questions to ask "ultra low cost" service providers

1. Does the individual have a Company Name, DBA, or LLC?

2. How long has the company or individual been in business?  Do they have a website with their own domain name?  Example of a business without a domain name.  This business is using Verizon's own Internet services.

3. Do they come out on site?  

4. What is their Trip charge?
Blackwood Residential Car Fire Blackwood Commercial Van Accident If your cheap Computer Support provider had a vehicle accident or malfunction at your business or residence, how would you get reimbursed for property damage if the Service Provider didn't carry Vehicle Insurance or didn't carry a Business Rider on their personal policy?   Depending on the Service Provider's business (Inc, LLC, Inc.) they may require Commercial Vehicle Insurance.  Citation.

5. How long have they fixed PC's, and how long has the person who is scheduled to visit been repairing PC's?

6. Is fixing PC's and Networks their ONLY business or are they subsidizing full time income, or are they engaged in other business ventures?

7. Are they Microsoft or A+/TIA Certified?

8. Do they have General Liability Insurance, and are their employees or contractors bonded and insured?

9. Do you still get charged, if they cannot repair your PC?

10. Do they stock basic PC parts, such as hard drives, power supplies, DSL and Cable modems so they don't have to leave and return?

11. Will they make an estimate on a job before any work commences?

12. Can they provide customer references?

13. Do they accept credit cards? (This financial Merchant Service commitment means they have a business banking account).

Why choose an Independent PC Service Provider, as opposed to a Superstore, or Franchised service provider (FSP)?

We realize you have a choice.  There are many good service providers who are competent and have good technical expertise.  However Superstores and FSP's usually come at a higher price.  An independent PC Service provider can fix your PC or network issues for lower cost.  Geeks on Call charges their technicians a $25,000 franchise fee, for the right to use their name.  To recoup this investment, high hourly rates must be maintained.  Friendly Computers franchise fee costs $14,900, with a total investment between $59,000 to $219,000.  Best Buy Geek Squad charges $129 (initially) for a house call.  Well, you're paying for the Best Buy name, and are supporting a brick and mortar shop. 

PC House Call in Richardson, too, has a brick and mortar setup.  Like any brick and mortar shop, you pay their building's cost per square foot, employee's benefits, and a nice, signed VW Beetle.  Web portals service providers, such as,, or Tech24 connect to your PC and do not visit on site.  While this is convenient for the customer, not all problems can be resolved via remote control.  This is because removal of viruses and spyware, in particular, will require the Windows PC to be running in Safe mode, or detached from the Internet.  If the PC is detached from the Internet, the Service Provider cannot connect to your PC to affect repairs.  If the occasion arises where your PC must be physically opened to inspect, say for a bad cooling fan, or simply to blow the dust out of the PC insides, a remote control service solution won't work.  Dial-up users should not consider On Line repair solutions.

There may be times it is appropriate to work with the Computer Store where your PC was purchased, especially if the PC is under warranty.  If you purchased an extended warranty (or service contract) you should take your PC back to your place of purchase, or at the very least, call your PC manufacturer and get options.  If you have a Dell, consider calling Dell Support.  Certain Dell Optiplex and Latitude PC's carry 3 year warranties.  You may qualify for free, on site repairs.  Read the experiences from Feb 2005 PC World Magazine, PC Support on Call, from some national service providers. View Computer Repair Fraud, which aired Dec 2006, from KCAL in California here (you will be redirected to

A franchised repair firm compares itself with Best Buy Geek Squad.  Spot1Spot2.  If you're seriously considering Geek Squad you should watch these videos (you will be redirected to, even if you have no interest in using PCNS.  Here's an interesting Best Buy Geek Squad horror story with Ashley's HP Pavilion PC, an extended warranty, and Best Buy Geek Squad.  You will be redirected to video's.

Do you really want Geek Squad to repair your PC?  Click
Re-Releasing the Virus (120KB)
To hear a quote (you need to turn on your speakers for this 15 second clip) from a Best Buy internal marketing video (you need Quicktime installed on your PC).