Vince Gaeta, founder, Pitstop Computers
I started the business the day after Australia Day in 2011. I had worked for other resellers in the area and wanted to run my own shop.
We have three staff, including myself, qualified with Certificate IVs in IT and serve mostly small businesses and home users.
We specialise in home user repairs and small to medium-sized business network sales and maintenance. We’ve seen a shift away from desktops to tablets and especially notebook PCs as people want to be more mobile. But we don’t resell internet services here; it’s too hard. Internet connectivity in Orange is reasonable but it depends on where you are.
To compete and retain customers, we add services such as free anti-virus and data transfer so customers can migrate to their new machines. We’ve had a lot of success with Leader Computers; customers like them because they’re Australian-made.
Our other major suppliers are Altech Computers, Synnex and Dicker Data.
Being in the country, word-of-mouth is very important and we see our customers come back time and again. We’re also heavily involved in the community and sponsor local events.
Jeff Whitton, CEO, Knet Technology
We’re building a reputation in Australia, New Zealand and Asia for our telecommunications, contact centre and collaboration expertise.
Although our head office is in Orange, we have offices in Sydney, Dubbo, Auckland and Singapore supplying mostly Microsoft and Cisco solutions but we also have the exclusive rights for CTI Group and Avotus call accounting systems.
I joined the business in 1997 and bought it from the founder in 2005. With me are two directors – Gary Hudson and Michael Dickerson.
Although we design and build Cisco contact centre solutions, we’re also familiar with those from the likes of Avaya. We’re also a Telstra business global partner. And we’re seeing more demand for hybrid cloud and on-premise contact centre solutions as well as traditional managed services.
The challenge is that, paradoxically, regional customers think you don’t have the skills to do the work. Generally, they go to metro and Canberra areas because they believe that’s where the skills lie. We employ local people when we can but also from metro areas when we need to (technicians love living out here).
Stephen McDonogh, director, Colemans Office Products
Running a regional reseller is a bit like running a car dealership – it’s hard to survive on just one brand.
I run the business with my wife, Melissa, who handles the administration. Our main shop is in Bathurst and in Orange we operate the Ricoh dealership that we bought in 2004, two years after buying Colemans. .
Although we once sold PCs to mums and dads, today we only resell to businesses. Our fastest-growing area is in managed services backed by GFI software – because margins are slipping – and large-format printers. Interactive whiteboards and large, touch screens are also doing well because systems sold during the Education Revolution four years ago are coming up for replacement. I’m the point-of-sale guy and that area is also doing well, especially iPad Mini systems that take your order at the table.
It’s great to bring up a family in regional Australia with its lower cost of living. We spent time in Sydney and couldn’t wait to get back to Orange. But I wouldn’t like our business to be too much smaller, and to be a bit bigger would be fine; opening a store in a place like Toowoomba is very attractive to me.