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Why doesn't Vikkex sell PCs?

By Joseph Kexel - Posted on 02 July 2011

This has come up a few times and as I put forth in the website it comes down to perspective. Servicing PCs is the most profitable part of an IT business, yet most firms dwell on sales. I understand that sales often lead to future service, but there is a dark side to that paradigm.

I have worked for a couple of firms and it seems that when hardware sales is the prime goal, everything is a hardware problem.

A good example was a client I assisted recently. I had to bail out a failed tech. The client had a problem that was very specific. They had a warning that their fan was failing.

That is usually a bad fan. However, the other tech suggested it was a bad motherboard. So, his solution was to provide an outdated motherboard and "a processor he had lying around". So, clearly this was not a state of the art upgrade, but a "what we had on hand" upgrade.

If we accept the motherboard was bad and it was erroneously sending a bad fan error, then the obvious solution would be to disable the monitoring in the BIOS. If the fan was cooling the system fine, then just eliminate the error. I would have considered this a minor hardware issue that created a persistent software issue. The client commented on the fact that no other function on the PC was an issue. This was on an older PC, so to upgrade to anything other than new would have been a poor choice.

However, it got a heck of a lot worse. The other tech trashed the hard disk. They must have plugged it in wrong for I could see that one of the chips on the hard disk circuit board was blown (cracked from a mini-explosion). They just said tough luck and gave one of their "extra" disks for free. Sure the client has a functional PC at that point, but they lost all of their data!!!

Data is priceless! Fortunately, I had a hard disk that was close enough to provide a circuit board to read the data. I got all of my "new" client's data and they were ecstatic. I did it for a fair price and I saved the most important thing the client wanted. They were in college and they had current projects on that PC!

So, you can see how a minor hardware induced software issue can lead to catastrophic data lost at the hands at a so called professional. After you sign that release, all they say is, "Too bad!"

I often backup a PC (at no charge) when I think the repair may be hard. The worst case is I have all of my clients data. The fact is hard drives are cheap and to charge 100 bucks to do data backup on a PC is pure theft. It takes a few minutes to initiate a backup, then it is just a matter of letting it complete. However, most shops act like the tech is moving the data by hand.

Data recovery is different. If the hard disk is failing and your data is important, then you need a tech that suggests a good data recovery firm. I will try the first level of recovery, but I know when to suggest a true data recovery firm.

Now back to the reasons I do not sell PCs. Well, first I do sell hardware when my clients demand it. Usually, they find that an upgrade that makes sense and I then buy the parts for them.

However, a new PC is a different scenario. A full PC includes a successful installation of the OS. I know a few firms that can do that much cheaper than I could ever do. I will provide a suggestion when that is the case.

I will let you in on a little secret. I am at the same position on the supply chain as you are.

Manufacturer -> Box Store -> YOU
Manufacturer -> Reseller -> ME

It is easy to see that the reality is

Manufacturer -> Reseller -> ME -> YOU

That does not do me much good. Many small companies tend to sell some crap to make up those lost margins. I WILL NOT sell crap.

I want your PC to be a great PC.

The client above even wanted to upgrade to Windows 7. That clearly made the mediocre upgrade to be illogical. Between what that other tech billed them and my, now let's hear it, 30 bucks, they spent close to 300 bucks. 450 would have gotten them a decent Toshiba laptop. Of all brands, ASUS and Toshiba are the best laptops out there. For 150 more, they could have had a great basic PC, faster than the "hand me down" PC from the other tech and would have had their data intact.

To be honest, I would have billed other first time clients, 44 bucks. I gave the client a deal for I felt I had to make amends for the incompetent tech that served them first. I always look at the final bill for reasonableness. Even, when other people are involved.

I have even driven clients to the store to buy PCs when it was obvious that was the best option. I always worry most about your data. The data is priceless, yet any PC can be replaced.

What I have experienced is that most hardware oriented companies tend to have a NEW PC or an UPGRADED PC (crap they need to unload) in mind before they ever speak to you. They have an agenda to sell you a PC with their excess junk. I remember the morning meetings where the "crap of the day" was offered for the days service work.

If you want a different mindset, then call Vikkex instead.