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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:01 AM   #1
Apple Techs
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Interesting Marketing iDeas needed for Apple Repair shop

So I have worked for many ah repair shops and finally had the opportunity to open my own

Things are going great and it is an absolute blast to repair peoples apple devices and see them go away with a smile (I have a lot of horror stories about people and there apple products )

Anyways I was curious if the users here at macrumors might have some marketing ideas or some tips on what they would like to see in a repair shop.

I would really appreciate anyone's input because you are all the type of folks I see in my shop....

thanks much
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:04 AM   #2
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Well, compared to the Apple stores: the ability to actually get an appointment to get an item repaired! Assuming you've already got that covered a comfy waiting area with free coffee.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:11 AM   #3
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Why not advertise on here? Must be loads of members with damaged iStuff in your area.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:20 AM   #4
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Free Coffee is in the works looking for a good cappuccino machine and a good local source for coffee beans (no low grade here)

As far as advertising here probably would not hurt just need to check into that
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:24 AM   #5
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Free Coffee is in the works looking for a good cappuccino machine and a good local source for coffee beans (no low grade here)

As far as advertising here probably would not hurt just need to check into that
I'm pretty sure we'd be OK with you putting a link in your signature. Send us a contact and an Admin will confirm...
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:24 AM   #6
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Free Coffee is in the works looking for a good cappuccino machine and a good local source for coffee beans (no low grade here)

As far as advertising here probably would not hurt just need to check into that
Check out Shrink who posts in the Picture threads all the time (the last purchase thread especially) he seems to know a lot about Coffee!
Another idea might be to give something away free like get an iPhone repaired get a free screen protector. Should work out cheaper than coffee.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 12:27 PM   #7
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I like the screen protector idea I get really good ones locally (I try to stay as local as possible in this industry) really should have thought of that myself!

I do offer a lifetime warranty but I am still trying to figure out how to get folks comfortable with coming to my shop I am ACMT but I know I can't use that without working for a AASP but I am going to be getting my certified support professional so I can start using the apple authorized dealio on my advertising

any other ideas would be great

what would make you come to one shop opposed to another, outside of price which I have everyone in my area beat on

Last edited by Apple Techs; Dec 18, 2012 at 12:27 PM. Reason: oops
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 01:05 PM   #8
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what would make you come to one shop opposed to another, outside of price which I have everyone in my area beat on
Different/more flexible opening hours?
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 01:16 PM   #9
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what would make you come to one shop opposed to another, outside of price which I have everyone in my area beat on
Which area are you in?
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 02:38 PM   #10
Jessica Lares
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You have a website? Always helps to have presence online.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 04:00 PM   #11
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Which area are you in?
I'm in the Phoenix area I am trying not to advertise or break any rules here hence why I haven't put up my website or been throwing my name around or location just trying to gather some ideas...I have worked at a lot of other shops but this is my first time venturing out on my own...WAY different
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 05:09 PM   #12
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I'm in the Phoenix area I am trying not to advertise or break any rules here hence why I haven't put up my website or been throwing my name around or location just trying to gather some ideas...I have worked at a lot of other shops but this is my first time venturing out on my own...WAY different
Understood. Just thought if we knew what area you were in, that might help us give you more specifics about marketing that take into account your locale. For example, perhaps alongside coffee you offer a cool drink, especially during those blistering hot summer days.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:49 PM   #13
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If I were in need of repair services, I would like pickup and delivery, i.e. a "house call". Especially if I could make an appointment for a time and date, and be sure the technician would be there. I'm self-employed, so screwing around with "bring it in, we'll eventually take a look at it" is definitely not my first choice. Especially if I need a repair ASAP.

On a slightly different note, perhaps different ideas would work for different types of clients. As a business customer, being able to come to my site and possibly do simple repairs or diagnosis right there is a major differentiator. As a personal computer owner, maybe being able to have different hours would be better, such as Saturdays, because I might be at work during normal business hours. A friend of mine owns a book shop, and she's open Saturdays but closed Sundays & Mondays, in order to accomodate customers who work 9-5 hours.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 10:43 AM   #14
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If I were in need of repair services, I would like pickup and delivery, i.e. a "house call". Especially if I could make an appointment for a time and date, and be sure the technician would be there. I'm self-employed, so screwing around with "bring it in, we'll eventually take a look at it" is definitely not my first choice. Especially if I need a repair ASAP.

