News about the tech repair industry

It seem like the last two years we’ve seen a lot of tech repair operations convert their shops into one of the major franchises. But is that the right decision for your existing business? The answer is complicated.

On one hand the sales pitch is compelling. You can go from a no name (sorry, but most of you have little to no brand recognition) to part of a major brand. A recognizable brand should help you win more business. You also get access to guidelines and SOPs that can help you improve your business operations. And there’s more…

One of the major franchises promises that “store owners get a blueprint to success.” They go on to list all of the ways they will help you “Grow Your Business”: Brand Awareness, Marketing, Buying Power, Nationals Accounts Program, New Owner/Manage Training, Relationship with Mobile Defenders, and Relationships with Carriers and Manufactures.

Joining a Franchise System Sounds Pretty Good, Right?

There is always two sides of coin my friends and the TCA exists to help you make good decisions about your tech repair business. Sometimes that means we ruffle some feathers or go against the popular crowd. But we will always tell you the truth.

To help you understand your options better and give you more insight on the industry as a whole. Let me introduce you to Shane Mericle who leads the CPRIOA as an example of what a strong trade association can do for business owners like you.

Shane Mericle & CPRIOA

Shane is the founder and driving force behind a large group of CPR owners that is pushing their franchise owner (Assurant) for change. These efforts include a major lawsuit.

He was recently interviewed about the plight of franchise owners and talks about the MANY challenges of owning a franchise business.

If you are thinking about a franchise or you’re just interested in what’s going on this is a MUST WATCH VIDEO!

Anyone and everyone in the tech repair industry should watch this video. Shane knows this industry and is a pretty smart dude. His insights into running a tech repair business are valuable for everyone. I’ll warn you the video is almost an hour long but well worth the watch to help you better understand your business!

Look Before You Leap!

I’m not saying joining a franchise is right or wrong for you. But you need to know all of the facts first. Unfortunately there aren’t many people in the industry who are willing to put their necks out to share the truth with you.

Would I join a franchise? No, never! Is it right for some people? Yes, absolutely.

Franchises can help business owners who need some guidance or direction in their business. However, now that uBreakiFix & CPR are owned by multi-billion dollar corporations I might stay clear of them. Smaller franchise systems, like: TechyCellairis, and HAILaGEEK are much better options! Look around too, there are numerous smaller and regional franchise systems that you could join.

Is joining a franchise a silver bullet that will save a struggling business? No, absolutely not! As I have said hundreds of times in the past there is NO SILVER BULLET! If you want to change the status quo in tech repair join us at the TECH CARE ASSOCIATION (TCA) or start another trade association! We need to be better organized or your business and the industry as a whole will go away.

Change is hard work! I admire Shane Mericle and the hard work of the CPRIOA.

New partnership announced on August 16, 2022

After months of planning and testing the Tech Care Association (TCA) is proud to announce a new partnership with UPSIE Technology! The goal of this partnership is to deliver more revenue to independent tech repair businesses all over the country. Small business people that are the heart and soul of the tech care industry.

By joining — AT NO COST TO BUSINESS OWNERS — the new UPSIE Independent Repair Network (IRN) shops and mobile operators will receive repair work delivered directly to their business. We handle all of the expenses of marketing & customer acquisition, payment/chargeback processing, and customer service. While you decide what jobs to accept and then GET PAID THE SAME DAY. We want to work with you as a team to help people get their tech fixed!

UPSIE does all of the heavy lifting in this relationship utilizing their nationwide reach, long list of partnerships, and excellent technology platform. They are a company that’s a lot like yours (read about them below). Much like you they started from humble beginnings fighting big tech companies to build a successful business.

There is not another company in the industry that could do this any better than UPSIE. They will build repair demand for you while you simply supply the same expert repair work and friendly service you have always have done. Unlike other companies you will be the first choice for all of the work they intend to create.

You get more business without having to invest a dime upfront. PLUS you get paid as soon as the work is completed (same day) without any credit card processing fees. You will also be given the opportunity to add even more revenue in your shops by selling warranties and new products in the near future.

