No matter how nice you are to your computer, sometimes they just break on you and you have no choice but to get it professionally repaired. In this case it's a good idea to check around and compare a few places before you bring your computer in. There are a lot of different things to look for in a good computer repair shop and sadly not every one of them is good. Also, different places are good for different things, depending on what exactly you want done. So here's a few points and things pay attention to.
1. $ / hour vs. $ / job (flat rates)
Some places will charge by the hour, and some will charge by the job. It helps to know just what is wrong with your computer so you can discern which will be the cheapest for you. If you got a really simple problem, then you'll want to pay by the hour, because taking the flat rate for something small is quite often a rip-off. Smaller places tend to charge by the hour and larger companies lean towards charging by the job.
2. Warranty on work
This is a huge one. Make sure they warranty their work, because if they break your computer further or it breaks down again right when you get it back, and it's not warrantied, then you're out a lot of money and you do not even have a working computer . A good company will warranty their work for at least 6 months and will replace free of charge anything that they break while repairing it.
3. Turnaround time
You do not want to be waiting a month to get a new hard drive put in do you? I thought not. Ask what kind of turnaround times they have. You do not really want to be waiting more than a week, for your computer. Most repair jobs only take a few hours at most once it's actually started, so keep this in mind. That extra time comes from them not starting your computer for a little bit because of previously pending jobs, or having to export your computer to be repaired by a manufacturer.
4. In house repairs
This is an add-on to # 3, if a repair place can do everything without leaving their store, then that will improve the turnaround time and you'll get you computer back quicker. Companies sometimes have to send your computer to a manufacturer for certain jobs because the manufacturers know best how to handle certain things and always have the necessary parts. So be sure to ask if everything can be done in house, because if it can, then you'll get your computer back that much faster.
5. Manufacturer certifications.
Computer manufacturers have certification programs for all their stuff. Be sure to ask if a tech is certified to repair your brand of computer. For example being certified to repair an Acer computer does not necessarily mean that they know how to repair and Asus computer. Certification means that they know what they're doing with your computer specifically, and has the added bonus of not having to be shipped out to the manufacturer so you'll get your computer back fast.
6. Large companies are safe
Large companies like Best Buy are definitely a safe option because they are big enough that they can be accountable for anything that goes wrong. Also they have larger staffs with a greater compliment of skills so SOMEONE in there should know how to fix your computer. Every store though, even within a chain, might not be the same. For example, the Best Buy near where I live is Mac certified. The one in the next city over is not. So again be sure to ask all the right questions.
Well, those are some simple things to look for in a good repair shop. If you follow these guidelines you can rest assured that your computer will be in good hands and back in yours in no time. Happy hunting!