If you’re a member of, or follow any of the many computer repair business owner’s forums online, you’ve probably noticed the inordinate amount of Mac hatred that seems to permeate the community. Surprisingly, a lot of technicians flat out refuse to service the various Mac computers that manage to find their way into their shops.
I suspect that the reason for so much Mac “resistance” (to put it kindly) from some of our colleagues is that they’re just unfamiliar with how a Mac operates, and might be a bit afraid of the possibility of unintentionally messing up a customer’s expensive piece of equipment. It’s possible that in their minds it’s better to just pass on the work than it is to take an unknown risk.
To me, that’s just plain crazy. Not only are they leaving a ton of money on the table by refusing to do these repairs, they’re also making themselves look rather silly in the eyes of potential clients. There’s an old axiom in business; “If you make a customer happy, you’re lucky if they tell more than two people, if you upset a customer, you’ll be lucky if they tell less than ten people.” Imagine all these potential customers telling their friends and families that the local computer repair shop can’t repair their computer.
Today I’m going to help you get past that feeling of uncertainty, generate another (rather profitable) source of revenue for you and your computer repair business, and blow away your competition by offering a service that they can’t, won’t or don’t.
Step 1: Get a used Mac on the cheap
The first thing that you’re going to want to do is to become comfortable with operating a Mac. The easiest way to do so is by getting some hands-on experience. It’s relatively easy to find a used Mac for a decent price. Check Craigslist, Ebay, or even bulletin boards at the local college or university. A five or six-year-old Mac would be perfect for you to learn on, and shouldn’t cost too much. Better yet, you can even write off the purchase as a business expense!
Step 2: Learn the basics
Once you get your hands on your shiny new (new to you, at least) Mac, take some time to explore OS X – pronounced “Oh Ess Ten”, not “Oh Ess Ecks” . Boot it up and play around. Load some software, do some updates, customize the settings, there’s a lot you can do. The folks at Lifehacker has a handy little article on just that.
After poking around for a bit you’ve probably noticed that the keyboard shortcuts for Mac are a bit different from their Windows counterparts. They are, but fortunately, they’re not that different, and with a little practice you’ll be using Mac shortcuts like a pro!
Step 3: Get familiar with your hardware
Now that you’ve had a little time to explore OS X and how the Mac runs, you might want to try something a little more “involved”, like upgrading some of the hardware. Add some RAM or exchange that old Hard Drive for a much faster SSD. Youtube has thousands of how-to videos for performing these very basic hardware repairs on your Mac, whatever the model. You’ll definitely want to check for a video for your particular model, as some models differ in disassembly procedure from others. If you’re not sure what model you have, just check the bottom of your Mac, and look for the model number, usually beginning with the letter “A” (For example A1278). iFixit is also an awesome source for guides on Apple disassembly and upgrades.
Step 4: Learn some of the the software
Alright, now that you’ve become even more familiar with your Mac, it would be a good time to check out some of the common software that you’ll be using when servicing Macs for your customers. The good news is that some of these tools should be very familiar to you. Malwarebytes and Ccleaner both have Mac versions of their software, that perform in much the same way as their Windows counterparts. Onyx is another powerful tool that you’ll want to play with – Just make sure you download the right version for your operating system.
You’ll also notice that there are plenty of Mac versions of popular Windows software, like Office, Google Apps, and more. Take a little time to mess with the way these popular applications behave in OS X, which brings us to…
Step 5: The challenge
It’s time to take all that you’ve learned in your explorations of all things Mac and put them to the test.
It’s said that the best way to learn how to swim is by jumping into the pool, with that in mind I invite you to make your new Mac your daily driver for the next thirty days.
By making the Mac your go-to computer for the next month, you’ll be able to experience first-hand all the ins and outs of using a Mac. Giving you the ability to understand the potential issues that your customers will be coming to you with. You’ll probably find that by the end of that 30 days your previous anxieties and uncertainties about running OS X are gone, and you’ll now have a slight edge in your local computer repair market.
Step 6: Certifications (Optional)
If you want to take your learning to the next level, look into getting some certifications.
Of course the issue of whether or not to actually pursue certifications is an even more contentious topic than that of Mac repair and service among the members of the computer repair community. We’re not going to get into the certification debate in this guide. Sorry.
Should you decide to go after some Apple certs, the OS X certifications would be a great place to star. An added bonus to getting some certifications from Apple, is that you’re put on a list of certified technicians, so that when people go to Apple looking for a local repair person, your name will be on that list, which is an awesome way to start getting your name out to potential customers.
Final Step: Get to fixing!
If you’ve followed this simple guide, by now you’re ready to start offering Mac repair service to your customers.
It’s almost a certainty that you’ll eventually run into an issue that leaves you stumped and scratching your head. When that happens, don’t panic, just do some research online, or reach out to your colleagues on the various industry forums, and a solution will present itself.