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Seller Sunday: AMA with UCW

Check out this week's AMA with UCW!

Seller Sunday: AMA with UCW
With 15 years of expertise selling in the gaming industry, UCW (Upcycle Computer Werks) started by selling video game hardware before transitioning to PC parts and builds 5 years ago.

UCW specializes in refurbishing, upgrading, and repairing used computers. His mission is to keep quality machines out of landfills by giving them new life, and to make computing accessible by selling them at affordable prices. And, for every 10 computers sold, one is donated to a child in need, ensuring equitable access to technology.

UCW's business thrives on his deep knowledge of the PC market and understanding of his customers' needs. Their near-perfect rating on Jawa reflects their commitment to exceptional service and customer satisfaction.
  1. What is your biggest piece of advice for someone who’s looking to start selling on Jawa?
    Build what you like, but if you want it to sell, don’t make it too niche. Simple is key. Make it clean. Make it neat. Don’t go overboard with the accessories; otherwise, you could turn off a lot of buyers.

  2. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made so far when selling on Jawa and how would you recommend a new seller avoid it?
    The biggest mistake I see new sellers make is when I see them bite off more than they can chew. Only spend what you can afford to lose. As your reputation and rating on the site grows, you’ll soon get enough regular sales to afford more and nicer builds at a time. Don’t overextend.

  3. What is the hardest part of the process of selling a gaming PC?
    Waiting on a buyer is the hardest part. Some systems sell overnight, others may take weeks. Just be patient. If it’s built well and the price is right, it will move.

  4. What are your favorite resources to use for PC building?
    For direct sites and info, I use Gamers Nexus, Tom's Hardware, and the always delightful Jawa Discord. There's an absolute wealth of knowledge in that Discord.

    For content creators, I like Gamers Nexus and of course Linus for up to date info. For inspiration in building, I love Ozi, Craft Computing, and the Toasty Bros.

  5. What is your camera setup?
    For a camera, I use a Panasonic Lumix GH5 with a Lecia Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm. I have a warehouse space so I was able to build a portable wall that operates as a backdrop with a table in front. A nice tripod with a level ensures straight and well framed pictures. I also run dual overhead floods for lighting.

    If I was giving advice on starting up, a good camera phone with a ring light or some cheap overheads does a good enough job to get you going before you need to think about upgrading. Phone cameras are awesome these days.

  6. How do you decide which market to target?
    I’ve become somewhat known for affordable custom builds. For me, it's fun to take some slightly older tech and turn it into a budget monster. People always want an affordable machine, so it just made sense to play mostly in that market. With that said, I do fancy stuff too (haha). I try to do a “showcase” build and some other mid to higher tier newer builds when I can. It’s good to show range in ability.

  7. How do you consistently make a profit on your PC builds?
    I run a full time business. I’ve been in business for years now. Over that time I have cultivated and maintained many relationships which help me get enough stock to supply my customer base. I have a basic shop rate that I implement to integrate my labor cost into.

  8. How long did it take you to grow your business to where it is now?
    UCW has been around for about 5 years in its current incarnation. I was in the video game hardware space for 10 years before that so when I switched gears to the PC side I had a pretty good head start vs going in cold. It took about a good solid year of grinding and getting customers to realize that my shop actually existed before it really started moving.

  9. What is something that you do differently, or try to do differently compared to other sellers?
    Most of the regular builders on Jawa have a unique style to them. There are a few that are absolute artists in what they create. When I want to show off on a build, I’ll do integrated screens with custom themes, custom fan hub art, or something of that nature to set a build apart from the rest.

    Most of what I do in the budget space are pretty standard builds, but I do like to integrate shipping costs into my work. It can be a rough surprise for a customer to see what looks like a great deal only to be hit with a $60 or $70 shipping cost at checkout. With my builds, the price you see is the price you pay. I try to stay towards the bottom of the market with pricing on budget builds as well.

  10. Which component or component combination is selling the best for you right now?
    Best selling combo for me? Intel 7th-9th gen (usually i5 or i7) with one of a GTX 1070/1080/1660, RTX 2060/2070 or RX 5700/6600. I’ll add in 32gb ram, an NVMe drive between 500gb and 1tb (depending on target sale price). There is a lot of price to performance in that. Most of the buyers on Jawa that have reached out are looking to play lighter titles to run so they can get a lot of really good mileage out of that kind of equipment without having to spend a fortune. I take those ingredients and build them up cleanly so it also looks good. Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the style too.
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