There’s a huge potential in cell phone industry all across the world. The number of cellphone subscribers almost equals to the number of people on earth. Equally huge amount of money is spent on cellphone repairs (from 2007-2013 Americans spent US$ 23.5 billion on cellphone repairs). The industry therefore offers a big market that can be exploited. Usman Butt– a business graduate, having 6 years of experience in International Sales market came up with his startup, RepairDesk that took the industry by storm. RepairDesk is a Cloud based software that provides a smart solution to the Repair shops to keep a record of their repairs, inventory levels, purchases and returning customers. Up till now, these shops have been using pen and paper to manage their stuff. With RepairDesk not only their management is made easy but very useful insights for business improvement can also be looked at. RepairDesk was incubated at LUMS Center of Entrepreneurship and is based in Lahore.
Q: How did you conceive this Idea and what’s the background behind it?
hiQ: Who basically are your customers and how many customers did you gain in your beta version?
A: Our customers are mobile repair shop owners. In our beta version we didn’t gain many customers. Through our company IMEIUNLOCK we were in contact with people already so those were the few people who started using RepairDesk in the initial months. After we gained feedback from the very first customers we improved and refined the service and then gradually gained more and more customers.
Q: What services do you offer after a user signs up at RepairDesk?
A: We offer a 14 day free trial which the customers can avail and then start the actual service. Through RepairDesk the users can keep a track of their repairse.g. normally if a mobile phone company performs a repair and the customer comes back with a complaint after a week or two the repairing company has to look back at their records manually and do all the hassle to read the details. When they are using RepairDesk they can reach that info through just a few clicks. Then the users can also record staff notes and customer comments. Secondly, they can also manage their inventory levels so they will order the right number of equipment they need at the right time. On top of that, RepairDesk also helps its users to make record of their purchases and returning customers. We are partnering with different parts suppliers, so in the future the users will be able to order directly from our website. We aim to be a 360 solution for all the needs of cellphone repair companies.
We also provide certain add on services such as customization to our users. We want to build a collaborative community where the customers can provide us feedback and also let us know what services they want to avail in future and how we can improve the existing services. For this purpose we have built a knowledge section on our website.
Q: How many team members do you have and what are their specific roles?
A: We have a total of nine team members, four of them are working in the development section and the other four in Designs, QA, Supply and Sales.
A: The repair shops in Pakistan are not really that big. The people in our shops are good technicians but they are not software savvy. They are not up for adopting something as smart as RepairDesk. They tend to hide their sales. For these reasons we didn’t really push hard to introduce it in Pakistan.
Q: Did you face any problems while approaching international clients?
A: Yes we did. As we are offering software which will act as a backbone to our clients whole business. Hence it required a lot of convincing via emails and phone calls to make them understand how our software works and it advantages etc. My experience in sales helped me a lot. Then there were legal issues like registering the company in Pakistan and then dealing outside the country.
Q: Apart from this, what other challenges did you come across?
A: The biggest challenge was building a trustworthy team and getting mentorship and legal help. Other than this, the payment gateway in Pakistan proved to be troublesome for us. We have to deal with international clients all the time and we experience that the process is very rough so it really needs to be looked at.
Q: What is your route of monetization?
A: After the free trial we charge 50 US$ per user per location. As some users have shops at multiple locations so its 50US$ for each location. And then it’s an extra US$ for a new user for example if a user wants that all of his workers have a separate account on RepairDesk then we charge 5$ for each new login.
Q: What are your future plans? And do you see RepairDesk being employed in Pakistan as well?
A: Within next 4 months we will be launching our app. Once we launch our mobile app we would like to branch out and offer our software to Uber start ups or electronic repair centers i.e homeage UPS, advance telecom, to support their back-end operations. We are also setting up our sales team in the US and further polishing our features.