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post #11 of 18
While it's admirable that you are trying to find a productive way to make money at your age I would suggest you find a maybe more traditional route for your age group.

A few reasons

1 - You seem to have a bit of learning to do

2 - There is a costly initial outlay

3 - Your age and lack of qualifications will count against you. Not many people want to hire a unqualified 15 year old to tinker with expensive kit. Also what are the laws in relation to liability and insurance in your area (this is seriously important if things go wrong)?

4 - You need to realise glamorous stuff like custom builds is not so common anymore the fact that nowdays 15 year old kids (and younger) happily build their own rigs shows this. Also the upgrade scene is not all that great you really can't charge a lot for changing a GPU or PSU and unless you are getting the parts for far under retail your overall profit will be miniscule. I do this kind of stuff part time currently while doing a degree course and trust me 99.9% of what you do is cleaning up virus's after some clown downloads 4 hours of nasty donkey porn.

If you want a career in IT look toward networking, security, programming or being a hardware monkey at a corporate level, the whole local IT fix it guy gig is overpopulated and under-demanded. Going in to it now unqualified and at your age I wouldn't be surprised if you lose more than you make.

Sorry if I sound a bit brutal its not meant to be.
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post #12 of 18
times have changed a lot. when I was your age $1,000 of pc parts could be assembled
into a $2,000 computer. we also had to walk uphill both ways with our Hayes 2400 Baud modems.

if you really want to do computer repair maybe find a local computer consultant and see if you
can work for him/her. really depends on your location. you might want to advertise your services
as a per job cost instead of an hourly rate.

look into a pci diagnostic card (fancy models have PCI and USB). digital multimeter (cheap one is fine).


PCI PC Diagnostic Card $6.75 shipped @DX
http://dx.com/p/pci-pc-diagnostic-card-3589
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post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Algorithm View Post

Unfortunately, I don't know anyone else my age who does work like this. I came up with the idea on my own because I need money to build myself a really good gaming computer. Do you think that $20 is too much?

I was not referring to someone your age doing this sort of work. I was referring to asking what someone your age earns full stop. Regardless of the work that they are doing. Most 15 year olds will earn about the same amount because they have no real world experience and that is what people are willing to pay them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultisym View Post

RAID 1 is EXCELLENT for backup. Most of my clients use RAID 1 for data redundancy. Its not cheap to "waste" all those drives in a simple mirror configuration but they are real happy when a drive does eventually fail. You can get data off striped drives but it is extremely expensive, orders of magnitude so than a RAID 1 mirror.

RAID IS NOT A BACKUP SOLUTION.

Data redundancy IS NOT A BACKUP.

What happens if there is a power surge and both drives get shorted out? What happens if both drives die before someone realizes that one drive has died? What happens if god forbid, someone steals the pc its self? If you are providing a BACKUP service to clients, a RAID array does not cut it.

I will say it again so that there is no confusion and no-one gets the wrong idea that having a RAID 1 is a backup. RAID IS NOT A BACKUP SOLUTION.
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post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
From what I can see, it appears that I would not do very well until I got certifications. Also, buying all the equipment I might need would cost more money than I have. So I will wait a few years till I can get a degree in Computer Science and then I will reconsider. But thank you all for the help.

As a side note to Ultisym, did you know that it's possible to test a PSU with a multimeter? My Rosewill PSU came with a table of the voltages for each pin, so I am able to test it.
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post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Algorithm View Post

From what I can see, it appears that I would not do very well until I got certifications. Also, buying all the equipment I might need would cost more money than I have. So I will wait a few years till I can get a degree in Computer Science and then I will reconsider. But thank you all for the help.

As a side note to Ultisym, did you know that it's possible to test a PSU with a multimeter? My Rosewill PSU came with a table of the voltages for each pin, so I am able to test it.

Patience is a must but to have a goal as such is an excellent way to motivate yourself to reach your objectives. Might not be the best of times to start but always have it as a goal that you can strive for!! Good luck with your adventure and I wish you all the best.

Just a couple of pointers, with every idea you have, regardless of whether or not it may work, write it down!!! Keep a scrap book and brainstorm now and again, before you know it, you can actually use that 'scrap book' for creating a business plan when you find that you are in a better position to do so. Offering services as such would require that you build a reputation that stands firm with customers, however, where do you find these so called customers?? Well social media is a great way to market yourself and best of all, its free!! (Not sure for how long though lol).

