The Experts’ Manual on Building a Rockstar Cell Phone Repair Shop – Part I

by Komayal Hassan

This is a 4-Part Series – Setting Up a Cell Phone Repair Shop 101

Part I

2021 is drawing to a close – but the cell phone repair industry (in America and elsewhere) is booming. A win-win scenario for anyone looking to enter the field and start earning. And the natural opening here to making it big quick? Building a Rockstar Cell Phone Repair Shop.

What this manual, drawing on the insights of current field experts, will help you achieve. 

Something better than the competition.

Channeling longtime pros who know what it takes to set up shop. Rake good currency. And who are willing to impart their honest, raw wisdom to all the newbies getting ready to hustle.

But first, focus your orientation a bit, and consider:

Increasing smartphone sales mean increasing breakages. Add to that the longer lifespans (courtesy greater hardware durability) of new models. A feature that extends well past their warranty periods. Plus factor in the increasing public support for the Right to Repair movement.

Now, what does this all boil down to?

A good future for cell phone repair techs. As well as the entire business structure that rests on their shoulders.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t revenue scares every so often (take the sales ravages of the pandemic – still ongoing; cutting into profits). The long-term trend, however, is encouraging.

Another Important Thing to Note Early: If you’re serious about setting up a brick and mortar in the U.S, you need to invest a minimum of $20,000-$30,000 to start earning. These figures include the costs of licensing (discussed in Part III), rent, and initial overheads. If you’re short on capital, you’ll need to go mobile in the beginning. Work your way up until you’re good to compete.

So now that you’ve got your vision all sorted 😎, let’s get down to the step-by-step. 

Start your operation from the ground up.

STEP 1: Get Done with all the Ideating

Everything business first starts in the mind – the abstract space. 

The place where you build your ideas from scratch. Sometimes, even from a creative insight that you’ve tucked away. Waiting for the right moment when you can finance it into reality. Dished as a solution to a minute market need that no one’s yet thought of – or no one’s currently catering to.

In the cell phone repair industry, which is fast saturating, this means better service. A total no-brainer.

Now, this could entail working with an updated, more refined, version of the present shop model. Better location, more competitive pricing, greater repair skill, and so on.

Or, it could mean coming up with a new system. A good example would be the remote-working type shop models all the rage these days (Hello COVID!) in some states. An even more contemporary, time-adapted, version of the mobile tech repair service.

Here, cell phone repair shop workers work completely online. The owners, repair techs, cashiers, delivery people, and customers connect via POS systems. These software utilities allow for much greater efficiency than manual collaborations/record keeping. And more efficiency means less time and resource wastage. So big wins on the bottom line.

Another thing to keep in mind:

Increasing communications tech innovations will only entrench this trend further. Take the rise and eventual normalization of 5G. Foreshadowing the age of the all-remote, gig economy 🙌.

Ok. Enough teetering on the edge of digression.

Begin with an appropriate cell phone repair shop name. 

Now there’s a process to getting this right.

First, take a look at your budget. You wouldn’t want to slip in big-market terms like ‘California Cell Repairs’ right off the bat. Not when your first round of clients is to be curious walk-in customers with light pockets. 

Go for more reality-communicating terms like ‘Joe’s Cell Fix’ or ‘Sarah’s Phone Mend’. Authentic and deliverable (promising what is manageable).

At the same time, it’s important that your name is clear on the business intent. ‘Joe’s Fix’ wouldn’t do, since no one would be able to figure out what you’re serving. Some might even think you’ve opened up a new bar across the street. 🍺

Also, you want to keep the name-phrase short so it’s easy on the tongue. You want to become the go-to cell phone repair tech in your area, remember? So long, sentence-types like ‘Sarah’s Californian Cellphone Mend Services’ are out.

Another Important Concern: Each state in the US has different, legal, naming conventions for corporations. Right from the start, you want to be very sure that your chosen name meets these criteria. Otherwise, you could be in for a costly rejection! Also, the type of cell phone repair shop business structure you choose may require you to file a DBA (doing business as…). Particularly important if your legal name is different from your trade name.

Other than sticking with these prescriptions, feel free to experiment. The best policy here would be to pick a name that’s also meaningful to you in some way. You can even use a business name generator tool if the grey cells aren’t kicking.

Match Initial Business Size to Budget

Whether it’s during the time you launch or after you scale, you never want to bite off more than you can chew. At the same time, you want to leverage all the capital at your disposal. 

Jot down a clear priority list of your essential business requirements. The necessities like repair tools, support hardware, shop furniture, wiring, and maintenance equipment. Your initial (basic) set of expenditures. Tailored to the device types you’re going to be fixing.

A typical cell phone repair shop does much more than smartphone repair. It also sells standalone device parts and warranty as a retailer. 

Sometimes, these outfits can even dabble in fixing other kinds of electronics. Take gaming consoles, watches, and television sets. So you need to decide how many verticals you’re going to be taking on when you begin.

Add (digital) marketing and any applicable logistics (delivery) charges to the mix. If you’re going to be working with techs, you may need to factor in their commissions. Overhead bills for electricity, internet, water, and gas. 

Your tentative shop location rent is also an important consideration.

Business profits, of course, are your revenues minus expenditures values. As you grow, these variables will also change.

Set Up a Mission Statement

Deciding on your business mission statement early is important. It can be something simple like:

To become the No. 1 cell phone repair shop in the area.

Or it can be something more far-reaching and ambitious:

To become the No. 1 cell phone and electric repair shop in the area.

Not only does this serve as a guiding principle, it is also grounding. It prevents you from going too off-track when those flights of fancy should kick in. A common occurrence when businesses start to grow in revenue. 

Design, Codify & Record

Before you go on to commit funds, you want to design and codify certain specifics. 

First, choose a logo that you’re comfortable with. Nowadays, you can do this for free through several mobile and desktop design apps. The logo, like the name, should be representative of your business intent.

Then, you need to draft a ‘targets outline’. This document should break down your long-term target (tied to the MS) into shorter stages. Achievable goals is the mantra here.

You also want to note down any operational/work policies for your cell phone repair business. Trust us – you’ll be thankful to have this framework in place once you’re all go. When working in the industry, you only want to focus on fixing. Don’t give in to diversion; this is where service quality can suffer (as it usually does).

So this is it for Part I of this new series – dishing the full scoop on what it takes to build a cell phone repair service from scratch. Insights relevant to the 2021-22 period.

Please stay tuned for Part II – where we’ll get into the funding part of setting up shop in the US.

In the meantime, here’s a neat checklist for you to print (marking the start of your business journey)!

Checklist I – Building a Rockstar Cell Phone Repair Shop

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