In this issue of Indonesia Expat, we took interest in the technology sector and conversed with Henry Lucman, director and co-owner of a startup technology reparation boutique, specializing in Apple products, called Dr. Gadget.
How and when did your business take its start?
We started the business back in 2012. It all started because we both had broken iPhones and iPads, and there was no service centre that is reliable and worthy to fix our beloved devices.
Was it a relatively easy ride to start up the company or did you find difficulties? How did you overcome them?
As with anyone who has gone through a startup would tell you, it can be a roller coaster ride. We found that educating people that not all technology repairs are created equally could be quite challenging. Even until now, we see a lot of people bring their Apple gadgets to us after some other repair centre ‘tried’ to fix it, yet it only made the situation worse. We slowly learnt the symptoms, implement the QC and do our best possible to fix all the Apple devices.
Why was technology repair the pathway you chose for your business?
We have been in love with technology since we were younger, so a lot of people always asked us about their gadgets anyway. Also, this might sound corny, but when you see the smile from people’s faces when they get their beloved devices back from the ‘dead’ is very satisfying.
Who are your clientele/market?
All Apple users are our clients; those who have iPhones, iPads, Macbooks, and iMacs. The client itself could be individuals or corporations.
What was the reason behind building your business in repairing solely Apple products? What are the specific products you handle?
The choice was quite easy to make. We didn’t have a lot of capital invested in the beginning and to stock on all the myriad Android phone parts out there would be startup suicide. By focusing on Apple devices only, our stocks can be manageable and it would be easier for us to maintain a high service level. We pride ourselves in getting the job well done, so focusing comes naturally. Currently, we support repairs for iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and iMacs. And by concentrating on only the Apple brand, we would be able to learn more on the issues and become more professional and the best there is in fixing all the devices, from spare parts replacements to fixing IC problems, etc.
Who are your main competitors? What sets you apart from other gadget reparation stores?
We won’t say that we have a head-to-head competitor because the way we do our service and warranty are quite different from the others. By focusing on getting the job well done and giving blanket warranty (and not just on the parts that we fix), we give our clients peace of mind. When you bring your device to us, we make sure that everything works fine before we return it to you. Our 90 day warranty is given so that if there is anything that doesn’t work within 90 days, we will fix it for free.
What is your role in Dr. Gadget?
My role is as the director for Dr. Gadget, to supervise the expansion of the stores, concepts and other value added services that we can give to our customers such as SPM (Service Protection Membership), casings and other accessories that are good and affordable for the Apple communities.
What are the main gadget damages your clients come to you for? Were there any instances in which you have to consult an Apple affiliate directly to resolve a client’s request?
There are no main damages, as there are so many varieties of customers. But we have successfully revived water damaged iPhones that has been left to rot for one month. Cracked screen and battery problems are the norm. The main culprits for the damages are usually because the clients dropped the device, water damage or normal wear and tear. We have our affiliate partner from overseas to exchange information on how to fix the device problems.
What did you study in university? How did the interest for the technology sector, specifically its reparation, come to you?
As many Asian students studying abroad, I took a major in Business with the plan of helping the family business after I graduated. But when I finished studying, I jumped into the original dot-com bubble by working in a dot-com company in Singapore (Lycos Asia). Being involved in the technology industry is liberating and I got hooked on it. I’ve tried and set up some other tech-related businesses (such as VoIP) and failed. But it is all a learning process that is helpful for the next startup.
You now have two Dr. Gadget stores, in fX and Mangga Dua. How has the progress of your business been between the first and second store?
First stores are always the hardest. We had to learn about the behaviour and expectations of Indonesian customers and adjust accordingly on the fly. It also took more than a year to learn and train the technicians up to the current standard, the sales reps at the stores on how to properly respond to customers, etc. Our second store was just recently launched in February 2014. Business has been picking up steadily, as we have more customers through word of mouth, Google ads, websites, banner ads, and also working with telco operators.
Where do you obtain the parts to replace damaged iphone/ipad items with? Are they original parts from Apple manufacturers?
We obtain the best parts there are from our overseas suppliers. While using original/best parts would definitely help, it won’t be optimal if not supported by our QC procedures and continuous internal training.
How do you charge your clients for reparations?
We calculate the repair based on the spare part’s costs plus service. We are not the cheapest, but we get the job done well. We try to cater towards all levels of iPhone customers. But again, we try to balance the three ethos of service – GOOD, CHEAP, FAST:
1. Good service + cheap won’t be fast
2. Good service + fast won’t be cheap
3. Fast service + cheap won’t be good
How many employees do you have at Dr. Gadget?
Currently we have 12 people and continually growing.
How easy/difficult is it to run a small to medium sized business in Indonesia?
Entrepreneurship is always a learning process. It is never easy, especially with the challenges of getting quality human resources, unhealthy competition, and unclear regulations always looming in the background. But we believe as long as we strive to do our best, the rest will take care of itself.
How do you see your business growing in the next few years? Are there plans to expand and open more branches soon?
We are intending to open one or two more branches in Jakarta by the end of the year. For next year, we intend to open four more branches in Jakarta and other parts of Indonesia, including Bali.
Thanks for your time, Henry! To contact Henry, email [email protected]