The computer repair industry sees many challenges in modern times. You’re mostly working on repairing office laptops, workstations, gaming machines, or those dreaded MacBooks that are really troublesome. It’s a given – many people like buying what is hot and new, with the latest Ryzen CPU or an RTX 2080 Super Max-Q. They might not know what it means, but it’s flashy and top of the line, so why not?
While getting a computer worth thousands of dollars might sound appealing, there’s another alternative that can work for computer repair store owners – repurposing old machines and making them new again. What we’re talking about is modifying an old system with newer components and selling them at your repair store. It’s a business idea that can get you some really good mileage, both in terms of sales and popularity. Let’s talk a bit about how you can go about it.
Get your systems on the cheap
In order to retrofit a system, you’ll first need a system that’s old and moving around in lots. Workstations from Dell or HP/Compaq can be usable for this purpose. You’ll usually find dealers selling them in the tens of dollars per unit, or you can purchase individual ones on eBay. These machines are usually thought to be unwanted or not needed by the average person, but they’re still in pretty good demand in tech circles.
Change out the parts at your computer repair store
Once you’ve got your system, it’s time to open it up and see what’s inside. Computer repair technicians shouldn’t have any trouble with this process. Opening up the system is pretty straightforward, and depending on the machine you’ve got, you’ll find guides to it somewhere online.
Most of the components here are going to be changed out, such as the motherboard, the RAM cards, etc. However, since these parts have a special form factor, they can get you quite a decent price if you decide to resell them. Some components like the power supply and general I/O you can make do with. To keep track of it all, you can use your computer repair shop software and serialize your inventory so you never lose track of it.
Build in different configurations
Now that you’ve emptied out your old system, it’s time to start fitting in new parts. Here’s a tip: make each new machine you work on a separate project with a different configuration from the rest. This helps you diversify in your retrofitted systems, and gives you more experience with building PCs at your computer repair store.
You can choose to get modern entry-level components or go all-out with top-shelf stuff. You can even use stuff that you have just lying around. We recommend installing an SSD, a few gigabytes of DDR4 RAM at 2666 MHz (at least), and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti or equivalent. These components put it in competition with systems that were released a couple of years ago, so they’re still very much capable of work. Throw in a few handy extras such as a Bluetooth and WiFi card, a handy card reader, extra USB 3.0 ports, or even an optical drive. Go with what you think is best.
Give it a new look
Your retrofitted system may have the horsepower on the inside, but does it have the looks on the outside? Nowadays, sleek, industrial-design systems are everywhere, and for gamers, a system is incomplete without a little RGB action. Use these to your advantage.
Customizing your casing can go a long way in making everything look appealing. You can choose to go minimalist or all-out flashy. A glass window on the side of your casing is a good idea, along with some RGB strips on the inside or a color job on the outside. You might even need some extra fans or a water-cooling system, depending on how powerful your system will run. It doesn’t fall into the domain of “computer repair”, but putting in that extra work on how the system looks will make it too good to pass up. Remember, these are one-of-a-kind machines you’re making, so give them something unique.
Be sure to share it on social media
At last, your pride and joy, your retrofitted one-of-a-kind system is complete and ready for sale. Now it’s time to put down the screwdriver and pick up your camera to snap some photos to put online. Be sure to share your system on your computer repair store’s social media page, highlighting the machine and offering your services online. Go for any and every social media service you can – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, the works. Your main aim should be to now create content centered around your system and put it up. Whether it’s a short video of you working on the project, or just some general shenanigans with it. Be creative and clever with it.
You can also put it up directly for sale on sites like eBay and Facebook for buyers to take off your hands. There are plenty of communities online that are into clever retrofitted PCs, so be sure to share your work there and offer a sale to anyone interested.
Last word for your computer repair store
Retrofitting an old computer is a project that can keep you occupied, while also helping you out with your marketing and revenue stream. With newer components into a customized machine using the chassis of an old system, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind computer that will make you the darling of the tech community. As long as you’re having fun doing it, you’re winning, and that’s what we like to see!
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