Every month Cellular Repair School highlights one of our brightest cell phone repair students/business owners in the industry. This months spotlight goes to the owner of “HTWEST” located in Woodland, CA.-Pete DePalma.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background Pete, prior to moving into the mobile device repair business
I actually started out in Technology and ended up coming full Circle.
I went to college for Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and was an Electronics Tech in the Navy, but I got hurt during Desert Storm which affected my mobility and my ability to do field work.
I ended up retraining in Real Estate and Marketing and spent 13 yrs as a Mortgage Lender in Florida and owned what was once the largest online mortgage banking firm in the country (We all saw what happened to that industry) and later owned and operated a Marketing Firm for several years before coming full circle.
So obviously now you’re in the cellular repair business repairing devices consistently; what tools do you find absolutely necessary for these repairs? How long does it take for you to complete?
I would say a good set of drivers first and foremost! Quality tools are essential and buying cheap tools will cost you more in the long run. Cheap screwdrivers and torx sets are made of soft metal and will wear out quickly.
Next, a Reflow Station, a Power supply, a Digital Multimeter, Soldering Iron and necessary soldering supplies, and as silly as it sounds…a very comfortable chair and quality tech bench. As silly as the chair sounds, keep in mind if you are the one doing the repairs its where you will spend the lion share of your time. An uncomfortable chair will affect the quality of your work.
There are tons of other pieces of equipment and tools that I find necessary and I could go on…but those are the basics.
As far as an average repair time? That is all over the board! Some are less than 10 minutes and others can take a couple of hours…but on the average I would say 30 to 45 minutes.
Do you remember the first day you opened for business? What was going through your head?
Hmmm….my first day I opened for business? Honestly, looking around and thinking I need to change that, that….and that, and I need to buy x,y, and z. Funny part is I still think the same thing! The first day of any new business is always a mixture of excitement and uncertainty.
How do you feel about the repair industry, and what do you think the future holds for this industry…and how do you plan to adapting to the changes.
I think the prospects in this industry are excellent and the future is extremely bright! The larger carriers seem to be migrating towards a business model of no longer subsidizing phones.
Most people don’t realize it but the U.S. is pretty much alone in that model. Everywhere else people have to buy their devices outright. Now that people realize the handset that they got for $99 actually costs $700 to replace they will be much more open to spending money on repairing what they have versus buying a new one.
That just means more business for those of us in this industry!
What do you enjoy most about your business Pete?
The ability to kick back at the end of the day and say…”I did this!” The excitement pride and sense of accomplishment of building a successful business is almost addictive.