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  1. #1
    Senior Tech 100+ Posts
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    How did you get into this business?

    I haven't seen any posts regarding this, so I thought it would be interesting to know how everybody got here. I'll start.

    Almost 6 years ago, I was desperate to find a job. I had gotten off Marine Corps Active Duty several months before and my unemployment had run out. I was applying to any technical job I could find on Monster, Career Builder, etc. There was this place that was looking for trainees for install, repair and service copiers, printer and fax machines. I interviewed with the company, but did not get a call back. After working part time for an attorney to make ends meet, I get call back from that place 3 months later asking to see me again. This time, the interview ended with an actual job offer. I took it and with no experience in the industry at all quickly picked up on the Basic Copy Process (Charge, Expose, Develop, etc) and cut my teeth (very painfully) in the business. I worked there for 3 years until I found a much better place to work at. I don't like certain aspects of my job, but I get a great satisfaction in helping a customer. And that's what keeps me going.

    How about everybody else? Don't hold back.


  2. #2
    Field Supervisor 1,000+ Posts


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    Re: How did you get into this business?

    I was working part time as a young tech in a company selling photo chemical paper based "copiers" being used to copy maps. I was responsible for cleaning the tanks and baths containing developer liquid. That company got as a sample two roll fed ZnO paper liquid toner developing copy machines ( Voss, USA made). Both machines where damaged by transport and not working. Non of the techs in the company dared to touch those machines cause there was no technical information or books whatsoever about it. Me, young tech puppy, not restrained by knowledge of machines was somehow attracted to the equipment and I started to work on them during my off time. Since the machines where considered a total loss anyway my boss didn't object. Within two days both machines where working and I had understood some basics of electro-graphic copying.

    From that moment on in 1970 (yes, I'm THAT old.....) I was responsible for all such equipment in the company.

    Man, when we would have had Internet those days......

    Hans


  3. #3
    Master Of The Obvious 5,000+ Posts


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    Re: How did you get into this business?

    I'd have to say it was mostly luck. Bad or good ... you'll have to decide:

    In 1988 my girlfriend had pretty much had enough of me, and decided to move to southern Michigan, closer to her parents. Being completely clueless to her motivations I followed along and got a crappy job in a plant that painted automotive parts. Most of the parts were metal, and coated in a heavy oil to prevent rust, so I was bathed in this oil 8 hours a day. The best protection was to put on four aprons, one over the other, and as they got saturated I'd peel off an outer layer.

    As luck would have it, the first three halfway decent jobs I applied for after that were all with copier companies, and all within a few days. Savin was still selling liquid machines at the time and 65 miles away, so that was a fairly easy no decision. I took a Friday off work to interview. This company sat us all down, perhaps 20 of us, to take the Bennett Mechanical Test. At the end of the testing the manager held Dan & me back for further interview. Apparently there was a clear division line. Eighteen of us got 30% or lower, Dan & I got 98%. We both started Monday.

    At the time I didn't even know what a copier was. As a side note, I had completely forgotten about the paint shop until Thursday. They were probably wonder what happened when I didn't show up for work. =^..^=

    If you'd like a serious answer to your request:
    1) demonstrate that you've read the manual
    2) demonstrate that you made some attempt to fix it.


    blackcat: Master Of The Obvious =^..^=

  4. #4
    Service Manager 250+ Posts


    ZeusGT's Avatar
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    Re: How did you get into this business?

    I got very lucky as I look back on it.

    I was hired by an independent company who was a Minolta dealer (showing my age now) straight out of high school. They were looking for entry level techs and one of my good friends suggested that I go by and give it a try. I took all the aptitude tests and passed. Next thing you know, I was working on copiers (Minolta 4230's and 310z's). I worked there for a number of years in the trenches as I worked my way up to being a territory supervisor. I saved up enough money (still living at home at the time) to pay my way through college. I went to college for mechanical engineering and then a minor in business. After my college years, I went to work for Panasonic of Memphis which tanked less than a year after it opened (management issues and a poor product line). After that slight blow, I went to work for Lanier which then merged to Ricoh a couple of years later. After about 7 years with them and many certs after, I felt it was right to open my own copier/technology business. That was one of the best moves that I've ever made in my career. I am very happy and pleased with my career and feel very fortunate that the very first independent company took a risk with me. Unfortunately, that company folded and had to merge with a different company with a different brand to sell and service.

