Students become big kahunas of computers

By Nicole Santa Cruz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 15, 2005

Pair buys, runs local in-home repair company

Two UA students are surging into the business world after purchasing the keys to a new computer service company.

Justin Perman, a pre-business junior, and Matthew Garrett, a computer engineering junior, are now the owners of Rent-A-Techie, a computer service company that provides in-home repairs and network or server installation.

"When you focus on at-home service, you gotta get it done right," Perman said.

Perman and Garrett said they worked for Rent-A-Techie for more than two years, and when they found out the company was for sale, they jumped at the opportunity to become business owners.

"We liked the company, we liked what it was about, obviously we thought it was a good service to be providing," Perman said.

The two UA students said word of mouth is a successful marketing tool they hope to benefit from, adding that if a company doesn't provide good customer service, it won't get much business.

Both of the students' families are in support of their business decisions, so they are confident in their ability to take on the challenge of owning their own business, Perman said.

Perman and Garrett said they plan to maintain their company Web site's claim of being the No. 1 at-home computer service in Tucson, but they are also looking to the vast UA market.

"I think that's a market that's been missed," Perman said. "Of all the people that need their computers the most, I think students rank right up there."

Garrett said working for Rent-A-Techie has never been a problem even though he is a student.

"I could schedule around school and still get work done," he said.

Garrett and Perman want to provide the same opportunity for future student employees, offering an option to schedule around school with availability from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Garrett said.

The two students purchased the company last week from Jacin Steele, a computer programmer from Washington, D.C., who started the company after he saw the need for it in the Tucson area.

"So many people over the years have told me, 'I don't know what to do with this computer. How do I fix it? Is there somebody that can come out?'" Steele said.

Although Steele says he enjoyed running Rent-A-Techie, he also felt being his own boss had some drawbacks.

"It's tough being at the very top, where you can't take a day off," Steele said.

"I'm ready for a break, to get back into the working world."

Steel said he is confident in his successors' ability to take over the company.

"They both have some strengths, they'll compliment each other," Steele said, while mentioning that co-ownership will make it easier for the two students.

When asked if they could offer advice to any aspiring business students, Perman said, "Seize the opportunity when it comes to you."