Let’s all work together to make the next big thing for independent tech repair!

Here’s How The IRN Will Work For You

In addition to their existing claims customers UPSIE will actively promote the IRN and the ability for customers to get a local repair. This will be done mainly by tapping into their partner network, that is really excited about this new service offering. UPSIE will also devote resources to help educate people about the advantages of local tech repair and market the IRN to them.

In less than a year they expect to generate thousands of new customers nationwide to purchase repairs in the IRN each month. And they have very aggressive goals within the first two years of this new program. All of this equals MORE BUSINESS FOR YOU!

Using technology their unique technology platform they will be able to find a local repair shop that meets the customers needs within seconds. Confirm with that shop that they can complete the work and then schedule the job. Customer then comes into a shop or has a mobile repair tech come to them and the work is complete. Once completed the shop/tech confirms everything and electronic payment is sent immediately.

Pricing will need to be competitive. So the only thing that we ask from you is that you are willing to negotiate on your pricing. UPSIE needs to make something here for themselves and their partners. Factor into this the time & money it would cost for you to acquire additional business, which will be done by UPSIE. Also UPSIE handles all of the customer service needs pre & post repair – including chargebacks.

You will also be able to sell UPSIE warranty plans to your customers and make more money for your shop. UPSIE plans are simple to understand and affordable for any customer. Think warranty plans are a scam? Think again and read more below. The right partner for warranties is a great way to build customer loyalty in your shop and get repeat business.

Over the coming months the IRN (which again is 100% FREE to join right now) will have additional revenue opportunities for you. And services that you will be able to offer in your shops that will drive in more foot traffic. All of this is being designed with you in mind. Easy to sell and easy to manage.

We are also working on additional partnerships to help your business be more successful. Partnerships that will integrate directly into the IRN.

The bottom-line here is that by joining the IRN (for free) you will get repair work delivered directly to your shop. UPSIE does all of the heavy lifting here to acquire customers and get paid repairs to you. You just do what you do best.

UPSIE Technology & It’s Founder

UPSIE Technology Founder & Current Chairman of the Board Clarence Bethea

UPSIE Technology is probably one of the biggest names in tech care that you have never heard about. Their founder Clarence Bethea is a friend and all around great guy.

I’ve followed UPSIE and Clarence for a long time as he launched a startup to disrupt the extended warranty market. He launched UPSIE in 2016 to provide a more affordable and transparent protection product for people that, in the past, had few choices. Policies with no annoying sales pitch and without retail store markups.

Clarence comes from a very humble background growing up in the “hood” of Decatur, GA. At one point selling drugs to help his family eat. His life changed when he moved to Minnesota to attend Bemidji State University on a basketball scholarship. In Minnesota he was lucky to be mentored by a former Fortune 500 CEO. As a result of people believing in him he decided to develop UPSIE, which has since become a major success. Clarence now is a mentor himself and helps aspiring founders.

The first time I met this amazing entrepreneur was in 2017 when he was in the DC area, on a quest for investors. I offered to buy him lunch anywhere in DC. He told me their was this “dope burger joint” he wanted to try. We hit it off on day one.

We exchanged ideas over the next few years and texted with each other about another CEO we didn’t particularly like. Trust me when I say that Clarence is a larger than life guy who actually cares about people. It shows in the companies values but even more so in a simple company philosophy that is encompassed by one word. GRACE.

Put simply. Don’t judge someone by their worst moment, thought, or simple mistake. Show them some grace and everything might just be alright. Showing grace to others guides the UPSIE team and the way they work with their partners.

Clarence stepped away from the day to day operations recently, but remains the Chairman of the board at UPSIE. He promoted from within and hired an equally inspirational CEO by the name of Will Anderson. Will was so excited about working with small business owners in tech repair that he will be attending AWPE 2022 in person this week.

Will comes from the Northeast, but no Ivy League background here. His story of rising out of a tough life growing up is also inspirational. He leads an excellent staff of professionals all over the country (UPSIE went fully remote during Covid). A staff that cares about their customers and the success of small business people like you.

