Is your computer old and slow? Do you want to get a new one, but the thought of getting a new computer is overwhelming because of the new technology? Minnesota Computer Systems, Inc. (MCSI) has a new rental program that might be perfect for you.
“For just $29 a month, we bring a computer to your home or apartment, and you also receive software and training,” said Mike Houghton, owner of MCSI.
That $29 fee also includes support from the IT specialists at MCSI.
“You get an hour of support service per month,” said Mike. “If you don’t use that hour of service, it is banked. So if you don’t use your hour one month, you will have two months of service the next month.”
The computer includes a 250 GB hard drive, a 17-inch monitor and 4GB of RAM. Those who would like to upgrade their computer (bigger monitor, special software, etc.), switch to a laptop or add a printer, can do so right away, or they can make that change down the road.
“Each upgrade just ups the monthly fee,” said Mike. “For many of the upgrades, it is just an extra $1 or $2 per month.”
MCSI unveiled the new computer rental program this summer. In preparation for the launch, Mike asked some people to test out the program. One of the test subjects was Shirley, who lives in Sartell.
“I had a computer before I got this one, but it was an older computer, and I was calling my son constantly to come over and help me with different things. It was a headache for me because I didn’t know who to call,” said Shirley.
Since the new computer was installed this past spring, it took some time for Shirley to adjust to the new computer and new features. But the transition was made easier by a few calls using her service plan.
“Now I know exactly who to call, and they are very accessible,” said Shirley. “People my age tend to have a harder time with change. We are kind of set in our ways. But if you are ready for a new computer, this is a great way to do it. It really is.”
The program is designed for people like Shirley, said Mike.
“Typically when someone like Shirley has a computer, they get a computer that is handed down from their kids,” he said. “Usually that is the worst thing you could do. The people who shouldn’t have an old computer are those who do not know how to deal with an old computer and the problems that they come with.”
Having a new or newer computer can make a huge difference for seniors, because they typically don’t have the troubleshooting skills of someone who is in their 20s or 30s.
“They need something decent,” he said. “It is the same with cars. If Shirley got stranded at the side of the road it is probably harder for her to take care of that than it would be for me. The same thing goes with a computer.”
“I would never have been able to fork out all that money up front for a new computer, and I really needed a new computer,” said Shirley. “So this is a great deal for me. I would rather make the monthly payment. Most seniors are on a fixed income, and this works really well with that.”
There is a one-time $50 installation charge. This includes setting up the new computer and transferring any files from the old computer to the new computer.
“We get a lot of questions about the Internet when we do the initial set up,” said Mike. “We can set up bookmarks, favorites and that kind of thing. For example, Shirley wanted to be able to Skype with her family in Texas, so we were able to show her how to do that.”
And if there are problems that come up along the way, the one hour of service comes in handy.
“Problems that might seem to be a little daunting to some are considered pretty easy for our IT guys, so we encourage people to call in when they have problems,” said Mike. “A lot of times, we can fix it right over the phone. And if not, our IT guys will come to your house and fix the problem. Our IT guys do a great job. They make sure to keep things simple so it is easy to understand.”
Mike believes, the new worry-free rental option will be a great fit for seniors. As an added incentive to give it a try, MCSI is offering a free $20 Coborn’s gift card for all who sign up and mention that they read about it in the Senior Perspective.
MCSI was originally named Minnesota Copy Systems. It was established in 1974 by co-owners John Houghton (Mike’s dad) and Fritz Trchka. They specialized in selling copiers and fax machines at the start. Over the years, the business has evolved to include other office equipment, computer-related connectivity and networking solutions. Its name was recently changed to reflect the variety of services it now offers.
Speaking of service, MCSI provides a public service to anyone having a computer problem. And that is available to anyone, even those currently not a customer at MCSI.
“Our policy is, if you call in and you have a computer problem, if our IT guys can fix it over the phone, it is free,” he said. “This is available for anyone, anywhere.”
If you are interested in the new computer rental program or would like to learn more, call MCSI at 320-251-4484. MCSI is located at 3900 Roosevelt Road Suite 108 in St. Cloud.