Owner started business with $1,000 loan and is now hiring his own employees
College didn’t seem like the right route for Durango High School graduate Nash McNichol, and as his business celebrates its fifth anniversary, he has no regrets.
Tech-Nichol Device Repair, which provides cellphone and computer repair services, recently moved to 931 Colorado Highway 3 from its location at 736 Main Ave. In the process, McNichol also purchased The PC Clinic, a company that was formerly in that building, and merged the two companies.
McNichol said the owner of PC Clinic was a mentor to him, and when he decided to sell the business, McNichol was interested.
“PC Clinic is no longer going to be PC Clinic, it will be Tech-Nichol. But we’re still going to keep all the intellectual property of the PC Clinic and all of its reviews because it did a really good job,” McNichol said.
The two companies have collaborated in the past. Because PC Clinic repaired only computers, the business would often refer phone repairs to Tech-Nichol.
He said since taking over the new location, Tech-Nichol has been receiving more computer repair inquiries. He attributes that to the PC Clinic’s dedication to quality computer repair services.
McNichol, 25, began doing phone repairs when he was in high school. He would later attend Fort Lewis College on three separate occasions but decided to drop out each time. During his third stint in college, he began to believe he could start a business in tech repair. He was earning a business degree at the time while also making impressive grades but knew his calling was somewhere else.
“One of my professors actually told me they wanted me to drop out of college and pursue this,” he said.
McNichol received a $1,000 loan from his mother under the condition that he pay her back within a year.
When the business started in September 2017, he was able to pay her back in two months.
Fast forward five years, and McNichol is hiring his own employees.
As an employer, he looks for people with the right personality and dedication to learning tech repair. It isn’t always about experience, he said; often it’s about the ability to problem-solve.
“The ability to be charming, have patience and to have a good personality – those are things that you’re born with,” he said. “And then instead of looking for people who are really qualified with the skills, I look more for the people who have the personality to complement the business.”
He recognizes some employees need to learn new skills, but he tries not to put them in a position where they are likely to fail.
“He’s very good at giving people chances,” said Tech-Nichol receptionist Holly Poliska. “Some places, you go to them and if you don’t have experience, they’re just like, ‘OK, bye.’ But he (McNichol) will train you and build your experience. That’s what he’s great at.”
Newly hired technician Willow Wu has always been interested in the tech field but previously worked in car sales. He said his passion for computer gaming made him interested in making the switch.
For Wu, the difference between the two fields is one of perception.
“Car sales is almost like a perception of the object and not the actual object itself,” Wu said. “Tech is about the object itself, not the perception.”
His first few days working for the company have been hectic but fun. He said he averages eight repairs a day. The business itself averages 12 to 20 repairs a day. Wu said projects often take about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the nature of the repair.
McNichol said he wants to expand in the Four Corners and is considering starting a podcast about working in the tech industry.
He compares the concept to the well-known “Car Talk” radio show on National Public Radio. He said there is a funny human element when people are working with technology.
McNichol couldn’t be happier with the direction his business is heading and is grateful for the experience. While he never thought the business would grow as fast as it did, he knew something would come of it.
“All the people I’ve met in my life right now are a result of this venture,” he said, “and I wouldn’t ever take that back.”