Featured Repair Shop : Spa City iRepair
It isn’t often we pick favorites here at eTech Parts but out of all our wonderful customers, Miguel Brito is definitely one of the fan-favorites. Miguel Brito is the customer who can call with a complaint and still brighten your day. Always positive, pleasant and willing to share helpful feedback, Miguel Brito of Spa City iRepair is one of our many valued repair shop owners. Recently we had the great pleasure of speaking with Miguel in depth about his experience in the mobile repair industry, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share his story. His positive attitude and grateful demeanor shine throughout this detailed interview; read on as we delve into Miguel’s story of success and the hard work that got him there.
Q: Tell us a little about your background prior to mobile device repair. Was it at all technology-related?
A: I am a certified computer technician from California and I've always been around computers and electronics - building, repairing, and selling them. Then when I moved from California to Arkansas there were very few shops in town repairing computers and they were not hiring; I had to go back to school in which I did automotive repair for about 11 years. This included repairing all the electronics on vehicles and such, as well as some mechanical things. I would say it's related because today's vehicles are networks of electronics, and cell phones are mini computers as well.
Q: Do you remember the first day you opened for business? What was going through your head?
A: Oh yes, I remember my first day opening; I was a nervous wreck! Didn't have much: an empty office space, a few screwdrivers and one pair of tweezers. It was a big leap but I'm glad it was made. All I was thinking was, "this better work" since my previous job…told me I was not going to be eligible for rehire.
Q: Spa City iRepair is a very successful shop; was there a day everything just clicked?
A: Yes, it took a lot of hard work and support from my wife and family but once I started getting referrals from previews customers I knew we were going to be successful. I don't advertise anywhere and yet we stay busy. Landing two of our local school districts was one of my big accomplishments and that is a feeling I really couldn't describe other than AMAZING.
Q: You’re a great salesman, and your ability to move large numbers of accessories proves that. Do you find it’s only logical that someone with a broken screen purchases a protective case?
A: Absolutely! I call it "investment protection". People spend their hard-earned money on repairing these devices. 80% of the time even if they have insurance their deductible will be much higher than it would be just repairing their device. And this way they don't have to deal with shipping old devices back and have the hassle of re-installing their contacts and purchased apps.
For example, we had a customer with an iPhone 4S with a broken screen; the carrier was going to charge him a $160 deductible so it could be replaced. Mind you that he had been paying $8 a month to have insurance for 12 months, put some numbers together and he has already paid $96 in monthly insurance, plus the $160 deductible - he would have paid $256 to have his phone replaced with a refurbished phone. We charged him our regular $79.99 for parts and labor to replace the screen on his own phone. There were no contacts, pictures or videos to transfer because he still had his same phone. So obviously he bought a case and a screen protector from us and he still came out ahead.
"I strive to run a clean, honest and professional business where I do what I love and help our local community save money."
Q: Tell us more about the financing program you offer at Spa City iRepair. Is it popular among your customers?
A: We partnered with a company called "Progressive Finance," which offers financing with no credit check.
The requirements for customers are as follows:
- Must be employed by the same company for at least six months
- Must earn $1000 a month and deposit at least $500 a month into your checking account
- Must have an active checking account that has been opened for at least 3 Months
- Checking account cannot have any insufficient funds or overdrafts in the last 30 days
As you know some of the repairs for high-end phones like the Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5/5s can be a bit expensive, and most consumers can't come up with this kind of money at one time. The beauty of this service is that if you get an approved limit of $300 to $2500, you can get your device repaired and all we need at the time of pick-up is 10% of your total invoice amount. The rest will be deducted out of your checking account in installments every payday. It's that easy!
Q: How’s the competition in Hot Springs, AR? Do you plan on expanding to other parts of Arkansas?
