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Wanting to Open a Computer Store - Sugestions??

Posted on 2006-07-12
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I am the owner of UnboundDigital.net which was a part time job for me. I really enjoy fixing everyone’s busted up computer for some strange reason. Anyways, I have been doing this part time since 2000 in the tri-cities area which includes Johnson City, Kingsport, Bristol, TN (shout out to the NASCAR fans). But as everything has worked out I ended up doing this full time starting in December of last year and I have been doing pretty good own my own working for some local business and doing some residential work. (Out of my house right now)

Saying all of that I’m sure some of you have been there and done that so can I get some pointers and estimated startup cost, things to do and not to do, what items or services makes the money in the store front.

Also I wanted to know some really good places, wholesalers, to get parts from. I had an account with Ingram Micro and I didn’t really like them that much, their site was hard to use and the lack of pictures on the product. Any suggestions??

Also I thought about stocking a lot of parts and selling them kind of like a super store and having the normal stuff like motherboards, processors, and so on. (for some strange reason, no one in this area stocks parts, however they can order for me if I would like, I can order it myself if I didn’t need it 15 minutes ago to fix something. I called 10 computer stores and only one had one processor and motherboard that they didn’t have to order.  Is this the norm for parts?) CrAzY for sure.

Feel free to give any suggestions.
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Question by:narok
12 Comments
 
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by:
nobus earned 60 total points
ID: 17097559
>>   stocking a lot of parts   <<  if you can't sell them in 1 month, you'll loose money on it, since the prices tend to go down every day ! So be careful when stocking up ! there is your reason why nobody does it . . .
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by:infex
infex earned 55 total points
ID: 17097784
You should only have stock of items that do not allways lose value (eg.ink cartridges, cables, ...) Perhaps you can also put some empty boxes to show.

On the other hand as supplier, check out Ingram.

Hope this helps
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by:keneso
keneso earned 55 total points
ID: 17097983
Learn about competitors and suppliers in your area.
http://www.switchboard.com/bin/cgidir.dll?MEM=45&PR=133&ST=1&VL=MSZDaGF0dGFub29nYSwgVE4mJkNoYXR0YW5vb2dhJlROJiYwJjAmMiYyJjAD&QV=5C2466FC9E6A4722816FA660FD52EFA0l029CC0711605BE44CB303203O019CC1711605BE44D5303203O039C2F3D1605BE4491303203&KW=Computer+Parts+&LO=TN&SD=-1&search.x=22&search.y=12&search=Search

Like already said stocking is very risky if you don't have a big turn, and good sale force to support it, in other words either you are a wholesaler,with a big investment, or you better off using online wholesalers, which in many cases deliver in short time, and some do have a cash&carry outlet.
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by:xy8088
xy8088 earned 55 total points
ID: 17101630
>>I called 10 computer stores and only one had one processor and motherboard that they didn’t have to order.  Is this the norm for parts?

I live in Phoenix and there are plenty of computer stores around here that have all kinds of parts. Frys Electronics usually has an entire aisle devoted to just motherboards. I guess that it just depends on the size of the city you are in and how much of a demand there is for parts.

Like another guy said. If there is not that big of a demand for parts and yet you stock a lot of parts, really soon those parts will become outdated and you'll be stuck with a bunch of old outdated parts that you cannot sell.
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LVL 10

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by:KenAdney
KenAdney earned 55 total points
ID: 17101979
IMHO, not to be disparaging, but parts is parts & I can get parts over the 'net with overnight shipping, generally for less than a retail outlet (with necessary storefront overhead) can sell it for.  I think the money is in value-added, customization for customers rather than supplies.  That and consultation on resolving emergent problems.

I'm 4 years a retailer (although not of computer parts) and my main advice is that what you don't spend, you don't have to earn (i.e. keep the rent down, etc.).
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by:moorhouselondon
moorhouselondon earned 55 total points
ID: 17102722
Offer Services.  This is what people desperately need, not products.  

There are so many services you can offer: training, repairing, support when things go wrong, installation, data recovery.  When people come in with a dud pc you will look at it, identify the part that needs replacing - then you sell the replacement part to them as part of the repair job.  Difficult question is how much to charge.  Sounds like you know the business already, so that should be no problem for you.
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LVL 17

Assisted Solution

by:Jared Luker
Jared Luker earned 55 total points
ID: 17102759
You have to be careful if you are going to throw you hat into that ring full time.  There is a TON of competition out there for such services.

Of course there is no way to compete with the big box stores if not for any other reason then volume.  That's why you have to be careful when dealing with on hand stock.  If you get something in, but can not charge the same as or less than the big box.  You are probably going to be stuck with that item or sell it at a loss.

I think the best bet is to keep doing service related stuff.  The big box departments don't do that great of a job when it comes to service.  That way, you can build up a clientele and offer upgrades as a part of your service plan.

There was a computer shop here in my state that promised the world as far as warranty went, and 6 years later went out of business with thousands of customers suddenly in a lurch...

Don't let that happen to you!
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Assisted Solution

by:Booda2us
Booda2us earned 55 total points
ID: 17102835
Well here is a chance to plug my favorite suppliers:
http://www.superiorelectronics.com   (Not affiliated with my company also named' Superior Electronics')
http://www.tigerdirect.com
http://www.wdpi.com   (World Data Products)
I suggest only buying shelf products like Power Supplies, Memory sticks, Fans, Cases,Cords,adapters, that you can purchase when the bargain is right. Since you've accumulated 6 years of database, use that to predict your customers needs. Talk to your suppliers and create a 'Resale' acct. and the prices get even better...
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Author Comment

by:narok
ID: 17112925
very good stuff ppl any good suggestion on where to buy parts?? i have been buying a lot from Newegg and they hae started a quanity discont system on some stuff. im hard pressed to find a better deal on some of the stuff they sell. and if you do the kick butt on shipping because its cheap and i have whatever i order in two days....everytime. i tried some other places kindof like newegg but they cant deliver fast or ontime and to me time is money and with me haveing to call and check on an order then im not making money on the phone.

so any good whole sellers or good places to buy quality parts cheap??
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LVL 39

Assisted Solution

by:PUNKY
PUNKY earned 55 total points
ID: 17113014
Nowaday, buying parts cheaper and cheaper that is main key for resale. Please review the links below:

http://www.globalspec.com/SiteMap
http://www.globalsources.com/
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