On a slightly different note, perhaps different ideas would work for different types of clients. As a business customer, being able to come to my site and possibly do simple repairs or diagnosis right there is a major differentiator. As a personal computer owner, maybe being able to have different hours would be better, such as Saturdays, because I might be at work during normal business hours. A friend of mine owns a book shop, and she's open Saturdays but closed Sundays & Mondays, in order to accomodate customers who work 9-5 hours.

I like the pick up and drop off service...I have been trying to stay away from "mobile" service just because it can be a little unprofessional at times sitting at a desk next to someone with a heatgun while you tear apart there ipad sending glass everywhere is not always what people want but the pick up and drop off is a GREAT idea thanks for that, it will be my "secret sauce"!

You have given me a great idea thanks much!

I do offer better pricing and lifetime warranty (outside or user damage) I have one corporate account set up and the word is starting to spread with the good ideas everyone is sending my way hopefully I will be able to offer better services and maybe a macrumors discount
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 11:26 AM   #15
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....
what would make you come to one shop opposed to another, outside of price which I have everyone in my area beat on
How many people in your shop? I am not in the repair business, but I have been in the service industry for over 20 years. In my experience you can offer: 1) Quick Service; 2) Great Customer Care; 3) Low Prices. Pick two, at most. Sometimes just one.

1) If you offer Quick Service, then you have to have staff on hand to handle unexpected peaks periods. Between peaks you still have to have some staff on hand, and that costs money. If it is just you, then keep in mind you can only do one repair at a time, and no repairs when you are actually managing the business. And running your own business means a lot of non-core activity time.

2) If you are going to offer Great Customer Care, and life time warranties counts, then you need to build that into your pricing. Just the lifetime warranties will cost you money over time. It will be rare, but there is going to be the occasional customer with either a bad attitude or a bad product that is going to be inside your shop every 2 months getting their product fixed - again - for free. You will lose money on that repair, plus you won't be earning any revenue while doing that repair. You have got to build that into your pricing and into your scheduling.

*** I believe it's possible to have either quick service or great customer care. In the 1st instance, someone drops off a product at a counter, and they are out the door in 3 minutes. No chatting, or coffee, or whatever. But 2 hours later they are back - they pay - they are out the door. OR .... they drop off the device, you chat, you offer them coffee. You see what else they want done. Do they need a SW upgrade? But, since you chat with each customer you can't get to actually doing the repairs quite so fast... so it takes longer to do each one. Some people like this.

3) Low Prices means you have very little left over for any frills. You either offer a (limited) selection of Great Customer Care like life time warranties, or you fast service. You will need to watch your pennies, because there just won't be any cash left over. Coffee might end up being too expensive, for instance. Fast and Cheap will get you customers. But those customers will often abandon you for the competition if they are cheaper.

-------

Personally, I've never tried to compete on price. There is always someone willing to do the job for cheaper, and customers who choose vendors based on price are rarely loyal.

-------

Choose as your market, those people who have money to spend, and who don't mind paying more for Quick Service and Great Customer Care. Hire someone who is really good with people to staff the front. A tech comfortable person, but someone who comes from the hotel or restaurant industry. We are a minority, but there are those of us who need our computers fixed now.... and I will pay a premium to have a system back same day. And if you can fix it while I wait, having coffee is a good thing too. And trust me, I am not looking at the price - as long as it is not stupid expensive - if I can start working again ASAP.

Your customers are going to fall - mainly - into two camps. Regular consumers whose personal lives are disrupted by a device outage. And people like myself who rely on the technology for our livelihoods. If we are good at what we do, we can afford Fast Service and Good Customer Care - and we will be loyal. And we will recommend your services. As long as you are really good at what you do.

Probably too long... but there you go.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 12:32 PM   #16
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That is a lot to think about certain aspects I have not even considered, especially the low prices and non loyal customers, that makes complete sense.

As you can see I am an absolute nube when it comes to opening a shop...a lot of things to think about, it is entirely different from maintaining someone else's shop.

I'm going to put a lot of thought into what you have just told me, it really is a paradigm shift for me, thought low prices would keep them coming back but I can see them going to the next guy who undercuts me.

Thanks much!
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 01:08 PM   #17
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A few things come to mind.

