Once upon a time, there was a humble community of cellphone repair shop owners. They had families, kids, and dreams of having it all. But burning the midnight oil doing repairs, their personal life suffered.
However, they continued to hustle. They put more hours than ever into their shop. They took everything they could on themselves because they were over-possessive about their business, believing no one else could do justice to it. Over time, they started becoming unhappy, lethargic, and hopeless.
Seeing how little they could manage to feed their families, they began to increase their prices. They began to put their needs before those of their customers and employees. They began to focus on instant gratification over long-term planning.
And then came the worst! Their shops started shutting down, one after the other. Those that remained struggled. No one knew what they could do to make a decent living.
Around that time, a group of men came forward, proclaiming to be the messiahs of the cellphone repair shop community. The unbelievers shunned them and told everyone they were spreading lies. But a small number of people saw the truth in them.
Gradually, each of the messiahs with their followers went on to grow their repair businesses to great heights and achieve success. And then they lived happily ever after.
You may be one of the unbelievers, but for those who believe, we present the 10 Commandments of Cell Phone Repair Business!
Commandment # 1: Thou Shalt Not Over-charge Your Customers
We get it. Your shop is in an expensive area, your overhead charges are huge and your prices reflect that. It makes sense.
But when you are working out of your own house or a small kiosk, where you aren’t paying a lot on expenses, charging very high profits is considered going astray.
What you should do is find out what your per-hour cost is and offer competitive prices accordingly. If you don’t know how to price your services, get help and figure it out.
You can use your POS software to track your weekly or monthly expenses. And then divide it by the number of hours your shop was open. It is important that you know exactly what your cost is. Only then will you be able to price your services correctly.
Usman Butt, the CEO of RepairDesk emphasizes the importance of knowing the cost of your business. Because if you know what your cost price comes up to, you know how much of a discount is acceptable.
For instance, if a customer comes in and insists on a $10 discount, you may not give it to them and lose a customer. But if you knew that $10 will just minimize your profits a little, you may consider giving the discount and keep the customer. This way, you can earn from this customer for a long time to come by giving them a one-time $10 discount.
“You don’t want to lose a customer because he wanted $10 off and you could have given him an off and made that money from up-selling the customer, by getting a referral every one or two months, or getting a review. So I believe that if you’re a great technician, great, but you are in business to make money, and grow your business.”
So, knowing your per-hour expenses is crucial.
Likewise, make sure you’re not pricing yourself out of the industry. So, do your market research. Check what your competitors are charging. And see how you can offer competitive prices. Your end goal should be to work in the best interest of your customers.
Make sure you’re not priced too low either. Because that will bring down the prices of other cell phone repair shops, making it impossible to earn a living in the industry.
Timothy Phelps of the Techy franchise has devised a price guideline that they stick to. His franchises follow the same guidelines even when the prices increase or decrease. So, for a repair part that costs less than $50, the labor charged is $75. Likewise, if the part costs more than $50, a $100 labor is charged, and so forth.
For Timothy, what’s important is the experience you give to your customer because you want to retain the customer for life. And you should do what you must to achieve that.
“It’s all about experience. When you give into these customers, it’s about the experience and you want to gain those customers. It’s all about customer value life. So, you want to do whatever it takes to obviously gain that customer. But you’re selling an experience, more than just a product. And so you have to understand that more than anything.”
So, be transparent with your customers about the repair process. Treat them like you care about them, like you know the agony their broken device is causing them. And they will keep on coming back to you.
Israel Quintal of AdCentral goes further into pricing and insists on a pricing model that reflects the demographic that you’re targeting. So, for instance, if your shop is close to a college and your target audience is college students, keeping your prices on the low side is probably a good idea. But if your shop is in an upscale area where you’re targeting an older, working demographic, you can charge higher prices.
Moreover, Israel designs his pricing around up-sells. He brings the profits to a minimum to lure the customer into his shop and then earns from up-sells. However, he says this pricing model requires active supervision to make sure the ticket average doesn’t fall too low. Because if it does, that means you’re going into loss.