A: Hot Springs, AR is a good town, not too big and not too small. There is competition but out of the three I only consider one as a true competitor. The rest don't have any experience in what they are doing and end up coming in to my shop asking for help. Either because they don't know what they did wrong, or they damage the devices they are working on. Yes I plan on expanding throughout the state as the business develops, but with enthusiasm and determination we will succeed.
Q: Making money is great, but what do you value the most at the end of the day?
A: The one thing I value the most is the feeling of accomplishment. I tell myself, "Today I helped a lot of people save money and now they are smiling and going about their daily lives knowing they had something repaired professionally and reliably". That leaves customers with ease of mind, which makes me feel good about what I do.
Q: As a small business owner, is there ever really an end to your workday?
A: No there isn't, I am always looking for more ways to better my business and it’s a never-ending process. Although I do take at least one day off so I can spend it with my family; I am a very family-oriented type of guy.
Q: We can tell by your website's "Code of Ethics" that you take the reputation of your business very seriously. Tell us about the importance you place on running your business with integrity, and why it's so important to you.
A: Running a business is not easy but my motto is, "Treat our customers the way you would like to be treated." This will go a long way and that one customer you helped and delivered excellent service to will tell his friends and family, and they will tell others like a domino effect. We don't spend a penny on advertisement; all our customers, including local school districts, are here because they either saw the reviews on our website or Facebook page, or they were referred by other customers. Even the local carrier stores like AT&T and Verizon will send customers to us if they can't help them. All in all I strive to run a clean, honest and professional business where I do what I love and help our local community save money - and help the environment too, since we bring devices back to life that would otherwise be in landfills.
"Part of offering excellent service is the ability to deliver in a timely manner."
Q: Like many other repair shops, you’ve gotten a lot of repair business from local school districts. What advice would you give to a technician or repair shop owner who wants to do the same in their area?
A: The way I did it was by dressing appropriately and presenting my services to these schools. I was well organized before going in to do my presentation to the board.
First, mention what will happen if all their devices were broken, then offer the solution and mention why your business is the right choice to make. Offer discounted rates so they can see you are giving them special treatment, since they will be bringing multiple devices to be repaired at once.
Then offer them a trial repair; ask them for one device to repair at no cost. They will see the quality of service and the quality of the repair that you provide. This will give them more incentive to choose you as their repair shop.
And last but not least, stick to deadlines! If you have multiple iPads to repair mention when they will be completed and stick to that. Part of offering excellent service is the ability to deliver in a timely manner.
Q: You offer glass-only repairs at Spa City iRepair; what tools do you find absolutely necessary for this repair? How long does it take for you to complete?
A: The process of a glass-only repair is more time consuming than just replacing the whole assembly, but assemblies can get a bit expensive. If my customer doesn't get approved for financing, they could still get the device repaired and save some money - but it does take more time. For example, to complete a Galaxy Note 2 takes about 2 hours. I agree that this skill will be required for repairing most future devices.
Tools I find necessary for glass-only repairs:
- Heat plate
- Infrared thermometer
- Molybdenum Wire
- Safety Glasses
- UV Light Lamp
- Alignment Molds
Q: Recently you purchased a Smartphone Sanitization Station from us; do you advertise the fact you clean each phone after the repair? How do your customers respond to this?
A: This little gadget gets a lot of talk in the shop. I put every device in this machine before and after the repair. Customers feel like they got a little extra from us by sanitizing their device, and they love that.
Q: We love all our customers here at eTech Parts, but you are an employee favorite! It’s truly a pleasure to work with you Miguel, you are always full of positive and useful feedback that helps us be the best supplier we can be. Do you have anything to say to your fans?
A: Thank you for the compliments, I am just trying to make life easier for you and for me. I couldn't offer the service I do if it wasn't for an amazing parts supplier like eTech Parts - you guys provide me with amazing quality everything! eTech Parts is my number one supplier because the quality of parts we get from you is untouchable, not to mention the customer service is exceptional. All I can say to my fans is THANK YOU for all the support and feedback and I hope to be your continued repair shop.
We hope so too, Miguel!