A little over a year ago, I signed up myself and my son to joing the iCracked training, certification and then become “iTechs” to repair cell phones. All told, we spent about $2,000.00 to get certified and set up a business.
Now, before I continue, I am not claiming that they are a complete rip-off. Rather, their advertising is misleading and I wanted to warn people about what it is really like to try to own a business based on their franchise model. I’m going to simply provide three things I didn’t realize, and they never told me, about their business model.
1) Pricing and Profitability. The amount of money that you can make is substantially limited. They quote the customers a price, which makes it so that you will not really never make all that much money. As an example, if they quote the customer $100 for a phone repair, you are only going to get about $40 of that repair. Now, it is entirely possible you could do that repair in less than an hour. But, more often than not, when you include travel time, and other expenses, you’re not really making anywhere near the amount of money you would initially calculate. Now, this may seem like a fair bit of money. But, when you consider that the risk is all on you, then it seems low. See next point.
2) You assume all risks. They provide you with some help for the first couple months and the first few repairs. After that, if you screw up a phone, you have to fix it for the customer. In other words, your revenue will be, at most, about $40 for a phone. Your liability, on the other hand, could be as much as buying the customer a new phone. Or, having to take that phone to the Apple store and having them fix it for the customer. While they do have some help options, until you have done a lot of phone repairs, you will feel uncomfortable with this. Further, the amount of time and help they provide is nowhere near what you need to really be any good at it. So, you are still a rookie and you’re on you own – mostly.
3) They change policies and screw you over. This is the big on and the one that killed our business. This is the one where we decided it would be better to sell off everything and give up – at about 75% loss of investment. When we joined, you had to puchase your own inventory. I spent a LOT of money doing that. Then, they arbitrarily decided you didn’t need to do that any more. In fact, because this was a business that was “summers” for a college student, they did it in between us paying attention. When we went back to try to resume a few repairs, they told us we weren’t able to do this anymore. We had missed a communication. I complained. They told me to pound sand and go away.
So, while there are some people having a fair bit of success. There are dramatically more people that fail. Everyday, on their Yammer discussion boards, there is yet another person “giving up, selling kit”.
Knowing what I know now, I would never advise someone to try it. Better off just getting a job at Best Buy or something.