How To Choose A Computer Repair And Service Company

There are hundreds of businesses in Amarillo, Canyon, Dumas, the entire Texas Panhandle – who offer IT services as well as computer service and/or PC repair. So how do you choose which one to use? We have every type of computer business model known to man in Amarillo, TX alone. We have the guy who works out of his van, the franchisee from “1-800- computer” (or whatever), we have the big box stores, the local brick and mortar stores, the office supply companies, the businesses who offices inside of other businesses, we have electricians who do networking, we even have car stereo installers calling themselves computer techs, we have the college kids who do it on the side, we even have the computer repair companies who buy and sell gold as well as rent U-Hauls. They do what?!?

*Photo Via Stephan Roh Flickr – Creative Commons License – Photo Was Cropped

Things to look for:

I’ve been in the tech industry (namely business networks and computer services) in the Amarillo area since 1999 and I’ve seen a lot of IT companies come and go (most of them went). In this time period, I’ve learned what makes and breaks a computer sales and service store, so I’ll share with you what I’ve learned and let you make your decision from there.


Do they give you reasons to trust them in your business or home?

Any shmo with a screwdriver and a basic understanding of Microsoft Windows can call themselves a computer technician (and they do). They installed Ubuntu Linux on a laptop and are now confidant that they are qualified to be a computer repair technician or a business IT professional. Unlike doctors, lawyers or accountants there are no laws or standards in the computer repair industry that prevent people who don’t know what they are doing (and there’s a lot of them) from labeling themselves a computer tech or a systems administrator. Sure there are certifications and degrees that can be earned but nothing that stops your local pawn shop from hanging a sign that says “We Fix Computers Cheap.”This means that the computer industry gets flooded with all types of people, most of which have very little invested, therefore they have little to lose if things don’t go well. If something comes up missing in your home, if a hidden webcam is left in your daughters shower, if you competitors get a copy of your customer database, if pictures of your wife end up plastered on the internet, most of these characters simply drive their repair van to a different town. Even the big box retailers – you know “The Nerd Squad” are constantly in trouble because they don’t operate ethically in many situations. Just look at the following examples:

Geek Squad Sued For Taking Video Of Customer In Shower

Best Buy employee accused of copying woman’s steamy photos

These types of things occur when a company (large or small) fails to instill the value of market place ethics and customer privacy in their culture.

Are They Local?

There are so many “Big Box” retailers and 1-800-Quicky-Tech companies out there it’s hard to keep up with them all. At least when you shop local you know that a large chunk of the money stays in the local economy. The big guys are also so big that they can’t easily address the constant changing threats to your computers and networks nor do they keep up with the latest tools to help repair. One of the Big Box Techs once told me “There are so many new tools out there that would help, but we aren’t authorized to use them. We just tell the customer that we had to trash all their data and reinstall Windows.” They also are notorious for putting your technology (which is full of your memories and private data) in the hands of low paid under experienced “Nerds” who don’t have the motivation or the knowledge to properly get the job done. I am a big fan of shopping local and I recommend that you use local for all your service needs whether it’s a plumber, an electrician, our a landscaper – local is smart.

Do they have any positive ratings on the internet?

Google them – do they have any positive reviews on any third party sites? The old saying goes something like this – good news spreads very slowly but bad news spreads like a wild fire – if a computer store has some positive feedback on the internet, you can bet they have many happy customers who haven’t posted anything. Look for them on sites like Google Places and Yelp.

Are they an active member of the Better Business Bureau, are they an Accredited Business and, if so, what is there rating? SO many people let computer repair technicians in their home and businesses without ever checking with the BBB.

How Do They Keep Your Information Private?

Because I’ve been in this industry for so long, I personally know many of the “technicians” that have setup shop in this area. There have been many times that these individuals have shown me data (music, videos, photos, and accounting data) that they have copied off of their customers PCs, Macs and servers. Not only is this morally wrong, it’s illegal. Ask them what steps they take to respect your privacy and protect your data. Remember, just because someone is performing a service or services for you, they don’t (necessarily) have to see your files and they certainty have no right copying or sharing your data without your permission and instruction. The bottom line here is you need to choose a tech company that has a very clear privacy policy, comes highly recommended and is in good standing with the BBB. Did I mention the BBB?

What Is The Right Price For Technical Services?

This one is tough because the words “expensive” or “cheap” are relative. I can share with you my experiences on this topic. I have seen many, MANY, descent businesses (not just technical companies) go out of business because they competed on price instead of charging an amount that would keep their doors open. As a consumer, you should do your research and call or visit the websites of several places and get an idea of what the average price for service in your area might be. There will be those that charge $50 to $70 but you get what you pay for with these types. According to Entrepreneur “the national average is $100 per hour for computer service billing, it’s much higher in certain regions–$160 an hour in Manhattan, for instance.” Keep in mind that OK computer techs make less, decent techs make a little more but experienced technicians who have certifications and/or degrees cost the most and that cost is built into the company’s service rates. Think of it like this:

Both hamburger meat and a Ribeye steak come from a cow. A hamburger is a decent meal and costs around four bucks, but a good Ribeye cooked to perfection costs quite a bit more and if that steak is served in a nice atmosphere by a friendly, knowledgeable and helpful staff, it’s going to cost quite a bit more. And following this analogy, check the restaurants ratings, health inspection and maybe don’t trust someone who grills steaks in the back of their van. Just a thought.