The world’s largest IT franchise network, Computer Troubleshooters, with 470 franchises in 22 countries, has recently relaunched in southern Africa.
The new Master Franchisor for Computer Troubleshooters in southern Africa, Peter Edwards, says there is a definite gap in the market for an on-site computer service, catering to small businesses and home users. Since May 2007, the franchise, which was started in Australia in 1997, has grown to 15 outlets across southern Africa with more due to open shortly.
"Small businesses with less than 50 PCs are our prime target market. We offer a range of IT support services like hardware and software troubleshooting, remote access and diagnostics, Internet security, regular computer maintenance, website design, application setup and support, virus protection and removal and Internet support. We believe we have a compelling service offering and we are intent on following in the footsteps of the US in becoming the number one IT technology support franchise in southern Africa."
Talking about the franchises that have already opened their doors in South Africa, Edwards says they are either existing IT support companies looking for a credible brand, or they are start-ups, owned and managed by experienced IT technicians.
Buying into the globally recognised green and orange computer brand brings with it a standardised image, training, national marketing, business process documentation and technical and management support.
Edwards says, "TOPS, a unique job scheduling customer management software package; and B.E.S.T., a managed service plans package, are just two examples of the support available to franchisees."
The Computer Troubleshooters' franchise model has been adapted and refined to suit the southern African market. According to the deputy regional director Arjen Van Zwieten, "We could not simply duplicate the systems put in place in other European countries like England, Ireland, Greece, Spain and Holland. The concept of a franchised, owner managed, quality computer service - provided on-site - is quite new to small business operators in many countries."
The franchise is already expanding into most major areas in Gauteng such as Randburg, Rosebank, Rustenburg, Alberton, Lonehill, Fourways and Centurion and will soon be opening in the Vaal Triangle, Kyalami, Midrand, Tshwane, Westrand, Kensington, and Boksburg. Negotiations are underway with interested parties in remote locations like Nelspruit, Kokstad, Mbabane, Bloemfontein, Windhoek, Witbank and Manzini.