How the IRN Came To Be

From day one UPSIE saw the value in working with independent tech repair shops and had the desire to support small businesses. As an underdog themselves in the multiple billion dollar product warranty/insurance market they get it.

PLUS everyone in our industry knows that the independent repair is the best experience for a customer. The only problem is not enough people know you exist. That’s the problem that the TCA set out to solve two years ago and now…

The Independent Repair Network (IRN) started to develop last December when I had a call with Clarence & Will from UPSIE. It started much like the dozens of calls I had already had with companies trying to get them to invest in independent repair. As the head of the TCA this has been our #1 priority since day one. Creating more revenue for independent tech repair businesses like yours.

The call with UPSIE was different from the start. Both Clarence & Will become openly supportive of independent repair shops as soon as I told them about industry struggles. It all started with the idea of providing a better claims experience for the thousands of UPSIE customers who file a claim each year. Then quickly evolved into something much bigger.

After sharing my struggles with getting enough financial support to build-out our public website. An immense project that was going to take a lot of money and volunteer hours to build into what we had imagined. We both came to the conclusion that the best way to do it was to have me join the UPSIE team.

The TCA would be better served with me directing the available resources at UPSIE. All while continuing to operate the TCA with the help of new staff.

What is UPSIEs motivation in this project? The first thing is obvious, creating an alternative network of tech repair shops to handle their claims. A network that, once fully developed, will provide a far superior experience for their customers. It also gives them access to a new channel to sell their warranty plans and future products.

After meeting with repair business owners Will Anderson, current UPSIE CEO, was convinced that this was the right direction for the company. Unlike other big insurance companies UPSIE sees this large group of small business owners as someone to partner with and not someone to acquire. Someone to invest in and not someone to try and destroy.

They get the idea that repair people are ferociously independent. They/you are a small business person for a reason. I get it. I’ve been there and done that during my career. I want to help small businesses like you succeed too!

I can assure you after joining their staff recently that everyone at USPIE cares about seeing small businesses like yours do well. I know many of you have had companies come to you and ask you to join them or sell their services. Only to be disappointed in the results or feel cheated by the investment. Again, I’ve been in your shoes. I get it. I believe that with your input we can make the IRN some really great!

How is UPSIE different? It starts with the IRN. It’s FREE. Who wants to create more business for you for free? Right now there is zero cost for you to join. ZERO! Zero cost for you to get more business in your door.

I mean why should you pay to do work for someone else? Will there be a cost to you in the future – not sure. If there is you can be assured that we will do everything we can to make it affordable for you. And we’ll be honest and up front too.

The bottom-line here is that UPSIE is going to send you business first! You can decide later if you want to sell their product too. Once you see how it all works.


There’s been a dirty little secret in the tech repair industry ever since the industry started. OEM PARTS.

In an effort to win more business people in the industry have often said they have OEM parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer). I’ve seen it and heard in the industry since the industry began. From repair shops to distributors, it’s been a blight on the industry since day one. Some whisper it while others blatantly advertise that they sell OEM parts. If you Google Apple OEM parts today you’ll see how some companies sneak OEM into their SEO results.

Let me make this clear. Outside of those authorized by Apple (or another OEM) NO ONE HAS OEM PARTS!

Even if you’re one of the honest people out there (and there are a lot of you!) the claim impacts your business because when your competitor says it you find yourself in a bad spot. You can try to maintain your integrity and hope you don’t lose the business, argue with the customer by telling them the other guy is lying, or bend to the pressure and say yours are OEM too. In the end you simply hope the customer doesn’t know or see the difference.

Either way the interaction damages the industry as a whole by putting questions in the customer’s head.


The problem has become so big that Apple is the first company (others will follow) that will now include a software verification system that will clearly show the customer if they have an OEM part or an “Unknown Part” in their device. If you don’t think this will have a major impact on the repair industry, then think again.

