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Can you still open a new repair shop in 2024?

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Can you still open a new repair shop in 2024?

Absolutely!  There are a reported 6,500 cell phone repair shops in the US.  This doesn’t count DIY repairs, where someone knows a friend of a friend that has a side hustle fixing cell phones or tablets.  In most cities, you will find established chain or franchise stores that provide a host of repair services for phones, tablets, computers and gaming systems.  There are others that just have a simple sign that says what they do “Cell Phone Repair”. These stores are typically found in strip malls, where they can find additional sales from foot traffic that is tied to a larger retail/grocery stores in the same parking lot.    

We know the business is out there with some 330 million cell phones and approximately 148 million iPads in circulation in the United States.  An estimated 5,000 cellphones are broken each hour in the US!  At the ever-increasing cost of ownership, customers are shocked at the full replacement cost, if they failed to purchase Apple Care or another extended warranty service.  This is where your repair shop would provide them with a benefit.  Cheaper repair solution than full replacement and your service is much quicker than getting a replacement.  

So what does it take to get started?   

1. Location – find a location that fits your target market. Look for other area repair stores to make sure you’re not saturated.  Go visit the stores in your area and learn what services and pricing your competitors would be providing.  How would you compare to their offering, if you were shopping around for a repair?  Would you use your services, or that of the competitor.  

2. Find a niche service that makes you stand out.  This might be a unique service offering, adding a screen protector to every repair or providing the customer with a longer repair guarantee.  You may also find that the market you’re in has a need for iPad or Chromebook repair services.   Is this something that you can offer?   What about charging port repair for gaming systems?   These are questions that you should be asking yourself as you’ll need to make sure you have the skills for the repairs you’re offering.  

3. You should consider offerings that include micro soldering for IC Chip, backlight and other board-related repairs.  Another great revenue opportunity is back glass repair for iPhones.  It’s a relatively inexpensive part with an average retail cost of $99-$149. It’s just a time-consuming process, but if you have the spare time, it’s definitely worth the repair revenue.  

Lastly, look around your neighborhood.  How can you service the devices for local Police, Fire and Safety personnel in your town? It doesn’t hurt to ask and may open more opportunities for other local businesses.   

So what do you need to get started?  

In addition to your business licenses and insurance, you’ll need to do your research.  

  • Space – Look for something in your market that doesn’t break the bank each month.  Typically find a space that is 500-700 sq ft, with good positioning to roadways or in busy shopping center.  
  • Training – You may already have already mastered the skills for the devices you plan to repair.  What can you do to further advance your repair knowledge or learn about Microsoldering?
  • Tools – For a basic setup that gives you the tools for phone and table repair, you should be under $500 to start.  If you are doing more advanced repairs, you would need microscopes and soldering tools, which could cost you an extra $1,000-$2,000.  We’d recommend you start slow and don’t over invest.
  • Parts – We suggest starting small and building your inventory over time.  An average startup of 2k – 3k of popular model screens, batteries and charging ports, should be more than enough inventory to get you started.  Know your supplier and how quickly they can provide you with parts. In the event you need to provide a next day repair.  

In summary, make sure you do your homework about the where and how you are setting up your shop in 2024.  Know the area, understand the customer and make sure that you have the skills to make your business a unique service to the community.