10 Questions With Dave Takushi

By definition, a thought leader is an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded. It’s a person whose opinion and expertise you actively seek and trust, whose knowledge you wish you could literally soak up with a sponge.

We’re thankful to know one thought leader in particular, Mr Dave Takushi, owner of St Louis Cell Phone Repair, who made a trip to Kansas City last week and was kind enough to spend some time with us here at eTech Parts. When we heard Dave was coming to town we knew we had to share his story with the Repair Community, and whatever words of wisdom he was willing to offer.

During our 20 minute interview I selfishly found myself asking more questions than I had intended, trying to soak up as much insight as possible. While transcribing our interview, I struggled to choose only 10 questions to share with you, wondering if I should change the title to “21 Questions” because I didn’t want to leave anything out.

 

IMG_0020A huge thank you to Dave for chatting with us about his success as a wireless repair shop owner, soldering and refurbishing training, and the future of the wireless repair industry.


 

 

1) What was your background prior to owning your own mobile repair shop?

I originally started off out of college as a computer programmer, then started working for an IT consulting company building computer applications. I worked my way up through that company, became a project manager, taught and trained other companies in technology, sales and sales management…

The last couple years I was there I ran the St Charles office, I was responsible for the consulting and training side of business. Here I got a chance to see all aspects of a business – from sales, to operations, to marketing, — which helped in owning my own business.

 

 

2) How did you find yourself in the wireless repair industry?

While working in IT consulting and training, I was looking to own my own business, and that’s when I found Wireless Toyz. I signed the franchise agreement in 2003 and we opened the store in 2004.

We sold lots of phones and plans, but the economy changed and the industry changed a lot – there’s a lot more saturation in the cellular market – so when customers started bringing in their broken phones we started fixing them.

We put up a website branded as “St Louis Cell Phone Repair,” since it was separate from what we were doing at Wireless Toyz, and year after year we continued to grow without any real effort put towards marketing. Local AT&T stores and area schools were all sending people our way, because we did a good quality job on every repair at a good price – not exorbitant but not trying to be the cheapest, either. Customers were happy so they kept coming back, and helped spread the word.

 

 

3) What’s the biggest challenge you face as a repair shop owner?

I would say, ensuring quality and customer service. Making sure we do a great job on every repair and that we meet the time commitments we set for each one. Especially as we start doing more volume, I want to have high quality across the board; I don’t want anything going out that isn’t great.

Time management is another thing; balancing your time between everything you have to do. Either one of those could be the number one challenge for me.

 

 

4) What advice would you give someone who’s just getting started in the mobile repair industry?

There’s a lot of advice I would give them! Learn how to do what you need to do. Find a good quality vendor. Don’t try to do something you’re not comfortable doing, or something that you know you can’t do well.

We probably work on the largest variety of devices out there, but there are still devices we’ll turn down at times because of potential issues you could run into during the repair.

 

 

5) Let’s talk about the soldering and refurbishing training you offer. How much do you typically charge for training?

Price varies a little bit since my training is customized for each person and depends on what the technician(s) wants to learn. Training will range from $1800-$3000 a week depending on what they might want and whether it’s multiple students or just one person coming in for training. People are always most interested in learning high-end micro soldering and refurbishing LCDs.

I typically teach in my facilities so the technicians get a chance to use the soldering and refurbishing equipment I have. Each student who comes in will walk out with tips, best practices, they’ll know how to solve problems they couldn’t fix before, and I always share things that I’ve learned in the number of years I’ve been in the repair industry. In the end they usually get a lot more value from the training than they expected to.

Also, many people don’t know that we perform advanced repairs for other repair shops – when it comes to replacing connectors, fixing backlights, repair shops can send us these devices if they don’t have the skills in-house. We can help them get those repairs completed for the customer or get them out a jam.

 

 

6) What advice would you give someone who’s interested or just starting to learn how to solder?

Understand the basics of how to solder; how solder works, the fundamentals of soldering, and I always suggest starting with larger stuff and working your way down once you get that perfected. Don’t start with a charging port the first time.

Make sure you really understand how solder works, so if you’re not getting the results you want, you can go back to the fundamentals to find out why it’s not doing what you want it to. Learning the fundamentals helps you with troubleshooting down the road.

 

 

7) When do you know it’s time to hire?

When we’ve got more business than what we can handle – or it’s when you find the right employee. Sometimes I just hire because I find the right employee, and you don’t want to pass that up. It’s tough to find good employees, so when you find someone you know can grow the business and do a good job, it just makes sense to hire them.

 

 

8) How have you found success in finding the “right person” when it comes to hiring?

I’ve hired a lot of people with technical experience in the past, but nowadays I don’t worry about experience in repairing phones. I actually prefer hiring someone who hasn’t fixed a lot of phones before, or worked for another repair shop, because you can teach them from scratch and make sure they learn to perform the repairs how you want them to… the right way as opposed to what they were taught before, which may not have been the best way possible.

