How to start a mobile phone repair business

Build a profitable business by repairing broken or damaged phones.

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If you can fix smartphones, opening your own repair business can be a great way to monetise your skills. Below we explain how to open a mobile phone repair business, including the essential skills you need, how to choose your business structure and some of the key legal requirements of running a company.

What is a mobile phone repair business?

A mobile phone repair business specialises in fixing smartphones and tablets. Common repairs include replacing the broken screen, replacing the battery, repairing headphone jacks and fixing the phone camera.

How to start a mobile phone repair business

Follow these steps to successfully launch your mobile phone repair business:

  1. Develop a business plan. Write a business plan that takes into account market research, the estimated income and expenses for your business and the pricing of your services.
  2. Find a suitable location. If you have the budget, you could rent out a physical storefront to attract walk-in customers. Options include renting a kiosk in a mall, subleasing a small space in a commercial building, or even booking a desk in a co-working space. Alternatively, you can run your smartphone repair business as a mobile business and visit customers at their home, workplace or another public place. This will allow you to save on rent while giving customers the convenience of having travelling repair technicians.
  3. Create a brand name and logo. Choose a business name that reflects your business's expertise and style. Make sure it's not already trademarked and is available to register with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). If you want a logo to market your business, commission a logo from a graphic designer or create your own using these graphic design tools and services.
  4. Consider loan options. Depending on the commercial space and equipment you need, you may have to apply for a loan to start your business. If you can't get a business loan, there are also personal loan options available.
  5. Choose the right structure for your business. Most of the time, operating as a Sole Trader or Partnership will be the simplest and most cost-effective way to run a small smartphone repair business. However, there are advantages in registering your business as a Company if there are external investors involved, or if you wish to better protect yourself against the Company's future liabilities.
  6. Consider legal requirements. You may need to get legal document templates such as a Service Agreement and Refund Policy. If you rent out a commercial space, you may also need to speak to a commercial lease lawyer.
  7. Market your business. Your marketing strategy will depend on how you run your business. If you have a storefront and it's in a high foot traffic area, you can use signs to advertise your business. If you're running a mobile repair business, you will need to invest more in building a digital presence through a website and social media so customers can find you.

man repairing smartphone

Skills needed to start a mobile phone repair business

If you're thinking about opening a mobile phone repair business, here are some of the essential skills:

  • Smartphone repair experience. The most important skill you need is experience fixing various models of smartphones. It's essential that you're able to diagnose and troubleshoot problems and replace broken parts. You'll also need to be able to work fast because most customers expect to pick up their phone within hours, if not minutes.
  • Knowledge in technology. Tech companies release new smartphone models each year, so you should keep pace with the new technology. This is particularly important if you use your mobile repair business to cross-sell refurbished smartphones or accessories.
  • Customer service and organisational skills. It's also important to have the skills to provide customers with a positive experience. You need communication skills to set clear expectations for customers and organisational skills to prioritise more urgent tasks.
  • Business skills. As a small business owner, you will need some basic business skills such as bookkeeping and marketing. Write a business plan detailing how to finance your business, ongoing costs, how to grow and evolve, and your marketing strategy.

Courses and qualifications

You don't need any specific qualifications to open a smartphone repair business. If you don't already know how to repair mobile phones, there are YouTube tutorials available to help you learn the necessary skills. If you have little to no knowledge in tech, you may want to consider joining a short course on a training site like Udemy to understand and master the basics.

As your business grows and expands, you may find yourself operating in other technology niches, for example, computer repairs. To get your expertise up to scratch, you can take another online short course.


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    Equipment and software needed to start a mobile phone repair business

    A set of specialised tools is essential when it comes to operating a mobile phone repair business. Here are a few that you may need to use on a daily basis:

    • Screwdriver kit, with a variety of screwdriver head sizes
    • Repair parts including screens, charging ports and LCDs
    • Isopropyl alcohol
    • Anti-static brush
    • Suction cup
    • Tweezers
    • Heat gun
    • Digitiser separator machine
    • Temperature sensor
    • Wire

    You may also want to invest in software and equipment to make running the back end of your business a little easier:

    Loan options for mobile phone repair business

    Depending on the level of your savings, the commercial space you're renting and the equipment you need to buy upfront, you may need to get a loan to start your business.