    CompTia A+ Certified
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  5. #5
    Field Supervisor 1,000+ Posts


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    Re: How did you get into this business?

    I hated school so I started to look for jobs in the IT area. Being a hard area to get into, I applied for a job with following prerequisites:

    Must know how to attach a printer to a computer.
    Must know how to install a print driver.

    So I started in the industry repairing Canon BubbleJet printers and the nasty first gen LIDE scanners. I got the job as a trainee and was let go after my traineeship finished.

    I then went on to another job where they were after someone that knew the networking side of MFD's and that is where I have been ever since.

    Basically a hate for school and the need of money brought me into the industry.

    Please don't ask me for firmware or service manuals as refusal often offends.

  6. #6
    Dangerous with Tools 1,000+ Posts prntrfxr's Avatar
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    Re: How did you get into this business?

    I got my electronics degree at DeVry and wanted to get into maintaining computer networks. I was offered many good opportunities and turned them down because they were all out of state (medical equipment = move to California, telephone equipment = North Carolina, or the CIA position = they didn't to tell me what I'd be doing, which kind of freaked me out). I was offered a job by HP, but I wasn't looking for something in that field (or so I thought) and decided to keep looking. After a few months it became clear to me that maybe I was being too picky. Then, I discovered why. The Olympics came to Atlanta, which meant more jobs, but it also meant more people moved here looking for them. I couldn't find any one wanting to take on a green tech. Everyone was looking for 5+ years experience. I saw this ad:

    Wanted. Mechanically inclined person with electronics background. Entry level copier tech. Will train. 123-456-7890.

    I applied, they hired me, and the rest, they say, is history. (I thought I was mechanically inclined. Maybe for most girls I know, but I really didn't have a clue.) At first, I absolutely hated it. It was nothing like I wanted, but I felt that if I stayed with it at least a year, I would have some experience under my belt for the future. I liked doing fax machines and printers because my hands were not very strong. Some of the pressure springs for the fusers in the copiers took everything I had to put them on.

    After a year, I went to work somewhere else. I had good customer and organization skills, so they made me a combination dispatcher, customer support, and parts manager (small company). We had a shakedown of some of the field techs (3 were fired and 1 finished college and went somewhere else). One of the ones fired was the service manager. We hired new techs, who had more experience than me, but I had seniority, so they made me service manager. When I came on board response time was a joke and completions were about 75%. Inside of a year, we were getting 75% of response times to 2 hours and almost all within 4. Our turnaround time was 24 hours and completions were 98%. Most of it was inventory control, paperwork, and follow-up. Because I was a tech, I could ask the clients the right questions, lay out the right parts on the tech table, and set appointments based on where the tech was going to be. I caged the parts inventory and locked it so I could manage inventory better. I set up case numbers for all the calls and required techs to call in and close them. I organized tech car inventory and made sure each tech had a cart, vacuum, and frequently used repair kits in a container for their vehicles. More efficient operation = more and happier clients = happy boss. By the second year I was basically running the company and had promoted one of the techs to service manager. I only stayed there 2 years, but I learned what my capabilities were there and had a greater sense of accomplishment than any prior job I had.

    I got a job working for a parts vendor for two years (actually learned how to troubleshoot-I only thought I knew before), then came to this vendor and have been here for more than 8 years. I've recently gotten back into copiers again and I'm enjoying myself. I think the first boss I had threw me into it too fast and I just wasn't ready. I remember feeling very intimidated by the copiers back then and felt that I was doomed to failure before I even began. Not a good attitude to have to begin with. Now, I know I can troubleshoot, so it doesn't frighten me anymore. Even though I enjoy what I do here, I don't feel that I'm realizing my full potential. Maybe that will change soon. We'll see.