As iOS 15.2 rolls out, Apple is adding a new “Parts and Service History” section in the settings app. A feature that will allow anyone who looks at the phone to know if a part has been replaced on the device. If it has, each part replaced will show up in the history followed by either “Genuine Apple Part” or “Unknown Part”. The Genuine Apple Part message will only appear if Apple software is used to sync the parts – a part pulled from another device will appear as “Unknown”

In some ways this will be a really good thing with customers now able to see if the parts in their device or one they might be thinking about buying has been repaired and what kind of parts were used. This will also add another layer to device buyback and/or trade-ins. Some good, some bad for the greater tech care industry.

The second way Apple is addressing this problem is the soon to launch Apple Self Service Repair Program that will put OEM parts directly into the hands of the customer. A program that has been discussed a lot and many are wrongly dismissing as a non-factor for independent repair. You can read additional thoughts on this subject on the WiGoMan blog.

Flying under the radar a bit, Apple also announced recently that they will be doing mobile repair work for small businesses.


Here’s where things will impacting repair shops and the entire repair parts supply chain.

  1. OEM vs Aftermarket parts will be clear. No more hiding. No more lies. But the question is how will the customer react? Short-term impact might be minimal. The long-term outlook not so good.
  2. Trade-in repairs will be impacted. The customers who come into a repair shop now to get a screen fixed to increase trade-in value will likely stop. Assuming that the trade-in value will drop with this new knowledge. Maybe not at first but over time people will realize that they can’t trick the system anymore.
  3. Self-repair is bigger than you think. iFixit’s ($25-30 million in revenue) business model is built on this concept. Then think of all the eBay & Amazon part sellers. Every shop sees customers who have botched repairs themselves but that’s only a small fraction of the people who do self repair.
  4. Marketing Impact. Expect to see shops that are authorized, including Apple Stores, to advertise that OEM parts are the only way to go which will further impact the market for aftermarket parts. Restricting smaller independent shops even more. The larger chains (now owned by huge corporations) will benefit greatly by selling more OEM screens.
  5. Apple getting into mobile repair will also start to take a toll on independent repair shops. Again slowly at first but with a larger impact as it rolls out across the country.
  6. ** While not known or clear at this point this keeps open the possibility that Apple reactivates device software that can disable certain features on a device (Face ID, Fingerprint Sensor, etc.).

I can promise you that Apple and its partners have a plan and they are concisely executing that plan. Each of the things listed above will take away business from the industry. We need to turn the tide!

Listen, getting repair business in the past has been easy for most. You really didn’t have to do much to get some customers. Because of that a lot of people got into the industry. Opportunists that saw the potential and seized it. Think about it. A lot of those people are now getting into crypto, vaping, CBD, etc. Tech repair was a wide open market. But now it’s not. Now it’s going to require more work on your part. It’s going to require you to be more savvy as a business person if you want to stay in business. It’s going to require giving up some control and collaborating with others. It’s going to require a vibrant independent trade association.


People within the industry often site automotive repair as an example of how OEM and aftermarket can coexist. They then try to overlay that example with the tech repair industry. While I often use this example myself there are a few major reasons why it doesn’t work in exactly the same way.

Besides the fact that the automotive repair industry has been around a lot longer and is a much larger industry it has two distinct benefits that are lacking in the tech repair industry. Exposure/branding and industry representation.

Let me explain. The auto repair industry benefits from a lot of brand exposure. If you were to ask someone to name an auto repair business, they could easily. Ask them to name some brand name aftermarket parts and most could do that too. In terms of industry representation there are numerous trade associations that represent the myriad of players in the auto care industry. The biggest of which is the Auto Care Association, a powerful group that helped lobby for the original right to repair legislation and spends a lot of time and money on promoting the industry to the public.

The tech repair industry has none of those things. The only recognizable brand to the public is iFixit followed far behind by Batteries Plus, UBIF, and CPR. Surveys have shown that the average person on the street can’t even name one of these brands, even when they live and work nearby. Ask them to name a parts brand and – sorry to tell you this guys – but you get crickets.

I’ve said it many times in the past, people just don’t know the tech repair industry exists. An active trade association can change that dynamic!

