School buds power up computer repair biz


Staff Writer

Tony Lopez (l-r), Manoj Dayaram, Alex Chang and Will Battistelli, incoming seniors at East Brunswick High School, spent part of their summer launching a computer repair and tutoring business. Tony Lopez (l-r), Manoj Dayaram, Alex Chang and Will Battistelli, incoming seniors at East Brunswick High School, spent part of their summer launching a computer repair and tutoring business. EAST BRUNSWICK — What started out as a hobby has turned into a business venture for a group of East Brunswick High School students.

The four soon-to-be seniors, each known for his computer wizardry, this month formed a computer repair service called Phoenix Tech. And the group is already building a client base, according to Tony Lopez, one of the students. The promise of quick service and relatively inexpensive rates, they believe, make them a welcome alternative in the computer repair field.

Lopez said the business started as he and his friends were discussing possible projects to take on. They at first thought of building computers and selling them on eBay. Lopez, in fact, said he has been selling items on the Internet auction Web site since he was in third grade.

But the teens eventually decided to start a repair service, a natural progression since they had already worked on many computer problems for friends.

The business was launched two weeks ago after the boys handed out more than 2,000 advertising fliers, Lopez said. He estimated that the four boys, with the help of two younger brothers, had gotten a flier to about an eighth of all the homes in East Brunswick. The result has been a handful of responses and jobs.

Lopez noted that on the first day of business, they handled two jobs, and had other calls to answer in the ensuing days.

The group can handle a variety of projects, and each has a specialty, Lopez said.

For instance, Manoj Dayaram and Lopez are best at spyware and virus removal, while Will Battistelli and Alex Chang specialize in hardware issues, even when it comes to dealing with “fried motherboards,” Lopez said.

Dayaram and Lopez each achieved a perfect score on their advanced-placement computer science exams last year, Lopez noted.

“So we know the operating system pretty well,” he said.

He also said that Battistelli is very experienced with networking, or hooking computers together.

The various realms of expertise come in handy.

“Whenever one of us needs help, we know who to talk to,” Lopez said.

Already, the boys have solved some pretty big computer problems, Lopez said. Chang installed a computer system for someone and brought it up to date with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware protections. Lopez said he spent three hours taking 22,000 pieces of spyware off someone’s computer. Dayaram took a computer home and spent all night fixing it.

Lopez said that, since there are four people involved and all the calls come from the local area, the service takes place very quickly when requested. Three of the boys have drivers’ licenses.

For most services, there is a $69.99 charge for initial in-home trouble-shooting and a $29.99 charge for each additional hour. There may be additional charges if any new hardware is needed.

The group offers special packages that may interest some customers. For example, for $150, Phoenix Tech will attempt to cure all problems found on a computer, and return it to the owner within 24 hours.

Its Web site,, states that if the group cannot solve the computer problem it will not accept payment.

One-on-one computer usage tutoring is also offered, at $20 per hour.

The group divides the proceeds, with 60 percent going to the worker who did the repair, 30 percent split among the other three members, and 10 percent going back into advertising.

What’s to become of Phoenix Tech after the boys graduate next year? Lopez said he and Chang are seeking to attend colleges that are far from East Brunswick. But Dayaram and Battistelli may attend schools closer to home and therefore be able to keep the business running.

“Maybe we can go nationwide,” Lopez said, only half joking.

The boys can be contacted through their Web site, The site also lists (732) 927-0320, (732) 718-8584 and (732) 921-9784 as their contact numbers.