Does anyone still make money from selling PCs/repair?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by MajorYikes, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. MajorYikes

    MajorYikes n00b

    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2019
    7-8 years ago I was a complete enthusiast, totally up to speed on the latest and greatest. I owned 4-5 desktops and was always building rigs (budget, middle of the road, gaming) as well as flipping used laptops.

    I stopped when smartphones and tablets became huge and computers started to seem less relevant. I just completed my first build in a while and was thinking about starting to do it again on the side for fun and a little extra cash...

    Do any of you guys still do the same? How’s your profit? And do you still do repairs for money? I’m not talking about just doing it for work. Also, what platform do you use? Craigslist, Facebook, letgo/Offerup, etc?

    Feel free to chime in.
     
  2. gigatexal

    gigatexal [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,165
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    I went around fixing people’s computers using a gig service called ThumbTack. Overall it was a money losing endeavor. There’s no margin in it. Nobody wants to pay 50 usd an hour for labor.

    I tried doing things for fixed costs up front but the price shock killed my customer base. Could have been I was just bad at business.
     
  3. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,353
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2012
    Consumer computers are commodity disposable items now. There isn’t a whole lot to them apart from blow out the dust, running malware scans, and reminding old people how to get at their pictures

    Enthusiast rigs and workstations are the only things that are upgradable and repairable any longer - and the users of those are mostly saavy enough to do work themselves.
     
  4. MajorYikes

    MajorYikes n00b

    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2019
    Right...I was 14-16 years old and I had a pretty big client base of my own from 2007-2010 and probably made $1000-$1500 a month just after school and weekends from builds and repairs.
     
  5. ChRoNo16

    ChRoNo16 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,366
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    The simple answer is no, you can make a little side change if you want to but for most people you cannot make real money anymore.
     
    gigatexal likes this.
  6. Skillz

    Skillz [H]ard DCOTY 2017

    Messages:
    21,729
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    You wanna make money doing this then learn to replace cracked screens on mobile devices.
     
  7. dark_reign

    dark_reign 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,155
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Worked in local PC repair shop 10 years ago and it was pretty busy. At that time we mainly worked on desktop PCs and to a lesser extent laptops. We worked on a lot of emachines and HP garbage. Very little high end stuff came into the store.

    I recently stopped into the place I used to work at and they're still selling used desktops, laptops, parts, etc. But we're still talking junk PCs and low end parts. Funny thing is there's less people working there (just two guys) and they don't sell smartphones.
     
  8. Niner21

    Niner21 n00b

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2018
    I used to do repairs and builds on PC's years ago as well, but not anymore. It began to consume my free time and never seemed to end. The money was nice back then but I agree that smartphones have taken over and most people are just replacing PC's once they start having issues.
     
  9. Zareek

    Zareek Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    185
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Nope the race to the bottom ended that... Home PCs are disposable now. Most people who are into PC gaming, CAD or video editing know their way around a machine at least well enough to get by. That basically leaves businesses. Most will have their own in house IT or a manged contract. I currently have one small business in the middle of nowhere that I help out for reasonable money. That is pretty much it, occasionally I will help a friend of a friend or similar but most people don't want to pay what my time is worth to get it fixed. I tell them up front, you might be better off buying a new machine because I'm not cheap.
     
  10. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    8,942
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    I never thought it was a money making business. Stores used to charge around $20 for a build if you purchased the gear from them. It takes me at least a few hours to make a decent build and done right, for $20? No thanks.
     
  11. modi123

    modi123 [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    5,053
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Repair for family and friends, but that's gone to a trickle. Avoid cellphones and tablet screen repair as I don't care to buy the tool kit from ifixit.
     
  12. drutman

    drutman n00b

    Messages:
    55
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    We do custom PC builds, phone repair and networking, it is hit or miss. We do upgrades when people buy consumer/ Best Buy stuff and the WiFi is not up-to par. We go back in with Ubiquiti gear and do it right. We do repeat business when customers purchase based on lowest cost and lack of technical understanding.

    Current CPU and GPU hardware pricing makes it hard to profit on PC builds.