What’s the potential for working together with a neutral non-profit trade association?

I’ve used this example before but think about how other industries responded to challenges to their revenue models. Two of the biggest industry campaigns ever were “Beef, it’s what for dinner” and the “Got Milk” campaigns that were hugely successful in countering the negative consumer culture that had risen at the time. Both of these campaigns were a product of industry trade associations and both of these campaigns produced amazing results for their industries. But they didn’t do it alone. They worked together as an industry to make their industries bigger and better to benefit everyone large and small. How about you?


First a question: Do you want a divided race to the bottom or a united climb to the top?

Races are often run alone while climbing tall mountains requires working with others. If you want a divided race to the bottom, then keep doing what you’re doing. If you want to climb to the top of our potential, then let’s work together! Unity can be achieved without conformity.

The fact of the matter is that Apple owns the pie we’re all trying to get a piece of. The tech repair industry has been fighting over a small slice of it for too long, in essence hoping that Apple will give out more slices. The Tech Care Association believes that we can increase the size of the pie (Yes, the whole pie, not just our slice), thus making our slice bigger, by making more people aware of repair and the benefits of working with independent repair. Apple doesn’t want to promote repair because it tarnishes their brand. So we have to, which in turn takes the industry to higher ground instead of fighting each other in a race to the bottom.

Don’t be naïve and think that the recent moves by Apple will not have a major impact on your business. They will. Maybe not at first, but like the tide coming in on a sandcastle, slowly and surely, what you have worked hard to build will be washed out to sea. Everyone will feel the impact from shops to depots to distributors and marketers. You can’t hold the tide back by yourself – no one can!

By working together, a united tech repair industry can turn the tide and increase the size of the pie.

Working together we can promote the quality and value of 3rd party parts or as Apple likes to call them “Unknown Parts”. We can raise brand awareness for the many high quality repair parts that are already in the market. We can help customers understand that a repair with a 3rd party part is a great value for them and make efforts to set standards for parts that will have greater value in the resale market.

Now, more than ever, people need to be better aware of what the independent tech repair industry is all about. We can climb this mountain together or we watch the tide come in alone. The choice is yours.

Help us to help you and change the narrative about the independent tech repair industry by joining the TECH CARE ASSOCIATION and working together. Join us today!

Dear Tim Cook and the Apple Board of Directors,

First, I want to thank you for announcing the new Apple Self Service Repair program. This is a great first step in the right direction for a world that desperately needs repairable tech now more than ever. I hope that other companies will follow your lead and make parts, tools, and manuals available to their customers.

We also agree 100 % with your statement that most repairs should be handled by a trained professional. The Tech Care Association represents tens of thousands of those trained tech repair professionals here in the US – the “popular mechanics crowd” if you will. A group that Mr. Cook recently said he loves and has been focused on his entire life. Let’s help them to thrive now and not worry about tomorrow!

We want to work with Apple to take the next steps in tech repair and find a better way of working together. This way, in our on-demand world, your customers get the best possible service imaginable.

In some ways you kind of owe us one. Because it was our industry that helped you get to this point in the first place. The men and women of the tech care industry have been working on your products for a long time. These innovative tech care people have always found ways to deliver an amazing level of service to your customers despite the challenges put before them.

When the first iPhone launched in 2007 it was the small businesspeople of the tech care industry that helped you out by offering same day repair services for the iPhone’s fatal flaw – cracked glass. It’s hard to say exactly who invented this repair process, but I do know the industry took great care of a lot of your customers for a few years before you started doing repair work in your stores. In some ways the independent tech repair industry taught you how to repair your own product. Even to this day innovative repair people are discovering new ways to fix your tech, reverse engineer it, and do advanced repair work that isn’t offered in your stores.

This industry has created an opportunity for the “popular mechanics crowd” to earn a living for themselves and create small businesses in their communities. Living the American dream! All of us want to work with you and not against you. But it hasn’t been easy for us because of your past policies on repair. Let’s work together to change that now so that their future can be more secure!

