Most people have encountered this before; your computer has problems, so you unplug it and take it in to the shop for repairs.
Of course, once it gets there, it works fine. As soon as you get it back home again, the computer goes on the fritz again.
To get around that common problem, Mike Castor and Matt Sullivan of Redwood Falls have started a computer repair and consulting service that focuses on house-calls: PC-SOS.
Castor said last week, “I really wanted to emphasize the house service side. We focus exclusively on on-site service. Usually its simpler if we’re able to go there. Many of peoples’ computer problems are local, and come from something like the mouse or monitor not working.”
Sullivan said, “One person brought in his computer for repairs; it turned out it was his outlet not working. That’s why his laptop battery kept dying.”
“Or the monitor is bad, or the Internet is slow,” Castor said. “Going to the client’s house, we can make sure we’re fixing what actually needs to be fixed.”
Sullivan pointed out the house-call approach is almost a necessity for most computer-dependent businesses.
“If a business is having problems, they can’t just pick up their whole system and bring it in someplace,” he said.”
Another advantage of the house-call approach is it lets Castor and Sullivan get specific.
“If you take a computer class or read a book, it deals with very general terms,” said Castor. “By visiting your home or business, we can help you with your specific system and your specific problems.”
Castor added that if a computer problem would be more economical to solve by bringing it into the shop, they can handle it that way, too.
“Some problems take hours for computers to work their way through,” said Castor. “It doesn’t make any sense to pay us those hours for a service call when we can bring it here, get it started, and let it run on its own. We only have to charge you for a few minutes that way.”
When new parts are needed, Castor and Sullivan keep costs as low as possible.
“We never sell parts for profit; we always sell at cost,” said Castor. “Service is all we sell; we don’t want customers to think we’re pushing product on them.”
Consulting is also a big part of what PC-SOS is all about.
“We’ve actually accompanied people on shopping trips to help pick out the right computer system for them,” said Castor. “If you’re going to spend $500 or $1,000 on a new computer, it makes sense to pay a consultant an hour’s fee to make sure you’re buying the right fit.”
Page 2 of 2 - Castor’s interest in computers started in the early 1980s.
“My first computer had a whopping 8k of RAM,” he laughed, “but I was still able to write a business’s accounting and inventory program on it.”
“I got started doing repairs by accident. I started out as a programmer, and built my own computers. Soon I was doing service and repairs for hardware and software.
“As time went on there were more people asking than I could help, so I thought about expanding. Matt has been a friend for the last 15 years. We talked about him working with me, and he finally relented and agreed.”
PC-SOS (short for “Personal Computer Service on Site) officially started in March. The duo doesn’t charge milage for Redwood Falls house calls, but does for trips further.
“We’ll go wherever people want to pay,” said Sullivan, saying they’ve so far stayed within a 50 mile radius of Redwood Falls.
“We’ll also do phone support, talking people through repairs,” said Castor. “I guess you could say the furthest computer I’ve repaired was in England!”
For more information, check out PC-SOS’s Facebook page, or call 507-641-5435.