Nikki helps aspiring business owners and techno mages learn to fix cell phones and tablets in small classes. But it wasn't always that way. Her first store was called Nikki's New Odds and Ends, a one-stop shop for technology, clothing, and other knickknacks. Her stores began to expand across southern states, including Texas, Florida, and not one but two Carolinas. As her business grew, she became proficient in technological repair, and soon began to lead classes for others to enter the field.
uBreakiFix CEO Justin Wetherill spoke with Groupon about the importance of protecting your smartphone and the challenges of fixing a phone that has been dropped into a deep fryer.
On the worst thing you can do after cracking your smartphone’s glass screen
“Don’t just put it into your pocket and continue to use it,” Wetherill says. The broken glass can actually cause serious damage to the phone’s inner components and turn a relatively simple fix into a costly repair job.
On the repair process
"Look, this is something we do every day," Wetherill says. "You are not the first person to break a phone.” Collectively, uBreakiFix's highly trained technicians repair more than 20,000 devices a month, drawing from a library of high-quality parts that are tested twice before they ever get used in a repair service. Free diagnostics are a staple at all uBreakiFix locations, so customers understand the problem before any work is done.
On growing his business
uBreakiFix began as a business based out of Wetherill’s living room, and it now boasts more than 60 locations nationwide. “We are proof that the American dream is alive,” he says.
On unusual repair jobs
Wetherill remembers one fast-food employee who dropped her phone into a restaurant’s deep fryer. “It smelled pretty bad,” he said; however, the repairs were successful. Another customer lost his phone in a cement mixer. After some serious effort, the technicians were able to safely recover all of the important data, but the phone died a few hours later. As Wetherill pointed out, “it did go through a cement mixer.” Some miracles just aren’t meant to be.
On the importance of a one-day turnaround time
Repairs at uBreakiFix’s store locations can often take as little as an hour, according to Wetherill. This is a critical part of the shops' focus—something Wetherill personally understands. If forced to choose between spending the weekend without his smartphone or his left arm, he jokes that he would pick the arm. “Of course, this is assuming that there wouldn’t be any pain,” he laughs.
When most people get a new smartphone, they begin by familiarizing themselves with the operating system and downloading new apps. When Dylan McKerchie gets a new smartphone, he immediately begins disassembling it. That's because he's obsessed with knowing how things work; in his career, he has done everything from building dirt bikes to repairing electronics.
And electronics are McKerchie's true specialty—today, he operates Myphoneisbroken, a small chain of repair shops where technicians replace shattered touchscreens, broken back covers, and dead batteries in smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Aside from repairs, McKerchie's team members also visit both residential and commercial properties to administer device tutorials and develop mobile solutions for businesses.