Our industry is full of professional tech repair people that take great care of their customers each day. They have worked hard to build businesses and provide for their families. They are brilliant hard-working individuals who love tech. They are problem solvers who bring joy to many of their customers when the device boots up again and memories are restored. They’re just good people!

Now that you’ve officially committed to repair let’s work together to find new opportunities for the small businesspeople that you say “you love and have been focused on your entire life” while we both continue to take great care of people who buy your tech.

Mr. Cook let’s find a sensible solution by the end of this year to expand the reasonable availability of Apple OEM parts, tools, and repair manuals to tech repair professionals.

Eagerly awaiting your response,

Rob Link on behalf of Tech Repair People Everywhere (aka, the popular mechanics crowd)

Founder & CEO

Tech Care Association

Repair People are amazing! Despite the efforts of big tech companies (OEMs) to make fixing our tech harder and harder independent repair people have shown what they are capable of time and time again. To suggest otherwise is silly.

Next time you go into a big tech store (apple, Best Buy, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) and one of their salespeople tell you to just buy a new device, ignore them and take it to a repair expert at a local tech repair shop ( Because I’m here to tell you that EVERYTHING can be fixed and, just like a car, you won’t know the cost of repair until a professional technician has a look under the hood. A sales rep at the Apple store, BestBuy, AT&T, or Verizon has no clue!

Listen the people who build cars or sell cars don’t fix cars. So why would people assume that the people who make tech or sell tech can fix it? Your best bet when your tech is broken is to always get advice from the people with the most experience fixing it.


The simple truth is EVERYTHING tech can be fixed, and the final cost is in the eye of the beholder.

Yes, I know saying that everything tech can be repaired is complicated. Allow me to expand that thought by keeping in mind that I ran a successful tech repair operation for more than 10 years and we came across almost every repair scenario possible while repairing tens of thousands of devices. We always had a repair option for our customers. EVERY SINGLE TIME. Why? Because we had amazing technicians that refused to back down from a challenge. That was the culture of our shops. EVERYTHING TECH CAN BE REPAIRED!

Allow me to expand on the philosophy that everything tech can be repaired.

When a customer has a broken piece of tech the most important question for them is, “can it be fixed?’ In my shops the answer was ALWAYS YES*. Why always yes you ask? Because it’s true. Everything can be fixed. The only limitation to whether the customer will or should proceed is going to be the final cost and what their individual goal is going into the repair. Those are the variables that no one is qualified to answer expect for the customer.

Now here’s the complicated part – the asterisk if you like. Sometimes the cost is too high. Not necessarily the price but the cost of the final repair. Sure, sometimes its price. But sometimes its data or sometimes its time. Those are the main variables that may cause the customer to decline the repair, but it is rarely a situation where a piece of tech cannot be repaired by someone. The cost may be too high, the data may not be recoverable, and it make take a lot more time than the customer will allow. These are things you don’t know until you have properly evaluated the repair.


Since the dawn of the modern tech repair industry, which I estimate to be around 2004, tech repair people have always risen to meet any challenge they have faced. These are amazing people whose skills (and industry) is often overlooked even to this day. I know this industry well because I was a part of it from the beginning and I have seen the amazing work that the industry has done firsthand.

First of all, the tech repair (or what started as cellphone repair) industry wrote the book on fixing tech. You see the main cellphone repair players of that day were Nokia and Motorola who were actually shutting down their repair operations nationwide because phones had become disposable. Newer smartphones (Blackberry, Palm, Windows, Symbian) had just entered the market and were complicating things. Nobody saw the iPhone on the horizon yet – it would change the industry forever.

The biggest repair challenge in that day was… trackballs on Blackberry’s. Yea, for real. The tiny little ball that gave you navigation capabilities would get gunked up and fail. Enter a brilliant entrepreneur who started selling trackballs online and made millions. Then it was charge ports which ushered in the soldering iron in tech repair shops. Soon after it was keyboards and flax cables with some of the early plastic touchscreens also finding repair shops. Then, in 2007, the first iPhone hit the market and just like Steve Jobs would later say, “Every once and a while, a revolutionary product enters the market and changes everything.” This was certainly true for the tech repair industry. iPhone changed it all!