    FYI Ifixit website/store does offer discount business pricing for phone repair items, we use them and have a personal agent with them to handle returns and issues. No charge to business.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  13. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    12,844
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    I really only do build and repair work for family and friends. Also do a bit of personal stuff for people where I work.

    Not really good for real money making, but it brings in a bit of extra cash.

    Years ago I worked for a guy that did builds and on-site repair. We charged $80 an hour back then and we generally had plenty of business.

    And around the 2006 time, I worked for a company that did on-site warranty repair for Dell. That made ok money and really is the only decent way anymore IMO to make ok money doing onsite repair.
    Back then it was $32 to $38 per call (up to an hour) plus mileage. Not sure what the going rate is now.
     
  14. capt_cope

    capt_cope Gawd

    Messages:
    901
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Not sure how that would work... there's a guy with a tiny "shop" in a strip mall nearby that will replace a cracked screen on an iphone 8 for less than $50. That's a damn small margin to work with considering a replacement screen looks like it'll cost me ~ $30. I haven't replaced an iphone 8 screen, but I really doubt you can rely on more than one per hour, and $20 an hour really isn't "making money" if you're self employed. I'm bad at math, but with taxes and all I'd wager $20 an hour self-employed is barely equal to $12 an hour working at a fast food joint.
     
  15. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,795
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Buy faulty notebooks, repair and resell. Decent business.
     
  16. TheFlayedMan

    TheFlayedMan Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Probably makes all his money laundering monies lol
     
  17. Skillz

    Skillz [H]ard DCOTY 2017

    Messages:
    21,729
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Yeah, you are bad at math. Doesn't matter if you're hourly, salary or self-employed. The tax brackets are still the same. Someone making $12 an hour is still gonna hit the ~30% income tax just like someone making $20 an hour is gonna hit the ~30% tax.
     
  18. capt_cope

    capt_cope Gawd

    Messages:
    901
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    You're forgetting that your employer pays social security and medicare taxes on your wages - when you're self employed YOU pay those taxes on your wages in addition to income tax. There are plenty of online calculators that will show you the difference between $20/hr on a w2 vs $20/hr on a 1099.
     
  19. Skillz

    Skillz [H]ard DCOTY 2017

    Messages:
    21,729
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Well I am a 1099 Sub-contractor for the company I work for. Let's just say I disagree that someone making $20 an hour 1099 makes about as much as an employee W-2 making $12 an hour.
     
  20. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

    Messages:
    53,125
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    I used to make a lot of money building PC's and servicing them. I did this for years until the sub-$1,000 PC's hit. At that point, the margins were thin enough to make things pretty lean. I already transitioned to IT and by that point I made enough in IT to quit bothering with the side work. When I first started doing this kind of work I could charge $70-90 an hour for service and repair. I also worked some places that charged even more than that and had plenty of business. I can't see anyone making a living on building PC's and repairing them anymore. $20 an hour just isn't going to cut it. These days most PC's are barely worth the cost of repairs.
     
  21. THUMPer

    THUMPer I Sit in Stink

    Messages:
    2,723
    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    I build machines rondomly for a guy that sells iracing rigs. Don't make much, but it's fun playing with and smelling all that new hardware.
     
  22. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    11,670
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2000
    no shit eh. they are idiots around here lowballing everyone, even as low as $15-20CAN/hr.
     
  23. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,353
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2012
    I have no skin in this game but this got me curious.

    I ran through this:
    https://www.viewthenumbers.com/w2-vs-1099

    Healthcare can easily skew this any which way; I left the numbers on the calculator at default, and entered $12/hr full time ($24,960 annual) vs $20/full time:
    $12/hr W2 = $21,054 take home
    $20/hr 1099 = $25,393 take home

    At least according to the calculator, $20 1099 is roughly equivalent to $14.56/hr on W2.

    But again, health care costs could very easily swing this in either direction.

    $2.56/hr is a big delta, but your still not making that sweet Amazon money.
     
  24. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,353
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2012
    Whenever I did work, it was invariably for old people who bought crap computers, and most of their problems were that they lost the bookmark for their email account on Yahoo.

    That being said, I would always ask to be paid in pastry.
     
    MajorYikes likes this.