I operated a mobile computer repair business for a few years. I did not have the volume of work to operate full time, but this allowed me to complete my degree at the same time and meet and help some interesting people. One aspect that was particularly interesting was visiting clients in remote areas. I could usually schedule several visits to the same area to make the longer trips more worthwhile. Most of my business came from word of mouth/referals from existing customers.
You already have clients from the retail shop. You should try and keep as many of them as possible. Start by contacting them and asking them to refer their friends. Also advertising in your local newspaper or with flyers on a regular basis will help get clients. Leave some "sticky" advertising, such as a business card, mouse pad, coffee cup, etc advertising your business for repeat business. A small van with signwriting advertising your service is probably your best choice of vehicle.
For your mobile office you will need a mobile phone, a simple set of test equipment and tools and the most common spare parts. This is probably the same as what you are using now in the retail shop. If you can get most parts by overnight delivery and you can diagnose faults before your visits you can avoid having a lot of parts on hand. You can probably fix most problems on site to avoid extra travel.
Scheduling is probably your biggest challenge and you will need to line up your work so your clients are clustered to make the routes efficient. You will need to watch the clock to make sure that visits don't take too long and cut into other client's time.
You could try contacting local computer retailers that don't have a service department, or mail order brands and offer to service their products on a contract basis if they don't have local representatives already.
I wish you all the best in your business.
If you have a group of loyal customers, then create something that they can use to easily tell their friends about you. For example, pick an easy to remember phone number and give your customers a package of marketing material they can give to their friends.
You can use the same methods you used to attract clients to the retail shop. The major difference for your customers is the convenience of onsite service, so you advertising should reflect this. Look at how tradespeople who offer mobile services are advertising themselves, for example electricians or plumbers. Your newspaper advertising could be a simple "On site computer repair phone <your business name>, <your phone number>" repeated every week.
Flyers would be cheaper than newspaper advertising and more targeted so you would have more information about the services you offer, but kept to a list of types of service and contact information. Perhaps create a different type of flyer for home users and business clients. You could deliver your marketing material to the neighbours of your site visits.
This is your mobile computer business. I have given you plenty of examples of what might work for you. You will need to research your potential market for yourself. You will need to find out how you can compete with others in your marketplace. Will you provide better service, quality or price? Who are your ideal customers? What do they need? You will have to consider the options and experiment with marketing material and methods to see what works best for your market.
One of the most challenging and at the same time most rewarding aspects of being in business is that you make the decisions. You take the risks and get the rewards.
If you need a specific formula for a business model, then your best option would be to buy into a franchise. You will still need to do most of the decision making yourself, but you will have the support of someone who already has a method that works.
I have already given lots of detail in my answers.
What specifically do you want more detail about?
Hi and Welcome to Just Answer,
Ok, let's take a look at this;
I would like to take a shot at this if it is ok,
I too do a little on site repairs, personally the word of mouth is the best as stated above, but that is only part of it;
Let's answer your specific questions;
How can I advertise?
What form of advertising works best?
These all go in the same question, Placing Magnetic Signs on your Van/Truck works great, Left, right and back. In your signs make them simple; "Need on site computer work done... The call(NNN) NNN-NNNNfor a appointment. You might even place receive 10% off first visit, by mentioning that you seen this on my van/truck.
Get business cards, take them to places like, laundry mats, restaurants, Leave a stack, and on the card give them a 10% discount.
Place a small ad in the penny power or local paper, again offer a 10% discount to new customers.
Give your quotes live, don't print anything... example $50/hour.... Times change, gas prices change... Never set your self up to having to throw away out dated material.
Make this simple;
Need computer work done at your location... Call(NNN) NNN-NNNNfor a free phone quote, We are fast, and we guaranty our work. Locally Est. since 1975
My suggestion here is get the basic 100 piece electronic tool kit, some test equipment, but, unless you are going to specify a specific computer you are willing to work on, this is impossible to determine. I would have basic, Hard drive, Modems, Sound Cards, Video Cards, RAM, CMOS Batteries, Jumpers, and so on, never throw anything away, until you know it is bad, this becomes inventory. If you can keep your mobile unit close to the city, you can use places like Radio Shack as your warehouse. So when needing to run for a part, simply tell them you are going to your warehouse.
I have a 6 cylinder van; it is roomy and great on mileage. That would be my advice, I hope this helps.
I hope this helps
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The best advertising is word of mouth. If your existing customer base loves you and your work, they will tell others for free. If you can maintain remarkable service, your customer base will grow exponentially.
You should not do any advertising at all until you have defined the position you want in the market. Are you going to be the cheapest or the best quality?
If you are going for the cheapest, then your advertising should reflect that. In this example, I am estimating that you want to make about $60 per hour and so you should change the values accordingly. Decide how long your quickest jobs will take - probably about 10-20 minutes on average. Set your minimum price to $29.99 and charge this for any jobs that take less than 30 minutes. Charge an extra $29.99 for every 30 minutes after that. You are probably already doing something like this in the retail shop. Sometimes you will make more than $60 per hour, other times you might be stuck in traffic.
Design an A5 (half page) black and white flyer that says: "Cheap on site computer repair service" and in large print list the things you do. Put a "From $29.99" price and list your contact information with your phone number in a large font to take at least half of the width of the page. If you want your terms and conditions listed, put them in smaller print on the back. Photocopy a few hundred on coloured paper and deliver them to letterboxes, put them on windscreens and leave them with your customers.
If you are going for quality, your advertising will be more up market. Invest in a good logo and marketing material package from a graphic design company. Your advertising will not have a price listed, but will say pricing available on request. The advertising focus will be on your experience and qualifications, written testimonies from happy customers and guarantees of your work.
If you are going to target business clients, get a graphic design company to produce a high quality business card, colour brochure, letterhead, invoice, etc and website. Cold call and visit businesses, tell them you are in the neighbourhood and ask them to call you or fill in a service request on your website next time they have a computer problem. If they ask about pricing give your highest rate, and say that you can negotiate a better price with a contract for regular service. Get their contact details. Phone or email them every time you have a job in their area, but not more than once every two weeks.
Paint your van bright orange with large black letters saying "COMPUTER REPAIR" on one line and your phone number taking up the same amount of space below. This should cover about one third of the available space on each side and back. On the front write "COMPUTER REPAIR" in reverse like an ambulance so people can read it in their mirrors when you are following them. Park on the street outside your potential customers.
Never give a discount unless the customer earns it by giving you something back like a referral for more business or long term loyalty.