It's impossible to compete with Apple, says third-party iPhone repair shops

Posted:
in iPhone
Due to lengthy delays in parts processing and steep costs, third-party iPhone repair providers say that there is no practical way that they can compete with Apple's repair chain.

Right-to-repair
Right-to-Repair


After facing increased pressure from legislators, Apple created its independent repair provider program in 2019. It gave small companies an Apple-sanctioned way to repair customers' devices, such as the iPhone, using genuine Apple parts and tools.

However, according to The Guardian, repairers feared that the move wasn't made in good faith. Instead, many thought it was done to avoid right-to-repair legislation put forth by the government.

Repairers in both the US and Australia now say that Apple's slow response times and high part costs make it nearly impossible to compete with Apple's in-house repair program.

How Apple service and part supply works

For most authorized service centers, few -- if any -- parts are kept in stock. The remainder is ordered after the diagnostic process is complete and shipped by FedEx to the repair shop.

The shop performs the repair and must return the "core" failed part to Apple for examination, refurbishment, return to service stock, or both. And they don't get credited for the broken part return until Apple assesses the part.

In the case of a warranty repair, Apple picks up the tab for the difference between the core price and the non-return price. Otherwise, the shop pays the bill, which is then passed to the customer.

Core prices are often up to 75 percent of the cost of the whole part ordered new. So, part accountability is important, and Apple has put prohibitions in place to prevent shops from selling directly to customers due to abuse in years gone by.

Shops selling parts to users are grounds for losing Apple-authorized status -- which can be financially deadly.

The cost of labor

One repairer told The Guardian that the average repair takes an hour to an hour and a half. So if that company were to charge the same rate Apple charges customers for repairs, the company only profits about $60.

After subtracting overhead, like shop rent and labor, the third-party company actually loses money in the process.

And according to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (AACAN), customers also suffer.

As the cost of living in Australia skyrockets, many customers are choosing to try to repair devices rather than replace them outright. However, the delays and repair costs don't always make repair a feasible option, either.

"If you can't repair your phone in an affordable way or your device in an affordable manner, then that's a serious impediment to being able to actually engage in so many services, now the government and private entities are pushing so many services online," AACAN executive Andrew Williams told The Guardian.

The Right to Repair movement, which has begun to pick up steam over the last several years, has faced many challenges. The primary issue is that there is no consensus on what Right to Repair actually entails.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    Simply a bunch of BS. There are two independent repair shops in my city that will perform most common repairs for phones in a half day. They stock most common parts.

    Anyone 2whwop thinks that an mfg would give equal priority to indepents over their own facilities is misinformed and naive. It’s been that way forever  in every industry.


    Try getting a guitar amplifier repaired. 
    dewmemagman1979Bart Ywatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 13
    jfabula1jfabula1 Posts: 138member
    REPAIR DUDE:
    What F else do you want?? You’ve convinced legislators to draft a law just for you, now you’re still complaining? 
    How about us consumers? Are you taking away our choices too?
    dewmewilliamlondonwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 13
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 1,128member
    Simply a bunch of BS. There are two independent repair shops in my city that will perform most common repairs for phones in a half day. They stock most common parts.
    I agree with your naive comment, but everything else in the article is accurate. Some common parts like iPhone screens and batteries, perhaps top cases for recent MacBooks, but the normal repair process is exactly as described, with the majority of parts only ordered if required for a repair (too much dead stock otherwise), as is the low margins if you try to compete with Apple's repairs on cost. Don't forget: Apple has margin on the parts as well as the repair shop.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 13
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 3,086member
    mknelson said:
    Simply a bunch of BS. There are two independent repair shops in my city that will perform most common repairs for phones in a half day. They stock most common parts.
    I agree with your naive comment, but everything else in the article is accurate. Some common parts like iPhone screens and batteries, perhaps top cases for recent MacBooks, but the normal repair process is exactly as described, with the majority of parts only ordered if required for a repair (too much dead stock otherwise), as is the low margins if you try to compete with Apple's repairs on cost. Don't forget: Apple has margin on the parts as well as the repair shop.
    Sounds to me like the free market economy is working as designed. If the indy repair shops wish to compete, they can invest in parts manufacturing factories, right?
    edited May 2023 williamlondonBart Ywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    AlreschaAlrescha Posts: 23member
    In 2019 via the BBC:
    In response to a question about how much the company earns from repair services, Apple said: "For each year since 2009, the costs of providing repair services has exceeded the revenue generated by repairs."

