If you know your way around a computer and love to spend your time building broken machines back into usable pieces of equipment, then a computer refurbishment business might just be the best choice for you. You can work for yourself in a niche tech business that plays to your strength, helping to bring old equipment back to its best, and generating yourself a nice profit as a result.
While computer refurbishment businesses are popular, there are a few downsides that those in the industry have to cope with. If you’re thinking that computer refurbishment is the tech business for you, then you need to ensure you’re aware of the following potential issues…
#1 - Demanding customers
When you have refurbished a computer, you will usually then offer it for sale-- this is how you generate your profit. However, the sales part of computer refurbishment can be… tricky.
You’re almost certainly going to find yourself struggling with demanding customers. You may hope that customers understand what a refurbished computer means; that the system works well, but that it’s not going to be “as new” or free from cosmetic imperfections. Even if you include disclaimers warning customers not to expect perfect quality… they’re still going to expect perfect, as-good-as-new quality.
When people say that the customer is always right, they’re wrong. Sometimes, customers are wrong, and if they expect A+ quality on a refurbished computer, then they’re definitely wrong. However, you will likely need to spend a lot of time dealing with the customers who expect more from a refurbished computer than anyone is able to deliver. It’s important to be aware of this time demand when structuring your business operations; picky customers will happen, so you need a plan for how to cope.
#2 - Finding material that is illegal
Anyone involved in computer refurbishment will eventually stumble across material that is illegal or forbidden; it’s almost inevitable. When this happens to you, back away from the computer, call the police, and turn the equipment over to computer forensics services for further management.
There’s no doubt that finding illegal material on a computer is a murky ethical dilemma. Some people insist that computer tech and refurbishment workers have no reason to examine files, so this material should be ignored. Courts have disagreed with this belief. If you’re just wiping a hard drive to prepare for reuse, then there’s no explicit need to open any files on the computer; it’s best to leave alone if you’re concerned about this issue.
#3 - You’ll get a bad deal
Every computer refurbishing business will, at some point, purchase an item they believe they can refurbish and sell on… only to discover the computer is beyond repair. It happens; it’s not nice when it happens, but it is fairly routine.
It’s important to remember there is always something you can get from the purchase of a computer, even if not a full resale value. Stripping the computer down to sell for spare parts is usually your best bet, so it’s worth making contact with computer repair shops who may be interested in forming a business relationship.
Now you know the realities of running a computer repair business, you can be 100% confident that you are launching your business with your eyes wide open, helping to ease your route to business success.
Walter G. is a software engineer with over 10 years of professional experience. When he isn't blogging or being a CTO he enjoys coding randomly complex things that he hopes many people will get a chance to use one day.