Taking the plunge and starting Premier Computers was a scary thought for owner Chris Loader, however, after winning five National IT Reseller Awards he now couldn’t be happier. Jade Burke finds out more…
How and when did the company begin?
It began in 2005, we started working from home and in 2006 we opened up our first shop in Leigh-on-Sea with just my wife and myself. I gave up work; when you start your own business and you’ve got a decent job and a wage it’s hard to do that, but we just took the plunge, gave up work and started the shop.
Was it difficult starting up your own business?
It was but it worked out very well. I think we earned £10 in the first week, but I think that was before we had the shop. But it’s been good, and we moved to where we are now two years ago.
What services and products do you offer?
PC and laptop repairs, motherboard repairs, screen replacements and servicing. We have got a retail shop, which we are doubling in size, it’s going to be our workshop and we’re increasing the retail aspect. This is pretty much everything you would expect: keyboards, mice, paper, ink and cables. The other half, which we’re expanding into, is going to have a dedicated PC and laptop showroom.
You just won five ShopTalk National IT Reseller Awards. How do you feel about that?
Very good. I’m very critical about myself. I always think that I can improve, so it actually meant quite a lot to see that I’m doing things right.
Why do you think you won?
I think most of what we aimed at, which a lot of independent shops aren’t getting, is trying to get away from being a stereotypical, backstreet, nerdy computer shop. We’re getting a lot more people shopping here who would typically go to PC World.
If others are thinking that they need to change their shops too, because the market has changed, then hopefully it will give them the confidence to do it.
What plans do you have for the future after winning?
Certainly, if anything it’s going to push the expansion of our plans for this store, we’re desperately trying to get it done before Christmas and get this shop right and open up another.
You offer secure online backup. How important do you think backup and security is these days?
With online backup, I wish people would take it more seriously. As a repair place we do have the unfortunate times when we have to tell people that their hard drive’s died and they’ve lost everything, which can cost a fair amount of money. I think customer awareness is the number one security product we would sell if we could. It is something we have thought of since the awards, maybe doing a few sessions, whether it’s in the day or an open evening, where we can go through things like that with customers.
Do you have any advice for new start-up businesses?
Research into pricing. I know a lot of smaller shops that make the mistake of trying to enter the market and get a name for themselves by being cheap, but if your prices are cheap they’ll assume you’re not doing a very good job.
It’s also very hard to then try and put your prices up and justify them. Try and build a name rather than try and build pound notes in the bank.
Year established: 2005
Number of outlets: 1
Number of staff: 5
Contact address: 1-2 Earls Hall Parade, Cuckoo Corner, Southend On Sea, Essex, SS2 6NW
Telephone: 01702 337222