If you have a passion for computers or familiarity with their technical aspects, you could start your own computer repair business. With low startup costs and no certifications or licences required to operate, this industry has relatively low barriers to entry. This means that you need to research the market and your competitors to identify a profitable niche for your computer repair business. This article discusses:

  • the various steps you need to take to start a computer repair business in New Zealand;
  • some of your legal and tax obligations; and
  • how to market your computer repair services.

Upskill and Keep Up With Trends

You do not need to get any specific qualifications or licences to become a computer repair technician in New Zealand. However, to increase the credibility of your services, it may be worthwhile to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree in: 

  • IT support; or 
  • other computing-related subjects, such as information systems. 

You will also need to be a good communicator so you can explain issues to customers with little or no technical knowledge. 

Due to the nature of your business, it is critical that you keep up with trends in the industry, developments in software, hardware and new threats. You can do this by attending regular training sessions or doing your own research online.

Define Your Service Offering

Before you start your computer repair business, you will need to decide which services you can offer. From operating system upgrades to computer virus removal, your business could offer a number of services, including: 

  • repairing hardware for various computer models;
  • cleaning, diagnosing and repairing damages; 
  • removing viruses and malware;
  • repairing and replacing internal batteries; 
  • diagnosing and resolving networking and performance issues; and
  • recovering data. 

Even if you have the skills to service your potential clients in all of these areas, in some cases it may be best to narrow your service offering to increase your chances of success. You can do this by analysing the market and finding a niche that is currently not serviced well by your competitors. In doing so, you should also consider: 

  • your strengths and weaknesses; and 
  • the profitability of various options. 

To find opportunities in the market, gather as much data as possible about: 

  • what services your competitors offer;
  • how they price these services; and 
  • how they advertise them. 

Your analysis should also take into account: 

  • the needs and expectations of your potential customers; and 
  • how these needs are currently being satisfied by your competitors. 

Before you define your offering, compare the profitability of various options and settle on the one that makes the most sense. A mentor can help you complete or guide your analysis. If your startup budget is restricted, sign up with your Regional Business Network to find out if your business is eligible for free mentoring.

Set Up Your Business 

When setting up your computer repair business in New Zealand, you can start your own company or buy into a franchise. Operating your business as part of an established and well-managed franchise network can increase your chances of success, especially if you are entering into a crowded market. 

However, running a franchise means that you will not have the same level of control as if you started your own independent business. You will also have to give away a portion of your profits to the franchisor, in return for the use of their established brand, operations strategies and marketing endeavours. 

As with most business decisions, you should: 

  • compare your costs and obligations under each scenario; and 
  • assess your willingness to assume any risks associated with each option.

Franchise agreements are often complex and can vary significantly from one another, so you should consider getting some advice from a franchise lawyer.

Choose Your Business Structure

Another important task in setting up your business is deciding on a legal structure. There are three common types in New Zealand, including: 

  • sole trader; 
  • partnership; and 
  • company. 

When deciding on the best structure, you should consider: 

  • how you want to run your business; and 
  • whether you may require financing or would like to grow your operations in the future. 

For example, as a sole trader, you have a lot of control over the way your business operates but you: 

  • are often limited in your capacity to raise capital; and 
  • may be putting your personal assets at risk. 

Register Your Business

Other essential requirements of starting a business in New Zealand include registering your business with: 

  • the NZBN Register or Companies Office; and 
  • with Inland Revenue. 

In addition to getting an IRD number for your business, you will also need to register for GST if you think you will earn over $60,000 in any twelve-month period.

Protect Your Assets

You should get insurance to protect your business and equipment, as well as to protect yourself from liability in case you commit any accidental errors or omissions. You should tailor your insurance policies to the needs of your business, so it is best to talk to a broker to find the most competitive policies. 

There are many setup tasks that you will need to carry out before establishing your computer repair business. It is important that you are familiar with these obligations.

Find a Business Location

If you are starting a small business with minimal staff and you live in a zone classed as commercial, you could run your business from home. This would allow you to claim some of your household expenses for tax purposes. However, you should do a proper evaluation of the catchment zone, as your home may not get as much foot traffic as a commercial location, like a set of shops or busy malls.

If you run a home-based business, you will need to comply with a number of council regulations, such as: 

  • zoning;
  • signage rules;
  • car parking; and 
  • building consent.

Another alternative open to you is to run a mobile business. This would allow you to travel to your customers’ places of residence or work to provide your services. This option has many benefits, such as having a flexible location and reduced overheads. It is essential to: 

  • choose an efficient vehicle to keep your energy and fuel costs down; and 
  • double down on your online marketing efforts, to make sure that you are being found by customers that need your services.

Market Your Services 

If you operate your business from home, it is crucial to invest in digital marketing. Indeed, developing a strong online presence will ensure that your potential customers can easily access your repair services. You can do this by: 

  • creating a website; and 
  • investing in a mixture of organic and paid advertising to build and grow your audience. 

Your website should: 

  • clearly explain your service offering and pricing; 
  • include customer reviews to improve your credibility; and 
  • allow customers to contact you easily, either through a form or chat app. 

Do not forget to record your customers’ data in a CRM and ask for permission to send them regular marketing emails, such as newsletters and repurchase reminders.

If you operate from a local store, you should add local marketing to your strategy to attract new customers. This strategy allows you to target consumers and customers within a certain radius of your store. The key to developing a successful local marketing plan is to define your buyer personas accurately and to have a mobile-friendly website. Some of the tactics that you can implement include: 

  • localising your website;
  • claiming your local listings on third-party websites and directories;
  • investing in local SEO; and
  • localising your social and paid advertising.

Key Takeaways

From registering your business to deciding on a location and marketing your services, there are many tasks you need to take to start your computer repair business. These include: 

  • investing in your training and development, to ensure you keep up with the trends in your industry; 
  • finding a niche in the market and focusing your efforts on the most profitable offerings;
  • deciding on a business structure and understanding your legal and tax obligations; 
  • choosing on a location to work from, such as running your business from home, a local store or even considering a mobile business; and 
  • building a strong online presence and investing in local marketing if you operate from a physical location. 

If you need help with the legalities of getting your business off the ground, contact LegalVision’s business lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

FAQs

What are the legal steps to set up a computer repair business?

You will need to decide on a legal structure for your computer repair business, whether it be a sole trader, partnership or company. Next, you will need to register your business with the NZBN Register or Companies Office, as well as with Inland Revenue. Finally, you may need to register for GST.

How do I start a computer repair business from home?

Starting your business from home is a viable option. It is also a great way to save on overhead costs. However, you will need to ensure compliance with council regulations such as zoning, signage rules, car parking and building consent.You will also need to focus on your digital marketing, so that your customers know about your business.

How can I promote my computer repair business?

To market your business, you need to establish a strong brand at your physical location and online. Start by creating banners and signboards to attract local customers. You should also develop a website that outlines your services and location. It is a good idea to invest in organic and paid advertising to drive traffic to your site.

Is running a computer repair business profitable?

Running a computer repair business can be very profitable if you take the time to set up your business plan and ensure compliance with all of your legal obligations. You will need to identify a niche and establish the right frameworks to succeed in that area. For example, a mobile computer repair company that services small businesses could be very profitable given that many startups do not want to spend a lot of money of maintenance contracts yet are willing to pay a premium for urgent repairs.

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