The Lament Of An EX PC Builder...
For businesses like mine, PC builds are becoming a thing of the past. There’s a big market for bespoke gaming systems but it’s hard to compete with the online builders and established shops because they can buy components in bulk and some have sale or return deals with suppliers.
Parts just seem so damned expensive these days. I often advise customers it will cost them less to buy a PC from one of the big retailers than it would for me to build one. Of course, I could still build a PC and make a small profit. The problem is it doesn’t end there. Once you’ve handed the machine over to the customer, you’re legally obliged to cover the warranty on the PC for the next 12 months. That means if the hardware fails you’re responsible for replacement parts and repairs.
In an ideal world my own suppliers would replace faulty components quickly or offer prompt refunds but it can take months of fending and proving before that happens. When a customer wants their machine fixing A.S.A.P, they’re not going to wait while cheapbits.com argues the toss over a faulty motherboard.
Why should they?
No, it’s up to yours truly to pay for and replace any faulty parts. After that, any form of reimbursement from the supplier is in the lap of the gods. You may or may not get your money back but until you do, you’re out of pocket. When it comes to outlay for replacement parts I work to very tight margins. Money owing is as good as money lost if you don’t have the funds to cover new jobs.
Considering how much time, work and expense you can put into covering the warranty on a PC, the fifty quid profit you managed to eek out of the build is toast.
Which is sad really, because building a PC is such an enjoyable thing to do.
I’ve always found sourcing the parts, unpacking them and neatly piecing them together like a jigsaw, a very satisfying process. I even love the fault finding when things go wrong. Not to mention the fraught anticipation of installing the OS, updates and drivers. The final piece of the puzzle is being able to correctly gauge the customers needs and abilities and then installing the right software to create the right user environment.
It was a job I always took a lot of pride in.
I still build the odd PC for friends and family, but I definitely miss doing it on a regular basis.