I try to find someone who’s smart, has an aptitude for fixing things, enjoys the technology, and someone you can teach. That’s what I always look for when it comes to bringing someone on board.

 

 

9) What standards do you feel our industry is lacking?

Well there really aren’t any standards in this industry, so I’d like to see some standards for repair shops. Differentiating between a qualified repair shop that’s doing a good quality job, versus a repair shop that’s just trying to crank out a repair.

I think parts standards would be great to see also, there’s a variety of parts and quality on the market, with so many sellers claiming to have OEM when they don’t have OEM. It just leads to a lot of repair shops thinking they’re getting “OEM parts” when they’re really not.

 

 

10) What are your hopes for our industry?

Continued growth and more professionalism within the industry. More awareness would be great too… there are so many people who still don’t know that you can fix so many things that are broken on a phone! It still surprises me every day to hear people say, “Oh, you can fix a broken screen?!”

 

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Thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with us, Dave! You can learn more about Dave and his repair and training services by visiting StLouisCellPhoneRepair.com

Hot-Glued Home Buttons & iPad Mini 3 Screen Repairs

The most recent device teardowns from our friends at iFixit show some tricky additions to the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. Last week we discussed what the new iPad Air 2 design means for repair, now it’s time for the iPad Mini 3.

In their iPad Mini 3 teardown, iFixit discovered the only significant change in design from the iPad Mini 2 is a “hastily-glued” Touch ID home button sensor cable bracket, which must be transferred over to keep Touch ID functionality following a screen repair. Oddly enough, the home button bracket is held down with hot glue, leading iFixit and others to guess Touch ID was a last-minute addition to the newest iPad Mini.

 

wBfFVw1i3N6VZoJ1Hot glue (or hot melt) is commonly used for various arts ‘n crafts and isn’t typically the kind of adhesive found inside Apple devices.

 

The implementation of Touch ID in the new iPad Mini 3 adds another step to the iPad Mini 3 repair process, since your customer will expect the functionality of the iPad Mini 3 to remain the same following a repair.  Luckily removing hot glue isn’t too tricky — with the help of a little Isopropyl alcohol and cotton swab, hot glue can be peeled off hard surfaces pretty easily.

Once the Touch ID cable and home button bracket are removed from the damaged screen, we suggest everyone’s favorite Red Tape adhesive for securing the bracket to the new screen. How the folks at Apple have yet to discover the true power of Red Tape is beyond me.. You can find the one-and-only Red Tape adhesive here at eTech Parts, available in all shapes and sizes at discounted prices. Login for your dealer price or signup for a wholesale account today to receive discounts up to 70% off retail.

 

VZycinrHNsnbkKGCWe’re not sure how the folks at iFixit got the home button bracket/cable off with no damage, but we can assume it was done very, very carefully..

 

Curiously, the last-minute addition of a Touch ID cable that iFixit themselves deemed “a bit of a nightmare” didn’t land it a lower score on the iFixit repairability scale. The iPad Mini 3 received a repairability score of 2/10, with 10 being the easiest to repair. We’ll have to wait for Apple’s quarterly report to see how popular the iPad Mini 3 is with consumers, but we expect repair shops around the world will eventually see at least a few broken ones in the next year or so.

Do you think the addition of Touch ID and a new gold color option will entice consumers to buy the new iPad Mini 3? What about the iPad Air 2? How do you think these new devices will affect the repair industry? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, you know we always love hearing from the Repair Community! Thanks for reading, be sure to subscribe to our blog to get updates on all the latest in the wireless repair industry. We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, too!

What the New iPad Air 2 Design Means for Repair

Some major design changes to the recently-released iPad Air 2 will likely lead to an increase in the price of screen repairs for third-party repair shops. iFixit’s iPad Air 2 teardown shows a fused LCD, glass and digitizer held down by “gobs of adhesive” — which is likely the reason for the low repairability score of 2/10.

 

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It’s somewhat reassuring to know iFixit doesn’t find the iPad Air 2 any more difficult to repair than previous iPad models.

A redesign in the location of the iPad Air 2 display cables might even make it a little easier to open when compared to previous iPad models, however the addition of Touch ID to the iPad Air 2 means another risk for damage during repair. The design of the iPad Air 2’s Touch ID sensor cable closely resembles that of the newest generation of iPhones and will require careful removal and replacement during a screen repair.

Though a fused display will cost more to replace as a complete unit, thus raising the cost of third-party iPad repairs, this will likely cause an increase in glass-only repairs for these tablets. We can see glass-only repair becoming a popular option for replacing and repairing iPad Air 2 screens.

