I’m always thinking about the types of services I’d like to offer for my computer consulting business customers. Of course I offer the usual PC repair/troubleshooting/upgrading that all computer businesses offer. But I’m always curious about out-of-the-box ideas for services that will separate me from my competition.
I recently came across a post on Technibble that got me thinking.
In the post, a new member asks about the viability of an interesting niche business idea he has. Here’s an excerpt:
The business I want to start is PC Cleaning. When I say PC Cleaning I mean going to a customers house and really disinfecting the guts of their PC.
We all know that dust not cleaned will create heat and heat destroys components.
I have found during lots of research that no one is going after the market of just cleaning a PC. Shops do it, but no one is sending out notices or offers to just offer a PC cleaning. I find strange because I worked on cars for a living before I switched careers and we were always mailing something out. Change your oil, Clean you fuel injectors, change your transmission fluid, etc…. as preventative maintenance.
A business that concentrates on ONLY cleaning dirt from the inside and outside of a computer? At first I thought it sounded silly and not very practical. People don’t care about their PC being clean and if they do, they can clean it themselves!
As I continued reading through the thread, other computer techs made the case for why it might actually be a great idea. Small businesses are the ideal customer, especially businesses where employees share workstations with others. Someone suggested partnering with a local cleaning service to offer computer cleaning as a piggy-back service to their office and house cleanings. I had thought of this partnership option myself, having previously mentioned it as a good service strategy. It’s nice to see that others have considered this as well.
It’s easy to dismiss computer cleaning as a frivolous and unnecessary activity. After all, you’re not eating off of it, you’re just using it to surf the web or do your taxes. But here are some reasons why a clean computer is a happy computer:
The Heat Factor – When the inside of your computer gets full of dust and hair, those two things combine to make nice chunks of gunk that will block the air vents that are responsible for keeping a PC cool. They can also jam your cooling fans, causing an even bigger cooling problem. A hot PC is an error prone PC.
Germs! – Most people don’t wash they’re hands right before using a keyboard and mouse, so whatever germs and bacteria are hanging out on their digits will transfer to those items. If you share your workstation with other, this is obviously a serious hygiene issue, but even if you just use it yourself, you’ll still transferring germs and bacteria.
The Air We Breathe – Your PC is constantly blowing air out, that’s the way it keeps itself cool. When it sucks in dust and hair, those things will collect inside the computer, allowing all sorts of wonderful little bugs and dust mites to flourish, and eventually they will all get blown out of the computer and into the air. People with allergies and sensitivity to dust and mold should pay particular attention to the cleanliness of the insides of their computer.
Now we know why it’s so important to keep your computer and workstation clean, but that’s only half the battle.
How Do You Convince Your Customers?
The key to this whole idea is that you have to explain to potential customers why they need this service. The average computer or office user isn’t going to seek out a computer cleaner, it’s going to be your responsibility to sell yourself to them.
Come to find out, someone has already done most of the work for you. There’s already a company out there that does computer cleaning exclusively. This Canadian company not only has this whole “office equipment cleaning” racket down to a science, but they provide a comprehensive training program to teach you their cleaning system and how to run a computer cleaning service. The training is nearly $500, so you can decide if it’s worth it or not, but they make a pretty good case for it as a lucrative and under served business niche.
Even if you don’t decide to take the training, if you just take some time to poke around their website, you’ll get lots of great pitches and angles to present to your customers to convince them that they should purchase a PC cleaning service. I plan on experimenting with this service myself. I’ll probably offer it as an optional add-on service to my customers for the first year or so and if it does well, I may try to offer it as a stand alone option.
I guess my point here is, we computer techs (or small business owners for that matter) can’t afford to discredit any new possible service offering until we’ve tried it to see if it can work with our customers.
Now, I’d like to hear from all the computer techs out there. Have you ever offered PC cleaning services as a separate service to your clients. If so, how did it go? If not, would you consider it?