Smartphone Repair Workshop: Business or Craft?

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The Russian smartphone market is experiencing a real boom – for example, in 2019, nearly 33 million new mobile gadgets were sold in the country. It is interesting that the situation did not change radically even after the peak of the COVID epidemic – for example, in May and June of the twentieth year, even 3% more smartphones were sold than in the same months a year earlier. The number of smartphone users per capita is also growing – mainly due to children and the elderly, who have “tasted” all the delights of modern communications.

Moreover, the life cycle of gadgets itself is steadily growing – users are less likely to think about replacing their phone with a more modern one. And, of course, older devices are more often repaired.

Yes, against this background, the opening of a smartphone repair shop seems to be a very popular business, especially since electronic gadgets themselves do not become more reliable from year to year. On the contrary, devices are becoming more and more structurally complex. The number of cameras is growing, gadgets are becoming more complicated not only inside – they are also becoming more “fragile” on the part of the body, remember the recent trend for flexible smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. In a word, for the workshops – an unplowed field in terms of work.

Registration of a smartphone repair shop

It doesn’t matter if you take on the repair of smartphones at home, rent a small room on the ground floor of a high-rise building, or put an island in a shopping center – in any case, the business will require registration first of all.

From the point of view of the legal form of business, it is better to opt for an individual entrepreneur – this is the best option for a smartphone repair shop (the self-employed option is only suitable if you plan to work without employees). The package of documents for registering yourself as an individual entrepreneur is minimal:

  • Application for registration;
  • Entrepreneur’s passport, as well as its copy;
  • TIN;
  • Payment of the state duty (receipt) in the amount of 800 rubles (and when registering online, this is not even necessary).

Of course, there will be more trust from potential customers if you open a workshop in the office, and there will be more visitor traffic. Therefore, if there is a rented premises, in terms of taxation, UTII (single tax on income) or the notorious “simplified taxation” – USN is suitable. For a smartphone repair shop, OKVED code 95.12 Repair of communication equipment is suitable.There are no special permits and permits to carry out business activities in the field of repair of electronic equipment. However, it will not be superfluous to undergo training and obtain a certificate from one of the smartphone manufacturers. 

This will not only allow you to find out the nuances of the service of certain gadget models, but also work “for reputation” – agree that diplomas and certificates from well-known companies hung on the wall will add solidity and trust to the service center. However, we smoothly approached the issue of choosing the premises itself.

Choosing a repair shop

To organize the activities of a smartphone repair workshop, you will not need so much workspace – as a rule, 10-15 square meters are enough. On this area there is a master’s workplace and a client area, where the administrator will be located, accepting equipment for repair or, conversely, issuing repaired gadgets.

First of all, good traffic is important, as well as the convenience of finding a workshop for those customers who apply for orders from the network. It would also be nice to have free parking spaces for those customers who come by car, and the proximity of public transport stops.

Renting commercial real estate of such a small area will not hurt the pocket of a novice entrepreneur – if we are talking about the first floors of high-rise buildings in the sleeping areas of a million-plus city, you can find good options for renovated offices for 15,000 – 20,000 rubles.

Purchase of furniture and equipment

Let’s move on to the purchase of furniture and the necessary equipment to complete the workshop with everything you need. 

In terms of furniture, the minimum required for 1-2 masters is rather modest: two tables, an administrator’s desk, shelves and a safe for storing phones. If you buy all this stuff in new stores, you will have to part with about 50,000 rubles, but buying furniture from hand on bulletin boards will reduce costs to 20,000 rubles.

It is necessary to add to the basic expenses the purchase of a computer and office equipment (30,000 – 40,000 rubles), however, many entrepreneurs use their personal laptops at first. 

From the working tool you will need to purchase the following items:

 COST ITEM AMOUNT, RUB.
Microscope for soldering small parts 15,000
Soldering station with hair dryer6000
Monitor for checking computers5000
Screwdrivers, spatula, scalpel for different phone models5000
Receipt printer5400
Programmer (UFS) for flashing chips5000
Multimeter (tester)2000
Table lamps2000
ultrasonic bath2000
Universal power supply1500
Anti-static brush and wrist strap800
Vacuum tweezers300

The total cost of purchasing the most necessary tool will be about 50,000 rubles. If you plan to repair not only mobile phones, but also other electronics (laptops, computers, MFPs) in the future, you will have to fork out for an infrared soldering station. By the standards of general investments in business, this pleasure is not cheap – about one and a half hundred thousand rubles. But the IPS will allow you to take into work expensive orders for the repair of motherboards (the average check is from 8,000 to 10,000 rubles), and also to rent to private traders (an average of 2,000 rubles per order).

Where to get spare parts for smartphone repair

It is most profitable to purchase spare parts and consumables for smartphone repair primarily from wholesale suppliers and manufacturers from China. One bad luck – most customers need a gadget repair here and now, and waiting even a couple of weeks for the delivery of the necessary components from the Middle Kingdom is not possible. 

Therefore, an aspiring entrepreneur opening a smartphone repair shop has two options. The first is to invest a serious amount of money and buy spare parts and consumables “for the future”, the second is to replenish the ranks of customers of wholesalers in your city. In our case, we propose to stop at the second option, as requiring the least losses in terms of finances, time and nerves.

As a rule, wholesale suppliers are also interested in constant cooperation, so most of them have various loyalty programs for regular customers. However, at first you should not count on big discounts – a maximum of 10-15 percent of the total price list.