 

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Thanks for reading and as always, eTech Parts will have parts for iPad Air 2 in stock as soon as they become available! Until then we have all the repair parts for iPads you need to find success in wireless repair. Stay tuned for more industry news and company updates from eTech Parts — you can LIKE us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and be sure to subscribe to our Blog feed, too. We love hearing from the Repair Community so let us know what YOU think about the new iPad Air 2 in the comments below!

Start Your Career With eTech Parts

 

If excellence is in your DNA, an exciting opportunity awaits you at eTech Parts!

 

Brandi

 

eTech Parts is currently accepting applications for entry-level positions in Sales, SEO, Customer Service, Shipping & Receiving. Submit your resume and cover letter to jobs@etechpartsdotcom for your chance to work with the best team in Kansas City!

 

For a relatively small company, eTech Parts has made big waves in the world of wireless repair as the industry’s leading wholesale distributor of parts and tools for iPhones, iPads, iPods, MacBooks and Smartphones. Over the past 7 years the iDevice repair industry has continued to grow exponentially, creating more than 7,000 jobs in the United States alone, and eTech has grown right along with it.

 

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Despite our growth through the years, eTech Parts has done well to maintain a casual atmosphere and family-like dynamic. We still have our Friday morning meetings with free breakfast for everyone — sometimes it’s donuts or breakfast burritos from Carmen’s up the street, and other times we’re blessed with Linda’s famous French Toast. eTech takes care of its employees; our hard work and determination is rewarded by our employers who value us as part of the team. They say it’s hard to find good workers and hard to find good work but eTech Parts is where you’ll find both.

Here at our headquarters in Olathe, KS we’ve witnessed some pretty inspiring success stories. The opportunities for career growth and advancement are huge, and as a company that values commitment and hard work above all, most of our 3 year+ veterans are currently in management positions. As eTech continues to grow and further develop our global reach, there’s no telling what opportunities will become available over the next few years.

 

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Why We Love eTech Parts

 

I asked members of our team why they loved working at eTech Parts, and here are just a few of the many things they listed…

  • The opportunity to advance in a growing industry
  • Competitive pay with regular raises
  • Amazing benefits – Medical, Dental and Vision
  • 401K options
  • Full time hours, Monday-Friday
  • Paid time off
  • Free breakfast every Friday!
  • Free weekends, every weekend!
  • Promoting teamwork through regular company outings
  • Engaging projects to contribute to in a relaxed atmosphere
  • No ‘business casual’ dress code
  • eTech actually cares about people — both customers AND employees
  • My boss lets me watch the ballgame during work (but ONLY when the Royals are winning)

 

We have to admit, eTech Parts is a pretty fantastic place to work. The people, the place, and the job itself make it feel hardly like a job at all. eTech Parts is located in Olathe, KS and is an equal opportunities employer. We’re looking for determined, self-motivated individuals to join our team and help us as we grow! Send us your resume with a cover letter telling us about yourself and why you’d make a good addition to the team to jobs@etechpartsdotcom.

Congratulations Caleb Dunnam!

You are the winner of the eTech Parts weekly Facebook Drawing for a $50 iTunes gift card.  Please contact us within 30 days to claim your gift card.

There are no strings attached with our weekly drawing.  It’s just a good old fashion give away! If you win, all you have to do is send us an email with your full address so we can mail you the gift certificate.  Good luck next week!

We use random.org to draw our winner.  You can view the public results of the drawing here.

The gTool PanelPress Will Fix Those Bent iPhones

First it was iBic… then everyone’s favorite Red Tape… and now, the gTool PanelPress! We may have broken grounds and started trends in the past with new parts and tools, but never like this. Thanks to our partners at gTool, eTech Parts is proud to announce we have exclusive selling rights to the gTool PanelPress — as featured in CNET, BGR, Digital Trends and YahooTech!


 

Have you heard the news? The gTool PanelPress has gotten a little press lately (pun absolutely intended) as the first and only professional tool on the market for “un-bending” the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Following the BendGate fiasco of the last few weeks, the story seems to have regained steam in the tech media with the discovery of the gTool PanelPress.

BGR was the first to release the story following a tweet from the famous Sonny Dickson, who has been known for breaking news stories on Apple rumors for years..

 

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In their article, BGR unfortunately doesn’t list where you can find the gTool PanelPress — which is ONLY at eTech Parts. YahooTech also ran the story in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner, which is okay, because they later updated the story to include where you can find the PanelPress, which is, yes, only at eTech Parts. Thanks guys!

This alone is great publicity for gTool, a recently-launched brand of tools created specifically for professionals specializing in mobile repair. While it might be news to the rest of the world, we know the Repair Community has been crazy about gTool for months! Can you believe the gTool iCorner was only just released back in February?!