“Now, when they come into your shop, our job is to up-sell them. So, we know what our ticket has to be in order for us to keep this model going. And this is an active monitoring, where if for some reason the ticket average goes below what it should be, then it’s a red alert. Something is not happening.”
You can also stock multiple qualities of the same item to cater to all your demographics and teach your employees to up-sell. For instance, there are some customers who do not care about the price, but rather the turnaround time. And then there are those who will go for the cheapest option irrespective of the quality.
For jobs like screen replacements, Israel suggests keeping different qualities of screens. So, when a customer walks in, you ask them a few questions to understand which demographic they fall in.
- Is the customer really concerned about the quality?
- Are they particularly concerned about the turnaround time?
- Are they price-conscious?
Once you’ve figured the above out, you offer them a screen replacement best suited to their persona.
Moreover, when you’re pricing your repairs really low, you should be prepared for the influx of orders. You must know how to handle that kind of growth. Because if you don’t have enough technicians to do the repairs, you lose out on the opportunity. So, make sure you have a POS software with an efficient ticketing system so you can create tickets speedily and you and your customer are updated on the status of the repair in real-time.
Israel insists that pricing isn’t the end-all game. It is a means to a strategy. For some repair shop owners, going really low on the prices won’t work. For others, it might work. Whatever you choose to do has to ultimately align with your goals.
Because there are cell phone repair shop owners who are happy with one shop and do not wish to expand. And there are those who want to increase their revenue exponentially. So, whatever goal you have in mind needs to compliment your pricing strategy.
“I think that price is not everything either. I mean, I think price is the means to strategy, right? But we cannot say that because you’re not cheap enough people won’t come. You can build an amazing brand. You would just know what your limitations are.”
So, pricing your repairs is a tricky business. However, the takeaway from Israel’s experience is that you need to define your goals and know your per-hour shop expense. These two factors should determine the price of your repairs.
Ahmed Abusharbain of UppLuck shares his experience from when he had a repair shop. He says a lot of repair shop owners price their repairs very high because they don’t have a lot of income and are desperate. And that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
You want to retain customers, even at the cost of your own profits sometimes.
“I don’t think anybody wants to charge a lot for a small repair. But when you don’t have income, you’re desperate. You start making mistakes and that’s a big mistake, chasing customers away instead of the keeping them in the house. I’m speaking about my retail days. I would satisfy the customer, even if I made a little bit, just to make sure that he brings me more customers.”
After the 1st Commandment of the repair business was revealed, the messiahs of the cell phone repair business community earned a small following. These disciples quickly adopted the 1st Commandment. They did their research and figured out their expenses. And they priced their products fairly. Things looked promising, until…
… they fell in disarray again.
They couldn’t figure out their next move in business. No matter how much work they took up, they couldn’t scale up. They acted on whims and had a vague idea of the success they wanted their business to achieve. They barely discussed how they could get where they wanted to with each other.
Their employees were underperforming at an increasing rate. The employee culture was not helping either. There was disdain. And the disciples began to fall in a state of uncertainty.
Right around that time, help came in the form of three more revelations. And the messiahs preached them to their people…
Commandment # 2 Thou Shalt Find A Mentor
No matter what business you are running, having a mentor is imperative. Because you may know tech but you don’t know it all. So, you need someone who can hold your hand from time to time and lead you in the right direction when needed.
Usman says a mentor should be someone who has gone through a similar process and has achieved some success. He should be someone you can look up to, not your sibling or a parent.
“You need to have a mentor, someone who has been through the process and you should look up to him if you get into trouble or if you need some advice. And he should be someone, not your friend or anyone, but who has achieved some success in the business.”
But Ahmed Abusharbain of UppLuck says, before you set out to look for a mentor, it is important to want to be motivated and guided. Because a lot of repair shop owners don’t want to admit that they don’t know it all. So, you need to open your mind and accept your shortcomings to benefit from a mentor.
“Believe that there’s someone out there who can help you to better yourself and train. Listen to motivators, listen to planners. Let’s meet every day.”
Getting a mentor also depends on your financials. Because some mentors are quite expensive. So, Timothy says that if you don’t have the money to pay for mentorship, just go to YouTube and find a mentor there. There are many motivational speakers that you can listen to and help yourself.
