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Where Easy Street and Profit Street Intersect
Starting a repair business can be daunting: there are thousands of broken devices out there and almost anything could be wrong with them. Don't get overwhelmed. Instead of trying to fix every single computer and cell phone that walks through the door, consider limiting your scope to these simple repairs. They offer the best blend of ease-of-repair and cost benefit.
You're new to the repair business, so it's important to get a good return on your time and investment. Be familiar with repairs that are in high demand and are easy to do quickly and correctly.
Products that are profitable to repair will vary dramatically by location. Here are some beginning repair ideas based on successful repair businesses. This is not a definitive list; it's a starting point. Are we missing anything? Help us by adding to the list!
- Replacing the battery - On all Mac laptops (excluding MacBook Pro with Retina Display models), replacing the battery is a quick and easy repair, that at most requires removing a few screws.
- Upgrading RAM - Another easy repair, you can quickly replace or upgrade the RAM in all MacBooks (excluding MacBook Pro with Retina Display and MacBook Air, which have the RAM soldered to the logic board).
- Replacing the Hard Drive or Optical Drive - In most Mac laptops, opening the case gives easy access to both the hard drive and the optical drive, common failure/upgrade points.
- Cleaning or Replacing Fans - Noisy or clogged fans are usually about as easy to access as the internal drives. Cleaning out dust with canned air or a vacuum cleaner is a quick way to improve cooling performance.
- Upgrading RAM - All but the newest iMacs have an easy-to-remove RAM access door that lets you add or replace RAM without even opening the case.
- Replacing the Hard Drive - Replacing a Hard Drive in an iMac is one of those repairs that's easier than it looks. With the right tools, the front glass lifts off to give access to replace a failed hard drive, or install a newer, bigger drive.
- Replacing the battery - All iPhones (aside from the original model) have easily-replaceable batteries.
- Replacing the front panel - It's quite easy to replace the front panel on the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and iPhone 5. It's a bit more of a challenge on the iPhone 4 and 4S, since you have to work through the entire phone to get to the display.
- Replacing the back panel - The iPhone 4 and 4S make up for their lack of an easily fixable front panel by having an easily removable back panel. All you need to do is remove two screws to slide the back panel off the phone.
- Battery Replacement - The most frequently needed repair, but often very difficult. iPods are generally tricky to get into, and most iPod Touch and nano models require soldering the battery. The easiest iPod battery replacement jobs are on the iPod Mini and Generations 1-5 of the iPod Original.
- Be extra cautious when servicing iPads for the first time. They're incredibly difficult to open without shattering the display. And if the display is already shattered, then it'll be difficult to remove all the glass shards. Proceed with care either way, and take your time.
- Upgrade RAM - The fastest and easiest PC upgrade, just pull out the old stick(s) and insert new, higher-capacity RAM for improved performance.
- Replace the Hard Drive - One of the most frequent repairs necessary with older machines, replacing the hard drive in a PC desktop is generally very easy and straight-forward, like in this Dell desktop.
- Replace the Power Supply - Power supplies are one of the first things that fail inside a desktop PC.
- Cleaning Fans - PC Desktops are full of fans—the CPU, power supply, and often case itself will each have a fan, all easy to get to and ready to benefit from a thorough cleaning.
- Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death - an issue generally caused by overheating, and easily fixed with a RROD fix kit. Read about its diagnosis on the Xbox 360 troubleshooting page.
- PlayStation 3 Yellow Light of Death - is an error associated with the device involuntarily shutting down. Read up on the this problem in our PS3 troubleshooting page, and check out the YLOD fix kit.