Can I make money selling computers?

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xspectrum

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I'm 16 and want to make some extra cash. The idea dawned on me that I could sell computers that I make. I like making computers, so I figure it's worth a shot. Does anyone know the best way to sell a custom computer? Should I make a computer, then sell it, or have someone contact me, then make the computer? What website should I use? Thanks in advance.
 

phamhlam

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Dont make a computer first since someone might not like your build and you will be out $700-1500. Find family friends or relatives who need a computer and ask them if you could save them money by building a computer yourself. It is also hard because most people buy laptops also thus shrinking the desktop market. Just spend time marketing yourself to people to find a buyer.
 

xspectrum

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So I should start selling offline instead of on a website?
 

DelroyMonjo

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Yup! What phamlan said.
A lot of people will pay $600-$1000 for a Best Buy or other store bought computer. Price some of those out and see what specs they have. They usually have a crappy PSU and GPU and have a MB which cant be upgraded. Thy also have things like 9 in 1 card readers which nobody uses and a bunch of crap software loaded on them and come with a factory restore disc which will just restore the crap. NOW, price all of those items out and compare them with parts you can get to make an equal or better computer and set it up, install the OS and test it out to make sure everthing works and it will log into the internet. Give them the original Microsoft OS software with the key code. If you can make some $$$$, go for it!
BUT! You have to get the $$$ first. Do you take credit cards?
 

xspectrum

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Sounds good, I'll do that. I have a Paypal.
 

Wolfshadw

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Generally speaking, there's very little money to be made by building systems. The majority of computer buyers are just looking for something that will get them onto the internet. Pretty much any low-end system will suffice for that and there is no way for you to match the price of a low-end, store bought system.

As far as higher-end systems, believe it or not, there's already a lot of competition out there. You'd have to cut your profit margins so low, it's really not worth your time.

Additionally, who is going to support these systems? Are you going to offer a warranty? Are you going to replace faulty parts out of pocket until you get a replacement from the manufacturer?

Just some things to think about.

-Wolf sends
 

phamhlam

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Don't expect to make a boat load of money unless you happen to sumble into a lot of people buy computers. It would be best to start attacking your community and you can go online. Try craiglist and advertise your service everyday. Computers at place like bestbuy would be hard to beat since they show i5 2500 and 8 gb ram with 1.5TB HDD but their GPU, Mobo, PSU, and Case are awful quality but they actually work for a while. When advertising, you should try aiming for reliability and great customer service. Also, you wont beat Best Buy or anyone on price sine they get Windows 7 discount and you would need atleasst to build 3 computers to get a discount (using Windows 7 family pack).

Steps to take if you want to make money building PC.
1. Make sure you have free time (you are a teen so that isn't a problem)
2. Make sure you are willing to make no profit but you are getting paid in experiencce with how a business runs.
3. Advertise your service to friends, family, and neighbors. Persuade them you can build a system that could cost the same and maybe less but one that is more reliable
4. Search online and at local stores to see how much they are selling their PC for and what are the parts.
5. Come up with a pricing charts that you can show your customer what they can get and how much they save and if they save nothing, tell them that for the same price as your competitor, they are getting a more reliable machine and better service.
6. Build a quality product that suites your clients need.
7. Ensure your customers are having a great experience Post-Purchase.

 

daship

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In short no.

Can you get the prices Dell, HP, ect.......... get, no.

Are you going to offer a 1-3 year warranty like Dell, HP, ect..... and full support? If you buy the cheap OEM version of Windows you have to offer support for it according to the license.

The lowed market is impossible to compete with Dell, HP, ect...... The high end market consists of a lot of do it yourselfers.

Most people are buying Laptops and Tablets currently.

Go look on Ebay and do a search for custom computers, and search completed listings. There are hardly any that sold. The ones that are selling are generally loaded with pirated software, and that can get you thrown in jail.

If you were to sell on ebay, a decent rig would end up costing you $100 at least in fees and shipping, majorly cutting into your profit since you have to stay competitive with everyone else.

It is a tough market, get a job and call it a day.
 

daship

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You can't install family pack on for sale items. It is illegal. Family pack is for 3 computers in the same household.
 

SingingThroughTheStorm

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That is all very good advice. I am also thinking about going into this market, but it isn't very far from what I used to do
(I resold used electronics LOL). I really enjoy building computers, and just being able to get more experience doing it as well as get my hands on more hardware is worthwhile. I can undercut brands like iBuyPower while still using better quality parts.

Selling on eBay will be difficult though. Ebay is going to take almost 10% of whatever you end up selling the system for with their final value fees.

I do agree that it is IMPOSSIBLE and often illogical to try and beat OEM computers below $300.
Talked a relative into getting a Lenovo from STaples (after coupon it was $200), and it is solid.
 

xspectrum

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The idea was never to be like Dell, HP, etc... The idea was for me to sell computers custom tailored to the buyer's needs so he gets no less and no more than what he wants. I do intend on getting a job, but I won't call it a day as I love building computers. I won't love cleaning off tables, bagging groceries, or whatever job I can get as a teen. From the looks of it, selling on eBay is out of the question.
 

SingingThroughTheStorm

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Selling on eBay will only work if you expect to sell at the same price as iBuyPower (ect) and expect around $30 profit per computer (if that).

It is really hard to sell people on quality and getting the parts they want. If a person can get a decent i3-2120 Lenovo for $450, why do they care if it comes with something more then they need?
 

xspectrum

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That's kind of what I mean. A lot of computer companies will give you more than what you need, at a much higher price.

For example, let's say I wanted to buy a computer for gaming (a pre-built one). To get a good graphics card built in, I'll probably have to pay a TON extra because the computer with a good graphics card will also have phenomenal RAM, HDD/SDD storage, and CPU.
 

voodooking

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I was thinking about this very subject if I wanted to make some extra cash and here I what I came up with.