“It depends on where you’re at financially. I mean, there are some mentors that are super expensive out there, so it just depends. YouTube, just go on there and find so many different mentors right there.”
But keep in mind a mentor may not always be someone who has a lot of time to dedicate to you. So, once you’ve found a person you look up to, make the effort to get in touch. Call them incessantly until they are able to take time out for you.
Israel relates his own story where he would keep on calling his mentor and go to their office. Sometimes he would bring lunch. Other times he would just sit around and wait until his mentor had the time to talk with him.
For him, mentorship is more about you wanting it than it being available out there. Because you have to be relentless in your efforts. You have to chase the mentor and not the other way around.
“Sometimes a mentor is not necessarily someone that is willing to give you all this time because they can’t. So, I was willing to go and just wait. So mentorship is really more about you wanting that.”
Ahmed also talks about his mentor, who goaded him in the right direction all these years ago. His mentor prompted him to join this industry. And that has proved to be the right decision for him.
“I have a mentor, the guy I met when I was 20, some years ago. And he got me into this business, like for wide open. I mean, he just showed me the role and he said, just go wide. And I just kept trying and trying until I got to where I’m at. So definitely mentor is important.”
Keep in mind that a mentor doesn’t have to be related to your field. He does not necessarily have to be a cell phone repair shop owner. But he has to have achieved success in his field. For instance, it could be a successful human resource guy. Now you’d wonder what good that would be.
The reality is that owning a B2C business means your cell phone repair business is dependent on customers and you are constantly dealing with people. If you learn how to service a client well, you can build a clientele and retain it as well.
So, considering all these successful repair shop owners, having a mentor takes you far. You get constant guidance to go in the right direction. And while getting a mentor isn’t the easiest task, whether it is someone you know or a YouTube motivational speaker, you have to put in the effort.
Commandment #3 Thou Shalt Have A Repair Business Plan
“Write down your goals every day, every week and you’re not going to need a plan B I mean, just complete those goals and you’re never going to need a plan B.”
Timothy has a simple solution for everyone. Be focused. Make goals for yourself and stick to them. Write them down every single day. And you will never have to revert to a plan B. It may sound simple but really it isn’t.
You have to push yourself every day and come out of your comfort zone to make sure you are meeting your goals daily. You have to be a fighter.
Let’s agree that technology is here to stay. And people will break technology. So, you are secure in this line of business. But to really make it work, you have to be consistent in your efforts.
Alex Marini of Computer Repair Doctor says that when he went in with his cell phone repair business, he was prepared. He had done the research, he knew the demographics of the area. Other things that he looked into included the average income, affordability, and other similar metrics of the population in the area. He even looked up whether the people in that area would upgrade to a new phone or prefer to get the existing one repaired.
But most of all, he stuck to the plan and that’s what he associates his success to.
“When I went in, I had a really detailed plan. I tried to stick to that plan. I did my research of where my store was, what the area around me was, what their income was, what they may be able to afford, or do they throw away, buy new, or are they repair-first?”
So, having a plan really plays a significant role in helping you succeed and scale your business.
But as much as having a plan is important, the ability to improvise the plan is equally important. Israel thinks that having a plan means having the guts to make difficult decisions when a situation requires it. For instance, during the 2020 wave of COVID19, a lot of repair businesses shut down completely because they couldn’t make hard decisions. These people did not do what was necessary to keep their businesses afloat.
So, if a situation requires cutting down on expenses, you must know how and where to cut them. If it requires letting go of employees, you need to have the heart to do so. Because there is no shame in cutting down.
“The whole idea here is I need to keep the business afloat. I need to show up profit and we cannot sink. And it’s not about pride. So I would say have the heart to make hard decisions and call whoever you have to call and negotiate. There’s no shame in reducing expenses.”
Ahmed adds to this saying that he makes a new hire almost every month. And that’s not exactly a new hire. That is more of a replacement. So, you have to let go of people your company has outgrown.
And to do so, you need to be able to take tough decisions. Because there will be employees who have been working with you for a long time and have been loyal. But they are not performing very well. You need to have the heart to let them go.