    Given that, it seems optimistic to think that independent repair shops could do better.  They have every right to try, but Apple has no obligation to make their business model profitable. 

    edited May 2023 applebynaturebaconstangBart Ywatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 13
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 1,114member
    "In the case of a warranty repair, Apple picks up the tab for the difference between the core price and the non-return price. Otherwise, the shop pays the bill, which is then passed to the customer."  

    Try taking your car for, warranty repair, to an independent mechanic...
    watto_cobrawilliamlondonjony0
  • Reply 7 of 13
    DarkMouzeDarkMouze Posts: 36member
    Alrescha said:
    In 2019 via the BBC:
    In response to a question about how much the company earns from repair services, Apple said: "For each year since 2009, the costs of providing repair services has exceeded the revenue generated by repairs."

    Given that, it seems optimistic to think that independent repair shops could do better.  They have every right to try, but Apple has no obligation to make their business model profitable. 

    Alternatively, given that, doesn’t it seem like it would benefit Apple to make it possible for independent repair shops to do better?
    edited May 2023 williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 13
    r_marir_mari Posts: 12member
    Independent repair shops complaint about the cost of repair parts.
    They complain about the affordability of doing repairs on a $1500 iPhone.

    Why should Apple provide repair parts at a discount to you?
    Particularly since Apple runs their repair program at a loss.

    Apple deserves to make a profit on repair parts also.
    They don't give these away for free or at a loss to repair shops.

    Solution: just charge customers more if you want to make a higher provit
    from doing repairs.

    Bart Ywatto_cobrawilliamlondonbaconstangjony0
  • Reply 9 of 13
    deepriverdeepriver Posts: 36member
    And GM has said a repair to the new Lyriq can only be done by a certified technician at a Cadillac dealership? Just information.
    watto_cobrabaconstangjony0
  • Reply 10 of 13
    r_mari said:
    Particularly since Apple runs their repair program at a loss.
    Any source from Apple to substantiate this claim?
  • Reply 11 of 13
    tobiantobian Posts: 152member
    Simply a bunch of BS. There are two independent repair shops in my city that will perform most common repairs for phones in a half day. They stock most common parts.

    Anyone 2whwop thinks that an mfg would give equal priority to indepents over their own facilities is misinformed and naive. It’s been that way forever  in every industry.


    Try getting a guitar amplifier repaired. 
    Simply not. These two "independent repair shops" surely perform cheap 3PP parts swaps, that usually bastardise your Apple device. Oh yes, they do cheaper and have it in stock most of the time.
    We are talking here about Independent Repair Providers - Apple IRP. Be sure that holding Apple genuine parts in stock is total economical suicide, as these parts prices far exceed its true value in compare with brand new whole units at stores.

    Otherwise, you're right.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    AlreschaAlrescha Posts: 23member
    r_mari said:
    Particularly since Apple runs their repair program at a loss.
    Any source from Apple to substantiate this claim?
    https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/11/20/apple-says-repairs-cost-more-than-they-earn-in-charges
    jony0
  • Reply 13 of 13
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,766member
    Alrescha said:
    In 2019 via the BBC:
    In response to a question about how much the company earns from repair services, Apple said: "For each year since 2009, the costs of providing repair services has exceeded the revenue generated by repairs."

    Given that, it seems optimistic to think that independent repair shops could do better.  They have every right to try, but Apple has no obligation to make their business model profitable. 

    There are some gaping holes in that statement. 

    For starters, reputable dealers have found it worthwhile to offer repair services for the entirety of the same period. 

    Secondly, AppleCare allows Apple to play around with how the numbers add up. 

    And then there is the whole question of why repairs cost what they do. Namely time involved, complexity and if the design requires substituting perfectly good parts. 
    edited May 2023
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