Yesterday CNET covered the gTool PanelPress story with all the correct information, including where you can get this crazy contraption (only at eTech Parts) and for how much (retail price, of course). Digital Trends ran the story as well, including a link to eTech Parts which we were more than thrilled to see.

 

Congratulations to gTool for the exciting coverage! It’s been awesome to see our partners at gTool get some publicity for the brand. While the gTool PanelPress definitely wasn’t created for the general public’s use, which has been lost in the scuffle of the news cycle, it’s really cool to see online media take note of the innovative products coming from our partners at gTool. We can only hope to see the same amount of media coverage for the gTool PadJack — a device which removes an iPad screen in 90 seconds — upon its release in early 2015.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out our website for more on the gTool PanelPress! Login to see your discounted pricing or signup for a wholesale account today. Want to stay up to date with all the latest in the repair industry and tech news? You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram @etechparts and LIKE us on Facebook, too!

Ask the Soul Proprietor

eTech Parts is proud to present a brand new collaboration, Ask the Soul Proprietor! Alister Shirazi is an established business development and marketing professional, as well as a former client of eTech Parts. We’ve partnered with Alister to not only offer him an opportunity to share his knowledge and experience, but to help members of the Repair Community find success in business. Ask the Soul Proprietor any questions you have about business, marketing and more — we’ll feature your questions and Alister will offer his advice!

 

Ask the Soul Proprietor

 

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My name is Alister, and I am a Soul Proprietor.  A “Soul Proprietor” is a proud small business owner.  If you are a passionate and proud owner of a business, you are a Soul Proprietor too!  I started my smartphone repair business in August of 2011 in Northern California by posting flyers around town and posting ads on Craigslist. Within 12 months I opened my first store. 11 months later I opened my second store and 1 year after that I sold my business to pursue a career in small business development and marketing.  I am now dedicated to helping small businesses succeed and grow to their full potential.  I have teamed up with eTech Parts to share my experience with the Repair Community.

 

Why Smartphone Repair Techs Shouldn’t Be Spending Money On Advertising

 

The days of Mad Men style advertising are over.  Increasingly savvy customers need more than an old lady yelling “Where’s the beef?!” to influence their purchase intention.  TV advertising campaigns are great for long term marketing strategies aimed at increasing brand recognition and brand exposure but for small and medium sized businesses, the short term ROI (Return On Investment) tends to not be high enough to make it worthwhile.  The same goes for radio ad campaigns. In my experience the best marketing is the free stuff.  As a small business or a tech just starting out, you should “live and die by ROI”. If you spend $500 per month on advertising, you must ask yourself and estimate how much revenue you can expect from such an investment.

So… if TV and radio are out, how should you be marketing?  Here is where your creativity comes into play.  In business and in life, the fishing is best where the fewest go.  We have all browsed the Craigslist iPhone repair market.  In many cities, Craigslist is littered with the spam of dozens of repair techs on a race to the lowest price possible with annoyingly loud ad titles attempting to grab the customers attention.  I have nothing against Craigslist, as it played a huge role in the development of my business.  However why subject your business and your brand image to such heavy competition?  As repair techs, we are innovative, intelligent and creative so let’s allow our marketing efforts to reflect this sentiment.

 

Here are just a few suggestions for you to consider:

  • Partner with hotels to be their sole go-to “phone fixer dude”. Many of their guests have issues with their phone and having a reliable technician they could refer guests to would be a mutually beneficial relationship.
  • Partner with related businesses.  Shake hands and introduce yourself and pass out business cards to cell phone accessory stores/kiosks at the mall, small mom/pop cell phone stores, computer repair stores
  • Promotional posters are an underrated means of marketing. Post them in areas where your target demographic frequent (universities, BARS, music venues… Get creative!)
  • Partner with event venues.  Find venues that use wristbands for shows/concerts/events and offer to supply them with your own wristbands for free.  You can have wristbands printed online with your logo and information at a relatively low cost.  They will be happy because they are not spending money on wristbands for their events, and you get great advertising exposure.

 

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

 

Whatever you do, get creative. Stand out. Be unique.  Don’t be afraid to show your personality in your ads.  That is what marketing is all about.  Most of all, don’t forget to have some fun; you are your own boss for cryin’ out loud!

Be sure to follow my blog for more great advice.  I love when people ask me questions so feel free to say hi.

 

Now its your turn!  What questions do you have about the business side of the repair industry?  Do you need advice on how to keep track of sales and expenses?  Trying do decide if you should hire an accountant?  Thinking about opening a storefront? Interested in hiring your first employee?  eTech and I are here to help! Leave your question in the comments section and we will select a few to be featured in our next series of “Ask the Soul Proprietor”!

 

Thanks to Alister for collaborating with us and offering such great business advice to the Repair Community! You can find out more about Alister’s inspiring story and experience on his blog, The Soul Proprietor. Be sure to leave your questions in the COMMENTS below!