Smartphone OEMs Were/Are Clueless About Repair

I’ll give credit where credit is due. At least Apple figured something out when their flagship device started coming into their stores on a massive scale – that little glass screen broke a lot! Unlike their smartphone competitors Apple offered a device swap when customers came to them with busted screens, which was an immediate, yet costly solution. There competitors (Palm, Blackberry, Nokia, HTC, etc.) would require you to ship off the device for repair/replacement which would often take weeks. Both solutions had serious downsides.

Immediate onsite repair was only available from independent tech repair shops. In fact, It took Apple more than 5+ years to finally offer limited onsite repair in the Apple stores. Then, as it is now, their repair offerings are lacking greatly as compared to independent tech repair shops who can do so much more.

Do you know who taught them how to repair the iPhone? You got it. It was the independent tech repair industry.

How do I know? Call it coincidence if you like but I trained techs in my shops who were VERY curious about everything we did while training, took really good notes, asked lots of questions, only worked a month or two, and then we found them working at Apple almost immediately after they left us. We also had recruiters calling my shops on a regular basis who would snag one of my techs from time to time that ended up at Apple as well. I’ve heard similar stories from around the industry.

We know that despite building a sexy device with a wonderful user interface (UI) that Apple didn’t spend a lot of time testing capabilities when they rolled out the first few iPhones. This is well documented with all of the issues the first few iPhones experienced. Obviously, they didn’t test durability either because they had zero plan for repair. By the looks of things, they assumed people would just buy a new device every year.

This lack of planning created tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurially inspired independent tech repair people to fill the gap. One that many brilliant people have filled over the years. No one taught them how to do it. They just seized the opportunity and built businesses around their hard work. Overcoming obstacles along the way.

An industry was built without any formal training as tech repair people have taught themselves how to reverse engineer tech, diagnose issues on a board level, and then use microsoldering techniques to repair the most complex issues you could imagine. These are amazing people who should never be underestimated.

Do OEMs make repair unnecessarily difficult to fix their tech? Yes, and in some cases, it should be criminal in others it’s just sloppy design. Do we need laws to force OEMs to make devices more repairable? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that if an OEM has designed any kind of repair program, then that program needs to have reasonable availability to independent tech repair shops.

Afterall, you owe us. We taught you how to fix your tech in the first place.

The tech repair industry had three big stories rattle its core over the last week. The biggest should come as no surprise, while the other two stories may go unnoticed by many. Either way these three stories will help shape the industry permanently going forward.

The first story should surprise no one as Apple has gone to a place that everyone should have seen coming. The serialization of their repair parts continues with the iPhone 13 rollout this week. Multiple sources have now confirmed that if you replace the iPhone 13 screen then the face id feature will no longer work. In a nutshell, this means you need to go to Apple or an Apple authorized repair location to make the part work with the phone. This is one step closer to Apple simply just disabling any and all parts that someone outside of Apple’s network tries to install during the repair process.

While the right to repair movement enjoyed a recent win the biggest tech giant in the world moved forward with making independent repair much more difficult. As I have mentioned before a right to repair law is years away at best, that’s just the way law making works. I wish it were different and I wish we could have right to repair on the books today. But we don’t. The industry needs to come to terms with it and find ways in which we can all succeed now.

One last word on right to repair, the law as it is designed now is too broad. I’ll address this in a future blog post, but it’s why I think Apple will once again be successful in defeating any attempts at legislation as we move into the new year.

Name Change at the Industries Biggest House of Repair

The second biggest industry story this past week might have slipped by you as not a big deal, but it’s huge. The country’s biggest franchise in the industry is changing its name as uBreakiFix (UBIF) parent company Asurion announced this past week they would rebrand all of their more than 650 locations from UBIF to Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions.

