Tech Max 2023: Bugs and Bytes
Tech Max was a great opportunity to find new connections, and among those connections was Lincoln based repair company, Bugs and Bytes. I was fortunate enough to sit and chat with Ben Ashcroft about his company, his recent win at the Tech Max awards and his plans for the future.
Direct Computers: Tell me a bit about yourself and the origins of the company.
Bugs and Bytes: I’ve always had an interest, which started back at school. I got myself qualifications in computer hardware, which then evolved into part time work, and finally full-time work. In 2003, I created Bugs and Bytes as a company, and we’ve been going ever since.
Direct Computers: What prompted you to want to work in this area initially?
Bugs and Bytes: It’s always been an interest for me, probably since I was a teenager.
Direct Computers: How long does it take on average for a job?
Bugs and Bytes: It entirely depends on the job! We mainly work with laptops, but also desktops and gaming PCs. On average, I would say a job takes around ninety minutes, but it can sometimes take a lot longer!
Direct Computers: And be honest with us: what’s the worst state you’ve ever seen a personal computer in?
Bugs and Bytes: Oh I’m not sure I want to scar you with it! It was a work colleague's and the less said about it, the better!
Direct Computers: Your repair service seems like the most popular service you offer. Why do you think people come back to you for their computer repairs in your area?
Bugs and Bytes: Word of mouth is always one of the most powerful tools. Because of my hardware knowledge, every good job spreads the reputation a little bit further. I feel I always have a great attention to detail with every job I complete, which keeps customers loyal and keeps them recommending me to others.
Direct Computers: Tell me about the computer recycling services you offer.
Bugs and Bytes: This is an area we’re hoping to expand into in the future, which may mean an office expansion so it may take some time for the initial setup.
Direct Computers: How long have you been selling direct to trade and how different have you found it from regular commerce?
Bugs and Bytes: We’ve been dealing with trade and selling to them for around three years now, and I’ve really enjoyed it! I’ve made some really good relationships and connections within the trade sector. I’ve discovered that the margins aren’t as big but the volume tends to be higher, so it balances out.
Direct Computers: Congratulations on your award for the second year in a row for Best Refurbished Tech at the Tech Max awards! This time awards were presented in person rather than online. How was it different for you?
Bugs and Bytes: Thank you! We honestly didn’t expect to win! We definitely had a lot of fierce competition out there! It was a little nerve wracking to get up on stage, but it was a great experience!
Direct Computers: What do you think gave you the edge over your fellow nominees for the award?
Bugs and Bytes: It’s hard to say! Possibly because we have a more trade sale focus.
Direct Computers: We enjoyed playing on your classic machines at Tech Max! Tell us about the refurbishment process where parts can’t just be bought or easily accessed.
Bugs and Bytes: Thank you! They make a great ice breaker and we’re glad you enjoyed them. In terms of the refurbishment process, it’s actually easier to fix them because of the process: these old machines can be tinkered with via soldering, but it comes with its own problems too, such as old batteries leaking. Leaking batteries are fixable, but it takes time for the clean up process. It’s a fun (if expensive) passion project for me.
Direct Computers: Do you have any favourite games from that era?
Bugs and Bytes: So many to choose from! Maybe Bubble Bobble?
Direct Computers: Oh, I remember that one!
Bugs and Bytes: (chuckles), it was good, wasn’t it?
Direct Computers: Do you have much time to play these days?
Bugs and Bytes: Sadly, no! I do have a working Amiga at my desk for break time though. A lot of my spare time is being eaten up by another hobby of mine which is restoring classic cars!
Direct Computers: Do you have any plans to expand your business at this point in time?
Bugs and Bytes: At the moment we’re just going to carry on with our main repair service and focusing on trade. We have plans on the back burner for expansion but not for a while. But long may it continue!
Direct Computers: Ben, thank you so much for talking to us. We really appreciate you taking the time.
Bugs and Bytes: Any time!