From Nick Barron. Follow him on Twitter @nbarron; email him at nick[AT]borderstan.com.
You drop your iPhone, shattering the screen. What do you do? Most of us think you buy another phone.
DC’s CrackedMacScreen wants you to think otherwise. Brothers Trevor and Colin Lyman fix broken Apple product screens, from iPhones to iPads and laptops. They come to you if you’re in the immediate DC area. If not, you can ship them your broken device, and they’ll ship it back, covering shipping charges both ways.
What today can be a life-saving business for phone-toting customers started for Trevor in 2009 as a way to make a little money fixing broken computer screens for Temple University students in Philadelphia.
Trevor’s first repair was on an old Mac laptop someone was selling for cheap on Craigslist because it had a broken screen. Trevor bought the computer, taught himself how to fix the screen using an online guide, and started promoting his new-found skill to Temple students he tutored.
“I told all of the kids that I was tutoring that I could fix Macs and the following week the girl I was tutoring, her friend broke her screen,” Trevor said. “Her mom called me, I went and fixed it, made a couple hundred dollars in a half an hour, and realized that there was a business there.”
In 2010 Trevor moved with his girlfriend to DC, still holding down a day job while setting up CrackedMacScreen in the District. In August 2011, Colin opened a CrackedMacScreen branch in Nashville. The next month Trevor started doing CrackedMacScreen full time in DC. A year later Trevor needed Colin to close up shop in Tennessee and head east.
“We basically proved that we could move to any major city and start a CrackedMacScreen branch, but after a year working in Nashville business was too crazy in DC for me to do it just by myself,” Trevor said.
Along with us regular folks, CrackedMacScreen has fixed devices for members of Congress and the media. The brothers blog about the repairs they do.
But will the Lymans establish CrackedMacScreen presence in other American cities?
“We feel like we’re still proving the concept here in DC,” Trevor said. “For right now, we’re concentrating on building business here through agreements and contracts with schools, businesses and government organizations.”
While understanding CrackedMacScreen may not be a lifelong, overwhelmingly profitable business, the brothers are pleased with their success.
All this growth for CrackedMacScreen comes from a business that never accepted outside investment, a recommendation Trevor makes for other entrepreneurs.
“If you can support yourself with a full-time salary while having enough time to work on other projects then why would you ever want to take investment,” Trevor asks. “We have no pressure to succeed other than our own needs, which reduces our stresses a ton.”