WITC grad's home-grown business expands across 33 states
By Shawnda Schelinder | Photo by Jed Carlson
global economy, career opportunities are around every virtual corner. When faced
with possible reduction in work hours or even layoff, WITC graduate J.P. Damico
found a creative way to expand his home business. Using technology and tapping
into his entrepreneurial spirit, Damico’s After Hours Computer Repair is now in
140 cities across 33 states and is managed entirely from Damico’s home office in
expansion of Damico’s home business was born out of necessity.
Hours Computer Repair started in the spring of 2007,” Damico says. “I was
working for the Duluth Public School District full time and could not take the
calls while I was working, so I hired a receptionist who answered calls and
scheduled service calls during the day.”
school district cutbacks meant he might be laid off.
decided to expand the business rather than try to find a new job in the poor
economy,” Damico says. “I opened up in nine additional locations in Minnesota
and Wisconsin. I dropped down to working part time for the district and
eventually quit in the summer of 2009. I have been expanding the business ever
credits his computer networking technician degree from WITC for providing him
with the hands-on training required for professional repair work.
taught me many things about the fundamentals of technology, he says. “A lot of
technicians have experience working with computers, but they do not have the
experience with the core infrastructure that makes that technology tick. WITC
gave me that knowledge, so that I not only know the solution, but I understand
the problem. Because I know how the computer is working under the hood, I feel
extremely confident in tackling the problem and coming up with the best
Hours is currently in 140 locations, but Damico has hopes to grow that number to
goal is to blanket the U.S. and have technicians 20-30 miles from you,” Damico
seem pretty lofty, but this was the vision from day one, according to Damico.
all of this expansion, it is still a home business,” he says. “There is no need
for the overhead of a traditional office space. The receptionists (now called
dispatchers) answer calls in their own homes and on their own schedules.”
fact, the entire process is automated – from dispatchers contacting the
technicians to billing the clients to paying staff. Even the hiring of
dispatchers and technicians is achieved through technology.
with a multitude of technology at his fingertips, the task of keeping in contact
with dozens of employees in locations throughout the country still has its
difficulties such as scheduling and supervision.
is going to tell you to start your day or to get a project finished by a
deadline,” Damico says. “You really need to motivate yourself. With that being
said, nobody will tell you to stop either. A lot of business owners burn out over
time. It is important to keep a healthy balance of business and pleasure.”
Hours Computer Repair’s success prompted Damico to open a subsidiary company.
OverTime IT Solutions serves as an internal help desk for small businesses. The
company incorporates local technicians, but also has After Hours’ 150
technicians available for assistance.
want to start your own business from home?
of ditching the 9-to-5 routine and working from home with your own business may
be attractive to many. But, there are many factors to consider. J.P. Damico
offers items to consider before making the jump.
Research taxes. Know what you are getting into and what the tax implications
are. Taxes can be a pain, but know them ahead of time before they bite you
• Start slow. Grandiose plans are great, but you need to start somewhere and get
a solid foundation. Once you have your footing and you know your customers, use
that information to help you grow your business.
For more information about the Information Technology - Network Specialist program,
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