Why doesn’t The Computer Cellar offer house calls?
We ceased offering in-home services in 2016. There were a number of factors that led to this decision, and we thought it would be reasonable to share those with you, since we still get periodic calls requesting these services.
1) It’s a waste of your money.
Computer repairs take time. Sometimes, a LOT of time. For example, replacing a hard drive, reinstalling Windows, and copying data over can take anywhere from 4-10 hours, sometimes more. When this type of repair takes place in our shop, we typically charge a flat $90 in labor. If we had to do the same repair in your home, labor charges would range from $260-$650 or more.
The reason labor is more affordable in-office is that our technicians are able to simultaneously give attention to multiple repairs – usually no less than three and as many as seven, sometimes more. In addition, our technicians serve as our customer service staff, which reduces our overhead.
Even if your primary issue is that your computer is too heavy for you to wrangle because of a disability or advanced age, it would cost you significantly less in almost every possible case to pay a friend or “helping hand” service to transport the computer to our office.
We have a strong belief that offering our customers fair, reasonable prices is the most important thing we can do for them.
2) It’s not profitable for us.
As expensive as house calls are for you, they don’t help us be a profitable small business. When one of our small staff is indisposed at your home, that means other repairs that could be performed simultaneously stagnate on our shelves. They’re also not able to help us perform customer service tasks while on a house call, which further reduces our efficiency.
We evaluated the numbers before making the decision to drop in-home services, and learned that we were losing money on nearly every call. That has a negative effect on our pricing, which isn’t fair to any of our customers.
3) We don’t have enough staff to do so.
We are a very small business, currently consisting of a senior technician/manager, specialist technician, and a part time junior technician. All of us double as customer service agents, as well as maintain the upkeep of our physical location ourselves. Even at our highest volumes of business, we can’t justify the cost of a fourth technician – which would be required to even begin considering to offer house calls.
Some have asked if our techs would be willing to work for cash in their personal time, but our small crew has busy lives with families and responsibilities to care for, so our full-time work in the office means we don’t have much time for such things in our off time.
4) It doesn’t allow us to offer our best to you.
We’ve built a wonderful reputation in the Durham community and surrounding areas by offering competitive pricing, incredible service, and quality work combined with friendly, personable service. To be able to offer in-home services, we would have to sacrifice in one or more areas in able to perform this additional service. We’d prefer to continue to be able to offer the same stellar product that we’ve had for years.