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Making Passive Income with an iPhone Repair Side Business

Early in November I received an email from an ambitious young man, Daniel Vitiello from United iPhone Repair, a company that helps people start their own home based iPhone repair businesses.

I was intrigued by the concept and emailed Daniel back.  I learned that he had grown to 11 locations, recently launched his new website Unitediphonerepair and was looking for exposure.

Because what he does is consistent with what I believe in and write about on this blog, I thought the blog’s readers would be interested in what Daniel has to say about how he started a profitable venture on the side while attending college as a full time student.  Before we get into Daniel’s post, here are some facts about him and his company:

  • Daniel is 19 years old and has been an entrepreneur his whole life
  • He is based in Rockwall, Tx – Near Dallas
  • Many of the his customers already have full time jobs and repair iPhones in the evening
  • Daniel started this business in July 2010
Daniel guarantees that he can put in less time fixing phones than people do writing blog posts or other time put into passive income. “If you want you can schedule all your clients one day in a certain time frame and make $1,000 one day a week.”

Enter Daniel Vitiello

Who am I and how I got into iPhone repair?

My name is Daniel Vitiello, a college student, entrepreneur, investor and iPhone guru.  Following in my dad’s footsteps of being a household handy man I have always tried to fix anything that breaks myself before seeking a professionals’ help.

I purchased my first iPhone, a 3G, the day that it was released in July 2008. Several months later I dropped it and cracked it. In typical fashion I headed to Google to see what I could do about this. I had never even considered the possibility that there were repair shops out there for iPhones.

After several hours of watching YouTube and searching the internet I was confident that I could do the repair. The replacement part arrived several days later in a small box with no instructions. I nervously began to take apart my phone, pausing and re watching each step on the video as I preformed it.  As I was prying underneath the LCD display to remove it, I heard a small *crack*.

I immediately froze and re watched that part of the video. I was doing exactly as it showed, I guess it must be OK. After the video ended, the demonstrator said, “Ok, now just use the replacement part and put it back together.” I examined the panel of glass that was sent to me as the replacement part and the cracked glass still attached to the plastic midframe assembly on my phone and realized that the YouTube video had left out a critical step.

For the next several hours I used an exact-o knife to scrape the broken glass off of the midframe to the point where I could see how the replacement glass panel would fit on. Using some super glue to attach the new glass I then proceeded to put the rest of the phone back together.

A wave of confidence emerged over me as I put the two last screws in and went to turn on the phone. That feeling quickly faded as the phone lit up and I noticed in the bottom right hand corner of my screen was a nasty grey blob. I quickly put two and two together realizing that the cracking noise was the LCD breaking. Great.

Other than the spot on the LCD the phone functioned perfectly. I ordered a LCD screen off the internet and replaced that several days later, leading to a perfectly functioning phone. Over the next two years I broke my phone 3 more times and also fixed a few of my friends iPhones as well. At the time I was running a landscape and patio company so I never thought twice about the potential of an iPhone repair business until I went to college.

Initially my plan for college was to continue running the landscape business by managing my crew by phone and email. I quickly learned that this was a lost cause and after receiving dozens of complaints from my clients I decided it was time to sell the business. For the rest of the year I focused on school and enjoyed college making a little money on the internet trading FOREX and selling class notes. It was not until the following summer that the idea to start an iPhone repair business hit me.

The Idea

One night as we were arriving home from dinner one of my friends was climbing out of the back of my Jeep when her phone slipped from her hand and hit the concrete. She immediately became very distressed and begged me to fix her phone for her. I agreed and several days later the part arrived and I fixed it within 15 minutes.

Since the time I first fixed my phone I had become very proficient in the repairs. While laying in bed that night the image of a poster I had seen in the hall of a building at my university came into my head. It read, “iPhone Repair by Electrical Engineering Students, $70”

I quickly did some calculations. About $10 for the replacement part… 15 minutes to do the repair…. I could undercut the competition at $50 and make a profit of $40 each phone. Just imagining how many students own iPhones had me giddy with excitement.

If I could do 16 a week that would be an extra $640 a week for 4 hours of work. I began to think about how great it would be to be back in school next semester and be fixing phones and making all this money. Too bad it was still almost 6 weeks away.

When suddenly the thought came into my head that I had heard so many times before.

“Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

It all of a sudden made so much sense. By now it was about 2:15 in the morning, unable to sleep I grabbed my laptop and searched for iPhone parts on the one place that I knew has everything, eBay. I ordered a lot of 5 glass replacement screens and then finally went to sleep.

I repaired my first iPhone the day that I posted an ad on Craigslist and from there it has grown exponentially. Through using 12 different free marketing paths I have been able to grow my online presence as well as word of mouth marketing. After a couple weeks I was fixing 5-10 phones a day and in less than three weeks time I was featured on national news for the business I had started.

Birth of United iPhone Repair

After the news story aired I was flooded with requests for repairs as I had expected, but something very unexpected also happened. People were contacting me asking me if I would be able to help them start their own iPhone repair business so that they too could experience the success I was having. This made me realize something that I hadn’t thought of before, “Most people have no clue how to start an iPhone repair business.”

