You may be familiar with the aptly named smartphone repair franchise uBreakiFix. But did you know that the international, 500-store franchise started with a 21-year-old college student dropping his phone on the sidewalk?

In 2009, Justin Wetherill shattered his sleek, glass iPhone screen. He scoured the web for a screen repair solution, but the services he found online seemed neither affordable nor reliable, and his only alternative was to replace the whole device. He quickly identified a tremendous gap in the device repair market.

"It seemed like a waste to replace a fairly new phone just because the screen was cracked," says Wetherill. Frustrated, he decided to take matters into his own hands--literally. 

Armed with the Internet and a general understanding of tech, Wetherill endeavored to repair the phone himself. In the end, he broke it even more, but the experience sparked the idea for what would eventually become uBreakiFix, a fast-growing tech repair franchise that now opens more than 100 new locations each year.

From side hustle to scalable business

To bring uBreakiFix to life, Wetherill enlisted college friend David Reiff to help him learn the business. They bought broken smartphones online to hone their skills and eventually launched uBreakiFix as a mail-in service through eBay. Soon after, they opened the first uBreakiFix storefront in Orlando, Florida, at the advice of another friend, Eddie Trujillo. Within two months, sales from the single brick-and-mortar unit outpaced the online business, which serviced the entire country.

Having proven demand for the walk-in concept, they began assembling a team of friends and family to help scale the business. Together, they opened 47 corporate locations before beginning to franchise in 2013. 

A franchise for the digital age

Today, uBreakiFix repairs anything with a power button at more than 525 locations across the U.S. and Canada. Born of the digital age, uBreakiFix's longevity is inherently linked to consumers' growing reliance on technology. As smartphone prices rise with each new iteration--and as consumers become increasingly conscious of the environmental effects of e-waste--uBreakiFix continues to grow in awareness, accessibility, and demand.

"Our franchisees include everyone from hometown entrepreneurs ready to take control of their future to multi-unit investors looking to diversify their portfolios," Wetherill said. "The beauty of our business is that our stores don't require a ton of space or hefty startup costs. Our multi-unit franchisees love that they can open several uBreakiFix locations for the cost of a single restaurant franchise."

Aligning with the industry's biggest players

In addition to franchise growth, uBreakiFix has forged valuable partnerships with some of the biggest players in consumer technology, including Samsung Electronics and Google. As an authorized service provider for these brands, uBreakiFix offers manufacturer-backed repairs using genuine parts and processes--meaning its stores can service customers that many of its competitors cannot.

"We're a customer experience company first and a tech repair service second," Wetherill said. "With uBreakiFix, you don't need a robust background in tech to be successful. For us, it's about more than fixing someone's phone; we're helping to get their day back on track. If you can lead a team and create an exceptional customer experience, you'll find success at uBreakiFix."

Interested in learning more about the company and its franchising opportunities, Visit the uBreakiFix website.