Sunday, June 17, 2018
Business

New fix-it shop aims to serve those with broken phones, tablets, computers

SPRING HILL — John Collado recalls his first foray into the innards of a cellphone.

"I dropped it. I broke it. I took it apart. It was fun, but I didn't fix it," the 34-year-old Collado explained with a sheepish grin.

"It made me want to fix something else. I had that hunger. And when you get it right, you feel good."

Now Collado is in the business of making others feel the satisfaction of "it works." Last week the former cellphone salesman opened the doors on uBreakiFix in the Coastal Landing shopping plaza. It's a doctor shop for ailing cellphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, TVs, even computer-chip-driven, high-end vacuum cleaners.

"Virtually, there are about a hundred different devices that come through here," said Jake Earp, a backup technician sent from uBreakiFix franchise headquarters in Orlando to assist Collado in the shop's opening.

Cellphones and their smarter descendants — many of them iPhones — are most commonly walked through Collado's door.

"Everybody has a (mobile) phone," Collado said. "They connect to family, to friends, to the world. When you fix them, you're like a hero."

Having sold cellphones for seven years, Collado is well versed in all of their features and every upgrade. He's also knowledgeable about what breaks. To fix all those fractures, he honed his skills for three months at corporate headquarters.

Mobile phones' No. 1 breakage is the glass cover plate, usually from being dropped on a hard surface. Replacement: about $100 and one hour of labor at uBreakiFix.

Another culprit: phones that have been immersed in water or another liquid, which ruins the battery and corrodes the motherboard. Replacement: a bit pricier, depending on the extent of the damage.

With the most popular iPhone model selling today for an average of $700, Collado said an owner will opt for a fix when the repair cost reaches up to $200. Costlier than that, and the owner usually buys a new phone.

Tablets are No. 2 on the list of repair needs, most succumbing to the same ruptures that plague cellphones.

"Most repairs are while you wait," Collado said, which is of prime importance to owners who feel they can't get along without their devices.

Collado said the company guarantees the lowest price in the neighborhood, beating by at least $5 the price advertised by any other mender.

Collado, a native of the Dominican Republic, is moving to Hernando County from Lee County. Demographic studies by uBreakiFix revealed that Hernando was ripe for its kind of shop, so it placed Collado here. The shop employs two other technicians.

In choosing the company for his entrepreneurship, Collado said, "They're young kids — in their 20s, the oldest 39 — who have a big vision, and they know what they're doing."

Contact Beth Gray at [email protected]

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