As a 20 year old fresh out of community college, Hayden Faison is doing very well for himself. Following the trend of young technicians getting into the iPhone repair business, Hayden is one of the youngest and brightest repair technicians we know. He’s made a great reputation for himself in his community and as one of eTech Parts’ top (and favorite) customers. Always friendly and incredibly knowledgeable, Hayden was kind enough to answer some questions so we could all get to know him and his business a little better.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I am from a town called Daphne, Alabama. It is located East of Mobile, Alabama on the Gulf of Mexico. The city has a population of roughly 22,000 and neighboring cities Fairhope and Spanish Fort add another 20,000 residents.
Q: Tell us a little bit about Daphne, AL.
A: Most of the residents in my area are in the upper middle class, and while Daphne may not have the attractions of a big city there are always events and fun activities to attend. During the fall all you hear about is college football and if you aren’t an Alabama or Auburn fan you won’t have the best time hanging around most good ol’ southern folk found around here.
Q: What’s the name of your business?
A: My company’s name is Quick Fix iPhone Repair, LLC.
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: I started my business in the summer of 2011.
Q: What is your age?
A: At the age of 20 I find that most of my customers are old enough to be my parents.
Q: How did you get involved in the repair business?
A: Much like others who started in the cell phone repair business, I broke my own iPhone and did a little research on how to repair it and easily found many resources. Of course, my first repair was just a back glass replacement; I ordered a cheap-o replacement kit off eBay and watched a simple video on YouTube. It wasn’t long until I had a friend break her iPhone 4 front screen and she knew I had recently repaired my iPhone. Initially I thought that the front screen couldn’t be that hard if the back glass only required a small Phillips head screwdriver and common sense. Man, I was working on that iPhone for hours and hours until I finally got it all put back together with only a few screws left over. At that point I was pretty proud of my first real repair.
Q: Did expansion “just happen” or did you plan the growth of your business?
A: I never planned on running a business pretty much right out of high school. The first few months were pretty slow because I was just doing it on the side and didn’t put much effort into marketing myself. Around October 2011 is when I realized that what I was doing had so much potential, especially in the area that I live in. I only have about 2-3 competitors in the entire county, and a few shops that have popped up but failed very quickly. At the time my parents didn’t even know that I was doing this for nearly 6 months. As a full time student I was able to quit my hourly job at a local Lenny’s Sub Shop and rely on iPhone repairs as my source of income.
Q: What do your friends think you do all day?
A: My friends have actually been firsthand witnesses to my first repair and they will occasionally come with me on my trips to meet clients, so they know exactly what I do and how I interact with my clients. I’ve been able to show a few of them how to do basic battery and back glass repairs – but I don’t know if I’d trust them with anything more complicated than that.
Q: Did anyone in your community judge you based on your age? Did you encounter any early challenges because of it?
A: I have had nothing but respect from every single one of my customers and other people that have any knowledge of my business. Yes I am young, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find something I’m good at and turn it into something very successful. You would think some people would be turned off by my age when they are getting their $500 device fixed but I make sure I have a good reputation and that I uphold that reputation. The only time my age has been an issue was when I tried going into a bar to fix the bartenders phone… but I was able to sneak my way in on that one.
Q: As a mobile technician you’re always on the go. Do you go to customers’ homes/offices or do you have a specific place you like to meet?
A: I let the customer know I am able to travel to or near their location within a reasonable distance (approximately 20 miles) and in most cases I fix their device on the spot in less than 20 minutes. I have an example of Starbucks or McDonalds on my website, so customers typically request those places but I let them know I am very flexible on meeting places. I don’t let the fact that I am not a brick and mortar location drive the customer away. In fact, I use the convenience and speed factors entice the customer so they don’t have to plan their day around a brick and mortar store – which often means they are going to be without their phone for a good bit of the day.
Q: Do you feel customers are sometimes hesitant to meet a stranger in person to have their phone fixed?
A: In the beginning I thought people would be sketched out by meeting a random person to fix their phone. But since I’ve been doing this I haven’t had a single instance where someone was on the verge of calling off a meeting because they felt uncomfortable meeting a stranger. I attribute this to my personable customer service and I also provide a description with a picture on my website. Also, a lot of my business comes from word of mouth so that virtually eliminates it from happening.
Q: So, you’re a full-time student. What are you studying?
A: I started my freshman year at The University of South Alabama as Computer Engineering major. At the end of my freshman year I transferred to Faulkner State Community College to finish the rest of my basic courses. I changed my degree to Business Administration and since I had a full tuition scholarship for music I felt the degree change was a great decision for me. I just finished 2 years at Faulkner State and will further my education at South Alabama in the fall. I hope to pursue a degree in Business Administration with an Entrepreneur concentration. At this point in my life I want to be done with school as quickly as possible. With the business being successful I don’t have to take out any student loans and I will graduate debt free.
Q: How do you spread the word about your business?
A: Most of my new customers come from referrals from previous clients who were happy with my services. I have great relationships with operators of AT&T, Sprint and Verizon stores in my service area who have customers with broken iPhones. The customer’s first instinct is to go to the carrier’s store – but as we all know, iPhone resellers are not even allowed to attempt a repair on a device at the same location where they conduct sales. I go to the stores, hand them my cards and offer the owners incentives to send customers my way – such as free labor on repairs done for them or a friend. I even reward consistent stores with surprise gift cards and prepaid Visa cards. The only other marketing tool I have used in the past is Living Social. It is similar to Groupon in that it offers substantial discounts on products and services that only last for a period of 3-7 days. I’ve run Living Social deals 3 times and have sold over 200 individual deals. Each deal consisted of different options ranging from a screen repair for $60, or $25 for $50 worth of repairs.
Q: How did you handle this increase of business?
A: When these deals ran I was doing 7-10 repairs a day so I had to find a solution for an organized schedule so I wasn’t overlapping repairs. This led me to an awesome tool used by other on-location repair companies like myself. I found a program called Genbook, which allows a customer to view the company’s schedule through a direct link (quickfixiphone.genbook.com). The best thing about Genbook is the option to make an appointment by selecting the service that they need and the company can edit the schedule to reflect the hours that staff member is available. Once a customer reserves an appointment that particular service has a pre-determined time limit and it is not possible for other appointments to overlap. I have had Genbook for over a year and it makes the organizational aspect of business simple and hassle free. A new tool that Genbook created is the option to leave a review and I encourage each customer to do so if they are happy with my service. These reviews show up on Google search and the average star review is shown on the Google search page so it stands out from the other entries that show up.
Q: What does the future hold for young Hayden Faison?
A: I hope to graduate college in the next 2 years and continue to grow Quick Fix iPhone Repair. Eventually I would like to get a storefront and have 2-3 employees to take over the labor-intensive work so I can focus on an administrative role to expand my company. And of course, I will use eTech Parts for all of my supply needs as I have for nearly 2 years.
Q: When did your partnership with eTech Parts begin?
A: When I first entered the world of iPhone repairs I was getting my parts from any oddball dealer on eBay. These sellers were just in a price war and didn’t care about the quality of their replacement parts. About 50 defective screens later, I was looking online and eTech Parts came up in the search results at the very top. This was roughly two years ago, and I applied for a wholesale account and gradually climbed up the competitive tiered pricing levels. I can’t be more positive about any company I have dealt with and had the pleasure to grow my own business with.
Hayden is one of our favorite customers and we know he has a bright future ahead of him. Check out his Quick Fix iPhone Repair website and Facebook page to learn more about Quick Fix iPhone Repair, LLC.