Wednesday, August 26, 2009

All Your Questions Answered (Well, 2 Big Ones)

So when people ask me what I do for a living, I have a really hard time answering that question. If I tell them I own a "computer company" they'll immediately start asking my advice on how to fix some strange thing going on with some strange relative's computer. If I tell them I own a "franchise", they for some reason assume it's McDonald's or something.

The best I can do is explain that my job is helping technology entrepreneurs be successful, which is really what Computer Troubleshooters does. Every day most of my day is spent supporting the 480+ Computer Troubleshooters locations around the world, and the rest of my time is spent working with people who are interested in joining the CT team.

That latter group always has certain questions, as you might expect. After all no one just decides to spend $20k buying a franchise license and jumping into the self-employed lifestyle without doing some research. And that's a good thing, becuase the folks who really dig into the details and do their due diligence almost always decide that Computer Troubleshooters is right for them.
So if you fall into that category, if you're considering starting your own IT solutions business or if maybe you're already in an IT solutions business and you're considering joining a franchise, I want to help you out by answering your two biggest questions:

#1: How Much Money Can I Make?
Yep, this is a popular question. Understandably. But it's also a really hard question to answer, for two reasons. First - I don't know you. Your income in any business venture is fundamentally based on you. If you sit home watching daytime TV your income is likely to be less than that of someone who uses that same time to reach out to potential and past clients, for example. More importantly, the FTC regulates franchising in the US and I can't answer that question unless I can back it up with some good statistics, which is hard for me to do because we aren't a royalty-based franchise and I just don't get good data from a lot of our locations. I can tell you that most of our franchisees came from high-paying IT jobs, and the fact that we're ranked higher than any other technology franchise by Franchise Business Review (based on franchisee satisfaction) should mean something. But I can't give you specifics - nor should you believe me if I do. Franchisors who do provide income guidance are often basing it only on their top performing locations, so it may or may not be indicative of what you'll make.

Now 5 years ago it was pretty easy to guesstimate your income. Almost everything we did was billable by the hour, so if you estimate how many hours your techs are likely to bill on average, and multiply it by your expected bill rate... presto, you've got your estimated revenue. But our business model today is increasingly complex (for good reason), with multiple revenue streams. You'll make money from hourly billing (break-fix) sure, but also from supporting customers on BEST service plans (our version of Managed Services), from commissions on Cloud hosted solutions, from VoIP installations, hardware/software sales, and more.

To help you plan your income I created the attached spreadsheet here. I still can't tell you what you can earn, but you can use this spreadsheet to better estimate how much revenue you expect from the various income streams. Use this, and talk with existing IT solutions businesses (if you're in the CT due diligence process now ask your sales coordinator to send an introductory note to all the CT franchisees in your country so they'll make time to talk with you) to see if they think your figures are reasonable.

#2: Why Should I Join Computer Troubleshooters Instead of Doing It On My Own? (Or Instead of Joining Geeks On Call, Fast-Teks, or CMIT, or Friendly Mobile?)
Also a popular and important question. I asked the same thing before I joined CT back in 1999. Even though we're one of the least expensive franchises on the market, $19,500 (the list price for a franchise territory in the USA) is a lot of money. What exactly do you get for all that, and would you be better off spending $25k on another franchise or better yet save your money and do it all yourself?

You might suspect I'm a little biased on this one, but I do honestly believe you get more for your money by purchasing a Computer Troubleshooters franchise than through any other alternative. And to show you what I mean, I took the time to document each and every benefit you get from Computer Troubleshooters, in nine categories, and put them all in THIS spreadsheet. And I left room where you can enter your estimated costs for any alternative business method - another franchise or the "DIY" option. And even though I entered what *I* think is reasonable as the value for each benefit, I encourage you to go through, think about each one, and change it to what you think is fair. As you can see, you get a LOT for your money in Computer Troubleshooters - especially over the five-year span in the spreadsheet (we look even better over longer periods, but 5 years seemed like a good basis for comparison).

Note that I also left you some blank room on each page where you can add things you think we're missing and that someone else may offer - but let me know if you do, because it may just be that we forgot to list something.

So, how much money can you make as a Computer Troubleshooter? Use the revenue spreadsheet, talk with existing (and former) CT's, and find the real answers for your personal situation. Why join CT instead of doing it yourself, or joining another franchise? Use the comparison spreadsheet to judge for yourself.

Today's economy depends on successful small businesses,and successful small businesses depend on technology. We've worked hard to make Computer Troubleshooters the BEST solution for small business IT support, and we're growing all the time. If you're looking for a franchise opportunity in a growing industry, do the research and check us out.


1 comment:

lucky883 said...

Let’s say an unlawful discrimination case, then you must include the amount awarded in your income for tax purposes.
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