

    I like the idea of infix and mhelpdesk. Are there any free alternatives out there for android devises, or would my best bet be to build a web based database? Any help would be appreciated.

  • Wendy says:

    I don’t have an iPad yet but I borrowed one for a weekend from a friend. I don’t do as much break/fix these days so I was looking for something that could help me track time both on appointments and here at the office. I found an app called OfficeTime that can be used on an iPad, iPhone, Mac and most importantly for me, a PC. I’m in the midst of a 21-day free trial. If you purchase the product $47/per user you still have a 120 day guaranteed money back time to evaluate.

    The program and one of my Win7 machines couldn’t cooperate so I emailed support. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I did not get a canned response and I was able to work with a technical person to resolve the issue. They were prompt with responses as well.

    If you’re looking for something to track time and what you did during that time, check them out. http://www.officetime.net/index.php

    I have NO affiliation with them at all. Just enjoyed that I got a technical human when assistance was needed and the program appears to work well. I will have a better handle on it when I get an iPhone in the next month or so. Then I will be able to sync that info with the info on my PC.

  • Darkside says:

    THIS IS WRITTEN FROM A MOBILE TECH POINT OF VIEW.

    I went from laptop to notebook for batterylife and weight to smart phone but the screen was to small and then to tablet.

    The advantages of tablet
    1. No long startup times.
    2. Battery Life.
    3. Lightweight.
    4. Better internal modem than my smart phone.
    5. Something to talk about with the customers.
    6. You can do cool spin moves in your palm like spinning a basket ball on your finger.
    7. Thats about it.

    The bads
    1. I now have RSI of my forefinger. I am serious the tip of my finger hurts all the time now coz of beating my finger on the hard screen.
    2. Webpages are seriously slooow to load, who care about dual core processing! when the it takes a million years to move from page to page.
    3. I have 10.1 galaxy tab and when I attach a bluetooth keyboard the keystrokes are delayed.
    4. I use PCRT which is 1001% webpage based (refer to bad point 2).
    5. Hangs ipads and tabs hang. Loads of unexplored territory in mobile OS.
    6. No USB. I am out on job (secretly using google) whilst customer is getting me “another” cup of tea and I need to click on a link to download a piece of software. Bummer no USB to plug my thumb drive into! Now I got to get the netbook out and wait for it to boot up and then find that website again.
    7. I have to pay for an extra SIM card. My mobile phone has 5GB on my cap but the built in modem is power saving miser & slow (so don’t even bother tethering) another ongoing business expense to pass on to the customer.

    I think TABLETs definitely have a place in the business world, but are along way off replacing the humble netbook/notebook/desktop. If mobile phones run on uranium and had expandable screens than tablets would not be required.

    As far as programs go, most apps you have no ability to customize the data inputed, they more often than not store the data locally on the device. The modern business world is fast, interlinked and you have to have an edge on your competitors. To be fast you need fast access to data which is why apps are good, to be interlinked you need the data to be sycn’d or centralized which is why apps are bad, to find the edge on your competitors you need to be able to customize your business to suite the local market to do this you either modify what you have (apps don’t allow this) or find an app that does (now you have two sets of data).

    On my tablet I have installed:
    - The default calendar connected to Google Calendar (i use google apps) the calendar has limited editing compare to the Google Calendar website. I can’t change colour, re-assign jobs on the calendar.
    - Google Talk for instant messaging to my workers, it is more conventient to instant message on the road or job.
    - Google Mail with IMAP to keep in Sync.
    - Cheap Fuel price locator.
    - Shortcut to my PCRT so I can jump straight into customers details.
    - Google shortcut for those random problems we get.
    - Teamviewer. (not as easy to use as on a desktop or laptop, but I don’t always have my laptop on me).
    - Google Tasks (for those jobs which you need to do at some point in time but aren’t urgent)
    - Google Docs (good for random notes) I have a .doc which has ISP connection settings on it I regularly access.

  • CRC Computer says:

    Excellent Topic