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The Cost of Labor: To Repair or Replace; That Is the Question

The Cost of Labor: To Repair or Replace; That Is the Question

Tech - by David Neubert - updated on 8/29/2014

As smartphones, tablets and other portable electronic devices continue to take over the market, there is a subsequent spike in the demand to repair them. Fixing these devices, rather than replacing them, can save hundreds of dollars in most cases. Beyond upfront costs alone, customers can also save money over the lifespan of their mobile device by not having to pay monthly insurance charges. Not to mention, the overall convenience of dropping off a phone or tablet at a local store, rather than having to ship it to a manufacturer for repairs, can be priceless.

Broken tablet at an angle to left


One example where this service can be extremely worthwhile is in the education sector. As tablets have begun replacing yesterday's school supplies as new, vital learning tools throughout the country, the need to keep them up and running has become a critical function of school districts' IT personnel.

Chris McMillan is the dedicated technician responsible for the performance and maintenance of 1200 Chromebooks used throughout the eight-school district in Menasha, WI. When over 40 damaged tablets needed to be fixed last year alone – suffering from cracked screens, broken buttons, failing batteries, etc. – he was the man tasked to find a reliable source to get the job done as quickly as possible.

Originally reaching out to the devices' manufacturer for these repairs, McMillan was forced to ship the broken tablets to a remote location and then have them shipped back to him. Needless to say, this was a time-consuming process, and he became frustrated with the overall experience of dealing with a huge company whose repair center was a thousand miles away.

Tablet use in schools is growing

43% of US teachers and students used them last year

In the educational market, tablet use increased by 103% in 2013 and is expected to increase another 38.6% this year.



Upon learning that his local Batteries Plus Bulbs store was now offering these same repair services, McMillan jumped at the opportunity to give them a shot at repairing 16 cracked screens that still needed to be fixed prior to the upcoming school year.

McMillan was immediately pleased with the process, as a Batteries Plus Bulbs representative stopped by in-person to pick up the devices and take them back to a nearby store for repair. Upon completing the repairs, the Chromebooks were hand-delivered back to McMillan in less than two weeks. Dealing with a local company, without having to ship the devices, saved the school district time and money, while giving them peace of mind along the way.

Quote SignIt's been great. I couldn't have asked for a better experience. By picking up the damaged Chromebooks, fixing them in a timely manner, and then returning them directly to me has made all the difference. Plus, dealing with a local business and being able to communicate with them throughout the process is far more efficient than having to go through the support center at some large, far away manufacturer." – Chris McMillan


Obviously, with kids of all ages handling these tablets on a daily basis in schools, damages can't be avoided. Still, even among adults, the frequency of dropping phones in parking lots or toilets continues to soar. With roughly 30% of all iPhone users reporting damage to their phones within the first year of ownership, and with over 150 million iPhones and over 71 million iPads sold worldwide in 2013 alone, the demand to repair these devices is monumental.

This Labor Day, consider the cost of labor to repair your favorite mobile device versus the cost to a buy a shiny, new replacement. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Upfront cost to repair < upfront cost to replace
  2. Long term cost of repair < long term cost to pay for insurance
  3. For devices that have fallen out of the manufacturers' warranty, getting local repair services will provide a new warranty on parts and workmanship
  4. Local service provides a quick turnaround, often while you wait and without an appointment
  5. Retain your contacts, photos, videos and songs without transferring info
  6. eWaste – with roughly 10 million tons produced yearly in the US alone, reusing our old devices can save a tremendous amount of wear and tear on the earth

Have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend, and if you need batteries, bulbs or a smartphone or tablet repaired, please check to see when your local Batteries Plus Bulbs store is open for business!