Franchisor and Franchisee with UBreakIFix’s Brynson Smith
UBreakIFix does precisely what it sounds like, and customers are not having enough of it. There's no stopping this company with 581 stores across the US, Canada and the Caribbean islands. This article explores how and why this company matters in the emerging business landscape. Join us, as we discover all about UBreakIFix, from Brynson Smith, the company's Director of Sales and Franchising .
An Uncommon Business Model
A bit of history about how UBreakIFix began will help you appreciate the company better. According to Brynson Smith, Director of Sales & Franchising for UBreakIFix, the company started in 2008. Founder and CEO Justin Weatherall bumped into a young woman and broke his phone after it was knocked out of his hand.
Justin literally tore the phone apart to repair it. He succeeded and told everyone who knew of it – friends and family – of his success. Naturally, everyone brought their broken devices to him, and in a short while, a business was born.
The initial outlet was a Panera Bread close to a university. Indeed, it was indeed uncommon beginnings for an uncommon company. Justin would initially found a mailing company with another friend, David Rife, in 2008. David was a Lockheed Martin intern from a UCF engineering program, and he lived in Orlando.
Leveraging this company, people would mail in their devices for repairs. Then, Justin and his team created UBreakIFix’s first website and eBay page for eBay listings. The phone repair business made as much as $20,000 at the time for what was actually a side-gig for both men. Then, Eddie Trujillo, a mutual friend of Justin and David's, joined the team and pushed for the first brick-and-mortar operation to happen. It was in August 2009 in East Orlando.
Growth remained corporate until 2013, scoring around 47 locations. It was an immense feat considering there was zero debt, and all profits were reinvested. The franchise model was established in the same year, enabling rapid expansion across three continents. Today, about fifty UBreakIFix stores are corporately owned, leaving more than 500 owned by franchisees. All thanks to applying a relatively common business strategy in uncommon circumstances.
Knowing When to Adopt a Franchise Model
The UBreakIFix franchising model comes with specific challenges. How can an entrepreneur know when to make it the nucleus of their expansion strategy? Brynson Smith shares that it’s utterly important to the appropriate systemic back-up, in terms of support and infrastructure, in place.
Most franchise systems show that the entrepreneurs don't yet have viable proof of concept, or their model is still sketchy. Having one restaurant or beauty outlet is probably not enough to start considering the franchise model. It pays to work out even the finest details before commencing franchising.
It’s important to pay attention to detail because you need ample doses of time, money, and energy to implement franchising. Prior to franchising, UBreakIFix had its ducks in a row, preparing the infrastructure by leveraging co-founder David Rife’s expert knowledge. It helped that the entire back-end system is custom-built in-house.
The UBreakIFix Advantage
It's increasingly common for folks to learn and know how to fix a broken device. They surely can set up a company and build a brand around that, right? Not really; they flock to UBreakIFix in droves. According to Brynson, this happens even when they may create a catchy name and handle advertising and marketing. What then is the UBreakIFix advantage?
There are two critical factors for prospective UBreakIFix franchisees. The first is their employees, who’ll essentially power the business. You need a proper support structure to build any type of franchise business, and employees provide that. You may call employees the lifeblood of business.
The second key element is more intuitive for most entrepreneurs – the customer base. Customers provide the opportunity for service which your employees offer. Customers are the soul of business. UBreakIFix provides a ready-made toolkit to enable you to start a turnkey business without bothering about relatively trivial issues. So, you have efficiency baked in with UBreakIFix.
Besides what UBreakIFix brings to the table, it's important to speak of what entrepreneurs can bring. Brynson mentions the scope of work, among other things. Citing his mom's experience as a farming franchisee in Alabama, he shares a few lessons worth learning.
There are no limits to what UBreakIFix can fix. One time a farmer brought in a grain elevator remote control that cost $800 to replace. UBreakIFix did it for less than $100. UBreakIFix fixes nearly everything under the sun: amplifiers, guitars, and even sonogram equipment from a doctor in Orlando. UBreakIFix only ordered the broken part, replaced it, and banked some healthy profit. UBreakIFix's mantra is “we fix anything with a power button.” If it uses a battery or a plug-in socket, as long as it has an ON/OFF feature, UBreakIFix will run diagnostics for free. The accelerating availability of digital devices makes UBreakIFix an essential service. And this goes beyond the humble smartphone. It can be anything at all.
