With its thermal waters Rotorua is known as a spa town. Spa-like ‘cleansing’ treatments are now also available for computers in the area.
Sister firms X Three and Hayes Computers have launched what they call ‘detox’ and cleaning programmes for PCs, to set themselves apart from the competition.
Hayes is one of the oldest computer services companies in Rotorua, operating for more than 20 years, with X Three running for five years. The pair came under single ownership last year, when X Three acquired Hayes.
Owner and director Dennis Gray says he was attracted by the company’s well-established client base. “We have changed the whole business from being solely reliant on the educational field to building a good, solid, reliable SME and home-user client base.”
Both business brands serve the same markets, but Hayes is perhaps the best known. Having the two brands side by side helps increase visibility and market reputation, Gray says.
The two businesses operate from a suburban street, a short walk from Rotorua’s CBD, but Gray says since buyers use the internet for purchasing decisions, a lack of main street frontage is not a drawback.
Earlier this year, the group started focussing its marketing more on customers maintaining, rather than replacing, their computers. The companies launched the cleaning service that they liken to a ‘detox’ and ‘spa’ treatment for computers.
“If businesses are feeling a tighter [economic] environment, why replace something as opposed to upgrading or maintaining?” Gray asks.
Around half the companies’ work involves computers that are more than three to four years old and many fail due to dust and grime, he says.
The spa and detox services include cleaning where a machine is given a “good blow-out” with a moisture-free compressor. “We are now getting regular cleaning jobs from bakeries, engineering shops, garages, offices and home users. Basically, every repair job that comes in we start by cleaning the computer. We have got to be seen to be different,” says Gray, adding that the group has provided a similar cleaning service at the local Te Wananga O’Aotearoa education institute.
The services also include the removal of malware and viruses, with the product of choice being Bit Defender, which Gray says is highly effective.
Meanwhile, the firms also offer a range of hardware, software and support services. Brands sold include HP, Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer, while Black Diamond Technology, Dove and Ingram Micro are main suppliers.
The companies are also increasingly ordering from Auckland-based JDI, to which Gray credits the good relationship with account manager Amanda Simpson. “They will go outside the square. They help in producing the marketing material. They’re a small and progressive company.”
Repeat business is important for the group, with about half of the work coming from referrals from the existing client base. “We have gone from having no website to putting one in place and we put out newsletters,” Gray says.
He won’t divulge the business clientele, but says it also includes some schools.
The combined business has a strong rural focus and much of its work is off-site, says Gray. “We are not an office-bound shop of computer technicians.”
The venture also subcontracts for a company that provides work across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, King Country and the Coromandel Peninsular.
At present, trade is “surprisingly busy”, although there is always capacity for more work, he adds.
Gray plans to take on more staff next year, another trainee and another engineer, which hopefully should help the Hayes and X Three clean up in Rotorua.