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Considering starting an appliance repair service

Shane247

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So I've finished unscripted for the second time and am thinking of a business to start which gives value to people and utilises my strengths. I am a trained service tech. and am interested in getting into the world of appliance repair. I would have to learn from scratch how to fix the appliances but I am fairly technically minded so I can learn as I go along.

I have been going around in circles to date and need to do something to get my entrepreneurial journey kickstarted. This type of job might be difficult to scale but I'll take these things as they come.

It will allow me to be my own boss. Set my own hours. Learn new skills. Provide real first hand value for customers. It meets control, entry and need(here in Nelson, BC local appliance repair techs. Are badly needed) of the productocracy but not so sure about scale and time at the moment.

Let me know what you think about this business venture. Is it a route you would reccomend? Is it a good unscripted path to begin with?

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sparechange

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Get clients > delegate work to others and your "fastlane" what things can you repair? And what's the plan to acquire customers?
 

Shane247

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Im thinking general household items like dishwashers, washing machines, etc... ill start with one and broaden my knowledge as I go. There are some valuable resourses online explaining how to get customers, it doesnt happen overnight but if you put the work in you can become successful.

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sparechange

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If you remember in the fastlane book mj talked about a woman that repaired computers, than sold her company for 30 million, although to do that you'll need to be in all the big city's
 
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sparechange

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Easy idea you can start with is to place ads all over Starbucks, grocery stores, and places like that. Literally take a few minutes if your time, create a nice looking ad and test out the market
 

Shane247

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If you remember in the fastlane book mj talked about a woman that repaired computers, than sold her company for 30 million, although to do that you'll need to be in all the big city's
Been a couple of years since i read "fastlane" but I see what you mean. Right now this town is lacking a local appliance tech. so maybe if i learn my trade here first I can upgrade later. It remains to be seen where this can go.

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sparechange

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I've done door to door ad placements and still remember the beautiful feeling of my phone blowing up with calls and texts... Ah...
 
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Shane247

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Easy idea you can start with is to place ads all over Starbucks, grocery stores, and places like that. Literally take a few minutes if your time, create a nice looking ad and test out the market
Ya sure. If I go ahead with this my main focus for now is to get started learning how to repair 1 appliance inside and out...books, hands on, you name it...

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Philip Marlowe

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Hi Shane - I'd recommend you read 'Built to Sell'. It might help you start now to consider a future exit strategy (or at least how to build a service business that doesn't rely on you directly).

I think initially you'll essentially be creating a job for yourself, albeit a self-employed one. So long as you acknowledge that it'll rely heavily on you at first, that's OK.

Is there any way to differentiate yourself in the repair market? A neighbor said they hired an "eco-friendly" tree service the other day and what sold them is they use canola oil instead of bar/chain oil in their chainsaws. Who knew.

Definitely read @Andy Black threads on local lead gen and AdWords.

Good luck!
 

I Am I Said

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Shane, have you ever thought of medical devices? I was originally a tool & die maker and then spent 5 years cleaning and repairing microscopes. My biggest job was a week's work in a university where my company averaged $150/hour. I had no BME training, just a similar technical background to you. Then my employer got me factory-trained on all kinds of equipment I had never heard of, and most states require preventive maintenance on those items every 6 months. Every tiny hospital has at least 20 microscopes including at least 2 fluorescents and 2 phase-contrasts, and they're just hard enough to figure out that a lot of people don't do it. There are also hundreds of small labs - we never even tapped into those. I quit due to intolerable management, but it would be cool to see someone get into that. The vast majority of contenders in the field send in unimaginative people who don't give a damn about customer service.
 
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Shane247

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Hi Shane - I'd recommend you read 'Built to Sell'. It might help you start now to consider a future exit strategy (or at least how to build a service business that doesn't rely on you directly).

I think initially you'll essentially be creating a job for yourself, albeit a self-employed one. So long as you acknowledge that it'll rely heavily on you at first, that's OK.

Is there any way to differentiate yourself in the repair market? A neighbor said they hired an "eco-friendly" tree service the other day and what sold them is they use canola oil instead of bar/chain oil in their chainsaws. Who knew.

Definitely read @Andy Black threads on local lead gen and AdWords.

Good luck!
Ill have a look at that book, thanks. Havent thought about advertising yet so not sure how id differentiate yet.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
 

Shane247

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Shane, have you ever thought of medical devices? I was originally a tool & die maker and then spent 5 years cleaning and repairing microscopes. My biggest job was a week's work in a university where my company averaged $150/hour. I had no BME training, just a similar technical background to you. Then my employer got me factory-trained on all kinds of equipment I had never heard of, and most states require preventive maintenance on those items every 6 months. Every tiny hospital has at least 20 microscopes including at least 2 fluorescents and 2 phase-contrasts, and they're just hard enough to figure out that a lot of people don't do it. There are also hundreds of small labs - we never even tapped into those. I quit due to intolerable management, but it would be cool to see someone get into that. The vast majority of contenders in the field send in unimaginative people who don't give a damn about customer service.
Sounds like an unique area to get involved in. Ill do some research into it.

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journeyman

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I will tell you why I don't like it instictively. This is exactly the sort of business that most of the people that I know, who do not have any entrepreneural knowledge or aspriations, would look to start. This doesn't say mean that your ideas are bad but rather that is not something revolutionary.

You said it yourself. Scale and time sound problematic.

Sure you can divorce your time by hiring more employees, but what if you need capital that can only come from scale to do that?

What about scale? If you start in a small city, even if you become very successful (which in itself will take effort and time), how many people can you realistically serve? You can say that you will then expand in diffferent cities. OK. What is it going to be about your business that is going to make it so unique that you will expand in new areas and dominate the competition?

I think this forum is not about discouraging any ideas. It might very well work. It might also be that your time and energy will be better invested in another venture. Off the top of my head, just to get you thinking.
  • What if you trained other people (course/videos/one-off payments) how to fix particular devices (online -> scale)?
  • What if you created a platform where people looking for appliance repair would get linked with a person (like freelancing)?
 
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Get Right

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There is a lady that did the same thing in my town. She started fixing a few appliances and now has 3 or 4 locations. Sounds fastlane to me (if you set it up via the book).
 

StevieB

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I cannot speak from experience but know someone who owned a moving company for years and have some knowledge on these types of businesses.

What I can tell you, is if you decide to go into this type of business is from the start you have to think of your exit strategy. When I say exit strategy I don't necessarily mean selling it (although that's always an option to think through) but rather how is the business going to run without you in it. The large majority of companies in these types of industries rather than a business it's a job. Sure 'you're your own boss' but you just got yourself a job, not a business because it can't be run without you. Eventually you'll get burned out, your circumstances will change, etc... I also know a few mechanic's that own their own shop.

My friend ended up exiting the business and is now a computer tech and says he'll never go back into it. Even though 'he was his own boss' he likes working for someone else better because of how his company was setup. He wasn't able to sell it other than the physical assets because it wasn't a business that couldn't be run without him.

I'd start with looking at the numbers to see if it makes sense.
 

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