fix2U Used A Tech Focused Approach To Scale Their Smartphone Repair Business

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How often have you (or more likely your kids) dropped your smartphone or tablet? Moments after it slips from your fingers it’s not uncommon to hear that distinctive crack, as the glass splinters and fractures across the screen.

It’s not only the unplanned cost that is annoying, but also the hassle of having to take time out of your day to find, drop off and then (potentially days later) pick up the device and hope it still works. fix2U is an Aussie startup that fixes that frustration.

fix2U state that they are the fastest, most convenient way for Australian consumers and businesses to repair a broken smartphone or tablet, with repairs taking less than 30 minutes. You can also cross hoping in the car and searching for a park off your list of chores for the day, as fix2U travel to you and fix the device on the spot.

Startup Soda sat down with Sam Walker one of the co-founders of fix2U to ask how they have leveraged customer service and a prompt response time as a key differentiator in the market. As Sam pointed out no one was talking a professional approach to the market prior to their arrival. A number of smaller operations existed, but by and large people were forced to travel to their local shops to hunt down a repair shop hidden away in the back corner.

fix2U knew that had to change if they were to develop a large and scalable business. As a result Sam and Rex (the other co-founder of fix2U) sat down to determine how they could achieve that. The result is the fact that fix2U “are Australia’s only nation-wide on-premise device repair service, operating in 11 locations”.

In addition to geographic reach, a key concern they highlighted early on in the development of their business was the uncertainty customers had around the quality of repairs. That was one of the leading drivers behind their decision to back the quality of the work, and their team, by providing a 5 year warranty.

As a startup operating in a market with lower barriers to entry than some industries it would be easy to expect that fix2U is a low tech company. But that’s not the case. While the company certainly adopted the lean startup approach in the early days, using off the shelf systems and gluing them together with tools such as Zapier, right from the get go they knew tech would always need to provide a strong backbone for the company.

After 4 or 5 months building a customer base in Sydney and honing the delivery service Sam and Rex where confident they had achieved product market fit and embarked on geographic expansion.

To achieve this however required automation. The recruitment, on-boarding, training and processing of new repairers all needed to be automated if fix2U was to achieve their goals. Originally they sort to professionalise what they have pieced together previously, by upgrading and buying more expensive third party tools to do this, but none quite fit the bill. In the end fix2U ended up building their own in-house tools, a decision which has provided further defensibility around the business as they can scale faster than competitors who lack the internal sophistication around these processes.

Looking back on what they might have done differently Sam stated “Even with a lean startup mindset, I feel we took too long to launch (around 6 months in total). We could have easily done this in half the time or less, but got preoccupied with setting up and integrating the core systems that we run our business on to this day.”

In a similar vein Sam went onto mention that “early sales were largely driven by paid marketing. This was expensive, but produced instant results.” As the business has matured however, SEO/organic traffic is now a significant driver of traffic, which has substantially reduced their marketing costs. As a result Sam recommends adopting a SEO / content strategy from early on in your businesses life.

As a bootstrapped startup fix2U has often thought about external capital but has continued to build and grow off of their own internal resources. Despite looking to accelerate their expansion plans through new strategic partnerships Sam doesn’t see this changing in the foreseeable future, stating “for now we are working on a number of different avenues here which we expect will significantly drive up repair volumes across our network.”

This article is part of a new series at Startup Soda called “In The Trenches”, curated by Startup Soda Founder Paul Towers & Matt Trustrum through his work with Start Ups in the Start Up Hub

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“In The Trenches” is a series produced by Startup Soda Founder Paul Towers & Matt Trustrum through his work with Start Ups at the Sydney Startup Hub. Matt is an accomplished startup founder, mentor and investor who provides four hours of free mentorship as part of the Realise Business Program, sponsored by The NSW State Government. You can register for a free 4 hour session with Matt here.

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