Having a side job is a great way to help meet expenses, or when you are exploring a field in preparation for making a career change or starting full-time self-employment. If you’re tech-savvy and have skill in computer repair as well as good customer service skills, consider starting a computer repair business catering to individuals and working weekends and evenings.
Make sure running a small business in your off hours does not conflict with your regular employment. If you’re in a computer-related job as an employee, you may have signed a non-compete agreement or a promise not to engage in IT jobs outside the company. Especially don’t start a side job as a direct competitor to your employer, or use their client list for your personal use.
Get any certifications or training you need. By the time you hang out a shingle and start doing repair for people outside your family, you’ll need to be an expert in your field. If it’s commonly required that people in your local area have an MCSE or A+ certification, you’ll also need to be certified. This tells your customers that you have achieved a certain standard of knowledge and they can trust you to handle their computers properly.
Determine your pricing. Check what the going market rate is for computer repair services in your area, and price yourself competitively. If you have specific, hard-to-find skills, you may be able to charge a premium, whereas if you’re competing with people more highly experienced than you are, charge less. Or you may offer bulk pricing for businesses, retainer fees for people who anticipate ongoing challenges with their computers, or other creative pricing models.
Set up your business. You’ll usually need a business license from your state and city, usually available through the state website, and should have a business bank account set up under your business name. Make sure you separate your business expenses from your personal expenses, and keep meticulous records for the IRS.
Market your services. Word of mouth advertising is the cheapest and most effective, but if that’s a limited option for you, try advertising on a website, through local radio or print ads, or distributing flyers. Make sure your customers understand why they need your services and what you’ll do for them that’s better, faster, or cheaper than your competitors.