The life of a repair technician is not an easy one; this is especially true for repair technicians who own their own repair business. Working long hours to ensure business is running smoothly and repairing multiple devices each day makes it difficult to find time for family, friends, and yourself. We recently spoke with an inspiring woman who not only runs a repair shop from her home, but successfully balances repairing devices with a full-time family life and all the duties that come with. She also works afternoons in the gift shop of a nearby historical Australian monument, the Dog on the Tucker Box, and manages their Facebook and website page from home. As the saying goes: small business owners wear a lot of hats, and Cristie’s wearing all of them.
Q: Tell us about yourself and how you got started in the repair industry.
A: I live in a small town in New South Wales with a population of around 2000 people. I started pulling iPods apart when I was on maternity leave from my full time job. I enjoyed what I was doing and found I could spend hours on end troubleshooting and figuring out all components and how they worked. Once friends realised what I was doing it didn’t take long for them to ask me to undertake repairs for them, and as word got around I started purchasing all kinds of phones and tablets to tear apart and repair. I now service 5 surrounding towns as well as my own and have a workshop (an old service station shop front) attached to my house that I use exclusively for repairs.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Cristie Roberts?
A: A typical day… what’s that? I’m up with my 9 year old when he leaves for school, then I get what I can done whilst my 2 year old is still in bed – whether it be in the workshop (one of the perks of living behind the old servo) or household duties. Two days a week he goes to daycare so I try to make those my most productive in the workshop…but of course this isn’t always the case. We are in town every morning (about 6km into town). Lunch, household duties, then naptime for the little one and more squished-in workshop time for me. Hubby gets home from work around 2 then I’m off to The Dog On The Tucker Box across the road where I work part-time 5 days a week from 3:30 to 5 or 6. Then it’s back home for teatime, bath time for the kids before bed then I have time to unwind.
Cristie’s sons help keep her on her toes!
Q: As owner and sole operator of OZ Phone Fix, what does your business currently offer? Are there any new projects in the works?
A: I now repair all phones as well as iPods, iPads and some other tablets. I’ve also been experimenting with logic board work after buying a few duds and investing in a decent soldering iron. I would like to offer this as a service in the near future as there aren’t many people [who] do logic board work in Australia.
Q: Tell me the importance you place on running your business with integrity.
A: I have always prided myself on being an honest and reliable worker and having my own business is no different. I have a fantastic reputation in my area and I’d like to think this is due to my ethics, quality of repair and customer service.
Q: What helped your business really take off?
A: Word of mouth recommendations! I actually started because people wanted me to work on their devices. My business has become what it is today due to word of mouth recommendations, and also by advertising on my local Facebook Buy Swap Sell page.
Inside “the old servo,” Christie multitasks as mother, wife and repair tech!
Q: What’s your advice for success?
A: I don’t know about advice for success but I think it’s important to be very particular with your work, and to remain honest and helpful. Also, the determination [to learn] because the more I learned the more I found I wanted to learn.
Q: What are some of your do’s and don’ts?
A: If you are teaching yourself DO buy your own devices to experiment on until you are confident. I have seen a few eager beavers who have ruined clients’ phones and either lost integrity or had to replace the device.
And, DON’T give up! You don’t need to have thousands of dollars to start up – I definitely didn’t and I’m still adding to the toolbox; my orders are slowly getting bigger and more frequent. It’s taken me a year to get what I have and I’m still nothing flash but I’m still very proud of it.
Cristie’s storefront is actually an old service station.
Q: How has eTech Parts helped your business grow?
A: eTech Parts has saved me time and money by offering the best quality parts. I tried quite a few suppliers in Australia but after not being 100% happy with any of them…I found eTech! Happy days! The quality of the parts makes life easier and makes the repair that much better. I am always happy to tell my clients that eTech Parts is my supplier for replacement screens for Apple devices, and explain that I choose you guys because the quality and customer service is unlike any other supplier.
Q: What is your favorite tool?
A: Definitely the iSesamo – OMG I love it! I use it on every single repair I do.