Direct MP3 Download: Podnutz Daily #470 – Dave Greenbaum from Dr. Dave Computer Repair
A Show for Computer Repair Techs by Computer Repair Techs
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Dave Greenbaum from Dr. Dave Computer Repair
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—My background was actually law. I left law school on a whim to run a computer lab. Always intended to return but never did
—I’ve been a tech since grade school. When we had Apple IIes in the lab (before you were born!), I was responsible for them. The first time I typed on a computer, nobody told me I had to save. An hour’s worth of work was lost. I vowed revenge and that was 30 somewhat years ago.
—I come at this field more from the business and management end. Before going out on my own in full time in 2003 (I had been doing it part time until then), I was running break-fix shops for other people. I handled everything from hiring, to dispatching and accounting. Most techs I think know the repair stuff, but not the back office stuff. For about 6 years before going on my own, I had the back office stuff done pretty well.
—I did the thing everyone dreams of. One day I called the boss and told him I quit and then stole all his clients. It was a little more complex than that as everything was above-board (see law background)
—I’m a stickler for organization. I have all these cool systems in place to organize client info and share with the team
—I enjoy break-fix with residential clients. I don’t have the pressures of businesses going down or emergency after hour calls. I set my own hours and work when I want. This gives me time to enjoy life and pursue other interests. Many people know I write for various blogs, the most famous of which are GigaOm and Lifehacker. I’m a workaholic, but I get bored easily. The writing keeps me challenged.
—I’m also on the board of an MSP. A competitor of mine, turned into my best friend (literally his name is Brian Best), and then he left his company to work for a new one, and I’m on the board of his business. It’s nice to consult other IT businesses. That’s why I wrote for places like Technibble.
Some cool little facts
—We have our own iPhone app. It helps clients reach us and they see us as more successful and accessible.
—50% of our business is Macs. That’s a real challenge when you compete with the Apple retail store
—I have a goal of getting my name in the paper about every six months. I’ve kept that going for 10 years. It’s great free publicity.
—I send hand-written cards to all the clients I’ve done business with in the past year. That’s usually 800-1000. I start writing them in the summer. That is my goal. I haven’t started writing them 🙂
—I have an office outside of my home, but not a retail shop. It’s by appointment only. I’m in an office with mental health professionals and massage therapists. It’s a different vibe, but it works. It’s a way of finding a central place to coordinate with my techs. It’s by design hard to find, so people tend not to stop by with foot traffic
—The way I quit my job and went out on my own
—Buying out multiple competitors or merging operations with them. I like win/win collaborative solutions
—One day I went out to a politician, and her competitor
—Living in Lawrence, KS I’ve had many famous basketball players as clients, and didn’t realize who they were because I’m not a fan
—In my basement I have almost every mac design ever made. I also have a variety of old PCs ranging back to the Windows 3.0 days and a Kaypro luggable computer running DOS. You just never know when something will come up.
—We’re a break-fix shop focusing on small office, home office, and residential clients with 5 computers or less and no server. That keeps the work small and flexible
—I don’t have a desire to be an MSP. People calling just when they need me gives me more control over my schedule. I have a strong enough client base I’m always busy
—I don’t like doing too many hardware repairs. Replacing hard drives, ram upgrades, sure. Things like powerjack repairs, screen repairs or motherboard replacements I don’t like. Parts are harder to get, we tend to find more things wrong when we go in. Ultimately it seems like we have more dissatisfied clients due to time delays, faulty parts from suppliers, and repairs exceeding value. I’d rather say no to keep customer satisfaction high. It’s like the doctor that won’t take risky patients.
Tools I live by
—Youmail: transcribes my voicemail messages, emails them to me as attachments. Those forward to RepairShopr
—Apptoto: reminds my clients of appointments
—Automatic adapter: plugs into my car’s ODB port. Tracks my mileage for me and locations. Kinda creepy, but makes my job easier