From Carpentry to Computers!
Bristol-based John Savage launched his PC PAL franchise in September 2009, having only had limited experience of repairing computers. John, 56, was previously self-employed in carpentry since the age of 19 but felt he wanted to do something completely different……
Why did you choose PC PAL?
‘I was looking for a fresh start in something completely different to my old career in construction. I have always had an interest in computers and a job repairing them would have been ideal but I soon realised that even if I passed my exams I would still not have the experience necessary to confidently go into people’s homes to repair them. Marketing was also something I had no experience of myself and knew this was crucial to launching and maintaining a successful business. It’s not just about fixing the PCs!
So for a while I gave up the idea until I came across The PC PAL Franchise and realised my idea would be possible by following this route. I also looked at other computer repair franchises but they didn’t offer the same support and professionalism as PC PAL.’
What training and support did you receive from your franchisor?
‘First of all I had to pass my Microsoft MCDST and CompTIA A+ exams. PC PAL supported me through this. It was hard work but enjoyable and the HQ engineers were on hand to mentor me through the exams.
PC PAL provided thorough training at their Head Quarters which included going out on real jobs with the PC PAL Engineers. This was a great experience which I really enjoyed. It didn’t feel like work, it was fun! On the marketing side the team took care of all my launch activities including getting all the leaflets delivered, adverts created, directory adverts booked as well as supplying me with a stock of marketing materials.
The on-going support is excellent. I know that I can always call up one of the guys for help if I’m on a job – which I have done on several occasions.’
What have been your main challenges and how did you overcome them?
‘The main challenges for me are coming across computer problems that are unusual and not “in the manual”; finding solutions to these problems is always satisfying. I sometimes think I’ve solved the problem by accident, but when I think about it I realise it’s my training that has allowed me to solve the problem in a logical manner.’
How has your life changed?
‘My life has changed greatly, from working on construction sites building mobile phone base stations around the country, to working locally in people’s homes on their PC’s. I’ve always enjoyed my work and this has not changed working as a PC PAL franchisee.’
How is your work-life balance?
‘I’ve been self-employed since the age of nineteen and work has always come first with me although I’ve managed to fit in whatever I wanted to do as well; where there’s a will there’s a way!I still manage to fit in my cycling around jobs, and always carry my phone to take job enquiries, but I know as more jobs come in this will become increasingly difficult – but that’s a challenge I look forward to!’
‘Working locally I’m also able to spend more time with my family and do less travelling.Jobs are increasing month by month. I was hoping for steady growth which is what I’m getting. It’s good for me because as the work increases my confidence and skills are growing.’
What are your future plans?
‘My plans are to establish the PC PAL franchise in the Bristol East area and then later on expand into the Bath area taking on an employee when the workload increases.’
What’s the best thing about being a PC PAL Franchisee?
‘Without question, it’s the customers. Having a happy customer at the end of a job you’ve done well is very satisfying!’