Sound negligible to you, right? It’s not. (WARNING: Feeling’s alert) The tech repair industry (a recent term) has long suffered from some really bad names. It started with cute medical references like; doctor, clinic, hospital, etc. (my first shops used clinic in the name BTW) and then morphed into cutsie names that incorporated; break, fix, smashed, phix, etc. At the same time many shops wanted to add Apple branding to their name with a simple “i” or they boldly added “iPhone” – which often brought nasty letters and legal action from Apple.

The worst mistake most shops made seemed innocent at first and in many ways helped bring in business and raise SEO scores. This is one I used early on too but changed when we rebranded my shops a few years later. That mistake is using the term “Cell Phone Repair” to describe your business. Sure, if that’s all you want to be go for it. But its going to limit your future and the future is now.

The name change at UBIF is brilliant on many levels and will allow them to achieve greater success in the long run. Don’t be surprised to see the CPR (Cell Phone Repair) franchise do the same in the coming year. I love the people over there but that’s a name I never really thought would last very long. You know what through, you guys do you! It’s all good.

Why a Big Announcement in the Automobile Industry Matters

Just this week Ford Motor Company made a huge announcement that they will be making their biggest single manufacturing investment EVER to build electric vehicle factories in the US. An investment of $11.4 billion to build two enormous manufacturing campuses for electric vehicles (EVs), creating more than 10,000 new jobs. You might be saying that’s fabulous. I’m all for creating new jobs – especially in US manufacturing – and I love to see US industry modernizing what it produces but what the heck does it have to do with tech repair???!!!

You might have seen this story and skimmed over it, but I doubt if most of your perked up like I did when I read the last line of this major announcement from Ford. It reads, “Ford also announced it is investing a total of $525 million across the United States over the next five years to train electric vehicle REPAIR TECHNICIANS.” In other words, TECH REPAIR PEOPLE like you!

Please hear me out and follow my logic on this opportunity.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are much, much different than the gas turbine mechanical vehicles in our current world. Repairing EVs takes a much different skillset than that of the current auto mechanic. Ford just said that in not so many words. I remember the first time I sat in a Tesla I said to myself, “Wow, this a really big iPad”. I had also recently repaired my electric lawn mower and I was frustrated how different it was from the gas-powered ones that I had worked on with my dad growing up. Then the wheels in my brain started to turn and I said to myself, “wait a minute…”


Stay with me for a minute or two. In the last couple of years, I had discovered that there was a major need for people in the appliance repair business. Mainly because many of the “old timers” in the industry had retired rather than trying to learn an almost completely different skillset repairing modern, much more tech driven, appliances. The industry needed/needs younger more tech savvy repair people.

Repairing appliances has quickly become a more tech driven ordeal and the automobile industry is starting to steer in that direction. Allow me to share two incidents in my past make that a great case for our industry to move into EV repair. The first happened by chance while the second was founded out of my own stubbornness to take no for an answer.

While getting coffee at church a bumped into an old friend who shared a story with me about taking his older BMW to the dealership and getting a $5,000 quote to make repairs to his entertainment system that had stopped working. They told him they needed to order a new “motherboard” to complete the repair. He thought it might be time to just buy a new car. I asked him if we could take a look at it in my shop – I had an awesome board repair guy working for me at the time. Long story short. We fixed the board for under $100 bucks, saving him $4,900.

A year later one of our family vehicles failed state inspection because of some issues with the electronic display. My trusted mechanic quoted $2-3K for the repair. It seemed like a simple fix to me so I asked why he couldn’t fix what seemed to be a basic electronic repair and he told me no one in the industry really messes with the electronics they just swap them out. I found an electronic repair guy in NC that specialized in fixing this type of issue. We pulled the console, shipped it, they fixed it, shipped it back, and in less than a week my vehicle passed inspection for only a couple of hundred dollars. He had never heard of this shop. Imagine how much more business is out there.

Friends, there’s gold in them thar hills! Are you ready to keep digging?

These issues highlight the type of work we’re doing for you at the Tech Care Association. We’re working hard everyday to advocate for you and your business to try and keep big tech companies open for business for our industry while we work to bring you new opportunities to expand what you do. This industry is only getting started. Please think about membership today.

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