Start an electronics repair business by following these 9 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple step guide to starting your electronics repair business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
STEP 1: Plan your Business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How long it will take you to break even?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening an electronics repair business?
The costs for opening this type of business are lower than many other types. One reason is that this business can be operated out of a home. Many services can also be performed remotely, which further reduces expenses. One of the largest initial expenses is the purchase of tools and testing equipment. Prices for diagnostic tools and software can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. There are also software as a service (SaaS) diagnostic services available that operate in the cloud and charge a monthly or annual fee. Depending upon your location, it may be necessary to obtain a license to perform repairs. If you plan to enter your clients’ homes and businesses, there will also be the cost of liability insurance and bonding.
What are the ongoing expenses for an electronics repair business?
Some of the ongoing expenses of an electronics and computer repair business include:
- Replacing tools
- Continuing education regarding new electronic devices entering the consumer market
- Maintaining license, insurance and bonding
- Staff salaries
- Office supplies
- Vehicle maintenance
Who is the target market?
Preferred customers are economically and environmentally conscious people who want to utilize their devices to the full extent of their capabilities before replacing them. Other preferred customers include busy professionals and small business owners who may not be able to afford full-time IT staff.
How does an electronics repair business make money?
Electronics and computer repair businesses make money by charging a fee for their labor and expertise in repairing various devices. Many of these businesses also purchase used laptops, smartphones, and gaming devices for the purpose of refurbishing and reselling them.
How much can you charge customers?
Rates for repairs on computers and other electronic devices can range from between $10 and $100 per hour, depending on the complexity of the job. Some repair businesses perform the repairs in the client’s home or business, while others require their clients to bring the devices to a repair shop.
How much profit can an electronics repair business make?
An electronics and computer repair business owner can earn from between $27,000 to over $100,000 per year, depending on knowledge and experience. With additional employees specializing in different types of popular devices, profits can increase substantially.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Many electronics and computer repair business owners purchase used laptops, phones, and other devices and refurbish them for resale. Others choose to expand into the recycling business, selling damaged parts for scrap. Another way to generate additional monthly income is by offering small businesses that can’t afford full-time IT staff the opportunity to pay a monthly retainer to have your IT repair services available whenever needed. Selling computer parts and accessories also provides a stable source of revenue. Ironically, successful repairs eliminate some types of repeat business, so success depends on satisfied customers spreading the word. Investing time in cultivating good relationships with existing customers is the best way to ensure future customers.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your electronics repair business is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.
You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
For most small businesses forming an LLC is a great option, but if you still want to weigh all your options check our our article, What Structure Should I Choose for My Business?
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state business permits or licenses may be needed to go into business as an Electronics and Computer Repair Business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
In order to charge customers to work on their electronic devices, you will need to go through the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in order to apply for an Electronics Repair License.
If there is a plan for second-hand sales of the used electronic devices, a general secondhand dealer licence would also be required.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
An electronic repair business may also want to apply for a resale certificate, which will enable purchase of goods intended for resale without sales tax.
STEP 7: Get Business Insurance
Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
How to promote & market an electronics repair business
The first step in successfully promoting your business is thoroughly researching the local competition. That research will enable you to create the right business logo and offer specialized services that aren’t offered elsewhere. The second step in promoting and marketing a new electronics and computer repair business is creating opportunities to demonstrate your superior knowledge and skills to the local community.
Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.
How to keep customers coming back
Offering discounts for first-time customers in local newspapers, magazines and industry publications is one of the most effective marketing tools available. For example, one owner offered local small businesses vouchers worth two hours of free computer repairs to introduce their business to the local community. Satisfied customers discussing the quality of your work on social networks is also an inexpensive and highly effective form of advertising. Creating social media pages that encourage communication is a great investment.
STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence
A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Start An Electronics Repair Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
This business is right for those who enjoy learning about technology and the challenge of restoring damaged items to like-new condition. Professionals in this business help conserve natural resources while helping customers preserve treasured photos and online communications as well as valuable software and digital content such as games, books, and music.
What happens during a typical day at an electronics repair business?
- Attending workshops and participating in webinars to stay on the cutting edge of new technology
- Testing computers and electronic devices with diagnostic tools to determine which parts require replacement
- Reinstalling operating systems in response to hard disk failures
- Repairing computer hardware and associated peripherals.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful electronics repair business?
- Analytical skills for determining the best resolution of an issue
- Communication skills for explaining processes and procedures to customers
- IT skills including experience in using diagnostic equipment and monitoring computer systems
- Physical dexterity for making repairs
- Troubleshooting skills for addressing potential problems
What is the growth potential for an electronics repair business?
There is a lot of growth potential for an electronics and computer repair business. Many owners of these types of businesses also work as computer consultants. They assist clients in setting up new computer systems as well as trouble-shooting existing systems. Other services they may provide include purchasing software and training employees on how to use it effectively.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting an electronics repair business?
An electronics and computer repair business relies a great deal on providing the kind of superior service that inspires satisfied customers to recommend your services to others. Building that reputation takes time, which is why some industry insiders recommend taking advantage of franchise opportunities, which can enable a new store to begin earning revenue much more quickly.
How and when to build a team
It’s a good idea to take advantage of the expertise of industry professionals by joining organizations such as ARCBO, (Association of Computer Repair Business Owners). The benefits of membership include workshops and webinars dedicated to the continuing so necessary to stay on the cutting edge in this business. With the vast number of electronic devices on the market, having a team with members who specialize in the repair of a number of specific devices can greatly increase your businesses’ customer base.