New online business offers iPod repairs

The company also created a free iPod troubleshooting Web site.

Mike Enright

When it comes to their iPods, University students Kathryn Lennartson and Ronneil Aviles have little in common.

Since receiving her iPod from her parents two years ago, Lennartson, a physiology senior, said she hasn’t had any problems with it.

“It’s been golden so far,” she said.

Anthropology junior Aviles, on the other hand, could not have had worse luck with his third-generation iPod.

During the course of its life, Aviles said the hard drive, which was filled with 40 gigabytes of music, crashed on more than a couple occasions.

“It happened like three times, and two times I lost all my songs,” he said. “It sucks.”

To make matters worse, Aviles was rendered completely iPod-less when the troublesome device was stolen last year, he said. On a trip to San Francisco, where he was volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, someone broke into his group’s van and took everything.

Still iPod-free, Aviles said he is waiting for Apple’s next generation to debut before he reinvests.

For hard-luck iPod owners like Aviles, Kyle Henderson, a finance, risk management and entrepreneurial management junior, is banking that the new business he shares with a partner is the solution for students’ technology woes.

Henderson is the marketing director for the online start-up company ifixipodsfast.com, created by his friend and fellow Granite Falls, Minn., native Blake Paulson.

Through their Web site, the two-man operation offers customers free diagnostic testing, iPod repair services and part installation, which costs $40. They also sell parts and accessories directly to people who want to install them on their own.

In an e-mail statement, Paulson said he got his idea for the business about a year ago when a friend asked if he could fix the iPod’s broken screen.

“About two days later I had the person’s iPod fixed and ready to go for them,” he said.

Henderson said he got involved after talking with Paulson, and focuses mostly on marketing issues and business plan development while Paulson handles day-to-day operations, repairs and installations.

In addition to its repair business, the company has also created a free iPod troubleshooting Web site – ipodhowtovideo.com – which offers 24 video tutorials of how to replace different parts.

The free site generates revenue through advertisements, Henderson said, and in addition to providing a good service for people, it was a cheap and effective way for a small company like theirs to get people’s attention.

“We needed to come up with a marketing plan that could distinguish ourselves from the get-go,” he said, “And that’s where the video tutorial was born.”

Since launching their sites last September, Henderson said the company has been growing rapidly, largely thanks to their free tutorials and recommendations from current customers to others.

He wouldn’t specify on how much the business has made so far, but did say, “It has been profitable.”

Despite their mostly divergent iPod experiences, one similarity between Nelson and Aviles is both seemed interested in checking out Henderson and Paulson’s free tutorial site, though they said they were less likely to use the repair or installation services.

Nelson said if anything happened with her iPod she would probably go to the Apple store to fix it, or might buy a new one altogether.

Once he buys his next iPod, Aviles also said he would take it to Apple if it malfunctioned while under warranty, and after that he most likely would try to handle any problems on his own.

“I’m the kind of guy who would open up my iPod and fix it myself,” he said. “There are so many Web sites out there for that.”