It is only through that, that you’ll be able to stick to your plan and get what you set out to achieve.
“Make some tough decisions. If you follow me, you’ll see, I am hiring one every month. I’m not adding, I’m replacing. The fat cats can go and the new blood needs to come. Don’t get me wrong. I invested in the existing ones. I owe them a lot of my success. But if this starts getting weak, I can’t run on three tires. I gotta have four tires to keep moving. So tough decisions have to be made.”
Denis insists that you have to figure out a way to meet your goals. If your existing plan is not working, think of other ways to make it work. Have you tried to get a school contract or leverage a carrier store? Have you invested in inventory? Are you on MarketPlace or eBay? Are you doing something to retain customers?
“So you just have to, you know, make sure that if this is not really working, let me figure something out. Maybe I can make some sales on eBay. Maybe I can make some income from here, generate something from somewhere, figure it out.”
Now how exactly should you go about having a plan for a cell phone repair business?
Usman suggests going the simple route: creating Objectives & Key Results (OKRs). Just jot down two to three goals that you want to achieve by the end of a month or a quarter. For example, during this quarter, you want to increase your sales by x amount.
Once you’ve mentioned them, follow through or share them with someone who will help you follow through, like your mentor.
Then, you need financial projections as well. You can take help from your accountant to make these projections. And then share them with your staff. Be open about these projections. Give reminders to your staff about them. And keep on going through them yourself as well.
Think of ways you can achieve your goals on a daily basis. And if you are consistently not meeting your goals, then something is wrong with the plan. Improvise and move on. Do not keep on doing the same thing over and over and expect different results.
Commandment #4 Thou Shalt Build A Team
If you really want to grow your business, you need to start investing in your employees. How do you do that? By training them.
“Invest in the people, people grow business and that’s it.”
Timothy believes that if you invest in your employees, the business will take care of itself. Unfortunately, though, a lot of repair shop owners don’t want to spend time training their employees. One of the reasons behind this is their ego. They don’t want to take help and so, don’t train their employees.
The consequences of not training your employees are that you continue to lag behind and never find the time to concentrate on growing your business. You think you’ll never find good employees. But you have perfectly fine employees already. You’re probably not taking the pains to train them properly.
At the same time, hiring good employees is a task too. And considering the employee turnover rate in this industry is high, constantly being on the prowl is a good idea. That’s what Israel and Timothy do as well.
“All I would say about this is, always be hiring.
That’s true. It’s a constant process. Get rid of those not working out and you’ll just start building your team.”
Ahmed is a huge proponent of training your team. So much so that they have a training session every week. He trains his staff, watches the implementation, improvises, and trains again. Because he believes training is a constant process and if done right can really turn your business around.
“Investing in the team is the best thing we’ve done. We invest in the team every week. There’s training, there’s talking, there’s listening. And then whatever we do, we implement it with the customers and then train again.”
Another reason why a lot of repair shop owners don’t train is they find it hard to delegate tasks to their teams. That is primarily because they feel there’s no one who can fulfill a task better than they can. And that is not the mindset of someone who wants to grow.
Denis Gutsu of First Response Phone Repair thinks that if you take up the entire responsibility of making money, you are preparing yourself to fail. Because success is a team effort.
“If you believe that every single penny that’s to be made is based on yourself and you are the team, you are setting yourself up for fail.”
Denis further says that when the time is right, and your business can afford it, hire employees and train them. If you can’t hire a full-time employee, hire them part-time. Just start building your team.
Don’t try to be the technician, the receptionist, the sales rep, and everything else yourself. Because if you continue like that, you’re not only working overtime but you’re also generating less income than you could if you hire an employee.
“You will be out there until three, four or five in the morning, each and every single day, because you are the technician, you are the receptionist, you are the sales rep, you are the customer service, you’re everything. So it’s important that you build that team around it and they will start to generate a lot more income.”
Israel thinks that you can even counter the feeling that no one can work like you by training your employees to be entrepreneurs. You need to train your employees to become you. So, they can make decisions like you would.
This is especially helpful if you own multiple stores and require leaders to manage each store. Because a leader will make the right decisions when required.