So that employees do not waste time traveling and purchasing an order, most wholesalers have their own courier delivery service (moreover, for a certain order amount, for example, from 1000 rubles, delivery for the workshop is free). Suppliers in large cities work quite quickly – usually no more than 2-3 hours pass from the moment an order for a part is accepted to its delivery to the workshop.

As a rule, suppliers provide a relatively small warranty on purchased parts, from two weeks to a month. Moreover, what is most interesting, it works only until the spare part is installed on the gadget. Therefore, you should be very careful when installing spare parts on mobile phones – otherwise you will have to answer for it with a ruble.

Marketing and sales of a smartphone repair shop

A new smartphone repair shop needs to be actively promoted both online and offline. 

Online advertising

  • Paid social media posts. On the network, you can first place paid posts in popular publics of the city, as well as the area where you opened. 
  • Maintaining your accounts. Do not be too lazy to maintain your account on social networks, where you can upload photos of finished work, reviews of satisfied customers. An important criterion is the regularity of content updates. 
  • Blogger advertising. You can also advertise your account with already popular bloggers working in other fields.
  • Contextual advertising. Not only posts in social networks show themselves very effectively, but also contextual advertising in Yandex.Direct and Google Adwords. However, it is worth considering that the cost of impressions and clicks for such popular queries as “replacement of the screen for an iPhone” or “cheap smartphone repair” is quite high. There is a lot of competition. Therefore, in order not to drain the already rather large budget for targeting and context, do not be too lazy to hire a good director who will optimize and set up the entire advertising campaign. The cost of the services of freelance specialists, as a rule, is about 10,000 rubles per month, in addition to the advertising costs themselves.

Initially, we recommend that you budget about 20,000 rubles for online advertising. 

Offline advertising

  • Outdoor advertising. About another 30,000 rubles will need to be spent on the manufacture of a simple sign and pillar. 
  • Posting. Some workshops use the old-fashioned way, which is simple, but does not lose effectiveness over time – posting ads on the doors of entrances and in elevators. 
  • Handout. Another option is to print leaflets and then distribute them among the residents of the nearest quarters.

For many customers, the decisive factor when choosing a smartphone repair shop will be not only the price and terms of repair, but also additional functionality – for example, the ability to come for a broken phone at the appointed time and deliver it to your home after repair. This service became especially relevant in 2020 with the spread of the pandemic – many potential customers prefer not to go anywhere and stay at home once again.

Repair shop staff

The key issue in the smartphone repair business is the problem with personnel. Most of the masters in the services work on a piece-rate basis, receiving 30-40 percent of the order value. Moreover, there are few competent and responsible employees, and at the same time, many of them already work constantly with any service center. 

The average payroll of a service center employee varies from the number of orders and the practical experience of a specialist, averaging 25,000-40,000 rubles.

Therefore, it often happens that an entrepreneur himself is engaged in the repair of mobile equipment, and when there are already more orders, he hires an assistant with no experience (or with little experience in this field), whom he eventually teaches all the nuances of this business. However, it is very difficult to find an experienced specialist who will keep the whole business from scratch. For this reason, many entrepreneurs in this area remain performers themselves, without moving on to scaling the business.

Additional lines of business

In addition to mobile equipment repair services, the service center can sell related accessories, as well as SIM cards from various operators. This is especially true for workshops located in residential areas. Often, in order not to go to a specialized store in a shopping center, it will be more convenient for a buyer to drop by to buy a charger, USB flash drive or headphones. The same applies to the sale of SIM-cards, and when fulfilling the connection plan, you can even count on an additional bonus from the service provider.

Smartphone Repair Shop Financial Performance

Revenue. A big plus of opening a smartphone repair shop is the small amount of investment required at the start. The threshold for entering a business does not exceed 200,000 rubles, and often it is even lower. Let’s take a closer look at what costs this amount will be formed from.

Starting investment in opening a workshop

 NAMES OF COSTS COST, RUB.
 Purchasing furniture (second hand from bulletin boards) 20 000
 Laptop (in case you don’t want to use your personal one) 40 000
 Monthly rent payment in advance 15,000
 Production of an advertising banner and a simple sign 30,000
 Procurement of a basic tool for smartphone repair 50,000
 IP registration costs 3000 (800 fee + payment for consulting services on request 2200)  
Total:158 000


Smartphone repair shop monthly costs:

 NAMES OF COSTS  AMOUNT, RUB.
 FOT 30,000 (1 master)   
 Utilities, internet 5000
 Online advertising 20 000
  Purchase of spare parts 30,000
 Total: 85 000

Income. Planned revenue per month: 150,000 rubles (calendar month 30 days with an average daily revenue of 5,000 rubles). Thus, from one small service center you can receive a relatively small amount per month – about 65,000 – 70,000 rubles a month. In the future, with an increase in the number of orders (and, as a result, the number of employees), we can talk about an increase in profit from one service center by 2 times or more. 

The payback period for a smartphone repair shop does not exceed 3 months.

The mistake of many entrepreneurs starting to work in this area: in the desire to save on the salary of a hired foreman, they begin to take over the entire repair process, but in the end they are “sewn up” in fluid operational work and the business does not grow. Thus, in essence, a smartphone repair shop turns from a business into a handicraft. Therefore, in this niche, it is especially important not to be afraid to delegate processes and constantly develop the business, bringing it to high speeds.

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