A BURGEONING tech repair business helping Scots with broken and damaged gadgets is celebrating 20 years in business with its best ever figures.
SimplyFixIt has reached the landmark anniversary having grown from a single shop into a £4.2m-a-year business with eight outlets in Edinburgh and Glasgow and an eye on further expansion.
The boom in consumer technology – including smartphones, tablets and laptops – has fuelled the growth of the company, which is built on helping people to extend the life of their gadgets.
Jason Eccles, General Manager, of the firm, which employs 34 staff, said: “It is fantastic achievement to have reached 20 years in business. I’d like to personally thank every single customer who has come through our doors in that time.
“We have changed a great deal over those 20 years, which is to be expected because the nature of technology is changing all the time.
“When we started out selling PCs in 1996, who could have predicted that within two decades we’d all have incredibly powerful computers in our pockets that are constantly connected to the internet? It’s an amazing time to be working in this sector.”The firm began life as retailer Ideal Computing in the Bruntsfield area of Edinburgh. However, within a few years the potential in repairs was evident and the company tested a first dedicated repair centre, which opened in Juniper Green on the outskirts of the city.
It was an immediate success and the business began transitioning to meet the new demand for repairs, including a name change to SimplyFixIt, while opening a series of new shops across the capital.
That decision proved to be far sighted as the launch of the Apple iPhone kick started a revolution in personal gadgets and consumer tech, further spurred by the launch of the iPad and a subsequent boom in smartphones and tablets from other companies.
Jason added: “The Apple effect has been profound. In the past year we carried out over 25,000 repairs and 30% of those were on Apple computers, including the MacBook and the iMac. Microsoft Windows-based PCs and laptops still account for over 50% of our repairs, but the gap is definitely narrowing.
“Another way that the market is changing is the rise of the smartphone and 20% of our business is now phone and tablet repairs. That is only likely to increase as sales of traditional PCs and laptops are in decline. Most homes still have a PC or laptop, but the reality is that for most people the convenience of a phone or tablet means that is now likely to be their primary device.”
Such has been the impact of Apple products that two of SimplyFixIt’s outlets are in the shadow of Apple stores, including the newest shop in Glasgow’s Bath Street, which opened last August and has been extremely busy since.
Jason added: “The Apple stores are excellent and the products are of undoubted quality, but not everyone wants to be completely locked into the Apple system. By offering a real alternative we have enjoyed a very strong stream of business.
“For example, if you have a broken screen on your iPhone 5, the Apple store are simply too busy to get involved in repairing it. Instead they will likely try to sell you a factory refurbished phone for £199. Even if they did a repair, they will only offer a 3-month warranty. Likewise, if you have a liquid-damaged MacBook Pro more than three years old they’d advise you to buy a new one.
“If you bring those to us we’ll replace the screen on the phone and give the customer a 12 month warranty. Likewise, with that liquid-damaged MacBook, we will repair it, rather than throw it away, which saves people hundreds of pounds.
“The sector is buoyant and as a result we are likely to grow further. We are constantly looking for new sites and look at two or three possibilities per month. All I can say at the moment is watch this space.”