Has the computer repair industry gone the way of the dinosaurs? Kylan Schilling says no.
If there’s one thing for certain about the computer and tech industry, it’s that change happens quickly. This has been the case for the past twenty some odd years, or essentially ever since the introduction of the personal computer. As has been mentioned before, the evolution and advancement in the technology space has been nothing short of amazing. First the desktop, then the laptop, and now we’ve reached the age of tablets and 2-in-1 laptops and tablets. All this in the space of roughly twenty or twenty-five years.
But, a speedy rate of advancement in any industry also means that business opportunities and niche business ventures come and go just as quickly.
Has that been the case of the traditional computer repair business?
For the past twenty years, or again, ever since the introduction of the personal computer to mass consumers, the computer repair shop has been a staple part of the small business landscape. When PCs were first introduced and during the decade following that, setting up a computer repair shop was a natural avenue to pursue for any small business owner who had some tech savvy. After all, in the mid-90s, personal computer were the hot thing with seemingly every family buying one. Add that to the fact that most people didn’t know how to use PCs (especially when they broke) and the fact that computers were not built as reliably as they are now, and a good computer repair shop was probably running a healthy business.
But, even in the mid-90s in the golden age of PCs, there were signs that the computer repair industry would face some challenges. Presciently, in a 1995 article entitled ‘A Bleak Future for Pc Repair’, Bloomberg commented on the fact that many computer makers were hiring telephone support teams to help customers troubleshoot problems with their PCs, a forecast that ended up proving true.
But, more recent pressures have added to the challenges facing today’s computer repair industry.
In discussing future prospects for the industry, IT professional Derrick Wlodarz comments that we’re not in a post-PC technology era, but rather in a PC plus era. In this way, he defends future prospects for the industry, commenting that people are not getting rid of their PCs and replacing them with tablets and other mobile devices, but rather are using their tablets and mobile devices as supplementary tools to their PC. A fair point and one that supports the continued need for computer repair technicians.
But, along with this point, other trends need to be highlighted, trends that are not as supportive to the industry. For one thing, computers are now being built with memory, hardware and operating software that last two or three years longer than before. Indeed, most PC users will never get through their terabyte of memory, and better processing performance has also lengthened the compute upgrade cycle.
That means less need or less work for computer repair businesses.
A second trend is also placing added pressure on the industry. In part because more people are spending more money on mobile devices, people are investing less in traditional computers. That means less of a client base, or at least less of an active one, for traditional computer repair companies.
Bad news. But, is it all bad news? Is there a way for those in the computer repair industry to remain in touch with the current trends of personal computing and remain relevant to the needs of their client base?
Kylan Schilling, a Canadian computer repair technician, brings up a valuable point that others in the industry should strongly consider. He mentions that computer repair businesses should not limit their range of service to just PC repair. Rather, it’s imperative that computer repair technicians expand their knowledge and provide a range of technical support services, such as network setup services, cable runs, domain setup services and network diagnostics, to name a few.
As Kylan Schilling comments, “The personal tech industry is much more complicated and much more multifaceted than it was ten, even five years ago. That means that individuals and small businesses need a much wider range of tech support than just personal computer related … Tech repair businesses should be taking advantage of this in order to truly meet client needs.”
Kylan Schilling then adds, “The tech industry will only continue to evolve. PC repair businesses need to do the same thing.”
This is a sentiment echoed by many, both those within and outside of the computer repair space. Whether the computer repair industry as a whole takes note of this will be something for us to see.