The increasing smartphone penetration in Nepali market has increased the mobile business in Nepal. However, mobile repairing business in Nepal is still underrated and is not regarded as entrepreneurship. What’s even more sad is that most people don’t even look at it with respectful eyes like other businesses. The skills and the hard work that one has to put in repairing are underestimated. Two years ago, a 23-year-old John Khadka (aka Jack) started his mobile repairing business in Nepal with We Fix It. And his venture shows a possible entrepreneurial route one can invest in.
Originally from Mahottari, Khadka first started on his entrepreneurship journey in Bangemudha and recently has come up with its second outlet in Newroad. While most of such shops are opened as a side business or as part-time work, Khadka has given all his time and dedication to this very business. He saw opportunities and, acknowledging his passion for electronic devices, took forward the mobile business in Nepal. Here is an excerpt from our conversation with him:
How did you decide to get your hands in the mobile repair business?
Since childhood, where other kids played video games or street games, I would play with electronic devices. I would open electronic devices apart and fix them back. I have always loved dealing with electronic devices. After SLC, I took a three-month repairing course. Since then, I got involved in the mobile repairing work. I continued working for about five years, and adequately understood the scope of repairing business. Finally, I decided to come up with my own store and We Fix It came to life. It has already been two years. I am happy that I have made a name for myself, that people know me and to see my business expand.
What sort of gadgets do you repair? What kind of services do you offer? How well equipped do you consider your shop is?
We mostly repair Apple products: Mac book, iPhone, iPad, etc. We also repair some flagship phones like Samsung devices and other brands like MI, Huawei, Vivo, among others. Our services include anything related to display, battery, connectivity, camera, housing, back housing, charging flex and motherboard.
I often get phones that are beyond repairs. There was this one time during Holi, a guy brought a bent, broken, fully damaged iPhone which was almost on the verge of no repair. I recovered the phone, that too in the least time possible. My motto from the beginning was to provide fast service at a low cost. Having said that, I don’t compromise in quality.
Your new store is in New Road, do you think the location of the store is vital for mobile repairing business?
I would say, yes! Especially, the reason for opening the second store is that the one in Bangemudha was pretty difficult for the customers to access. Customers would often expressed it was hard to commute to the shop, while New Road lies in the heart of the city and also has better parking. Also, being in a prime location it is sure to enhance business. When I further expand the business, prime locations like Boudhha, Durbarmarg, etc would be my ideal choice.
Mobile repairing business in Nepal are often accused of replacing their phones’ original parts with duplicates. Have you encountered anything like that?
We use all genuine parts of Apple and Samsung products. One can’t really cheat when it comes to spare parts of Apple products. It is because the original and the spare parts are highly distinguishable. An Apple user can easily notice the difference in terms of display and touch. Also, genuine Apple parts come with a sticker and a stamp so there comes no question of fooling our customers.
In the case of other phones like Vivo, Oppo, MI there is not much difference between the original and high copy parts. The parts that I use, I import them directly from China. Hence, they are of high quality.
My customers come straight to me with their broken phones, and ask that I do the needful, no one else. I get referrals from other shops as well. This indicates their trust and loyalty. I would never compromise that for anything. And I am equipped with all the necessary equipment to provide quality service to my customers.
What are the challenges that come with the business in Nepal? How do you ensure that you provide quality service to your customers?
The challenges are mostly technical. Some phones, even after repair, doesn’t work well after a few days. And other times, while opening a device it gets completely damaged. If a phone, repaired in my shop, gives problem I repair it with no extra charges within 15 days of repair. And depending on the situation of damage caused, I have made payments or replaced a part or a set.
What do you look for in staff while appointing them?
I look for people with decent work experience. It’s because I don’t believe in certificates, one’s work speaks for their qualification. I mostly recruit people whom I know or my network. But at times I have recruited new people. I make sure to train them to step-by-step properly for 6-7 months. And, with the opening of the new store, I am in need of more staff and am looking for them. Because I’m the only one who does the repairing right now.
In today’s concept, mobile business in Nepal is not looked at as entrepreneurship. What do you yourself think of it?
I agree that the work that I am involved in is not seen as a sort of entrepreneurship, or entrepreneurship that has taken the limelight. But the way I work, and the roles does make me an entrepreneur. From opening the stores, to appointing the workers, handling the business, networking and interacting with the customers, working on my service and expansion. Nevertheless, it may take a while for people to see and understand that.
Find the shop here: