Do I need certifications before I start a computer repair business?
I wish to start my own computer repair service, i don’t have any certs in that field, but i know what each piece of hardware is called and where it goes etc, should i get any certifications before it think about starting my own business?
That’s an interesting question because you’re really talking about what I call the “friction of a sale”: if you want to open up a computer repair business, your biggest challenge is to be able to establish trust with your potential customers. After all, their computers have lots of private and confidential information including tax returns, photographs, letters, and who knows what in their Web browser cache.
The challenge is that you need to have some method of demonstrating your trustworthiness so that when they consider your business as a possibility, they don’t say “oh, wait a sec, he’s only 19 years old?” or “you’ve never worked for a computer company?” or “you work out of your garage?” etc etc. That’s the friction in the transaction: if you have too much, you’ll never get any clients because everyone will see it as too risky. At a far extreme, it’d be like you’re some scary goth kid with piercings and tattoos on your face, pulling into their driveway with an unmarked van, saying “dude, I can so fix your computer. Lemme have it!”
That’s why companies like Geek Squad are doing so well. They are nationally known, they have advertisements on TV, they have a service guarantee, and they’re affiliated with a well-known retail company. All of those reduce that ole’ transactional friction and so many people see an advert on TV and decide that’s legit enough to give them business.
The value of credentials in this sort of situation is that if you’re, say, “Cisco Certified” or are a Microsoft “MVP for Windows XP”, or are a “Google Certified AdWords Professional” are that they demonstrate your expertise in measurable ways. It might well be the case that some people who aren’t, say, a Certified AdWords Pro could be better at managing ad campaigns than some who are certified, but in the aggregate, overall, people who have the certification are going to be better at the job than those that do not.
This is, of course, why it’s also important to get academic credentials like a Bachelor’s degree (or higher), depending on what field you want to join. If you want to be a management consultant, for example, having an MBA can be an invaluable credential. If nothing else, it’ll help you speak the same language as your clients.
So I would say, in summary, that while it’s not critical that you have certifications, it certainly is a good idea and I would expect that your business will be more successful, especially in the early years when you don’t have a reputation yet in your community.
Finally, don’t forget the importance of “business 101″: have a professional Web site, business cards, a guarantee of service, clear pricing, and either go to their location to service their machines or have a professional storefront or office so they have a good degree of confidence when they come to your facility to drop off their precious machine for repair.
Good luck to you!