Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Starting my own business

For years now I have been fixing computers for family, friends and friends of friends. I charge little to nothing. Many times I am asked if I have a card. I never did. That's going to change.

I decided to attempt to start my own business. Nothing big. I have secured a domain name, business phone number and will be dropping off the DBA paperwork at the Tarrant County Clerks office tomorrow morning. I was going to use for the DBA stuff, but they wanted $99 for something I can do for $35.

For the website I wanted to use the word Geek. Lots of Geek domain names were already taken. After about 30 minutes I figured The area we live in is known as the "mid cities". I don't plan on venturing out beyond the Hurst, Euless and Bedford.

In order to have a separate phone number I thought long and hard about the most economical way to do this. I didn't want a long term investment (like a new cell contract). I researched prepaid phones. I found one I like from T-Mobile. Then I thought "what if I want to change phones?". This lead me to a virtual phone. I decided on Skype. With Skype I have a local phone number for $6 a month (cheaper if I buy more than 3 months at a time) and can get unlimited service for $3 a month. So $9 a month for phone service. Done.

I spent hours looking over the legal paperwork involved. Legalzoom was ready to charge me $200. Ninety-nine dollars was for the DBA submission ($20 for me to file), $80 for a Employer Tax Identification Number (something I don't need), and $20 for "other legal paperwork".

All I have to do is submit the DBA paperwork to Tarrant County and then advertise in the classified section for four weeks that I am starting a business. Total cost for that is under $20.

What are my hopes for the business? Incredibly low. If I make $100 a month that would be peachy.

The spark that kicked this off was what a pilot friend of mine was going through this week. His laptop was having software issues. I helped him a little and showed him the way to repair. He couldn't get it going. The Geek Squad at Best Buy wanted $150 just too look at the computer. Crazy! I had him up and running with just a 20 minute in person consultation in the crew room at the airport. People pay way too much for computer repair and advice.

My business will mostly focus on simple (to me) computer repairs/upgrades, network design (wireless/wired), and consultation services (mostly for small businesses).

Over the next week I am going to order business cards, letterhead and design the website. I will also look at basic legal disclaimers used in the industry to cover my rear. On the same note I am going to look at bonding services. I think the total start up cost will be just under $200.

This could either turn out really nicely...or be a waste of $200. Eh....

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