UBreakIFix ensures customers don’t even have to go to the store. A UBreakIFix van can come to pick up a device from a customer's home and take it to a physical store.
Identifying Great Franchise Partners
Businesses often quickly realize that every chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Businesses, especially franchise businesses, cannot thrive in a vacuum. Strong connections eliminate the downsides of isolation. Trying to make your franchisees function well can sometimes feel like pulling dead weight. UBreakIFix does everything to bring only competent and enthusiastic franchisees on board.
As Director of Sales & Franchising for UBreakIFix, Brynson and his team begin with connections, sending emails. The goal is to set up a call of around one hour with the prospect to know them. There are telling signs that say if they're a good fit or not. UBreakIFix also checks to see if they’re an equally good fit for the candidate.
The next big step for UBreakIFix is discovery day, a day to spend three to four hours with the prospective franchisee. It’s about spelling out expectations on the business side. UBreakIFix wants franchisees to be coachable. This model has brought results for the company, and any other business can adapt it to great profit. The results always outweigh the effort.
While there’s a system in place, it’s exciting to work with creative prospects who are unafraid to explore fresh ideas. Brynson makes it clear that the UBreakIFix model is not about dictatorship but flexible ideas. He also points out that owners must show they can and will put in the work to make it work. The allure of passive wealth may be the goal, but the work comes first.
One of the strategies that inform people about UBreakIFix’s franchise model is available literature in their stores.
Lead Generation From the Future
The key thing that keeps customers in the pipeline for UBreakIFix is to beat customer expectations every time. This strategy has mostly worked despite the various challenges UBreakIFix has endured. Excellent customer experience generates between 25 to 30 percent of UBreakIFix’s leads.
The company also maintains a decent presence online through advertising and a robust social media strategy. They spend a good amount of money advertising on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and several other outlets that guarantee excellent ROI. Traffic to their website and physical stores is a priceless commodity they’re willing to pay top dollar for.
Besides paid ads, offline text messaging campaigns are also a UBreakIFix staple. Other elements, such as podcasts, are ways to ensure they remain at the top of every customer's mind. Paid ads and word-of-mouth marketing are the top investment priorities for Brynson's team.
Industry events also play a huge role in winning customers for UBreakIFix, even as virtual events are more mainstream due to COVID-19. Smartphones and the technology to power virtual communication are here already, so why not? However, in-person communication still has its place UBreakIFix isn't throwing it out of the window just yet. They – Brynson's team – featured at 8 – 12 live events per year until the pandemic hit.
The Potentials For a Franchise Company
In terms of what makes franchise companies tick, there’s a lot to look at. Documented regulation is important. New franchises should adhere to regulations. Having clear goals (for income and otherwise) makes it easy to work the franchise model to your advantage as an entrepreneur. UBreakIFix is open with data that encourages people to consider becoming a franchisee.
UBreakIFix also holds validation calls with fresh franchisees, asking them relevant tough questions. Showing them the juicy parts and the guardrails you have in place makes it easy for them to decide.
More than thirty percent of UBreakIFix’s hundreds of franchises have relevant experience with this model. People also want a model that can survive pandemics and recessions. This year, UBreakIFix has grown 25 percent year on year. The business is certainly one to trust your money with.
The UBreakIFix website has resources to teach anyone about franchising, and the team is on hand to walk you through the process and whatever else it entails per your situation. If you'd rather not start from scratch, there are acquisition and resale opportunities. These are businesses with a customer base, reviews, and employees in place. You decide what works for you.
UBreakIFix has a refreshing take on the franchise business model. It’s worth looking into whether you’re a newbie or have plenty of experience as an entrepreneur. Brynson Smith and his team are ready to hop on a call to show you around. If you want more inspiring stories of thoughtful entrepreneurship, visit us at UpMyInfluence.com.
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