Deciding to take advantage of this unexpected result I decided that I could help these people. Since I was leaving to go back to university in 2 weeks I announced to everyone that was interested that I would be hosting two seminars that weekend teaching people the iPhone repair business. After confirming that 6 people would be coming that weekend I now just had to figure out what to teach them.

At this time I began considering what I would have wanted when I first started my business. Even though I have made everything sound glamorous to this point, during those first 6 weeks I broke dozens of phones, encountered many bad parts suppliers, and had countless headaches costing me thousands of dollars.

It dawned on me that the most valuable aspect wasn’t going to be for me to just teach these people how to do the repairs. It is more important to teach them all the mistakes that I have made in hope that they will be able to avoid them themselves.

United iPhone Repair has evolved into something much more than just a medium to learn the hardware repairs. We support our clients in every way to help build their business. There are three key things you need to run a successful iPhone repair business.

1) The ability to do the repairs quick and correctly

2) An efficient marketing strategy to bring in customers

3) Quality replacement parts

And those are the three key things we focus on teaching and supplying our businesses with. Not only do we teach all the repairs such as hardware, software and diagnostics. But we also give them pre made advertisements and marketing strategies to bring in customers. In addition to that we provide high quality replacement parts shipped fast from the US.

This is how United iPhone Repair keeps making income past the initial purchase of a start up kit (Sunil’s Note: This is where the passive income piece comes in).

Even though we do not hold any of our clients under contract, many of them order parts from us because of the quality and service that we provide.

Even with these three things being offered we found that some clients were still having trouble. So we decided to start a mentor program where each new client is assigned to a mentor that has already been operating their own iPhone repair business and has shown the capability to run the business themselves and teach others.

This has been greatly received by our new start ups because whenever they are in the middle of a repair and have a problem they can call their mentor and have them walk them through the solution. Most of the times it is very simple problem, but because they are new and unexperienced they panic and forget to think things through.

Over the course of the last 2 months we have started 11 iPhone repair locations across the US. We have made dozens of changes and improvements to help our clients learn faster and make fewer mistakes.

Now we can proudly say that because of our start up kits individuals such as a high school kid in North Carolina to a retired doctor in Austin, Tx are now operating iPhone repair businesses out of there home. For more information as to what our start up kits offer please visit our website.

Why iPhone repair is the perfect side income

If you have been reading this blog for some time you know that it is about finding ways to make passive or residual income.  Some of the ways that Sunil has mentioned are internet based business, real estate investing, small business investing and stock market investing.

If you notice the one common trend between all of these is that it takes money to make money.  If you don’t already have an expendable income to put into these various investments then it seems as if it will be nearly impossible to build a substantial passive income.

(Sunil’s Note: Having money to invest sure makes life easier and expedites success.  However, it is not a prerequisite for all the methods that I discuss.  That said, this blog’s readership is mostly successful professionals who have discretionary cash to spend on worthwhile endeavors that will generate solid income for them on the side)

Enter iPhone Repair

Starting a home based iPhone repair business is the perfect option for a number of reasons. The first being that it takes such a small initial investment to get started. For between $750 and $1350 we supply you with all the necessary information, parts, tools, forms and pre made advertisements that you need to run the business.

The second reason is that you can literally work as much or as little as you want. Advertising as little as 2 hours a week can bring in 3 to 5 phones every evening and you always have the option to do something else and tell customers that your “closed” that day.

The third thing that makes repairing iPhones a phenomenal business is that the repairs are for the most part easy to do once you learn them correctly. Most people can pick up the most common repairs within 3 to 4 hours of practice. Once you get past that point its easy money.

Heres an example, Dan and Kris both work full time jobs. They have a voicemail system set up to handle calls during the day while they are at work.  In the evening they go about their normal routine cooking dinner, watching TV and enjoying the family.

The only difference is the doorbell rings 3 to 5 times per night, and when it does they answer it and fix a customers phone. Most of the time this only takes 5 minutes and then they are back to whatever they had previously been doing. This equates to roughly $750 to $1250 of extra income per week if you repair phones 5 days a week.

Can you spare 20 – 45 minutes of your time each evening?

If the answer is yes then you should be running a home based iPhone repair business.

Use an iPhone repair business to exponentiate the growth of your passive income stream

It is often debated whether you should trade hours for dollars or create a truly passive income that brings in revenue with no input. I believe that a little of both are necessary to become truly successful. And as we discovered in the last post that it takes money to create passive income it seems that were going to have to trade at least a few hours for dollars.

Here is why you should operate a side business in addition to your passive income stream. The question may be raised, “Don’t I have to choose one or the other? I don’t have time for both.”

The answer to that is no. If your passive income stream really is passive that means you should have plenty of time to spend trading hours for dollars. “Can’t you just work overtime and longer hours at your daily job to make the extra money needed?”

Yes, you certainly can. However there is a quote out there that goes something like this.

“Work smarter not harder”

If you are already making over $60 an hour at your daily job and are able to take off whenever you want and do it while you’re at home then I would suggest that you stick with that. Otherwise take the initiative to start working smarter and stop working harder.

So you’ve decided to start up a home business and are now bringing in on average an extra $1000 a week. What do you do with this cash?

Well the answer to that is you can do whatever you like. You may decide to buy a nicer car, or maybe start collecting expensive things, or maybe you are just going to put it all into a bank account and save. These are all lovely options, but lets take a look at what would happen if you took this extra income and invested it into your passive income stream.

For this example we will use the passive income stream of stock market investing. Lets say that you currently have a trading account valued at $10,000 and at your current job you are able to put away $300 a month towards building your passive income. If you follow a technical trading strategy and stick too it lets be realistic and say that you can make 10% a year, a little less than 1% per month. At the end of 5 years you will have just under $40,000 and after 10 years you will have about $85,000.

Now lets take a look at what happens if you are running a home based iPhone repair business and invest those earnings into your passive income stream.  Same $10,000 account and lets say that you take the $300 a month extra from your day job and go on a trip with that in the summer.

So if you are living paycheck to paycheck based on your day job, and making the average $1,000 a week from iPhone repair and invest that with the same strategies earning 10% a year here is what happens. At the end of 5 years you will have a whopping $325,000 in the bank and after 10 it will be $815,000. That is nearly TEN TIMES the money you would have had if you spent your evenings watching TV and relying on passive income alone.

(Sunil’s Note: Couple months back I wrote about how one can expedite their retirement or improve quality of retirement, a concept that is consistent with the message above)

The reality is that it takes either a lot of time or a lot of money to truly support yourself off of passive income alone. That is why its imperative to find a balance in between the two and let your side business exponentiate the growth of your passive income stream.

By combining both strategies you never will have to experience the lull of only making 3 dollars a day from ads on your blog. Start a business to provide income now and use that income to passively make money.

It just so happens that starting a home based iPhone repair business is an extremely easy and effective way to start making money from home.  Apple is the second largest company in the world with over 60 million iPhones already sold and over 4 million of them break each year. That makes repairing them a $200 million dollar business. So you will have no shortage of customers if you live in a relatively populated area such as a suburb.

Think for a moment about how many people you know who have broken their phones, or maybe even you have broken one yourself. In this day in age people do EVERYTHING on their phones and many could be clinically classified as addicted to them.  They want their phone fixed now and they want it done as inexpensively as possible. This is why local home based iPhone repair businesses have become extremely successful.

Work smarter by starting a business where you make money quickly with freedom and flexibility rather than working harder under someone else’s watch.

Daniel Vitiello
United iPhone Repair

Readers – What are your thoughts?  Does this opportunity sound lucrative? Why / Why not?  What about the barriers to entry and competitive landscape?  Is it a sustainable model? How so? Why not?

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16 Responses to “Making Passive Income with an iPhone Repair Side Business”

  1. Great story! And it sounds like a great idea! I will be talking with my wife this afternoon…. 🙂

  2. Sunil says:

    So how did it go with the wife?

  3. Frank says:

    I am VERY interested in starting an iPhone repair business and I’ve contacted both United iPhone Repair and iCracked but have gotten no response. I really don’t want to “go it alone” and would love to have someone behind me as I step out in this venture. Anyone else you can recommend?

    • Sunil says:

      I would follow up with Daniel personally at iPhone Repair and hope for a response. let me know in a few if you don’t hear and maybe I can shoot him an email.

  4. Awesome stuff. Definitely an awesome business to capitalize on, and one that won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. The iPhone 5 will change it, probably because of the stronger screens, but it will still need fixing at some level!

  5. Johnson says:

    1 year ago I moved to a flat very close to the city of london and I found out that my neighbour was looking for an assistant to collect and deliver iphones within the city (finantial area of london). Within a few weeks I started to see just how profitable this was. This guy was working from his flat and was up night and day doing repairs for what appeared quite well off city workers. He ended up moving to a much bigger place with a seperate office. This is a business where the demand exeeds the supply. This is perhaps one of the easiest, quickest most profitable way of making a very good income or at least a second income if you just devote evenings to it.

    • Sunil says:

      agree, but I am still struggling to see how one can scale it up? if you hire employees, they can easily branch out and do the same. it doesn’t appear that it requires high technical skill. what are your thoughts?

  6. Doug says:

    I actually found United iPhone Repair a week or so ago while looking for this type of sideline opportunity but with help. At this time though, it looks like United iPhone Repair isn’t taking on new techs, which was a bummer.. I was ready to jump in with all of the info they presented on their web site, sample video, web site assistance.. the works. It’s a great approach and I hope they bring it back to help create more techs!

  7. alireza says:


    My name is alireza
    I have good experience about iphone repair. If I want to repair it in my home what should I do.
    Please help me

  8. Tina Davis says:

    Hi there..I would like to start up my own i phone repair business from home (UK) where do I start? All help/tips much appreciated..thanks

  9. Cody says:

    I’m also interested in starting something on the side. I am wondering do I need an apple certification or anything?

  10. Thanks for this! I will be including this as an example in my post of “making money now” ideas.

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