Entrepreneur Stories: Andy Wallace, Computer House Call

Entrepreneur Stories:
Andy Wallace, Computer House Call

Get started with Amazon Business.

Create a free account

Entrepreneur Stories: Andy Wallace, Computer House Call

Andy Wallace, Partner, Computer House Call, shares how he went from radioman in the Navy to the partner of an IT consulting company.

We would like to thank Andy Wallace for meeting with us and sharing his journey from radioman in The Navy to entrepreneur in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We would also like to thank Andy for his military service and being a veteran. To learn about how Andy uses Amazon Business to help his business, read more.


Q.  Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your business?

A. My name is Andy Wallace. Our business is Computer House Call. My title is Partner. We are IT consultants. We do just about everything, from helping medium-sized businesses with their networks to helping the guy down the street with how to use his email. We upgrade computers and we deal with malware, although that's becoming less and less of a thing. We also do water damage repair for phones and laptops and we replace screens. We do training. Steve, one of our contractors, he probably does it the most. I do training, but he's better at it. I'm very patient, but he's extremely patient. We don’t have a set curriculum, we just ask people to put a list of questions together. Yeah, [we do] just about everything, and we all have our own specialty. Every one of us shines in one way or another.


“We do just about everything from helping medium-sized businesses with their networks to helping the guy down the street with how to use his email.”  

— Andy Wallace, Partner, Computer House Call



Q. How many partners are there?

A. Three. Our third partner is a silent partner.


Q. When did you get into business?

A. Our silent partner [Jay] is basically the retired original owner and he started the business in 2001. I actually did my first job for him as a contractor in 2011. Matt, my partner, did his first job for him in like 2008 or 2006, somewhere around there.  And then, about three years ago, Jay said he wanted to retire, and said, ‘let's put together a plan’. So, in September of 2019, we officially became business partners.


Q. How is the silent partner involved in the business today and what is your agreement with him?

A. I keep him informed. I think he likes to know what's going on with the business, so I still talk to him every once in a while. Our agreement is to pay him a percentage of our labor charges and parts sales for 10 years and then he will transfer the name of the business over to us.


Q. How many people work for Computer House Call and what are your roles?

We have five people total. Two active partners and three contractors, but we all make house calls. I handle selling jobs and marketing and my partner takes care of all the bookkeeping, taxes, and he pays the bills. The three contractors focus on making house calls.


Q. Can you tell us more about the hats you wear in your business? 

A. I answer the phone [when people call in], so I sell our services. I have a good phone voice I think. I need to get a new website. I’m working on that, but I haven't really found any great artists for an original website that looks good. I work with my contractors to get reviews. That's really important. I’m also working on an expansion project. We just absorbed another business recently. That’s working out so far.



“I’m also working on an expansion project. We just absorbed another business recently.” 

— Andy Wallace, Partner, Computer House Call

Q. What did you do before you joined Computer House Call?


In the Navy

Well, it’s probably be easier to just start from the beginning.  So, you know, I've always liked electronics, even when I was a kid. So, when I joined the Navy in 1998, I became a radio man.


The Pros of Being a Contractor

I moved to Austin, Texas and my first job out of the military was at Dell doing tech support. And then after I left Dell, I actually took a couple of contract jobs here and there. I really liked contracting, so I just kept doing it because I could work for a while, make a lot of money, and then, when that contract ends, I can take a month or two off


Back to Square One

That’s what I was doing when I moved to Pittsburg, except I got the worst job ever. Let me tell you, the job that was sold to me wasn’t that [job] at all. I was actually just text support in a cubicle. I was back to square one.


The Resume

And then shortly after that, they fired me or I quit, and I actually got a call from Jay [silent partner]. He found my resume on Craig’s List. I was always told – ‘always have your resume out there, whether you're looking for a job or not. Just put it out there.’ So, in December 2011, he called and wanted me to do a job. I liked it, and he started giving me more jobs. By that time, I had gotten another IT job, but I quit because I was making more money and I could set my own schedule. After nine years and change, that's when he [Jay] decided to retire.


He [Jay] found my resume on Craig’s List. I was always told – ‘always have your resume out there, whether you're looking for a job or not. Just put it out there.’ So, in December 2011, he called and wanted me to do a job.”  

— Andy Wallace, Partner, Computer House Call

Q. What do you love about what you do?

A. I still love it [IT consulting]. It's my profession and one of my bigger hobbies. Just keeping up on the latest tech – as computers get faster and faster – I find that exciting. I’m also really good at it and people are always so thankful and happy that they don't have to buy a new computer. You know, that's always good news... a couple of small, cheap upgrades and their computer is still good for another two or three years. The money is good too. I'm set to have the best year ever. And last year I had the best year yet. So, the money is a big driver.


This is a different environment than when I worked in the IT department at a company. Much better.


Q. How did you find your current employees, your contractors?

A. So, my newest guy, that's a good story. He actually called me because we have a mutual client that called him about a computer issue. He wanted to verify what work had been done before he did anything else. We got to talking, and it turned out he was really good at fixing water damage in laptops, and really good at soldering and repairing boards and replacing components on boards. For a while, he worked as a vendor of mine. It would still be a job through me, but I would pay him to fix it instead of trying to fix it myself. It's time-consuming, requires a lot of patience, and I have two kids. I just don't have that kind of time. So, it was easier and cheaper to pay him.


Business Acquisition

One day, he asked how much my contractors make. And I said, ‘judging by how much he charged me for these repairs, they make exponentially more than you.’ And he says, ‘well, here's the thing, I'm tired of answering the phone. I'm not a business guy.  I'd rather just combine businesses with you. So, we are working out a deal.


Q.  Do you have other business ventures or streams of income?

A. I mine crypto currency.  I fix and sell computers on eBay. I also like working on pinball machines and old arcade machines. Stuff like that. I don’t typically make money off of those projects, but someone is going to give me 3,000 dollars for a pinball machine that I paid 200 dollars for. I put about 400 or 500 dollars-worth of parts in the project and some time. But, you know, just like with any game, you get bored of it. I got it in 2019. So, I'm ready to sell it.


Q. Can you share what your goals are for Computer House Call?

A. Obviously, my personal goal is to eventually have passive income. That's everybody's goal, right? Expansion, you know, I think will help with that and using the third party to help with Google ads. I think at first, I would just like to work a lot less. You know, focus on the clients that I've had for 10 years plus now and let the new contractors get used to, some of the newer contractors like Ben. He has only been on board for less than a year as well. I’d like to get regular clients for some of them.

Andy Wallace, Partner, Computer House Call

“My personal goal is to eventually have passive income. That's everybody's goal, right?”  

— Andy Wallace, Partner, Computer House Call

Q. What would you say to someone that wants to be an IT consultant?

A. Doing the low man on the totem pole stuff is a great way to get started - like doing maintenance on [Microsoft] Windows, and clearing out cookies and cache. One of the first jobs I remember doing in the Navy was being sent on a mission to gather asset tags and do inventory. It was such a slow progression for me. I’ve been doing this [IT] for 25 years now. I became a jack [of all trades] and pretty darn good at a lot of stuff. And then, you know, as time went by, I grew my skills. Also, don’t burn your bridges. You never know where people will turn up.


Amazon Business does not endorse or approve any products or opinions shared by content contributors. The content is for information purposes only and Amazon Business does not warrant that the material contained herein will continue to be accurate nor that it is completely free of errors when published or that it is suitable in dealing with a particular situation.

Get Started with Amazon Business  

Related Content