    Our guide on small business loans can help you figure out which option might suit your goals. Keep in mind some lenders will require you to have been operating the business for at least six months to a year, while other lenders will require a minimum annual turnover of at least $100,000.

    If you're just starting your business, you may need to think about getting personal loans instead. Before you apply, always make sure you're able to afford all repayments, including any additional fees or charges.

    How to structure your mobile phone repair business

    To make your business a legal entity, you'll need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and decide how to structure your business. Here are a few common structures you might like to consider as a mobile phone repair business owner.

    • Sole Trader. Registering as a Sole Trader will give you the ultimate control and responsibility for your business. You'll have to complete a tax return each year and you'll be able to deduct any business-related expenses in it.
    • Partnership. If you'd like to open a phone repair business with a friend or family member, you'll need to register as a Partnership. This will give you and your partner equal control over business decisions and finances.
    • Company. If you're planning on growing your business to include external investors, you may want to register it as a Company. Much more complicated, and generally more expensive to set up, a Company is owned by a number of different shareholders, rather than one person.

    If you're still unsure which business structure is the right fit for you, a small business lawyer can point you in the right direction.

    For a smartphone repair business, you may need a number of legal documents. You can seek the advice of a lawyer to help you draft these up, or use templates on websites like Sprintlaw and Lawpath.

    Useful documents for a smartphone repair business include:

    • Service Agreement. It's a good idea to set out the terms and conditions of your service in a document. It should set out your responsibilities, what happens to the customer's data, any warranty for the smartphone post repair and payment terms.
    • Refund Policy. It should outline the situations under which your customer can receive a refund or partial refund. That way both you and the customer will be protected if you can't fix the phone to the customer's satisfaction.
    • Commercial lease. If you're renting out space in a commercial building, it's a good idea to have a commercial lease lawyer look over the lease. They can explain to you if the lease has any unreasonable rent increases, how the exclusivity clause works on your competitors and other legal issues to do with the landlord.
    • Employment Agreement. If you're hiring smartphone repair technicians, you'll need an Employment Agreement to set out the terms and conditions of their employment.

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    How to find customers

    As is the case with any business, having a strong marketing plan is essential to make your mobile phone repair business a success.

    If you have a storefront in a high traffic area, you can use your branding and signs to market your service to walk-in customers.

    If your workspace is in an office building or if you run a mobile business, you will need to develop a digital presence. Having a presence on social media, as well as building your own website, is a great way to look credible and professional to potential customers.

    Another hassle-free and relatively low-cost marketing technique is signing up to online job marketplaces, such as Oneflare and Airtasker. Using these websites, you can create a profile to advertise your services or respond to jobs posted by locals near you.

    How much should I charge my customers?

    The cost of phone repairs varies a lot depending on the severity of the damage and the model of the phone. When pricing your service, you'll need to take into account any parts you need to buy for the repair and how long it takes you to do the job.

    Before you start operating, it can be a good idea to take a look at competitors in the nearby area to see how much they are charging their customers.

    Accept payments from your customers in person and online with Square's card readers, payment terminals, digital invoicing and e-commerce tools.

    Frequently asked questions

    How profitable is a mobile phone repair business?

    If you're willing to invest the time and effort into your business, and you price your services right, you may find that it's possible to make a strong and profitable business from repairing smartphones. According to the recruiter Indeed, the average mobile phone technician in Australia earns around $80,000 each year. Owning your own repair business potentially gives you the opportunity to earn more than this figure.

    Can you make money "flipping" phones?

    If you have the skills and know-how to fix phones, it may be possible to make a tidy profit by fixing phones and selling them on. One of the biggest hurdles you'll need to overcome is finding a reliable and legitimate source of profitable phones to sell on.

    Is it hard to repair phones?

    Once you equip yourself with the correct tools and knowledge, carrying out simple fixes on phones is relatively easy. This includes things like replacing a broken screen and headphone jacks, fixing a stuck button or replacing a camera. Problems such as water damage or a battery failure may require more advanced expertise.

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