Choose your computer technician carefully

Images magazine published and excerpt from Characters Who Can make Or Break Your Small Business in their November issue. It’s an important topic well worth revisiting.

The thumbnail version:

  • Your shop cannot operate properly without fully-functioning computers
  • You need access to a good technician

The full version:

The excerpt as published in Images Magazine . . .

“We live in an era of inescapable reliance on technology, and it’s hardly necessary to point out that most of what we do to conduct and administer a small business involves a computer. While both hardware and software are much more reliable and user-friendly than they were even just a few years ago, sometimes your shop’s computer network will need attention.

Unlike large companies with a dedicated IT staff, most small shop budgets cannot accommodate a full-time computer technician. Computer failure – hardware or software – will, however, bring with it the prospect of a one-two punch of downtime and a hefty bill. It’s enough to cause a shop owner to descend into a state of despair.

A good computer tech is a critical resource for your shop. Get references.

Choose your computer technician for those inevitable downtime emergencies with care. They come in varying degrees of competence; limit your choices to the upper end of the range. Not only will a competent technician save you when technology emergencies strike, but they will also help you make sense of the alternatives when new technology is being considered. They can help cut through the mind-bogglingly unfathomable techno-talk that often accompanies new technology.

Your shop will generally have access to one of three computer technician resources: sole practitioners, local companies consisting of a staff of technicians, and nationwide franchises.

The advantage of hiring multi-technician computer service companies over sole practitioners is that the former’s technicians have likely been tested for competence during the hiring process. When you engage a sole practitioner, the competence checking falls on your shoulders. In the end, however, it all comes down to whether the individual technician’s competence, regardless of whether they are a sole practitioner or an employee of a service.

My final advice, based on hard-earned experience, is to not engage a computer technician until you have recommendations from their clients with similar requirements to your own.

There are no guarantees that your selection will be perfect, but choose a computer technician with due care and you give yourself the best chance of enjoying a relatively failure-free computer network.”