In this month’s tPC member spotlight, we catch up with Ryan, owner of iRepair Seattle. Ryan has set up shop inside the Pioneer Collective and specializes in diagnosing and repairing Apple products, specifically iPhones and iPads.
iRepair business questions:
Tell us a bit about how you got into the Apple repair business.
Well, it all started with a broken iPad. A few years ago, my wife dropped hers face down on a tile floor and the glass shattered. We checked Yelp and decided to take it to a place called “iRepair Seattle” which at that time was located in lower Queen Anne and owned by a couple named Victor and Yanira. They repaired the iPad and it was as good as new. A few years later I ran into them and found out they were selling the business and moving back to California. I kept in touch over the next few weeks and ultimately decided to buy it and jump into the world of device repair.
How did you decide upon Pioneer Square as a location?
Pioneer Square is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Seattle. Its vibrant, (especially on event days), has beautiful architecture and lots of history. Seattle’s oldest bar (The Central) and it’s oldest café (Merchants Café) are both here and historical places like that are mixed in with new exciting restaurants such as Altstadt and Radici. Also, Pioneer Square is centrally located between downtown, the stadiums, and the 90 freeway which connects the east and west to Seattle.
Let’s say someone reading this just dropped their phone and cracked its screen. What is the best way to set up an iRepair appointment?
All forms of communication are fine with me. They can call, text, or email me to setup an appointment. Also, they can walk in to The Pioneer Collective at 100 S. King Street, Suite 100 and I’ll take care of the repair as quickly as possible while they wait.
How long should a customer plan to be without their phone?
The three most common repairs I do are are screen replacements, charging port replacements, and battery replacements. I can do these repairs in about 40 minutes. Water damaged devices take more time as I need to fully dry them out before I start to identify and resolve the issues.
Are there any iPhone or iPad problems that you can’t fix?
I often get calls from customers asking if I can unlock a locked or disabled iPhone. I can’t do that. Also, I have received some water damaged phones that I just could not save. Outside of that, I can pretty much fix it all.
Do you have plans to expand your services into other Apple or non-Apple products in the future?
At this time, I am staying busy with iPhones and iPads so I have no plans yet to offer services on non-Apple devices.
What are the busiest times of the week for you?
I have learned that it’s pretty unpredictable. I could have a busy Tuesday and a slow Saturday or the exact opposite. I have noticed that I tend to be the busiest first thing in the morning, at lunchtime, and then right before closing.
Are you a first time entrepreneur?
No, I started my first business when I was 16, selling earthquake preparation kits in Southern California! That didn’t last long. I started another when I was 21, repairing optical inspection equipment. That was the business I did for many years until I decided on this venture.
What is your assessment of the climate for small business owners in Seattle right now?
I think it depends on the type of business. Seattle is growing fast and the population is increasing, and that growth can obviously be good for small business owners. However, there are other issues such as the decrease in easy access parking and the increase in the price of storefront space that can make it difficult for some small companies.
What has been the toughest lesson you’ve learned since taking over iRepair?
I think all of the toughest lessons have been directly related to the actual task of device repair. It takes awhile to experience all the surprises that an iPhone or iPad can present when you open them up. Older phones can be especially problematic at times. The iphone 5 series is still a fantastic smartphone but they have been in circulation awhile so most have experienced their share of drops and light moisture which can affect the repair process. In addition, the adhesives and internal components can get more rigid over time which can present unexpected issues. Fortunately, those lessons have helped me understand where to take precautions when doing a repair and how to easily manage the things that used to surprise me.
Where do you see iRepair Seattle in May of 2017?
I have been increasing my customer base slowly and steadily for the past few months, and I would like that pace to continue. By May of next year, I hope for iRepair to be handling a significant increase in volume due to good word of mouth, positive reviews, and customer referrals.
Why did you decide to make Seattle home?
For me, Seattle is just about the perfect city. Its big, but not too big. It has a lot of history which is preserved through it’s architecture. It’s a beautiful city too, in a dramatic setting surrounded by water, with the downtown situated low and the neighborhoods perched on the hills. The Space Needle and Pike Place Market are icons known worldwid, and they add to the cultural richness of the area. It has many neighborhoods, all with different vibes and personalities which makes the city constantly interesting and engaging.
Also, I actually love the weather.
In your opinion, what is the most underrated place in Seattle?
There is a pizza parlour in First Hill, on 8th ave, between Seneca and Spring. It’s called Primo. It’s a small place with an ancient Roman décor and it sits at the bottom of an old building. It has all these one & two star Yelp reviews because the service is not that great, but the pizza is incredible. I don’t get up there often because it doesn’t open until 5 and it’s not near the neighborhoods I work and live in, but I still go occasionally and I’ve never been disappointed.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in the city?
I pretty much just like roaming around Seattle with them, enjoying and discovering the city. I moved a lot while growing up and don’t want that for them, so I look forward to them knowing the city well and considering it their hometown.
Know someone with a broken iPad or iPhone? Go to iRepairSeattle.com and make an appointment of drop into 100 South King Street Suite 100 during regular business hours.