    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Coke in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO-HOO, what a ride!".

  7. #7
    Service Manager 250+ Posts kingarthur's Avatar
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    Re: How did you get into this business?

    when i left school..i went to the careers office & was given the option of being a butcher, working in a shop or fixing adding machines ( not calculators ) and cash tills, seemed interesting...so thought i'd give it a try, i was an "apprentice" and wasn't allowed to fix anything for 2 months, just fit ribbons, clean covers & fit plugs, then after 3 months my "tutor" left, i then became the "techie", at his leaving do, i realised i was in trouble when i asked...."how do you replace a transformer"...never having used a soldering iron....then came along various idiots who were supposed to teach me, but all they got me to do was to carry their toolcase & make them coffee,after a few yrs i progressed to copiers & bigger equipment...in september i'll have been with the same company for 34 yrs....all the others fell by the wayside....i must be doing something right...but with all the numptys i've had "teaching" me....found it a lot easier to work things out for myself......

    Tip for the day; Treat every problem as your dog would.....If you cant eat it or f*ck it....then p*ss on it & walk away...

  8. #8
    Trusted Tech 50+ Posts


    brewster67's Avatar
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    Re: How did you get into this business?

    After my second year in college I got a sumer job working in a business office and hated it. That made me question going to school to get a job that I would hate to do. So I quit school and worked construction for a couple of years. Love the work but didn't want to be one of those guys that beat there body so bad when they were young that you had constant medical problems in old age. Went back to school. Lasted a semester and went into the Air Force. Got training in electronics and found out that I enjoyed and was good at service and repair of electronic equipment. After being stationed in Alaska wanted to stay here more than stay in USAF so I got out looking for a job. Got hired by a company as a copier tech. I was there about 5 years when the local branch manager left and bought a dealership. She offered me the service manager job, so I moved. In the last year she decided to retire and sold me the business. So that is how you go from not knowing what to do with your life to owning a copier company.


  9. #9
    Field Supervisor 1,000+ Posts rthonpm's Avatar
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    Re: How did you get into this business?

    I worked out of college for an investment bank in their research library. After they decided to consolidate a lot of their back office services to an outside vendor I found myself working there, backfilling for receptionists, telephone operators, and copy center personnel. Since the in-house copy center ran 24/7, when a new team lead was needed, I applied and got the position. Since it was for second shift, I had to learn how to keep the old CLC 3000s and Kodak IS120's running until morning. Luckily the tech we had was pretty cool and he showed me a few tricks and would actually take my call after 5.00 if it was a hot issue.

    After my layoff from there, I went to work for Lanier and ended up being a single person at a facility out in the middle of nowhere in their Professional Services division. Since the only other person within 85 miles of the place was the tech for the area, I absorbed as much as I could from him and pretty much had the LD23xc family running like clockwork. It wasn't long before I was in service full time.

    Since then I've worked for a terrible dealer, and made my way into the IT field full time, but I still carve out a little time as an independent and square away a few calls here and there for some off contract customers. It's been a rough ride at times, but I really can't imagine having done anything else.


  10. #10
    Trusted Tech 50+ Posts


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    Re: How did you get into this business?

    Ive always been electronically and mechanically inclined since I was a child. As a child when most kids were out playing cowboys and indians, I was tearing apart old TV's etc. trying to figure out what made them tick.

    From the time I graduated high school I worked as a machine technician in the textile industry for various machine manufacturers traveling around the world. After 8 years of that I got completely out of the textile buisness. For the last 11 years Ive been working for a comapny that makes specialized digital scanners, mail sorting equipment, mail opening equipment and so on. The size of some of the equipment I work on can stretch 60+ feet......needless to say the tool box I carry weighs a ton and I have to use a cart with it.

    On the side I work on medical equipment, when time allows, which is rarely these days.


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