Our interest was piqued when Curl Curl 13-year-old Robert Coleman contacted us to say he had recently set up his own computer repair company, charging just $15 an hour to solve problems well beyond our paid grade. We caught up with the whizz-kid to find out what makes him tick.
You mightn’t normally expect a young teenager to know the ins and outs of a complex piece of equipment like a computer, but Northern Beaches bright spark Robert Coleman is not your average techie.
During the last long Covid-19 Lockdown, when people were working from home and spending more time at their computers, Robert found himself in demand to repair or upgrade laptops and desktops that were misbehaving.
Channel Nine TV, while making a promo-piece on a new hyper-local social media app (Next Door), also sought Robert out; not for repairs but to display his wares. Nine’s A Current Affair described him in their interview as “the kidpreneur”, revealing Robert will charge the same to fix your computer as he does to mow your lawn – an affordable $15 an hour.
Robert revealed to Manly Observer how he launched his micro-business, Northern Beaches PC Repairs.
“I have always been intrigued by computers. When I was younger, I took my laptop apart and forgot how to put it together but over about four months, I figured it out piece by piece.
“One day, a few months ago, my Dad asked me to take a look at his old desktop, which hadn’t turned on in over three years. I spent the day fiddling around and by the end of it, it was completely fixed and fully functional.”
Thereafter he built up the confidence to repair other people’s problem PCs, and soon clients were beating a path to his door for his services. Does he try his hand at repairing other electronic gadgets or are computers his main interest?
“I don’t generally fix any other devices other than laptops, computers and desktops, so, no,” he declared. “However, I did fix about seven laptops before I put my first ad up on Facebook.”
What are some of the most difficult repair jobs he’s undertaken? “I’d have to say the most difficult job I’ve done was a full reset and speed-up of a Macbook with the screen cracked. I couldn’t see half of it and had to do a lot of trial and error during the backup process!”
Robert, who attends St Luke’s Grammar School in North Curl Curl, revealed that his favourite part of restoration is recovering old photos from dead computers. “I have recovered innumerable baby photos and holiday photos from over fifty computers. It’s just an amazing feeling thinking about how many people are going to smile after seeing them!”
Now that his services are in demand, has he considered either computer programming or microelectronics as a career option when he graduates from school? “At this stage I’m not sure what my future career is going to be,” he replied, “but computer programming is definitely on my mind in terms of an adult-job.”
Aside from repairing computers, what else does he enjoy? “I love to ride my bike.“It’s my favourite thing to do and I spend 99% of my free time doing it.”
Robert is house-bound at present after a leg injury required stitches. So, if you require his lawn mowing services, unfortunately his mobility is limited. “Currently, I can’t leave the house as I injured my knee the other day,” he confirmed. “However, I have a lot of availability in terms of computer repairs, so I can attend to your devices ASAP and should have a day or two turnaround time!”
Northern Beaches PC Repairs