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Thread: Starting a Carputer shop

  1. #1
    Maximum Bitrate XxAndyxX's Avatar
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    Starting a Carputer shop

    Does anyone know of, work in, or own a carputer shop? There is a local car audio shop here that I was talking to the owner about my carputer. He's really interested and wants to start installing them in customer's cars. I told him we could do an install on his car, so I can show him what it takes to put one together. I've called around and the nearest shop (to Oklahoma City) that does incar computer systems is in Dallas, where I was quoted at $5,000 for a basic system .

    So, have you guys ever thought of starting a carputer shop? If I started one up here, I wouldn't only be installing them, but I'd be a distribution center for all kinds of Car PC hardware, from motherboards to DC-DC PSU's.

  2. #2
    FLAC Chairboy's Avatar
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    Sounds neat. Don't short figures when putting together estimates, remember that every piece of commercial software needs to be licensed (including the OS), and before you get too far, you should probably contact the authors of any share/freeware stuff you think you'd install and work out an arrangement with them. This is an aspect of carputers that is often overlooked. Don't assume that just because it's free for you to use Frodoplayer, that this automatically translates to it being ok for you to sell a carputer setup with his software installed. Assume nothing, contact everyone, and make sure your ducks are all in order.

    Also, remember not to shortchange your time. That $5,000 figure isn't just the $800 in hardware, it's also a lot of reasonable hourly rate for installation, configuration, etc. Based on what I make at work, I've put a few thousand dollars in 'labor' into my car by myself, and my setup isn't anywhere near as fancy as a lot of the others.
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    Variable Bitrate Bailey's Avatar
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    Everything I lay eyes on has dollar signs on it. You know what I mean? In other words... yes this is a good idea for you. EVERYONE is amazed by a carPC, but only a handfull of people will tackle the job. The best thing for you to do is get started being a "carputer guy" at your local car audio shops. You can juggle them, like be at one Mon/Tues, then another one Wed/Thurs, Fri/Sat, etc etc. That way you don't have to pay rent, the shop manager can be your lightning rod if something goes wrong, and you can use their tools. Make them a presentation on your install.. components, pics, prices, etc. Then the best part: give them a $$ rate for what you work at By the time you save up all your money to start your own shop you will have the experience to do things on your own. Let us know how it turns out.

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    FLAC john1701's Avatar
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    i agree. thats why lately on pimp my ride, they pretty much stopped using drive soft. Now they just use wimp with power dvd. Now, if you write your OWN software and put it in the carputers, thats different.
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    Maximum Bitrate XxAndyxX's Avatar
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    ^Good advice, I'll make sure to contact all author's before installing their software into customers cars.

    As for the labor, it took me about 15 hours to completely install and configure my carputer. If I had to do it over again, I probably can do it in under 10 hours. At the shop, I will have someone helping me out, so when one is configuring the computer, the other is running wires. I bet I could have one up in about 6 hours. So, if I charge $2500 for a carputer...

    $2500 - $1000 (for parts) = $1500 net profit (split between two people)

    That comes out to $125/h which is more than I make at Best Buy being a computer tech (which legally I'm not even supposed to be because I'm 17).

  6. #6
    Maximum Bitrate XxAndyxX's Avatar
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    I'm half way through my minor in computer science. So I'll be writing some programs on my own definitely.

  7. #7
    Maximum Bitrate XxAndyxX's Avatar
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    Bailey: Good idea! I was thinking about training people at different shops, then getting a percentage of each carputer project they do. Don't know if that's ever been done or would even work. Just an idea.

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    sounds like a good deal! When it comes to PCs I belive the main problem is technical support. That's what kills businesses. People mess around with the PCs and screw them up, they will be calling you every 5 minutes and be all ****y. Just keep that in mind. Is very important to cover that aspect.

  9. #9
    Tainted Love Cris's Avatar
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    And there's the warranty issue. What period of warranty did you have in mind?

  10. #10
    Newbie Atomsmasher's Avatar
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    It's an untapped market, however, I could see it as a nightmare on wheels. (no pun intended) If there were any accidents that someone could say were caused by the use of a carputer. The business would hit maor snags. And with the work it take to fabricate some of the designs the price would be much larger than pricey.

    But I'll be glad to throw my name in the hat on that. Power to the carputerss!!!

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