“I think that one of the most common sayings in an entrepreneurship role is, ‘Man, if I only had a clone of mine, I could get so much accomplished.’ And the way to clone yourself is really hiring someone and training him. My managers are entrepreneurs. My managers are someone like me who can make decisions.”
That being said, what are the areas you train your staff in?
The training varies according to who in your store you want to train. For a sales representative, training on how to deal with people is ideal. You want to teach them the best ways to interact with clients, how to react to their issues, and most importantly, how to up-sell.
Another hugely undermined trait that all employees in the front-end of the store need to learn is empathy. Your staff should be able to listen to the customers and understand their pain points.
In fact, when inquired, Alex said that the top three things that he looks for in a potential employee are personability, trainability and potential growth. By personability, he means someone who is a good human being and is empathetic. So, the employee can listen to the customers, understand them and earn that sale.
Training them on the repair shop POS software should be another integral part of the onboarding process.
As far as your technicians are concerned, upgrading their skills as new tech enters the market is a good idea. Other than that, the SOPs (pre-/post-checklist, etc.) that your shop follows must be included in the training as well.
So, implement these commandments in your daily work life and see how your business grows.
“There’s a suffering coming to the family, but for better.”
The messiahs gave a forewarning. They urged the people to not panic but to be prepared for the hardships ahead. And rightly so. They preached that owning your business is as much a blessing as it is a trial for you.
Because you will have to sacrifice your sleep, your comforts, your money, and sometimes even your family.
But with the warning came glad tidings. The state of suffering will not remain forever. But only for those who follow all the Commandments…
Commandment # 5 Thou Shalt Work On Brand Building
You’ve heard this one being thrown around in every other article you come across on the internet. But what does brand building really mean for a cell phone repair business? Is it big banners outside the shop? Is it having a website and social media presence?
Well, it is all that and more.
For a lot of small repair businesses, the daily chores dominate the majority of the day. Most of them think they’re still too small to enforce processes. But they need to start building SOPs there and then.
This makes it easier for businesses to eventually grow into brands that people trust and keep on coming back to. Building SOPs include training employees, standardizing repair device intaking and outgoing processes, creating a script on how to deal with difficult customers, and more.
Training your employee/s is imperative. Give them incentives, and take care of them.
Employee management can be difficult. But remember that these are people interacting with your customers on a daily. So, they represent your shop and are also responsible for retaining your business. So, take care of them and they will take care of your business.
An integral part of brand building is giving the best customer experience. Train your employees on how to talk to a customer or tackle a tricky situation. Talk to big store owners and find out what they are doing to provide excellent customer service. That’s what Alex swears by.
“You need to focus on the bigger picture. You need to do everything you can to make the customer experience so good that it starts drawing in more people.”
One way that you can definitely win the trust of your customers is by offering a lifetime warranty. A lot of people undermine its efficacy. Because they fail to understand that a broken device is an opportunity to sell more.
If a customer comes back to you for a repair, you can always up-sell or cross-sell and make up for the free repair that you’ve done.
Israel’s pricing strategy as we’ve already discussed revolves around lowering the price of common repairs to a maximum. At the same time, he gives a lifetime warranty to his customers across all 14 cell phone repair shops that he owns.
“People might be saying, ‘Hey, if this is too low, it might be sketchy’ or whatever. But when you go back and say, ‘Hey, we have a lifetime warranty on repairs’ that sketchiness goes right away.”
So, by offering a lifetime warranty, you’re earning your customer’s loyalty and increase their trust in your services.
Another way to build your brand is to take online reviews. Make it easy for your customers to leave a review. Either frame a barcode right by the exit door or send reminder emails to your customers to you a review on Google or Yelp.
More than 90% of people read an online review before they decide on the quality of the business. And more than 70% will make a buying decision only AFTER they’ve gone through reviews. That’s how important reviews are to your business.
Don’t fret about a few bad reviews here and there though. As long as a majority of your reviews are positive, you’re good to go. However, if you’re getting too many negative reviews, instead of getting defensive, learn from them. See what people dislike about your service and try to improve it.
Remember that there are two types of shops out there. The first type is a brand and the second is a commodity. People will pay for the brand but bargain for the commodity. So, it is up to you to decide which type you want to be.
