Repair Or Replace: Knowing When To Fix And When To Chalk It Up

by Mahnoor Mansur

Repair or replace, what is the best way to go about a repair job?

Your repair shop technician asks you, after taking in a faulty iPhone 12 through your cell phone repair business software.

Your technician suggests that the faulty device needs replacing. And plans on suggesting the new iPhone 13 as replacement because it’s the latest technology. But it also requires more investment upfront besides just money.

For instance, the customer will have to buy a protector, back cover, and other accessories to keep the device safe.

While it’s true that you can never put a price on technology and efficiency, the dilemma of repairing or replacing is always in the picture. Making it the technician’s worst nightmare.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single, easy formula for them to follow to get the answer in many cases. Instead, several factors need to be assessed to make the final decision.

Repairing Or Replacing – What Should It Be?

We have broken these points of consideration into 4 essential points for you to explore in detail.

1.    Analyze The Costs

The first step that you should be considering is the cost. The expense of a new piece of equipment is easy to calculate, but determining the costs of repairing a faulty device is more complicated.

You have to consider all the costs linked with the repair. These costs include labor, parts, and losses that can occur because of the downtime involved in the entire process of repairing.

After all these calculations, create an estimate of the maintenance cost of the new device VS the old one. When will the customer have to reinvest in the repair work?

If the entire spent on the repair exceeds 50% of the price of the latest device, replacing is the best option.

It’s better for the customer to cut their loss, pay a little more in the short-term, and save themselves from long-term maintenance costs.

Let’s continue with the example of the iPhone 12 that came in for repair through your cell phone repair business software. Unfortunately, the display is completely shattered, and there is water damage as well.

Now repairing the device is possible but will result in substantial maintenance costs in the future. In addition, because of water damage, other components of the motherboard can start acting out. Thus, resulting in more repair jobs for your business.

If you go down this route, there are chances you might get to earn more of that device. But you are more likely to face an angry customer and a negative review for not fixing the device right in the first place.

Thinking about the benefits of the customer will ensure customer satisfaction and will result in repeat business for you. So, pick a solution that is beneficial for you and your customer.

Kevin Marquess, the founder of Marquess IT Solutions, shares the importance of costs in the repair or replace dilemma. However, he feels that repair shops should consider the most essential thing i.e. price before replacing or repairing a device.

“I guess like the biggest thing for me always is price. So when the value of the repairs is going to cost you more money than when you replace the entire device at that point, the biggest thing for me is pretty much just value. But it’s also personal preference for the customer because there could be valuable photos or something on that phone that they need to have that thing back, no matter what. So there are a few things, but mainly its price.”

2.    Consider The Age Of The Parts

Repeat failures and costs take us to the next point that is considering the age of the parts.

Unlike a good wine, cell phones don’t get better with time. However, there is one thing similar between the two – they both become expensive over time.

As time goes on and new cell phones come into the market, it becomes harder to find spare parts. And in a few cases, it becomes almost impossible to get original parts.

A cell phone that is coming closer to the end of its life expectancy requires more maintenance costs, both corrective and preventive. Even if the customer keeps track of maintenance, equipment deteriorates with time.

So, review all the information you have gathered about the device’s operations before you start repairing it.

It may just be the time for the customer to bid farewell to their faithful cell phone that they have been using for so long.

But at times, the age of the part makes it act out, and the rest of the device is working just fine. For instance, the battery of the customer’s cell phone is not charging. 

Here Kevin Marquess suggests considering the metrics of usage. A battery usually lasts two years. Inquire a little about the battery and then decide to repair or replace it.

“I usually use the metrics past two years. But I usually ask beforehand because they don’t even know if it’s a battery, a charge port, or anything else. Customers are not cell phone repair diagnosticians. So if they come in with their own diagnosis, I usually challenge it a little bit just to make sure that that’s what it is.”

He further adds:

So I’ll ask a question like, Hey. What makes you want to replace the battery? And I follow up with a second question. And when did it start showing problems? Like is it just not keeping charged for a full day? Usually, that’s the problem; if it’s not keeping a charge for the full day, or they notice that they are having to plug it in for a second time during the day, then that’s usually where the problem is. And if that’s the problem, then for sure, we’re going to go have to replace the battery.  Especially if they answer that it’s been past two years since they have been using the same battery.”

3.    Take Note Of The Efficiency

The age of the parts brings us to the efficiency of the device. Not all cell phones go through more downtime. But they can have a lower overall equipment efficiency which happens over time.

Carefully review the metrics by running the diagnostics through your cell phone repair business software. It will help you assess the efficiency, putting you in a better position to decide whether to repair or replace a device.

Remember, a cell phone needs to have a minimum uptime percentage before being declared as repaired successfully by your technicians.

4.    Consider Downtime

How will the customer be impacted because of the downtime while the device is being repaired? Is the customer willing to stay without the device, if the repair is going to take days?

Keep in mind that replacing takes less time than repairing a device. Repairing involves waiting for parts, taking time to repair, and much more.

So, consider this while deciding to replace or repair.

How Can Your Employees Sell Repairs and Replacements?

Here are a few situations along with points that your employees can pitch while selling repairs and replacements.

1.    Repairing Existing Device

Pros Cons
Least amount of money
Keeps familiar device in use
The fastest solution to run again
Options to increase memory
No depreciation
Easiest short-term fix  
Shortest life expectancy
No upgrade
Parts may be hard to find
Repair may find other problems
It may have an extended lead time
No added, enhanced capacity  

2.      Replacing With New Device

Pros Cons
Longest life expectation
Latest technology
Low maintenance costs
Increases capacity
Comfort and safety features
Top efficiency  
Greatest expense
New payments
Long-term commitment
Warranty obligations


So, in conclusion, there is no hard and fast rule for deciding to repair or replace. However, you can use the factors mentioned above to make your final decision.

The verdict regarding whether to repair or replace cell phones is influenced by various factors, including what brand it is, how it’s utilized, and the sort of environment in which it operates.

Following this insight carefully will allow you to come up with a solution that will be beneficial for your business and the customers.


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