The first thing being Yelp!, getting yourself out there is the hardest thing Yelp! can definitely help if you're offering quality service. You can advertise yourself on Yelp or you can even offer a few coupons on that site as well.

The second thing would be to offer a free diagnostic or something of the sort. I don't know if you want to do this, but places like Staples offer free PC check or something like that.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 02:16 PM   #18
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That is a lot to think about certain aspects I have not even considered, especially the low prices and non loyal customers, that makes complete sense.

As you can see I am an absolute nube when it comes to opening a shop...a lot of things to think about, it is entirely different from maintaining someone else's shop.

I'm going to put a lot of thought into what you have just told me, it really is a paradigm shift for me, thought low prices would keep them coming back but I can see them going to the next guy who undercuts me.

Thanks much!
I've been self-employed as a photographer for 22 years. I wouldn't have it any other way. But.... running your own shop is not for everyone. You will work harder for less pay than someone who is "employed", at least for the first 3 to 13 years. Maybe forever if your business is marginal. You will think about money and time far far differently in a short while. However... I wouldn't change what I've been doing for anything. Just don't have any illusions about running your own shop.

You will make mistakes... don't lose sleep over them. Learn and move on, and do better next time.

Some people/customers will be complete ash-hats. As boss you get to deal with them. Don't let them ruin your outlook about people in general. The vast majority of people/customers are truly nice people.

Hope you like paperwork....you will be doing a lot of it. I am posting this rather than doing my final financial year-end bookkeeping, for instance. You will need to deal with business licenses, lease agreements, employee contracts (if you go that way), customer contracts, etc etc. Because you are in the US you also will likely have a bewildering array of tax forms to fill out .... potentially city, county, state, and federal. For the business. Plus your personal state and federal returns.

If you have personal assets - like a home - consider incorporating. This will help to protect your home from someone suing you because they were too stupid to use the door and tried to walk through the glass instead.

Insurance of course ... liability and comprehensive. I tend to have very high deductibles. I figure I'd rather save the insurance for true disasters, and self-fund the lower amounts. You can save some money that way.

There are some very interesting ways to save money if you incorporate, which can more than cover the extra costs of incorporating. For instance... a loan to a business is considered very risky. The bank charges high interest, and wants you to provide equity as well. Basically, if you had that kind of equity in the first place, you wouldn't need the loan. However..... (relatively) speaking taking out a mortgage on your home is considered low risk. Even in the US today, compared to business loans.

For example.... we borrowed a whack of money on our house several years ago, personally. We were good risks, and got a low interest rate. We then turned around and lent the money to our incorporated business at zero percent. Because we had borrowed the money to invest in a business, the interest we were paying on the mortgage we got to write off on our personal taxes as the cost of the investment. In Canada, dividend income was taxed at a lower rate than interest income, so the business paid us dividends on the loan, instead of interest. The capital of the loan (the amount we loaned the business in the 1st place) it could pay back at any time with no tax consequences since it is not considered income. We set up repayment schedule from the business to ourselves to cover the monthly mortgage payments so our personal cash position was exactly the same. At the end of the year we got back a tax refund in the amount of the interest expense we wrote off. The business got the cash infusion it needed to get going. All of this was perfectly legal (in Canada at least) and does not even approach the grey area. It is simply a benefit of putting the business into a corporation, which is considered to be an independent entity apart from yourself. This scenario probably won't work for you, but it is an example of what competent financial advice will get you.

Don't mess around with the tax people. They will catch you. For every person who brags about getting away with cheating on their taxes, the tax people catch ten. They make it a personal mission to catch cheaters.

Personal networking is your best bet. I ran a gallery for awhile. Print advertizing accounted for less than 10% of my traffic. In my 1st year I advertized in everywhere, and while it may have helped get my name out there - when I asked people how they happened to in the gallery that day the vast majority were there because of a personal recommendation, the sign out front, and a repeat visitor. My experience will be different because a gallery is a specific destination, and I live in a very small community. But - the lesson is... if you spend money on advertizing, track how effective it is. Simply ask everyone why they are there. You will very quickly get an idea of where to spend your time and money.

Sigh... too much info again... sorry.

There is all sorts of free help from the local business community about starting up your own business. Take advantage of the free stuff before you spend money on "business coaching"....
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