Commandment # 6 Thou Shalt Watch Your Spending
A very wise man once said,
“Watch your spending because the spending can put you out of business as well. If you’re making X and spending more, then you’re burning, you’re going down. So, watch your spending, personal things that need to go away. The nice cars and all these things, let it go. Don’t even watch people. Don’t focus on others, focus on yourself, grow your business and invest in the business.”
That wise man is Ahmed Abusharbain, the CEO of UppLuck and Unlimited Prepay Distribution, a sales trainer, and a life coach. And he’s absolutely right. Because we have some inspirational stories coming right ahead.
Israel started his first repair business when he was still a graduate student. He wasn’t making a lot of money, teaching only one class at the university. So, he realized he doesn’t have money to open a shop.
Instead, he started operating out of his car. He realized he had no money for advertisement either. So, he looked for free advertisements. But free does not mean you’re not putting in any effort. He put his time in Marketplace, Craigslist, and other similar platforms to get the word out.
After a while, he started earning a thousand dollars extra from what he needed. So, he felt it was time to automate his systems and invest in the business. He did not think about upgrading his car or his house. Instead, he kept his expenses the same and concentrated on growing his business.
Today, Israel has a growing repair business with 14 repair shops.
So don’t start spending the moment you start making some extra cash. Instead, concentrate on building your business before you build your lifestyle.
Alex Marini, at the beginning of his repair business journey, would buy $5 pizzas and give them to all the cell phone stores nearby. He would visit the shops, introduce himself and tell them to refer him to customers who come in with a broken phone.
This activity probably only cost him $50 a month but it brought him thousands of dollars worth of business. The message being, you don’t need to replicate an already big business and spend hundreds of dollars that you don’t have. Think smartly and work with what you have.
If you don’t have the budget for ad spend, think of other ways to market your services. And trust us, you’ll find quite a few.
Another spending mistake according to Alex is that a lot of repair business owners buy every repair tool out there as soon as they start. However, the wise thing to do is to buy tools as and when required.
According to Alex, if you accumulate all the tools, spending all your money on things that you won’t be using for quite a while, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
“Don’t go into this business and set yourself up and buy every tool you can find for every possible repair that can be done. You invest in those things as you need them. So you should take that approach to every aspect.”
Likewise, hire a new employee only when you feel your team is unable to handle the number of repairs coming in. If you’ve just opened your shop, don’t just go ahead and buy that $2000 laser machine.
First, build customer relations and a clientele. Then think about investing in additional tools and big machinery. If you are smart about these things, you won’t end up getting caught in debt.
“Build up those savings to get there, build those tools, build that customer base. And work on your customer relations before you throw all your money away, and bury yourself in debt.”
Commandment # 7 Thou Shalt Build Customer Relationship
It is important to show your customers that you respect them, you care for them and they are wanted. A lot of shop owners and their employees judge customers by their appearance and lose respect for those that they think won’t buy or might steal something.
That is the wrong way to go about it. Every customer, irrespective of their appearance, is important and must be respected. Denis is especially mindful of such biases. He’s even spoken to multiple cell phone repair business owners who are very stubborn with their pricing and feel that certain customers are just not worth their time.
If a customer comes into your shop and is unable to pay your price, do not belittle them. And if you’re biased about someone’s liquidity based on their appearance, you are doing your business a disservice.
Because you don’t know who will spend how much unless they actually avail your services.
“I just can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure that each and every single customer receives the same kind of respect, the same customer service and the same kind of experience that you would have given any other person that walks into your store. There’s been times that, you know, you think that this customer won’t purchase anything and they ended up buying, you know, more than the next.”
Also, if you really want to turn a new customer into a regular one, you must listen to them. Make them feel like you understand them. You also need to take each customer as an opportunity.
As Timothy says, every time a new customer pops into your shop, think as if you’ll die if this customer didn’t do business with you.
“Just listen. It’s simple, guys. Just listen, give them that one-on-one, pay attention. That’s it! I mean, just give them an experience that they’re never gonna forget and that’s the first step to it. Give it your all, when these customers walk through the door, treat them like either they are going to pay or you’re going to die.”
