Jenifer Schultz is the owner of local CPR Cell Phone Repair shop in Overland Park, KS. A couple weeks ago I had the great pleasure of chatting with her about working in the repair industry and how she got there. In the previous installment of Women Who Repair, we learned Jenifer’s story as a woman who owns a franchise repair shop and how she got involved in the world of technology and repair. She shared in detail the benefits of owning and operating a repair franchise, and if you’ve ever considered purchasing a franchise of any kind, read on – this one’s for you.
Q: How did you get started in the repair industry?
A: I was actually at a convention representing my previous company, where I met a gentleman who was pitching the CPR franchise to the same group of business brokers I was talking to. He shared with me that CPR repairs smartphones, tablets, computers, and gaming systems and that most repairs are done in an hour. As a mother of 3 teenagers, you can only imagine the number of broken devices I had accumulated and been told they could not be repaired. I immediately asked where I could find a CPR franchise in Kansas City and was told the area was wide open. Within two weeks I was at CPR Corporate buying the rights to open shop in Kansas City.
Q: Why did you choose the repair industry?
A: I loved the CPR business model; it made a lot of sense to me. The thought that I could take gaming systems, laptops, and cellphones to one location and know that device would be repaired and I would get that same device back within an hour was tremendously appealing to me as a consumer.
Q: What are some benefits of a franchise as opposed to a start-up business?
A: Unfortunately the failure rate for start-ups is close to 70%, and there are a lot of reasons why that might happen. But if you look at the same statistics for franchises in total, the failure rate drops to 40%. When you weed out the franchises that probably weren’t a great idea to begin with, and focus on the solid opportunities out there, the failure rate is closer to 20% – which is really an 80% chance of succeeding.
Q: What makes CPR different from other repair franchises?
A: I’m a huge fan of franchising and one thing that has always made sense to me is this: if you have an organization that has proven their business model works, why reinvent the wheel? CPR has over 200 locations across the country, and because of that we have a massive support system. I have phenomenal technicians here in Overland Park, but I also have a network of thousands of technicians that I can reach at anytime if I need assistance.
Q: How did you choose this location?
A: Firstly, these are my stomping grounds. Any new business owner is going to spend a minimum of 60 hours a week at work, and having a location that was close to home was critical for me as a mother of three teenagers. Additionally we have excellent visibility here. We are located near a high-traffic intersection with several cell providers around us, and I’d say about 30% of our customers are referred by those providers.
Q: How did you find your team of technicians and employees?
A: I think I interviewed almost 200 people to find the technicians I have. I have two full time technicians working right now who had previously ran their own shop. Combined they had laptop, gaming, cell phone and tablet repair experience, and they also have a very unique ability to learn and share best practices. A lot of times when you have a really strong skill set, I think its easy to get into the mind set of telling everyone else what to do and it’s hard to listen and learn yourself – our team is not at all like that. We are extremely proud of each other; it’s definitely blood, sweat and tears as a team. There are currently four full-time workers and three part-time workers at this location.
Q: Tell me the importance you place on running your business with integrity.
A: You cannot succeed in this industry without having a solid ethical backbone, and you shouldn’t; firstly these devices are confidential, and include a lot of important information, and secondly the devices are extremely important to customers.
Q: How does this honesty affect your customers?
A: We work on everything from Samsung, HTC, and Apple devices – and we are very upfront with every customer who walks through the door with a broken Apple device, in telling him or her of the opportunity to take it to Apple first because they have an outstanding warranty program. Anytime a third-party opens an Apple device there is the potential of voiding that warranty. We may end up losing that business to Apple, but we are taking good care of our customer. We look at each customer as a way to do better business, and not just as another transaction – because in this industry that isn’t taking good care of the customer.
Q: What are your goals for your future at CPR and in technology?
A: My hope is that technology continues to evolve so quickly that our biggest struggle is keeping up with it. The goal for us is to grow our business and we will probably within the next four years have 6 locations in the KC area. There are some customers who drive an hour and a half to get here; my goal is to prevent people from having to drive an hour and a half to receive this service.
Q: How has eTech Parts helped your business grow?
A: CPR is extremely dependent on providing repairs with quality parts. We have a one-year warranty on any repair we do, so if I don’t trust and know that the company providing those parts to me is willing to stand behind their product 100%, I will not succeed. I have 100% confidence – not by blind faith but by proof – that eTech Parts stands behind every part I purchase from them. The eTech Parts defect rate is lower than any other vendor in the business. No one is perfect; you’re going to have parts on occasion that are defective, but when you do, eTech Parts is there to offer options for replacement parts or full refunds. eTech Parts does this with a sense of urgency that mirrors my sense of urgency to keep my customer happy.