First, don't assume price is everything to everyone. What people want is a specific need to be fulfilled. Now, do you have access to the people who have that specific need? What I have found is that most people buy a computer to do one thing. Everyone justifies a purchase by saying they will use it for other uses but they make the decision to fill one need. Also, who can you get to that will trust you with their money.

What I was thinking what would be the easiest would be to provide people who want to do high end gaming without learning everything it takes to run the right system correctly. Think about how many people who clog the forums and customer service lines because they are trying to fix a problem? Most of these gamers don't know what they are doing and they are tired of the constant computer problems. That is where you can come in.

You design computers that gamers can use to max out their games without paying a fortune. As I have learned on here, there are different combinations of parts that different games use most efficiently. Out on the net. there are so many people who are just flat out wrong with their advice. Setting up these systems, with all of the driver problems and conflicts, is difficult.

Your sales line would be "I can build you the best, trouble free build to play "X" game. No hassles. No set up problems. Just Set up and go.

Since you are 16 year old male, it would make sense that you would be around people who play games and don't know enough about computers to play these games at their max settings.

What do you think?
 

xspectrum

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Those are some really good ideas. I'm in the process of creating a website right now. I'll be sure to incorporate your sales line, if it's alright with you.
 

Wolfshadw

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The idea was for me to sell computers custom tailored to the buyer's needs so he gets no less and no more than what he wants.
Most people have no idea of what they want or what they need. Those that do... are answering questions like these in forums :sarcastic: (sorry)

I do intend on getting a job, but I won't call it a day as I love building computers. I won't love cleaning off tables, bagging groceries, or whatever job I can get as a teen.
I don't mean to discourage you, but most people do not get to do just what they want. Most of us have to what needs to be done in order for us to be able to do what we want.

If you really want to get into this business, start with tech support. Get to know as much as you can about fixing computers first. Advertise yourself as a computer support technician and get a few regular, local customers. When their systems start to fail to the point of needing replacement, then you can offer to build a custom system that only supports your client's needs.

-Wolf sends
 

voodooking

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Rock on! If you have any other questions just ask. I am about to get my company funded soon. I understand.
 

xspectrum

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In the grand scheme of it all, I want to look back at my life and say I did things I actually enjoyed and wanted. In Sinatra's words, I want the records to show, I took the blows, and did it my way.
 

SingingThroughTheStorm

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True, but the name of this thread "Can I make money selling computers".

Mturk is a great way to make some spare cash as well.
 

GI_JONES

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I have built nad upgraged pc's for friends and family for quite a few years. I typically dont charge enough to make much, about $50.00 per pc. Where I actually make more is usually I get them to give me their old pc or parts if they are just going to toss them. I put the old stuff on ebay..not as whole systems..but sell the ram, motherboard, cpu, and any add on cards like sound graphics etc. Some of the older stuff is hard to come by and brings more than you might think. I use the money (or parts) to help with upgrades on my pc's.
The big down side is..then they call you when there is a problem. Not a problem for me because I like messing with pc's and gain experience. The upside.. once I fixed a problem my aunt had with a pc I built..she screwed up windows and I had to reinstall 12 hrs after I had dropped off the new pc to her.. I said no charge for the repair..the next day she dropped off 2 dozen homemade cookies.. similar experience with elderly friends of my parents..got a pie out of that deal!
Nice hobby but tough to make a living
 

daship

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Most people want warrant and support.

Your profit margins will be so low,
can you pay to ship a defective unit back to you and then return it to the customer? Probably not theres $70-$80 there. Can you pay to replace burnt parts? Doubt it. Can you help grandma bell check her email? Can you help aunt sally fix a virus after she clicked a bad link on Facebook?

Everyone here can build good PCs for moms, aunts, uncles ect... you want to make money being a freelancer in a corporate world. Its not going to happen.

What are your plans if you sell a PC to someone and it shorts out and burns there house down, and they sue you? Do you have insurance? Do you have a business license? You do know if you sell over $3000 on paypal they will send you tax forms? Are you prepared to pay taxes? You also have to pay a sales tax to your state on any good that you buy online when its tax time.

I'm with the other guy offer repairs for $50 thats what I charge also. The most I ever ever made profit was $1400 I sold a $800 PC for $2200.

It was a i7 920 over clocked to 4.0 and it triple booted XP, Win7 and OSX Snow Leopard. The reason it sold was because of OSX, and the specs were better then a real mac. It has been over 2 years and I still support it. The guy has bought 2 other hackingtoshes from me as well but lower end ones, but I still made big money. He needed support 2 times, both time I offered help for free. 1st time he demanded my paypal and he gave me $200 cash, 2nd time he gave me $300 in silver coins. He said it was worth it to him to get a person right away on the phone that actually spoke english and knew what to do.

I have sold 148 custom PCs over the last 3 years, and I offer warranty/support, most of them sold when the market was better. Now the desktop market has stubbled to compete with all the tablets and laptops, now ultra books on the horizon. There just isn,t profit in it anymore.

You may be cheaper the ibuypower, but your support will never come close.
 

xspectrum

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I don't appreciate your condescension. Yes, I'm fairly naive and I thank you for enlightening me on the negatives of doing this. However, I believe your logic is a bit flawed. If a computer shorts out, it's probably their fault for doing something with it, meaning I'm not getting sued. What are the odds that aunt Sally will actually buy one of my computers. Even if she does, viruses aren't that hard to fix if you have some programming knowledge. I'm perfectly fine with paying taxes. I see your point with the laptops/tablets, but their will always be a good amount of people who prefer desktops.
 
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