Anyway check out eBay and Craigslist at times and you may even stumble on a great deal that you simply cannot pass, for testing purposes you don't really need brand new hardware, just as long as it works! I picked up my Antec HTPC from eBay for £5 lol and I've currently put it up for sale from £150. You see, anything is possible!!

Regards
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post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Algorithm View Post

From what I can see, it appears that I would not do very well until I got certifications. Also, buying all the equipment I might need would cost more money than I have. So I will wait a few years till I can get a degree in Computer Science and then I will reconsider. But thank you all for the help.

As a side note to Ultisym, did you know that it's possible to test a PSU with a multimeter? My Rosewill PSU came with a table of the voltages for each pin, so I am able to test it.

In fact i do know you can use and how to use a multimeter but it sure is whole lot easier to plug into tester and move along, i can test every plug on the supply in 30 seconds with it. When you are troubleshooting several machines a day every few minutes saved is time im not at the office,
Edited by Ultisym - 5/19/13 at 9:54am
   
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post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkItZo View Post

I was not referring to someone your age doing this sort of work. I was referring to asking what someone your age earns full stop. Regardless of the work that they are doing. Most 15 year olds will earn about the same amount because they have no real world experience and that is what people are willing to pay them.
RAID IS NOT A BACKUP SOLUTION.

Data redundancy IS NOT A BACKUP.

What happens if there is a power surge and both drives get shorted out? What happens if both drives die before someone realizes that one drive has died? What happens if god forbid, someone steals the pc its self? If you are providing a BACKUP service to clients, a RAID array does not cut it.

I will say it again so that there is no confusion and no-one gets the wrong idea that having a RAID 1 is a backup. RAID IS NOT A BACKUP SOLUTION.

There has to be offsite data storage of course and this is easy to make happen with RAID and NAS servers with cloud support. So I am going to have to agree to disagree with you.
   
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post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Algorithm View Post

So, I am thinking of starting a computer repair business. I am 15 years old, but I have some experience fixing relatives' computers and I don't plan to take on difficult tasks like data repair. I plan to do the following:

Dead hardware replacement.
Software and OS installations for people who don't want to learn how.
Data backup (basically adding a second hard drive and setting up RAID)
Computer upgrades (better processor, more memory, etc.)
Custom builds for customers (I help them choose parts, then I assemble it and install their choice of OS)
"Degunking" of OS (installing antivirus software, and backup and reinstall of OS if necessary)
Partition maintenance (set up dual-boot system, fix boot menus, delete non-used OS)


Also, what are the going rates for someone without much experience? I will have to have clients bring their computers to me, but I will do evaluation of the problems free of cost, and I won't charge for problems I can't fix. Is $25 an hour too much?

If you want to do this as a business, you need to do two important things before you get too deep:

1. You should set up a corporate entity with the State. Your parents will need to help with this, because you must be 18 years of age or older to sign the documents setting up a resident agent for the company. The company structure doesn't need to be complicated, a simple S Corp will do, or an LLC with one of your parents/guardian as a partner. The reasons for setting up a corporate entity are plenty --- tax liability, ability to be insured as a company instead of an individual, and if you get to the point where you're selling parts and pieces as part of your repair services, you MUST charge sales tax on those parts if it's a local sale, and in doing so, you need a state tax ID account to do it legally. A business won't do business with you without it, as paying an individual for parts isn't something they can get a solid tax deduction for as a business expense.

2. You need insurance. Insurance is cheap, probably $500-800 a year for a small liability policy. Why do you need it? Imagine accidentally blowing away somebody's hard drive and all of it's data, or cooking somebody's $10,000 server, then ask yourself how upset they would be and what the implications of being sued for such negligence are.


Once you get those two things straightened out, you can get started. =) Your list of tasks looks great and I'm sure you can easily get $25-$40 an hour if you're efficiency with your procedures and aren't monkeying around instead of getting results. You might consider charging "by the job" for certain tasks, so that your potential customers don't get alarmed that an inexperienced technician is going to spend 8 hours ($200) what an experienced tech can do in 1 hour @ $75 an hour.

Greg
Edited by hammong - 5/19/13 at 10:08am
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