A bad experience with an iPhone repair service led a former auditor to start his own, writes Izwan Ismail
HALMI Halim holds the iPhone 4S in his hand. Its owner, a woman, complains that the audio is faulty whenever she records a video.
A quick inspection reveals that only one side of the speakers is producing sound. Halmi unscrews the phone and inspects the compartment.
“Ahh... the speaker is clogged with dust. That is the problem,” he says, and proceeds to clean the affected area with a small pen-like blower.
“Few mobile phone users clean their devices regularly, which should be a basic maintenance practice. When they don’t, problems such as this will crop up over time.”
Halmi fixes faulty gadgets, in particular iPhones, iPads and iPods. His services range from simple chores like fixing cracked screens and broken LCDs, to more complex ones like repairing faulty buttons, damage due to contact with liquids, and WiFi connectivity issues.
Located on the first floor at Centrepoint Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, his shop iPhoneFix has grown in the last two years.
HOW IT STARTED
Halmi never thought that fixing faulty phones would be his bread and butter one day. The 37-year-old economics graduate from State University New York was an auditor at an international auditing firm for seven years.
Tired of a nine-to-five job, he left the firm and ventured into the online gaming development business for about a year.
Sadly, it didn’t take off well.
An incident three years ago changed the course of his life.
“My wife had problems with her iPhone. It went dead all of a sudden,” says the father of a 3-year-old girl.
She sent it for repair at a mall, but the cost... she almost hit the roof,” he recalls.
“We knew we had been taken for a ride, but we had no proof.”
Halmi thought long and hard and eventually decided that he would venture into the iPhone repair business himself, though he had no prior experience.
“I wanted to offer iPhone users in particular a better deal, a better customer’s experience.”
Halmi took the initiative to learn from a friend in Singapore who runs a business fixing Apple phones. He spent six months there, during which time he also learnt to establish a network to source for iPhone and iPad original parts and components.
When he started his iPhone repair business, he employed aggressive techniques to get jobs. For the first two months, he went to cafes, restaurants, mamak outlets, homes and offices.
“People got to know me through my iPhoneFix web page (www.iphonerepairkl.com), Facebook page which now has nearly 6,500 fans, Google Ad Works and TV ads,” he says.
“It was tiring. I had to travel from one place to another and there were times when I had no customers. It was a difficult period,” he recalls.
Things improved when he moved into the current office in Centrepoint. He now has two dedicated technicians to help him.
“I’m an Apple fan. I also developed a penchant for fixing stuff, specifically the iPhone. That gave me some measure of confidence,” he says.
As iPhone new versions only come out about once a year, unlike Android devices, he says it is easier to manage the parts and stuff related to iPhones and iPads. “The system is pretty stable too.”
Halmi uses only original parts sourced from Apple suppliers overseas.
“If you use non-original parts, these will not last long. Worse, they can even damage the phone further,” he adds.
What’s interesting about Halmi’s iPhone repair service is that it is done in the presence of the customer.
This is in line with his motto, “We fix it in your face”.
For Halmi, the open and face-to-face concept puts aside customers’ concern whether parts are changed or not, or even if the phone is really faulty.
Having settled well in his role as a Mr Fix-it, Halmi has no regrets. Business has been good. iPhoneFix gets 200 to 250 customers a month.
While the money is good, Halmi feels that gaining customers’ trust and making them satisfied with the services is equally important. One thing that he would never do is to take customers for a ride.
“From my wife’s experience, I know how that would feel,” he says.
Halmi aims to open a franchise of his iPhone Fix brand in the next few years.
“This will allow people to gain some knowledge on how it is done,” he says, turning to attend to a customer waiting for his turn to get his iPhone fixed.
iPhone care tips
1. Do not charge your iPhone or iPad overnight as the devices only need approximately two hours to be fully charged.
2. Do not use iPad charger for iPhone and vice versa as the current level that goes through the chargers are different.
3. Don’t charge the iPhone and iPad in a car as the voltage fluctuates as you press the petrol pedal.
4. Once in a while, reboot your iPhone by pressing the home and on-off button simultaneously to ensure it runs efficiently.
5. Always backup your data.