Spotlight: iDropped Turns Broken Phones into a Business





idropped

If you own a smartphone, chances are you’ve dropped it at some point. From cracked screens to broken buttons to battery issues, smartphones and mobile devices can have a lot of problems. And fixing them yourself isn’t always a viable option.

But the next time it happens, you can take your phone to a company like iDropped. iDropped provides on-site repairs for most popular brands of mobile devices at six different locations throughout Pennsylvania. Owner Charles Hibble grew up tinkering with different electronic devices and eventually found a way to make a living fixing them for other people. Read more about his journey to iDropped in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does:

Provides on-site electronics repairs.

The iDropped team specializes in Apple products and the Samsung Galaxy series, but will work with most popular mobile brands. Repairs include screen replacements, batteries, charging ports, power buttons and more. The company strives to repair phones in just an hour and other electronics within 24 hours.

It also sells mobile device accessories from brands like Lifeproof, Otterbox and Mophie.

Business Niche:

Providing the best possible service.

Each device brought into iDropped goes through a rigorous pre-repair and post-repair checklist to ensure that everything is completely functional before being returned to its owner. Hibble says:

“Our iDropped-trained technicians are craftsmen who know what it takes to do a job right and which procedures to perform for a top-notch finished product.”

iDropped

How the Business Got Started:

As a result of a passion for repairing electronics.

Hibble explains.

“I was always tinkering as a child — at 10, I took apart my parents’ faulty radio, reattached a wire, and was stunned when “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel began playing. It was moments like that in my life that gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment. I was again reminded of that feeling in 2010 when our family cat swatted my wife’s phone onto the floor, shattering the screen. All those days of tinkering as a kid resurfaced, and this time I had YouTube to help. After about a week of research, I ordered a screen and the right tools and I got to work. The lengthy repair culminated with a welcoming white apple symbol when I pushed the power button.”

Hibble and his business partner Chad Altier realized there was a huge demand for this type of repair service. So they began testing various techniques and tools on friends’ damaged devices. And they eventually opened their first store in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 2012.

Employees:

Eighteen.

Biggest Risk:

Expanding into new markets.

Early on, the business kept its locations close to the original flagship store in Scranton. iDropped was a pretty well-known business in that area. So when they decided to open a new location in Plymouth Meeting Mall, they knew they would have to do it without that name recognition. Hibble says:

“We took the chance, knowing that if our team could make it work there, we could be successful anywhere. It was a bold risk, a welcomed challenge, and an indication for proof of concept and business model execution.”

Lesson Learned:

Small teams can be just as effective as large ones.

Hibble explains:

“During our first few months of business, we found that we had more employees than we actually needed. We learned that we could streamline our business and grow at a faster pace if we worked in smaller teams, because it allowed us to better lead our employees and provide superior service to our customers.”

iDropped

How They’d Spend An Extra $100,000:

Research and development.

Hibble says:

“In any industry, there are always opportunities to improve products, tools, and practices. With the business experience and industry know-how our team holds, we think it may even be possible to reinvent the way the repair industry operates by changes in repair tool development and method of service delivery.”

Favorite Team Activity:

Mobile gaming competitions.

Hibble says:

“Our technicians have become increasingly competitive with each other in the ‘mobile gaming’ sphere. Every few months, there seems to be a new hit game — Candy Crush, Flappy Bird, Papa Pear — whatever it is, we all download it and relentlessly compete to get the highest score or be the first to reach 100. This team spirit and camaraderie also shines through in our every day. For example, it would not be unusual for an email to be sent out to store managers announcing sales figures and conclude with ‘By the way, just reached level 50 during lunch.’”

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program.

Images: iDropped

5 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

5 Reactions

  1. With almost everyone having a smartphone, this service is now more in demand than ever. It is a service that people need because most people prefer to get their phones repaired than replaced.

  2. I think he’ll stay in business for quite some time. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see a smartphone with a cracked screen or someone dropping their phone.

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