How to kick-start your cell phone repair business?

Ariel G

January 31, 2016

How to kick-start your cell phone repair business?

Previously we discussed the WHY, the benefits and reasons for starting a cell phone repair business.

Now, let us discuss HOW you can go about doing it in seven simple steps:

A.   Training: Before you go opening your first phone, it’s important to get yourself some professional training which will give you the basic foundation of cell phone repairs, how the internal workings of phones are laid out and what to do and what not to do when fixing phones.  There are a few cell phone repair training centers around the country with most offering a 4-5 day training course with a cost of $1,500 to $2,000.  (Our sister company CellSmart Repairs & Training School is a great option for those in and around New York City.)

B. Location: If you are already operating a cell phone store, you’ve already got a location.  For the rest, many factors would determine where you open your repair shop.              1.  A high foot-traffic retail location with an affordable rent and ample parking is the ideal location to strive for.

        2, If you are looking to keep your investment low, think of subleasing from an existing cell phone shop that doesn’t offer repairs, or perhaps a high-traffic business such as laundromat or the dollar store.  These locations often have some extra space that may not be fully utilized, creating a great opportunity for you to lease at a reasonable rent with minimal overhead costs and take advantage of their customer base.   

         3. If you want to keep your investment even lower, you can start by offering mobile repairs by providing repairs at the client’s home or office.  You can even charge an additional fee for the on-site convenience. A small “smart-car” is an ideal vehicle to get around town in a jiffy to fix phones.  They are eye-catching and attract a lot of attention so be sure to put wrap it with your advertisement for added benefit.

           4. Another great mobile option is to get an old “ice-cream” truck and convert it into a rolling repair shop.  Park it in a regular spot every day or have each day of the week dedicated to a different neighborhood.

C.   Get any necessary licenses and/or permits to operate a repair shop.  These are often regulated at the city and state level. For example, NYC requires a Consumer Affairs license to do cell phone repair. Even if you don’t do repairs and simply take the repair from the customer and send it to 3rd party, you still need the license.  It is called the Electronic Home Appliances Service Dealer.

D.  Also be sure to have a repair policy on the wall, visible to the customer, including minimum/diagnostic charges.  Also inform the customer that they can ask for broken parts from their phones.  Lastly, repair policy and repair license number  (if applicable) should be on the receipt, as well.

E.  To succeed, it’s important to get the word out.  And, there are many different ways to do so.

  1. Excellent customer service is the best way to get your customers talking and create some amazing word-of-mouth buzz.  Be sure to promise what you can deliver and deliver what you promise.

  2. Make sure every box of phone or accessory that you sell has a sticker or flyer advertising your repairs service.

  3. Put an advertisement for repairs on your store receipt.

  4. Put a banner outside and a poster in the window.

  5. Do SMS marketing.  (CellSmart POS offers a convenient and affordable way to text all or some of your customers.)

  6. Create social media presence by having Facebook, Twitter pages and ask your customers to post reviews and “check-in”. Craigslist is another great option for some free advertisement.

  7. See that customer of yours wearing work-uniform?  That means they’ve got plenty of co-workers just like them back at work who also break their phones.  Ask them to put your flyer up at work.  Put in a promo-code for a discount.

F.   Now that you’ve got the word out, let’s talk about buying and keeping track of repair parts.

  1. Be sure to keep parts in-stock for all the popular phones such as iPhones and Galaxy.

  2. For less common phones, you can ask the customer to leave the device while you order the part. Offer them a loan-phone to make the wait less painful.  (CellSmart POS has a well-thought out repair module that will keep track of your loaner phones).

  3. Keep in mind that prices of repair parts often go down, so be sure to buy no more than a couple of weeks worth of supply.

  4. Repair parts can be super expensive.  Be sure to keep proper inventory on a regular basis to prevent inside-theft. A good point-of-sale system, one especially custom made for wireless stores and has a repairs module is critical. (CellSmart POS can help you keep an eye on your inventory)

  5. Never buy your parts from one vendor.  Instead buy from several reliable and reputable sellers that carry good quality products. Also remember that a good seller doesn’t hesitate to take a bad item back.

  6. Lastly, all those broken LCDs you are replacing are not trash.  Keep ‘em on the side and when the time is right, sell them to LCD refurbishers for some cool cash.

G.  Finally, let’s talk about things to keep in mind when taking care of your customers.

  1. Jot down the IMEI/serial number to avoid confusion with other phones.

  2. Take the customer’s phone pass-code / pattern to check the phone after repair is done.

  3. Never keep the customer’s Sim/SD card/phone case/stylus to avoid misplacing and other issues.

  4. Try and collect the repair money up-front.  Many customers don’t come for weeks and months to get the item and by that time the value of the phone can be less than the cost of the parts and labor you used.

  5. Check the phone and note all conditions of the phone.  For example, if you are taking the phone for charging port, but notice that the glass has a big scratch, write that down in the receipt so the customer doesn’t claim later that you caused the damage. (CellSmart POS’ repair module allows for taking down IMEI, phone passcode/pattern, record a repair deposit and make note of phone conditions including attaching photos of the phone.

  6. Lastly, phone repairs can take longer than anticipated when unexpected issues arise.  So give yourself ample amount of time. While you want to take care of the customers fast, you don’t want to leave yourself in a tight spot.  For example, if you think a repair will take an hour, give the customer a two-hour window.  That way, you will have extra time, just in case.  And if you finish in an hour, the customer will be super happy for finishing in half the time!  Remember the old saying, promise less and deliver more.

Follow these seven simple steps to launch your cell phone repair business, keep doing them consistently , keep improving and you will have one successful repair shop on your hands. Good luck!


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