Computer Repair Hawaii
Computer Repair Services in Hawaii is not so much different than the mainland, particularly on the island of Oahu, but there are a few challenges. Having lived on Oahu over 45 years ago in Ewa Beach and returning just over 7 years ago, the scene has changed drastically. Things were more rural back then, and of course, there was no internet.
In Oahu, people seem to work on one side of the island and work on the other. Since there are only 1 or 2 ways to get around, traffic can be extremely congested, and parking can be challenging. So whether you are looking for a Computer Repair Shop to drop off your computer or waiting for a Mobile Technician to drive out to you, timing can be challenging. For some reason, even in Paradise, things can get pretty busy. With that said, I just wanted to put out my two cents that affect both the customer and the service provider about computer repair in Oahu.
If you live in Waianae, Waialua, Haleiwa, or the North Shore, Windward and around Waimanalo, you will have to rely on Mobile Technicians willing to come out to your location or to drive the distance yourself. The problem with dropping off a sick computer yourself is that most shops open about 9-10 am and close at 6 pm. So you either have to take time off from work, hope traffic is light after getting off work, or wait until a day off.
For some reason, there are no shops I am aware of in Waianae, Haleiwa, and throughout the North Shore. Shops on the Windward side are scarce as well, but I vaguely heard that there might be a shop out in Kaneohe, but they must not do much advertising. However, if you have a Macintosh, there is definitely a shop in Kailua, be aware that not all shops repair both PCs and Macs, and neither do mobile technicians.
My Rant About Windward Computer Repair
Concerning computer repair for our valued Windward customers, I have to rant a little bit. Windward customers in Kaneohe and Kailua are fiercely loyal to their local businesses, which is a good thing. But when it comes to computer repair and looking for a mobile technician, they always want someone who seems closer to where they are, which at first seems to make sense.
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If they call you and you actually have a physical location and provide both in-shop and mobile services, they get hung up on your shop’s physical location even though they call for mobile service. The truth is that they have no idea where the technician is coming from. The technician might already be scheduled to be out in that area for another customer and can easily set an appointment for you as well. They aren’t necessarily just sitting around at home all day waiting for you to call, so you can’t assume where they will be dispatched from. That may sound harsh, but it always surprises me when we spend some valuable time over the phone with a prospective customer, trying to understand their computer problems and comfort them with our solution to their problem. As soon as we mention that our shop is over the hill on the other side of H3, they start backing out of the conversation almost as if they thought they were doing “us” a favor and say thanks but no thanks, we’ll call someone a little closer. I don’t get it, and even when I can truthfully say that I have a tech in the area already, they don’t care. I know other shop owners who get this same response about mobile repair on the Windward side. The fact is that we are happy to serve customers on the Windward side, and we appreciate their loyalty once they finally hire us to repair their computer. But it is a hurdle to start that relationship. I might add that it is a beautiful drive to the Windward side, especially if you get to drive back through the Northshore if you have the time. I always look forward to a good Shrimp Plate lunch from one of my favorite shrimp trucks along the way.
Parking for Mobile Computer Repair Technicians
If your business or home is located in a relatively populated area away from the areas I just mentioned, you’ll have plenty of options for both in-shop and onsite computer repair in Oahu. But if you need service in the congested business areas of downtown or Waikiki, parking is a problem. My suggestion is that if you want prompt service, you provide information to the technician about the most convenient place to park and any parking fees (which may be added to your bill). You might even be able to pre-arrange parking in a reserved area for vendors. And lastly, it even helps to know details such as any vehicle height restrictions for parking garages or detours due to emergencies or special events.
When setting an appointment for a mobile service, you must provide an accurate address and phone number. Many local Hawaii residents prefer to give directions and landmarks than actual addresses, but Mobile Technicians end up learning the island pretty well and even use GPS devices these days. Some even print out directions with Yahoo or Google before coming out. We would prefer that you give us your complete address and then maybe a landmark if you live in an obscure hard-to-find location. We need the address for our invoice anyway. We appreciate the directions, but customers somehow assume we will be driving to their location the same way they do every day. Still, the fact is that we might be coming from the other way, and then left become right, and right becomes left, and it gets confusing while driving.
