Posted by Bold Apps on Jun 28, 2015
The best place to start is repairing your own phone and gain some experience, specifically if you have an older iPhone or another phone sitting around with a broken screen or another issue, and are worth more than the repair parts themselves, you can fix it and sell it or use it and profit on your very first fix.
When you have a repair, research what's involved in the repair, I highly recommend a YouTube video of the specific repair, watch it from start to finish - I find that most repair videos can fit in a 10-15 min video, there's no need for the extra long ones.
Watch the whole repair prior to accepting / pricing out a repair, so you can see what parts & tools are required, the difficulty and the rough time it consumes (This can vary greatly between new and experienced technicians).
One of the most frustrating things you can do, is not be fully prepared for a repair, which can result in a waste of time, effort, possible loss of a client, or even damage to the device as well as bad reputation.
It is essential to know everything you will need and ensure you have everything prior to the repair. You do NOT want to have an open phone with 20 screws and parts sitting there for a few days while you wait for the missing items.
Write down the tools and parts you will need, and confirm you have it all before you start.
If you are only doing your own I would recommend getting a simple tool kit that can come in a bundle, which usually has everything you need to get the first job done, to keep the cost down in the beginning.
If you are going to repair other people's devices I would highly recommend a high quality repair tool kit, saves you from stripping screws, makes the job much easier with a strong magnet, and much less effort when it comes to jammed screws.
Get a magnetic work pad, without one it's too easy to have a 1-2mm screw bounce off the table, and be lost for good - we don't want that do we. The best would be the ones you can write on like a white board or are per-organized for you, so you can number each step as well as remember which screw goes where (they look very alike yet they are different).
If your vision is not great - a magnifying glass with a light are amazing, they're usually not more than $20-30 and will make your life a whole lot easier.
There is a misconception that mobile parts are all the same, they definitely NOT the same! Quality varies greatly from each supplier in many aspects such as material, workmanship, # of small defects allowed, and if they're new or refurbished or even simply used.
The most quality sensitive parts are the LCD Screen assembly and the battery.
* If you find a screen or battery for very cheap, or one of the cheapest, it's very unlikely to be Grade A+ or original. Many advertise their parts to be Grade A+ or A+++ / AAA (both of which don't even exist), they usually refer to the Common Grade B in hopes that you wouldn't know any better and not notice.
LCD screens have a few factors like mentioned above, and it's important to pick the right one for the task, lets have a look at the grades:
This is obviously the most expensive one, comes with all brand new parts, most likely assembled by the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers). This may sound appealing to have your phone with original parts, it's not necessarily the best bang for your buck as it's usually considerably more expensive and the refurbished / A+ do pretty much the same thing and cost considerably less.
This means it's all original parts, that are not necessarily new (like used LCD with new digitizer/glass), it should be the same functionality as the Original new, however as it was assembled by a third party.
Grade A - (Good quality)
This is usually good quality, no dead pixels, however depending on manufacturer it might not be as bright as the original or as sensitive touch screen. It generally comes with refurbished original LCD or high quality third party LCD and a third party digitizer / front glass. This quality is good if you want to simply repair a device cheaply for yourself and don't really care much about brightness / sensitivity, for example for a spare iPod.
This is your common cheap LCD's you find on eBay / Amazon or the cheap deals or from China.It generally means 1-3 dead pixels (yes seriously..), or a piece of dust between the LCD and front glass which you can never cleaned. They are made from lower quality items such as used third party LCD's / cheap third party digitizer, which also results in lower brightness and less responsiveness from the digitizer.
This grade is only good for practice, or if you fix a little kid's phone that constantly is dropped and you know will be broken again, or someone that don't care much about the dead pixels or the other aspects and just wants it fixed as cheaply as possible.
Batteries are similar when it comes to grading, they are as follows:
Most expensive, somewhat difficult to find however it is the ideal solution as the battery life is very important with our devices.
This is much more common, usually when you see sellers sending Original batteries, and you confirm them to be original however the price is still very competitive, almost certainly it was pulled out of a broken phone, and would have anywhere from 50-400 cycles, this is a gamble as it could either be almost new, or at the end of it's life (Expected lifespan is 450-500 cycles). Might be worth while if you don't mind trying out for your own phone, if the seller would replace if it's no good, but as a business, you need consistency.
This grade is a third party manufactured battery, or a used battery in good condition with a new cover to look new. These generally work for a little while, and can work somewhat well, then as they get used more you'd start to see issues much quicker than you experienced with your original one, usually long enough to just ran out of the seller's warranty.
