UBreakiFix catches break, expands company
Business started by two UCF alumni has grown to 21 locations in two years
Published: Sunday, January 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 16, 2012 12:01
In a world where people can't stop dropping their phones, one company seeks to restore devices.
UBreakiFix, a company founded by two UCF alumni that repairs iPhones, iPads and other electronics, continues to thrive and expand as the new year begins.
Since the company began in 2009 with its original Orlando store, uBreakiFix has opened 21 stores in cities such as Tampa, Boca Raton and Jacksonville as well as out-of-state cities like Denver, Chicago and Los Angeles.
In addition to increasing establishment locations during the past two years, the company has also seen a 400 percent increase in revenue from last January.
With success that is steadily growing, uBreakiFix not only looks to gain more business but seeks to obtain it by eliminating negative stereotypes about cellphone repair stores through good customer service.
"There's this aura around cellphone repair stores that's very sketchy. We're working to get rid of that aura," said Justin Wetherill, a UCF alumnus and co-founder of uBreakiFix. "People talk about good customer service. We ensure that customers leave exactly with what's expected, even if it means purchasing a new phone for the customer."
This upcoming year, the company plans on expanding its reach even further, opening 42 more stores at locations all over the country.
Tim Cook-Berry, a UCF alumnus and repair facility manager for uBreakiFix, felt that uBreakiFix's rapid expansion also gives employees the great opportunity of relocating to a different store and living in a different city.
"The greatest thing about this company is anyone who's part of it gets something out of it; there's just so much opportunity," said Cook-Berry, who has been with the company for more than a year and a half.
The series of events that led to the first uBreakiFix all started in the spring of 2009, when Wetherill broke his iPhone 3G and looked in to getting it fixed. After visiting two Apple stores and a few Mac repair shops, Wetherill discovered how expensive it was to have the cracked screen of his iPhone repaired: between $99 and $199.
Having spent time building computers and learning a great deal about technology on his own, Wetherill decided that he would try to fix the phone himself, buying the necessary parts on eBay for only $20.
Though he ended up destroying his phone, Wetherill never gave up and decided to purchase $1,000 worth of broken iPhones and parts so he could master the repair process.
After getting his repair skills up to snuff, Wetherill then contacted David Reiff, a friend who also attended UCF and became uBreakiFix's co-founder.
Together, the partners created an eBay auction and began selling iPhone repairs at $79.99 a piece with about eight to 10 sales a day.
As profits continued to expand, the partners learned how to make more iPhone repairs, hired employees and eventually opened their first storefront location in Orlando on August 2009.
Today, they have grown from a bedroom iPhone business to a multimillion dollar company that repairs iPhones, iPods, iPads, video game consoles, Macs and several other brands of smartphones and tablets.
"I think that's great because that's what most of our economy is based on, individuals and small businesses," said Ariana Risco, a junior general business major, after hearing about the company's humble beginnings. "I come from a house where we're involved in a small business, so I think that's awesome."
Risco also paid uBreakiFix a visit after Verizon recommended the company to her when her phone was recently run over in a parking lot.
"I thought they were very nice," Risco said. "They were prompt, they were polite and my phone is completely fixed, so everything is great. I would recommend them."
Wetherill was also sure to lend some helpful advice to up-and-coming entrepreneurs looking to be successful.
"Make sure you have ideas," Wetherill said. "Once you have them and are sure that you can grow, make sure that you're constantly changing. Be flexible and grow to your customers' needs."