If you have the necessary skills, starting a computer or electronic repair business might sound like easy money.
But don’t be fooled. In 2021 there are over 50,600 electronic repair shops in the US alone. And many are struggling, with 1.5% of them predicted to go out of business in 2021.
It’s a saturated marketplace, and without the right approach, your business is likely to fail before it even begins.
But if you do a few things right to stand out from the crowd, you can successfully start and grow your new electronic repair business.
In this article, we’ll cover how to start an electronics repair business the right way, and how to use smart tools to optimize, scale, and improve your profit margins.
This is a comprehensive resource. To navigate to the section which interests you most, click the links below:
- What Do You Need to Start an Electronic Repair Business?
- Simple 4-Step Electronic Repair Business Plan for Success
- Differentiate Your Business by Offering Home Service
- How to Optimize and Scale Your Repair Business With OptimoRoute
What Do You Need to Start an Electronic Repair Business?
In most states, all you need is a valid business license and insurance to start repairing consumer electronics and getting paid for it.
To cover your bases and set your business up to scale and make a sustainable living, it’s wise to set up a few things from the start:
- Relevant business licenses for your city/state. For example, the Electronics and Appliance Repair License in San Francisco.
- A separate business bank account for payments and expenses.
- Interested customers (or a way to market your services to them).
- Basic business liability insurance to cover any potential mistakes.
Of course, a business plan wouldn’t hurt…
Simple 4-Step Electronic Repair Business Plan for Success
Chances are, you’re not going to ask for Silicon Valley-style venture capital when starting this small business. So you don’t need to get all that complicated.
Here’s a 4-step, bare bones business plan to start you off on the right foot.
1. Identify your target market and competition
Market research is an important first step.
According to Hanover Research, 68% of companies that increased their sales relied on market research to do so.
Luckily, in this case, a simplified approach is enough. Explore your local area for similar repair businesses through Google and local business directories.
Then, you need to consider the unique demographics of your area, and which target group is your ideal target customer.
For example, people over 40 years old with desktop computer or other appliance issues, who are successful in their careers and would prefer at-home repairs or appliance care.
To learn more about the basic demographics in your city, you can use Facebook Audience Insights.
You can explore age groups, job titles, and even the most popular page likes.
2. Develop services uniquely useful to your target market
Find a service or set of services that are uniquely useful to your target market.
If you are targeting busy older professionals, like above, home service calls would be a good match. Simply because they’re busy and don’t want to drag their electronic devices to your store on the way to, or after work.
To make sure you have a unique competitive advantage from your very first day, you need to answer the following questions:
- What are the unique needs of your ideal customers?
- What services can you offer that meet those needs?
- Are other local business owners offering the same or similar services?
- What can you do to deliver even more unique value to your ideal customer base?
3. Be strategic with your budget rather than taking up a loan
Chances are you don’t have an unlimited budget, which will make it hard to launch a full-scale business from the beginning.
According to CB Insights, 29% of new businesses end up failing because they run out of cash too soon.
Even if you have a significant amount of savings, you don’t want to drop it all in the beginning.
You need to stretch those savings to last you as long as possible, so be strategic with your budget.
- If possible, start with a home office, offering only service calls to fix appliances at people’s homes.
- Offer services that require less expensive or no gear, like virus or malware removal, before investing as revenue grows.
You may have to put some of your business ideas on hold until you have established enough cash flow to merit investing.
4. Create a basic marketing plan
Printing out and handing out business cards isn’t a marketing plan.
To succeed, you must figure out the best way to reach your ideal customers online and offline.
- Where are your ideal customers spending time? Do they belong to any communities?
- What is the best way to get their attention?
- What is your unique selling proposition (why should customers choose you)?
For industries based on immediate time-sensitive demand, like electronics repairs, search engines are your friend.
The ads will allow you to instantly reach potential customers, just as they need repair services. You should get familiar with important small business metrics before you start a campaign.
But you need something to differentiate your business from competitors.
Differentiate Your Business by Offering At-Home Service Calls
For desktop, TV, and other medium-sized appliance repairs, nobody wants to drag them into their car and haul them to a repair shop.
Still, most smaller local businesses don’t offer any kind of service calls or at-home repair services.
By offering this, you can create a key differentiator and make marketing and sales much easier for your business.
How to Optimize and Scale Your Repair Business With OptimoRoute
Based in New England, Clarke Customer Care is an appliance repair service that focuses on service calls.
Because their service area is so large, this involves a lot of driving and travel time for the technicians.
To maximize productivity, they needed a more efficient process for dispatch management and routing their service calls.
More repairs in less time (with the same workforce)
With OptimoRoute’s advanced scheduling tools, the dispatch manager could quickly plan and forecast service capacity several days ahead (while staying flexible).
You can schedule technicians up to five weeks in advance while accounting for service area, customer time windows, technician skills and qualifications, capacity, and working shifts.
This allowed the team to handle over 20 extra jobs per day combined, a 10-15% increase in overall productivity without any new hires.
Send the right technician to the right job (and improve first-time fix rate)
If someone has a broken fridge or oven, the last thing they want after calling a technician over to repair it is to hear, “I can’t fix it right now.”
The easiest way to keep your customers happy is to make sure you always send the right technician to each job.
OptimoRoute automatically ensures technicians have the right skill set and the right tools to fix the likely issue on the first visit.
Clarke’s dispatcher no longer has to spend time mixing and matching for each job, and the first-time fix rate is a whopping 80%.
Keep customers happy and avoid missed appointments with live ETAs for dispatchers and customers
Before OptimoRoute, the Clarke Customer Care dispatch manager would have to manually call and alert customers when technicians were on their way. This took 2–3 unnecessary working hours on a daily basis.
OptimoRoute can automatically send notifications to customers by email or SMS, with real-time tracking. The advance notifications and live ETAs helped keep missed appointments to a minimum.
Since many customers didn’t want to be called on the phone about the notifications, it improved the customer experience.
Improved flexibility with dynamic replanning and mobile app for techs
OptimoRoute offers unique dynamic replanning features that allow you to fit in last-minute orders without issue. You can either assign them to new technicians or fit them into existing schedules of techs who have the time.
Clarke uses our mobile app for its technicians. This allows the dispatcher to instantly sync the planned schedules—no more last-minute calls required.
Smart Solutions Help Your Business Grow
With smart scheduling and routing software like OptimoRoute, you can serve customers more efficiently and protect your profit margins. It’s also much easier to keep providing consistent service as demand grows.
Since you can schedule and plan all weekly service calls in minutes, not hours, you, the owner, also have more time to focus on revenue-generating activities like marketing and sales.
Optimize and grow your repair business with OptimoRoute, start your 30-day free trial today.