THE Geordie Geek is on the road to success with his mobile computer repair company.
Andy Symonds, 26, finds demand is growing for his scooter-powered business and now he is revving up to expand.
With support from Business Link North-East, Andy, of North Shields, is planning a marketing campaign and will extend operations beyond his current areas of North and South Tyneside and Newcastle.
He already runs Mobile Checker, an award-winning website business set up in 2005, and will repeat that successful format when he launches his third business, PC Checker, later this year.
The site, www.mobilechecker.com, compares 50,000 mobile phone deals and prices on UK networks and attracts about 2,500 hits daily.
“I am expanding the Geordie Geek business because the demand for a home service for computer repairs is really growing,” he said.
“People don’t want to disconnect their systems and transport them to repair shops, and they also prefer to have problems sorted at home because computers carry a lot of personal and financial information nowadays.”
Andy has added a Geordie Geek scooter to his transport fleet, to beat traffic jams and reach his customers within four hours of a call.
Geordie Geek is a tongue-in-cheek name chosen to emphasise that he won’t baffle people with techno-speak. The company uses a straightforward approach, whether dealing with repairs, upgrades, tuition, wireless networking, virus checks, installation of iPods and digital cameras or organising hard disks and installing security software.
A recent Ofcom report showed that the over-65s now spend 42 hours a month online, four hours more than the next most active users who are aged between 18 and 24.
Search engines, online shopping, banking and keeping in touch with family are particularly popular activities.
Andy said: “They are a fast-growing group of clients for us and we offer a 10% discount to anyone over the age of 60. A computer can be a real lifeline for older people and we want to encourage them to use one.
“Not that silver surfers all struggle with technology. One 78-year-old lady customer who is housebound and loves the internet and keeping in touch with her grand- children asked me to install a particular programme for her. She was really clued up and wanted to talk about defragging her hard drive.”
Andy attributes a lot of Geordie Geek’s success to his pricing. The cost is fixed according to the problem, so the amount of time spent is not an issue and if it recurs within 30 days, a return visit is free.
If a problem cannot be fixed, the customer is charged a third of the normal rate to cover expenses.