Dr. Brendan’s iPhone Repair: Fixing your phone for fraction of Apple Store price

| Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

What would you do if you broke your iPhone?

An initial reaction would be to visit your local Apple Store. After all, each store comes equipped with a repair team, known as the Genius Bar. You bring your iPhone to them (or any Apple product) and a Genius will fix your device.

Sounds simple enough. But if the screen on your iPhone is cracked, or it’s been exposed to water, it’s not covered under Apple’s warranty. To get a new phone, you’re then faced with shelling out the full price of $200. You’ve got to pay rent, and bills, and $200 is looking pretty hard to stomach.

This is where Dr. Brendan comes in.

Dr. Brendan (real name Brendan McElroy) is a veritable one-man iPhone repair operation. Working out of his apartment in the West East Village in Manhattan, Dr. Brendan is able to repair your iPhone for a fraction of what Apple charges.

For example: that cracked screen? Dr. Brendan’s asking price is a mere $85. And he understands what it’s like to break an iPhone.

“I dropped my phone after a bartending shift, and looked into YouTube videos on how to fix it, and it was just broken glass, that’s all. And that’s a pretty easy fix,” said Dr. Brendan during a visit to his West Village apartment. “[After that] I started off just putting up CraigsList ads. The biggest part was building a network of people here in the city of referrals. One customer can be so valuable because people have friends that have iPhones… to provide a good experience that then leads to them giving a referral is huge.”

Dr. Brendan's workspace

So huge, in fact, that a small writeup in popular graphic design blog Swissmiss had Dr. Brendan fielding repair requests from all over North America. But what makes customers trust him with their precious iPhones?

“I think the customers are looking for an alternative, something that’s more affordable. I take accountability for what I’m going to do. If someone goes onto eBay, buys a part and does it themselves, then who’s going to take accountability besides them? If they screw up their phone they pay the price. If I screw up their phone, I will replace it. I have a reputation for standing by my work,” explained Dr. Brendan.

Anyone familiar with Apple product repair knows that obtaining the correct parts is a difficult task. Dr. Brendan would not reveal where he purchases iPhone components, so as to protect those relationships. Dr. Brendan said, “It was hard for me to find a supplier that would give me a good price and was also reliable. Because there’s a lot of scheisty Chinese distributers out there. You know, there’wes people over there that will sell you used parts and tell you that they’re new, they’ll tell you that they’re original parts and they’re actually third-party, knockoff cheap parts… I use OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer] parts unless they want the cheapo knockoff ones.”

An opened iPhone, revealing the battery and motherboard.

Watching Dr. Brendan in action was a mere 15 minute process. A middle-aged man arrived at the apartment, broken iPhone in hand. He had accidentally shattered the glass during a rambunctious night out. As shown in the picture below, his iPhone now looks as though it was never dropped.

An iPhone with new glass. All in a day's work.

After his customer left, Dr. Brendan mentioned the enjoyment he gets from his work. “If you’re into fixing stuff, and you’re not terribly worried about breaking your iPhone, it’s fun to do. Which I don’t encourage. I encourage them to come to me!”

Editor’s Note: We accidentally said Dr. Brendan’s apartment was in the West Village.  He’s actually in the East Village.

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