Advice starting a business

I know there’s a couple of threads like this but… the last one I saw was pre-pandemic. I’ve gotten bit by the repair bug and while everyone is on Hire/Fire freezes down here (at least in I.T.) I figured I might see about doing this for side money at the least.

So, I’ve always been the go-to guy for all of my friends and family whenever they’re having computer problems (hardware or software) and I can generally fix everything I try to, unless it’s horribly liquid damaged or something. I have some soldering experience but no Hot-Air Rework station and not a lot of capital to get equipment (currently looking for a new job and helping my mother pay off my late father’s bills). What capital I do have would preferably be used to get things to fix.

What got me interested again was a junky Nintendo Switch I bought for cheap. Had several issues but it helped knock some of the rust off my disused small electronics repair skills. Most of my experience is desktop, and laptop repair. Luckily nothing seems to have needed soldering so I’m hoping I dodged that bullet as I don’t have a hot-air rework station, which as I understand is required for things like the charge port on the Switch.

I’m looking for advice on trying to get started. My mother always taught me to not say anything bad if I couldn’t say something nice, so I’ll just say the GameStops around here are not much help. I do know a few managers at the various local Best Buys because my mom used to be there all the time buying stuff, returning stuff or taking things to Geek Squad for years, but I so far have not had any luck yet.

Issues fixed on the junky Nintendo Switch

  • Missing all but the 4 main screws holding the console together, the screw behind the kickstand and all but one screw on each of the joy-con rails.
  • Left Joy-Con’s D-Pad was all sticky from something and was unusable. It also only had 2 screws on the housing and the shell had been replace by a chrome-gold shell. Removed all the gunk off the buttons with ISO and Adhesive Remover. It also didn’t work once I’d fixed that gunk issue. I finally got it working again after a few dissasemblies, didn’t do anything differently so I’m guessing it might have just been deader than a door nail as it wasn’t charging to begin with. It also randomly disconnects, which I’m still puzzled over.
  • Right Joy-Con was pretty much fine except it was missing one screw and whoever replaced the shell lost the rubber pad for the + button so the + button is flush with the shell and unusable. Waiting on a few replacement sets of rubber pads. Currently have the buttons remapped.
  • The body of the Switch was completely covered in adhesive (I suspect it had one of those vinyl skins on it. It was so bad that in the pictures for the listing I thought the digitizer was toast because it looked scratched. Took a fair bit of time to remove all that garbage but it’s much better now.
  • Joy-Con rails kept trying to pull out when holding the Joy-Cons so I ordered screws and it’s basically fixed but I still don’t know why the left Joy-Con is disconnecting so randomly. Will probably take the console itself apart and see if something is up with the ribbon cable for that rail.


How did you get started?

What advice can you share about getting business?

As I probably will not be doing this full-time (just nights and weekends) I was wondering if anyone had any practices that helped them instill confidence in customers despite not having a storefront.

What advice can/are you willing to give on getting things to fix and flip for startup capital (say for other things to fix or equipment)?

What do you generally turn a profit on and what is generally not worth it?