As far as difficult customers are concerned, dealing with them can be an ordeal. But, you must know how to deal with them. And the foremost thing any veteran cell phone repair business owner will tell you is to agree with them.
Give them the affirmation that their feelings are justified. Because the first part of sales is agreeing. Do not challenge the customer, you’ll always lose that battle. Ahmed further talks about how owners and employees give their customers what they think is best rather than what was asked.
Of course, you can give advice but do not dictate what their best solution should be. Listen first and then talk.
“Don’t give your customers what you think is right for them, give them what they ask you for. All these things are important. And of course give that advice and all these recommendations. But listen, first and then talk.”
At the same time, dealing with customers is not a piece of cake. So it is important that you remind yourself to take a breather every now and then. Otherwise, it will get overwhelming and you will get all burnt out.
That is exactly what Israel does himself.
“Dealing with customers is not easy. So if you try to have a balanced life as much as you can, I think it will help. And it’s helped me a hundred percent.”
So, give yourself and your employees a break every now and then from dealing with customers. A good way to go about it is to rotate duties. If two employees are dealing directly with customers, give each a break every 2-3 months by sending them to work on inventory management or some other chore that does not involve dealing with customers. This should help them relax.
Your customers are your source of income. But if you really listen to them, they can add to that stream of income. Know what they’re complaining about and check if you’re offering that service.
“Listen to your customers, that’s your biggest area for growth. What are they asking for that you’re not offering? That’s a lost avenue of revenue.”
And around that time, the fourth and last set of revelations came.
Commandment # 8: Thou Shalt Outsource Bookkeeping
Handling finances can be quite a task, especially as a shop owner where you have to take care of absolutely everything. However, the best way to handle numbers is by outsourcing your finances. Let someone else take care of your bookkeeping.
Why do we say that?
For one, you’ll be saving up on a lot of time. You’ll have someone else, who is a professional, give you important stats on your business, including expenses, leakages, and profits. And lastly, you will be able to forecast and plan without really going into your books.
There are a number of options for outsourcing bookkeeping available out there, economical and expensive. If you are just starting out and can’t spend a lot on money-managing firms, buy a $40 subscription of Quickbooks. It will provide you with all the necessary tools and an overview of your business expense.
Having a software like Quickbooks on your side has other benefits. It saves you a lot of time that you can spend on areas that need more of your attention, for example, sales. Moreover, you can only price your services well if you know your per hour or per repair cost. Quickbooks can help you calculate that. You can also get some help from your POS software reports.
Timothy says there is no shame in outsourcing your shop’s financing. You didn’t go to school to learn that so it is okay to hire someone to do it for you. Because you are saving a lot of time and money by doing this.
The best way to put it is to hire a bookkeeper, guys. Like, hire somebody to do [it for you]. You didn’t go to school for this. Keep it simple. Quickbooks, $40 Does it all for you?
Alex further iterates and impresses upon Tim’s point. He narrates his own story, telling he did not hire an accountant when he initially started his own business. Although he knew how to work around accounts, he hated doing it.
And that is the worst mistake he could make. So, when he had had enough, he hired an accountant in the second year to maintain his books.
When I was in my first year, I didn’t hire an accountant. I did it all myself and I hated it. In the second year, I was like, what do they want? Do my books. I’m done. And it’s been great.
As an entrepreneur, your time is precious. You need to know exactly what is worth spending your time on. And bookkeeping isn’t one of them. Because it is time-taking and frustrating. Besides, it isn’t particularly expensive to outsource it.
You can hire a bookkeeper for around $80-$90 a month. The actual price may vary a little but should fall somewhere around this range.
Ahmed had hired a guy who kept books for each of his stores. He paid the bookkeeper $70-$80 per month for each location. And he feels that was his best expense. Because he only wanted to know where his money is leaking, and what the profits are like. So, he could devise ways to plug the leakage and plan ahead for his business without wasting a lot of time and energy actually working on the books.
When I had my stores, there’s a guy who was charging me like $70 or $80 per door. And I had a few stores. It was the best bill I paid. I just want to see profits and tell me where I’m leaking so I can fix the leak. That’s it.
