If you are reading this article, chances are you have fixed a few screens on some iPhones. Congratulations! The process is very rewarding. In a society where everyone is so addicted to their phones, seeing someone’s reaction after their phone is fixed makes dealing with all those tiny screws worth it and more.
Fixing phone screens isn’t all that hard. Once you have all the tools you need, its really just a matter of organizing all the tiny screws, having a steady hand, and putting everything back exactly where it was. Seeing your new screen turn on all nice and shiny is a truly satisfying feeling.
However, that new, shiny look your screen has won’t last long. That third party screen you bought uses cheap glass, a vast difference from the gorilla glass you are used to. Thought your iPhone screen broke easily? Boy, are you in for a surprise with the replacement screen. No matter what heavy duty case you have, that new screen will break faster than you can imagine.
What does this mean for your dream repair business? First, let’s look at what Apple charges to replace a screen themselves:
A quick look at their website shows that even WITHOUT AppleCare, they will replace your iPhone 5, 5S, 5C, SE, 6, 6S, or 7 screen for $129. If you have an iPhone 6 Plus, 6S Plus, or 7 Plus, they will replace it for $149. That means for your dream repair business, you will have to charge AT MOST $100 per screen replacement.
Keep in mind, I never opened a full-time phone repair business. I did it mainly on the side, buying used phones and selling them as refurbished. However I did try out many different third party screen manufacturers. A quick search on Amazon or eBay will show that you could buy a super cheap one for $30 from China, however these screens are absolutely HORRIBLE. If the screen even works it’s a miracle. If it doesn’t, good luck trying to get a refund from a company that barely speaks english. If it does work, chances are it doesn’t fit in the phone properly (sticking out in certain places), drains the battery like crazy, and/or will stop working in less than a week.
The best replacement screens I have seen while fixing phones were from iFixIt and Etech Parts. I wouldn’t think about buying a replacement screen from anywhere else. A quick look here shows iFixIt charges $114 just for the replacement screen for an iPhone 6. First of all this doesn’t make sense. Apple will put a new, OEM screen on for you for $129, AND you get to keep your warranty. Why wouldn’t anyone pay the extra $15 to get it done by Apple? Regardless, keeping in mind your target price for a screen repair needs to be $100, using iFixIt is obviously not feasible. Granted, they do offer wholesale discounts, however if you are not buying A LOT of screens at once, there is no way you can make enough money to keep the lights on. Looking at Etech Parts, they offer a much more reasonable wholesale price at $35 for their standard iPhone 6 replacement screen and $89 for their “premium” replacement screen. If you decide to use the “premium” model, unless you have a line out the door with customers, there is no way you can be profitable making $10 a repair. Using the standard model, you can actually make a decent profit. However, this leads us up to the most frustrating part of the phone repair business.
If you replace a screen on someone’s phone, even if you do the best job and it looks like nothing was ever even touched inside the phone when opening it, if that users screen breaks after the repair, they are going to call you up and be one angry customer. They are going to tell you and all of their friends about how horrible a job you did while, meanwhile, you could have completed the best repair ever, but the parts you use just suck and break easily. There’s nothing you can do about that. On top of all this, most people would rather live with a cracked screen then replace it for $100.
If you have 2 months left before your upgrade and don’t feel like spending $129 on replacing your broken iPhone screen, buying a third party screen for yourself could be worth it. However, opening a full-time business doing phone repair is asking for an extremely high stress job for little to no profit.