Do you need to be certified to Sell computers?

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GamingGod
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Do you need to be certified to Sell computers?

Post by GamingGod » Sun Feb 04, 2007 3:19 pm

I was thinking of trying to make some money on the side by building systems for people. Advertising in the paper ect. But can I get in trouble if I dont have any type of certification or license, or is it perfectly legal?
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angelkiller
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Post by angelkiller » Sun Feb 04, 2007 3:56 pm

GamingGod wrote:But can I get in trouble if I dont have any type of certification or license, or is it perfectly legal?
I seriously doubt it. I do not know of any sort of "license" that you would need. Do you need a license to mow a lawn? I think repairing a neighbor's computer is like mowing a thier lawn. :D I would think it's perfectly legal. But don't take my word for it. (seriously :oops: )

CallMeJoe
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Post by CallMeJoe » Sun Feb 04, 2007 4:23 pm

You may need a business license, depending on your local regulations. To expand on angelkiller's example, while you may not need a license to mow your neighbor's lawn, you would likely need a license to run a landscaping company.
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Post by mathias » Sun Feb 04, 2007 4:33 pm

Yes, you need to have a monopoly supporter's licence. Otherwise, you won't be able to buy windows for the price they normally charge system assemblers, making it very hard for you to compete.

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Post by CallMeJoe » Sun Feb 04, 2007 5:05 pm

mathias wrote:Yes, you need to have a monopoly supporter's licence. Otherwise, you won't be able to buy windows for the price they normally charge system assemblers, making it very hard for you to compete.
Unless you can convince your customers they want Linux boxes instead of Windows.
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angelkiller
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Post by angelkiller » Sun Feb 04, 2007 6:27 pm

mathias wrote:Yes, you need to have a monopoly supporter's licence.
I'm a bit confused. Is it really necessary (legally enforced), or is it just a really good idea to have one?

Alec Ross
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Post by Alec Ross » Sun Feb 04, 2007 8:42 pm

I think what Mathias intended goes like this (and this seems logical to me):

If you want to compete with Dell and Wal-Mart and so-on, with a proper business and prebuilt systems and so on, you'll have to get a license from Microsoft to resell Windows, which will get you discounts. If you just plan on doing this as a hobby, picking up the pieces at a local store and/or having your customers get them themselves, you can probably do just fine without a reseller's license. I used to work at a small OEM, and we didn't do anything special in terms of licenses- we ordered the software from our distributor, installed it, and out the door it went. Of course, there may have been some sort of fees that Accounting took care of, but nothing I ever saw.

As for business laws, if you're doing this seriously- advertising etc- you might want to get a business license, like CallMeJoe said. Have a look at your local laws or ask a lawyer. I don't know of any jurisdictions in which you require a license to build a computer.

Good luck!

wussboy
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Post by wussboy » Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:03 am

You also must register yourself as a Limited Liability Corporation.

Must.

You could operate as a sole-owner, but if your computer falls on someone's foot, they sue you personally, not your business. Lawyers giggle with fiendish glee when they see someone who is a sole-owner. Be sure. Protect yourself first.
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Maelwys
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Post by Maelwys » Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:40 am

If you just want to build the occasional computer for friends and relatives and people you know who contact you, then no, you don't need any sort of license to do so. Nor do you even need to register as a business, although if you're going to be doing a lot of it (say, more than 7-10 PCs per year) then I'd highly recommend it. How you handle warranty work and liability is entirely up to you, but, as wuss pointed out, if anyone takes a grudge to your system, it's your neck on the line.

Here's the catch though: taxes. If you sell them for a profit, then you technically have to claim that profit on taxes. If you sell PCs to another business, you can be 100% sure that they will be claiming the purchase for tax purposes, so you'll have to as well. In that case, you'll need to save your receipts and claim expenses and earnings for the PCs you make. You still don't have to register as a business to do this, but it helps.

Of course, if you're just doing this for friends at no profit, then no, you don't need to worry about it.

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Post by Devonavar » Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:08 pm

wussboy wrote:Lawyers giggle with fiendish glee when they see someone who is a sole-owner.
Why? They'll get more money out of a company won't they?

wussboy
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Post by wussboy » Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:22 am

Devonvar,

Yes, you're right. In the case of a large or medium size business, usually the business assets are substantially larger than the owner's assets. However if you are a sole owner of a small business, your personal assets may be considerably more than your business' assets. And as a sole-owner they can sue you for what your business owns, and for what you personally own. Being a limited liability corporation (LLC) means they can only sue you for what your business owns.