If you fall under the category where you can’t even afford a $40 bill, Timothy suggests contacting someone who is willing to do your books for a certain percentage of your profits. For instance, you can tell him that you’ll give 1% of your profits to the bookkeeper each month for his services.
So, if you cannot spare any money, it is time to think out of the box. There is always a way out. You just have to think really hard.
You can even barter your services in exchange for bookkeeping. For instance, you can fix your bookkeeper’s phone for free in exchange for his bookkeeping services. Or come up with some other exchange of services that is lucrative for both parties.
Commandment # 9: Thou Shalt Focus On Growing Business Rather Than Paying Bills
If you really want to scale your business, you need time to think, plan and implement. And if you are completely focused on the everyday workings of your shop, going into the nitty-gritty details, you will never be able to grow.
Know which responsibilities you need to let go of and which ones you should delegate. It is very hard to let go, we understand. But that is the only way you will be able to scale up.
Also, don’t be too afraid to spend money as long as you know a certain expense will pay for itself in the long term. Alex says you have to invest to grow. And as long as you know the exact state of your shop, the finances and all, and you’re making decisions based on stats, you shouldn’t worry about investing in your business.
Your bookkeeper should tell you about the general stats. You can access detailed reports from your POS software.
Because if you are smart about your investments, you will reap benefits.
Put that little bit of money you have in a specific ad that you know is going to bring something. You really need to focus on growing the business and the bills will come. The money for the bills will fall into place. If you’re doing everything right on the business side, you’ve got to believe that your efforts will pay off.
As a successful business owner and learning from his own journey, Usman feels that a lot of business owners make the mistake of getting caught up in managing their business. Their actual goal should only be focusing on growing the business and building a rapport with the customers.
This includes handling the sales and marketing side of the business, thinking of ways to increase revenue, exploring new avenues, and maximizing revenue from existing ones.
The number one goal for business owners should be marketing, growing your business, meeting customers on the floor to know what their pain points are, building partnerships.
However, while you are planning business growth, you need to be consistent. You cannot be working overtime one week and then barely do anything the next. The effort has to be consistent.
The most obvious reason why a lot of cell phone repair shop owners get stuck in the rut is that they get too comfortable. But there is little growth in the comfort zone.
Timothy adds that even if you lose some steam along the way, you have to find reasons to continue. There are a lot of people that look up to you, including your family and employees. Do it for them.
You have to continue to grind. You owe it to your family. You owe it to your employees. You owe it to your franchisees. You have to continue to work and you have to have the right mindset.
Timothy is actually the perfect example of persistence. To grow his business, one idea that he wanted to explore was partnering with Walmart. So, he began contacting the concerned people at Walmart on LinkedIn. It took him two years of pursuing Walmart relentlessly before they signed a deal with him.
Two years is a long time and many would give up. But not Timothy. Because he had a vision for his franchise and he knew he had to achieve it no matter what. So consistency is key.
Commandment # 10 Thou Shalt Get A POS Software
When you’re scaling your business, trying to make it without a POS software would be the biggest mistake you can make. Because the more you automate your processes, the smoother they’ll become and the more time you will get to focus on your business growth.
There are just too many disadvantages of not investing in a repair shop POS software.
For instance, you won’t be able to monitor your employee productivity, especially if you have multiple locations. Manually sending emails and marketing will result in losing potential customers.
Moreover, you won’t have computerized pre- and post-repair checklists, making you prone to more repair errors, jeopardizing the quality of your service. You won’t know which accessories or device models are selling faster so you can plan future sales accordingly.
Keeping track of your inventory and knowing which parts are low in stock will become difficult to manage.
While all repair shops, big and small, have some systems they follow to keep track of repairs, invoicing, etc., only some have a one-solution POS software like RepairDesk.
Ahmed talks about the need for a POS system.
Opening a store without a billing system, PR system is a disaster. Nobody knows their numbers. Nobody knows if they’re running out of parts overnight, a screen, while you should’ve had 10 of them, at least sitting in your warehouse, all these things, mistakes that can hurt them and cost them money and lose customers.