UPDATE: An updated version of the Computer Business Kit has been released! It’s a major overhaul of the original and therefore requires a new review.
In the “Computer Guy’s Toolbox” series, I highlight a product or service that I think will benefit the independent computer tech, with an emphasis on affordability. One of the unfortunate aspects of running a computer consulting business is the paperwork. Like it or not, if you want to run a legitimate operation and protect yourself, you’ll want to document everything. Work orders, contracts, service plans, waivers, advertisements, customer and vendor tracking, it can all be a bit overwhelming, especially when first starting out. That’s where the Computer Business Toolkit comes in. Created by Bryce Whitty over at Technibble.com, the kit is simply a collection of useful document templates that a computer consultant can customize and implement in order to run a successful business. It’s available for purchase and download at Technibble.com. I recently got my hands on the kit and had the opportunity to check out all the goodies it contains. Being a wet-behind-the-ears newbie computer business owner, I was curious to find out how useful the kit would be.
What Is It? From the Technibble website:
The Computer Business Kit is a collection of sample business forms and documents that are needed in the computer business.
Basically, what you get when you purchase the kit is a ZIP file that, when extracted, contains folders marked: In the Office, Marketing, On The Job, and Web Development. Also included is a folder containing files for a front-end html interface that allows you to access all the documents in a helpful UI. Within each folder are anywhere from 2 to 11 documents of various length (in .doc or .xls format). Each document is a ready-to-go template which you can customize to fit your business needs.
Digging Deeper Not all of the sections in the kit are as helpful as others. Lets explore the different parts a little more closely so you can see if this is something you could find useful. In The Office: This folder contains documents that you’ll need for handling clients that you don’t bill immediately, like small businesses. This includes quotes, invoices, and overdue payment notices. Overall this section is pretty lean and I think it could have more in it, like example documents for tracking inventory or sample newsletters to send to your existing customers. Marketing: In this folder you’ll find a sample Maintenance Contract Sales Letter that you can send to local businesses to solicited business. There’s also a marketing analysis kit that allows you to keep track of how people heard about you (though I think this might work better as a part of the Work Order). I would have liked to see some sample fliers and phone book ads in this section. On The Job: This is by far where you’ll find the meat of the business kit. This section contains a slew of useful documents. My favorites include a Backup Checklist that you have the customer sign before backing up their data to do a re-format, and a Wireless Network Settings sheet that you can leave with your customer showing all the settings you’ve entered for their network (something Verizon and Comcast very rarely do). Web Development: This section is a little out of place amongst it’s computer repair brethren, but it contained the most interesting documents. I’ve done some web development work on the side here and there and I’ve always struggled with how to word my contracts and work orders. The documents in this section shed some light on that for me.
Is It Useful?
This kit is most useful for the computer tech who is just starting his own computer repair/maintenance business. It provides a great baseline to get started in the business. It’s especially useful for on-site techs. The kit may also be helpful to the established tech as a view into how other technicians might set-up their documentation. The $49 price tag seemed a bit steep to me at first, but the kit will save you the time it might take to draft all these documents from scratch, which can easily take hours away from time spent earning money.
Conclusion The Computer Business Kit is a great starting point for new computer business owners and a serious consideration for established techs. My recommendation? Use this kit in conjunction with the document examples in How to Start and Run Your Own Computer Repair Business and the online bonus content that comes with Computer Repair Business Lessons Learned. There’s documentation in each of these resources that I’m implementing in my own business. Mix, match, and customize the documentation provided by these three sources and you’re off to an excellent start!