If you have a problem with your car, you call a mechanic. If you’re not satisfied with your lawn, you can call a lawn service. But when business owners or private individuals have a problem with their technology, they often have no idea whom to call.
A recent survey of small business owners found that many called the phone company when they had a problem with their computers. A similar survey of residential customers might find that the most popular option is to call the kids… and some small business owners do the same. Neither of these options will actually work most of the time. But few businesses need tech support often enough to justify having an IT department, or even just a single IT specialist on the staff.
This describes the basic situation for small companies, relative to IT:
- Everyone depends on information technology and computers, for their point of sales systems, customer relationship management, internal databases such as HR information, communication, and more.
- Few small companies have anyone with specific expertise in either hardware or software.
- Few companies already have a go-to source of help when they have problems with hardware or software.
For residential customers, the problem often includes mobile devices, personal information, and computers that they don’t feel able to pack up for repair or to set up again after they’ve been repaired.
So an IT franchise business can provide something people badly need but do not already have — the definition of a perfect business opportunity.
Tech franchise businesses tend to fall into these categories:
- Hardware repair services, especially those which specialize in mobile devices. These companies tend to cater to individuals as well as business. They range from Geeks on Call, a network of technical specialists who provide on-site repairs, to Cellairis, which uses a store-within-a-store concept at Walmart locations.
- Specialized IT Services. Instead of having to develop skill with software in-house, companies can outsource their IT needs to specialized services. Avoiding problems that come with the shift to digital fulfillment of tasks that might have been done with paper and pencil in the past can be very appealing to businesses. One example is Go Telecare, which provide telehealth (video medical consultation) and medical billing services. Big Mouth Direct, another example, provides digital marketing services.
- General IT services, usually focusing on on-site help. Sending a tech to a business to help with networks, security, software configuration and training, and even design and development helps clients deal with IT needs in person and in their own working environment, where they’ll feel most comfortable. CMIT is an example of this type of service.
Whether helping with urgent problems, standing in for typical IT department services, or allowing clients to add digital products and services without having to figure it out for themselves, tech franchises can make a difference for their clients.
Most tech franchise opportunities make it very clear that they’re not looking for techies as franchisees. Often they employ the technicians and dispatch them from a central location. Sales and management are tyoically the most important function for the franchisee.