Be Sure to Give and Get Correct Phone Numbers
As for your phone number, things happen, and we may need to call you. We also like to call before we come out to ensure you’ll be home. Fortunately, we aren’t like the cable companies that tell you they will arrive between 9-5. Mobile Technicians can usually provide you with a 30-60 minute window. But if you have something come up, we would appreciate it if you could call us as soon as possible to postpone.
Also, be sure that you know which Computer Repair company you made the appointment with and have their correct number. Many customers call quite a few shops before choosing who they will make their appointment with and get phone numbers mixed up. Some even call us more than once because we have more than one phone number. It gets quite funny hearing the same person calling again, now using a better description of their problem because of talking to us earlier. The problem is that it might get confusing to remember who you chose in the end. Now and then, I’ll get a person calling us by mistake to cancel an appointment that we never made. Imagine the frustration of the technician when he drove out to your home or business to find out that you said you called and canceled already; why are you here?
In-Shop vs. Onsite Computer Maintenance
This basically boils down to price, turn-around time, and convenience. In-shop repair fees are usually flat-rate fee-based and take days to get back, but you will get more thorough service this way. Shops are also more prepared for extremely difficult problems. With shops, you can just walk in during normal business hours, although you should call first to get guidance on what to bring. For laptops, you should always bring the AC Adapter (battery charger). We usually only need the computer itself (no cables or peripherals, although it wouldn’t hurt if you brought your CDs).
Onsite service is usually hourly fee-based and may even have a trip charge. Onsite service by nature is by appointment only, but many problems can be diagnosed and repaired within an hour or two. With onsite service, you must describe your computer problem as well as possible. If it sounds obvious that it might be a hardware problem, your computer may be a better candidate for in-shop repair. It’s already difficult enough to get certain types of parts on the island, such as motherboards and CPUs, at a Computer Store, so you can expect that a Mobile Technician will not have every part needed to fix every computer in their vehicle. Some parts even have to be ordered online and can take a week or so to arrive. Hopefully, you can see the complications this may cause with setting another appointment and how the technician will bill you for the first and second appointments. It would just be better to bring these problem computers to a shop.
Major Limitations for Mobile Only Technicians
I certainly do not want to knock mobile-only technicians because I got my start that way. But you have to know that these can only service a small finite number of customers on any given day. So many people get attached to their computer guy once trust is established, but it can get frustrating when your trusty Mobile PC Tech cannot make it out fast enough. They might even need to take a vacation, and when you get a hold of them on their cell phone, you find out they are on the mainland for a week or two. If you can’t wait, you have to find someone else.
Mobile repair is limited for reasons spelled out in the “In-Shop vs. Onsite Computer Maintenance” section above. There are also certain types of maintenance that will never get done onsite due to how long it will take. For example, if I think I have to perform a surface scan on a hard drive just for starters (which can take 2 hours or more in some cases), I almost immediately recommend I take the computer back to the shop to complete flat rate. Some computers develop multiple problems and can take 4-5 hours to repair. For one, it will save you on further hourly charges, but it will also help the technician to be on time for other appointments after you since he probably only allotted 2 hours for your appointment. The complicated part is that a mobile technician may not have a shop to take your computer to and may only take it to their home. If you are okay with that, then fine, no problem.
I would add that a technician that has both in-shop and onsite experience is the best. For mobile-only technicians, it can be hard to get this experience because they will rarely get a customer willing to pay a technician to spend 4-5 hours onsite, not to mention having to dedicate their own personal time to be there. But if the technician doesn’t ever get the chance to spend time on the real hard problems, it is unlikely that they will ever progress to become a master technician. If you were choosing a doctor for a complicated surgery, how concerned would you be about his or her experience? The answer is obvious.
Anyway, while our computers and online lives might not be life and death situations, we seem dependent on them nevertheless. So I hope this insight into both sides of Computer Maintenance and Repair in Hawaii helps you make the right decisions when that inevitable computer problem occurs. That way, you can be armed with the insight to make the best choice available for your computer needs.