This way, if GamingGod builds a system that blows up and hurts someone, as an LLC they could only sue him for what his business owned (some inventory and equipment). As a sole-owner they could sue him for his house/car/Star Trek action figure collection/etc.

No matter how large your business is, why not shield yourself from this possible damage? There are also tax advantages as well which I'll mention (vacations could become business trips, car becomes company property, generally you buy things with pre-tax dollars, not post-tax) but not get in to.
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Post by MikeC » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:06 am

they could sue him for his house/car/Star Trek action figure collection/etc.
:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Do you need to be certified to Sell computers?

Post by Beyonder » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:28 am

GamingGod wrote:I was thinking of trying to make some money on the side by building systems for people. Advertising in the paper ect. But can I get in trouble if I dont have any type of certification or license, or is it perfectly legal?
I don't think you can get in trouble with the law. That being said, building computers for other people can really, truly bite. In general I find that I become permanent tech-support for the remainder of the PC's life.
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sleepygenius
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Post by sleepygenius » Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:34 am

I don't think you can get in trouble with the law. That being said, building computers for other people can really, truly bite. In general I find that I become permanent tech-support for the remainder of the PC's life.
It's this reason that I never went into building PC's for friends even without making any profit. It becomes annoying should said person you built it for keeps on messing it up and you have to fix it. Another problem is cleaning. Sure, you can teach some to clean, but others could care less and would rather have you do it instead.

Maelwys
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Post by Maelwys » Thu Mar 08, 2007 12:37 pm

I suppose it depends on who you're doing this for. I build computers for friends frequently and while yes, they do bug me from time to time for tech support, they almost always compensate me for the time. Selling computers to every Joe Schmoe off the street is one thing - most people could care less how inconvenient they're being. Selling to friends however is usually pretty good.

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Post by sjoukew » Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:35 am

If you aren't sure, it is better to spend some money on good legal advice then to do it the cheap way and fuck up. That can cost a lot more money.
The laws about this subject differ from country to country, I can only advice you in Dutch law, but I think that isn't really helpful.
You have to know for yourself if you want just to build 2 pc's for a couple of friends, or you want to make money with it.

wussboy
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Post by wussboy » Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:11 am

I think the real issue is what is going to make people chose to use your service?

I believe you have a few options:

1. You have the lowest price.

If you believe you can do it cheaper than Dell, you're an idiot! :)

2. You have the best selection/build quality.

This may be possible, but wil be quite time intensive, and you'll need to charge a premium for that time. Remember, never compete on price. Someone will always sell it cheaper than you (see point 1) and you don't want a race to the bottom. Keep your prices higher and add value.

3. You have the best service.

This may also be possible...as long as you don't have many customers. As soon as you become succesful, it will likely not be possible and you'll lose your market appeal (sp?).

My advice (will it ever stop?) is to start small, expect to fail, be prepared to learn from that failure, and if you never stop, you'll eventually be succesful. Starting your own business is a rough road, but if you have the intestinal fortitude, it's worth it. Just ask Michael Dell.
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Post by jhhoffma » Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:08 am

People who build systems professionally would benefit from knowing pretty much everything there is to know about a system before starting up. A+ and MCSE/MCP certifications cost money but are helpful in dealing with more complex hardware and software problems. A+ is the cheapest and easiest and probably the most useful for the home PC builder. MCSE/MCP are really more for IT pros, but both are great if you want to get a job doing that someday.

I would say though, from experience doing this, just point them to Dell (maybe help them ID a system that fits their needs as a favor) and be done with it. Back in the days of the PII, K62, and SDRAM, I built systems for spare cash for people at my work (200+ people in my building alone, so I never ran out of business). This was back when a budget system cost around $1500, and people regularly spent $2000 for a Gateway to "surf the Intraweb". I could give them the parts list, have them order the parts, and when they all came in, I would work with them to build the system (if they were geeks), and make on average $100 per system. There were times I made $200 on a machine because of good grace and there were times when I worked for beer and pizza. All that and they still paid less than buying it from the big boys.

For me it was fun. Fun that I got paid for, but fun nonetheless. I stopped when my cell phone went over my minutes for the 3rd consecutive month from the 12:37am phone calls from people wanting me to give them tech support because they just deleted their report or want me to help them install a new printer they bought that night and needed to print out said report for the morning...

IMO, it's not worth it, especially nowadays when you can't compete on price.
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