You will find those everywhere - eBay, Amazon, small repair shops that are run by a guy that doesn't care about the business or his customers, he just wants to make a quick buck. Those batteries are cheap copies, made by small companies in China usually, and they are a fire hazard, they usually don't work any better than the battery you're replacing from, they just look clean. Ever heard of phones catching fire, batteries exploding? No? Look it up...
You want to generally provide around 3 months hassle-free replacement warranty, if they come to you after 3-6 months and complain, I'd generally offer a slight discount for a new one. You can write your initials with a sharpie on the back of the battery to ensure it's yours if it comes back.
A list is great here too, I love lists they help making everything so clear and simple.
You must begin by putting a value on your time - how much do you expect to make an hour doing this?
Always add 20 min worth of your time on top of the repair estimate for arranging a meeting, meeting them, their questions, meeting to pick up or even wait there and talk, this will cost you valuable time. Even if the fix is 5 minutes, charge a minimum 25 min of your time (Min $10 + Part).
For example you are asked to repair a LCD screen for an iPhone 4S:
Remember, you are doing this to make a profit, as a business not a hobby, so don't undersell yourself to be the cheapest just to get a repair. Your time is limited, so be sure to make it worth your while. If you provide a great service, most people are willing to pay more than someone who's cheaper and provides a poor service.
Starting out you shouldn't hold on to too much stock until you know you can move it quickly enough, electronics eventually go down in price, especially the newest models, so don't risk much before you know you can move it.
People generally do prefer to have the repair done ASAP so once you are big enough and have enough clients, then you definitely want all the typical repair parts handy so you can say "Yes I have it in stock, the repair is $64.99, when would you like to come and have it repaired?" and get that deal closed.
Once you gain some experience and see what people buy more and how often, you can get a feel to how much you need to keep in stock, make sure you don't have a very long wait as people tend to find someone else, and you waste your time & lose a sale.
Always keep a nearby supplier of quality parts & tools like cellphonediy.com in order to provide a quick service with great quality products, to ensure your customers would spread the word about your great service, and come back as well as bring their family & friends.
This is one of the most important role in any business, and where most businesses go belly up. Customers love dealing with a business that has a great customer service, they would rather pay more than to go to someone who has terrible customer service.
10 good customers might refer you to only 1 person, however 1 Customer with negative experience will tell 10+ people about the bad experience they had. Your job is to ensure that no customer has a bad experience! The better the experience, the more likely they will refer someone to you for additional business.
Another misconception is that you're simply repairing their phone or device for a cheap deal, it's much more than that, it's the whole experience, from the first contact experience, convenience, quality of service, price, parts and after sales support, as well as reviews or word of mouth. Be sure you hit 5 Stars on every aspect.
This is very important, everyone wants consistency, they don't like surprises or mood swings, they want to get the best service you can offer, every single time, with a good attitude, same pricing if possible, if it's a repeat customer and the price has changed, notify them, and explain why (for example the cost of the parts went up).
Always be sure to keep the same quality parts, one negative experience could be enough to lose one or many customers.
The biggest mistake people make starting a business is worrying about every cent when it comes to issues with customers, and might try to avoid the customer or not claim responsibility for the issue that came from the repair.
It might save you $5, $10 or $50 even to do that, however you would get a bad reputation and lose potential future business from the client, his family/friends and anywhere he might share the bad review with. I lost count how many times I have went out of my way and took responsibility on something that I knew was not even my fault or even related to me, and it cost me usually around $10-20, but within a day or a week generally I had the same customer to come back and buy more, and made me much more money than I lost taking care of him, and knowing he would refer me for the outstanding customer support.
Always aim to please the customers, even if it means you lose a bit during an issue, it's just a part of the business, keep looking at the big picture, are you making money overall? every business has gains and losses, if you try to cut the losses by not warrantying your products / services, it will cost you much more in the long term - so do both yourself and your customer a favor, and provide the best service he's ever seen, and I promise you that in the longer term it would make you much more successful.
To get customers outside of the family/friend circle you will need to advertise. The best ways are the free ones, low risk, popular ones I would recommend in Canada are Facebook, Kijiji, YouTube videos of your work + how to contact you for locals, paper ads on posts locally or in the university / residence, lightposts. There are so many ways to advertise for next to nothing like that, I wouldn't recommend paid advertising as it costs too much, and you'll end up working just to pay the advertising.
I hope that you have enjoyed those tips, and if you have any other suggestions / comments please leave them below, I would love to hear them as well as share them!
Also if you learned something new, or improved on your business / service, I'd love to know about it, so write it below now! :)