I was listening to Clark Howard’s pod cast a few weeks ago when he announced that Verizon would now offer cracked screen repairs for iPhones.
Retail post-paid has never shown interest in conducting repairs and for good reason. Their business model is service, devices, accessories and warranty protection plans – not retail repair!
I scanned various other media outlets to see if any news of a partnership existed but came up empty handed. Something just didn’t seem right.
Was Verizon really going to shift from hiring sales reps to cell phone repair technicians? – Not likely!
After digging around a bit, an unannounced partnership does seem to exist between Verizon and a major cell phone repair franchise.
Similar partnerships are now a trend rather than one-off deals and likely to continue.
For this reason, anyone already in cell phone repair or thinking about entering the industry should pay close attention.
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- Total Mobile Protection Plan Overview
- Cost of Repair with Insurance
- Thoughts on Insurance Plan
- Repair Franchise Partnership Info
- Why It Makes Sense for Verizon & Insurance Providers
- What does this mean for other Repair Shops?
- Franchise Competitive Advantage
- Future Impact
Cracked Screen Repair Overview
Customers are eligible if they bought their device from Verizon and opted for their Total Mobile Protection coverage plan which is the most expensive.
- Can choose insurance during first 30 days of phone or tablet ownership.
- Insurance cost $11/month or $33/month for 3-10 devices for a “Family Plan”.
- $79 deductible for all eligible devices.
- 3 Claims per 12 months for single user or 9 claims for “Family Plan”.
- End users go through Asurion’s claim process and then schedules a time/location for same-day repair (if available).
- Insurance can transfer to new phone.
- Apple iPhone SE, 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S5, S6 and S7
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and 5
- Motorola DROID Turbo and DROID Maxx
220+ locations sprinkled all over the US.
Average Total Cost of Repair
Let’s take a look at what the total cost of fixing a cracked screen would be with the premium + deductible.
- $132 for Insurance ( 1 year period) w/ no claim.
- 1 Repair – $211/repair avg.
- 2 Repairs – $145/repair avg.
- 3 Repairs – $123/repair avg.
- $396 for Insurance (1 year period) w/ no claim.
- 3 Total Family Repairs – $211/repair avg.
- 6 Total Family Repairs – $145/repair avg.
- 9 Total Family Repairs – $123/repair avg.
Thoughts on TMP Plan
Gotta love insurance!
Price is the same for a single user or family plan when it comes to total price to fix just cracked screen devices.
Price only competes with 3rd party repairs if a user has a more recent phone (iPhone 6s) and is likely to crack their device 2-3 times per year.
Lack of covered devices for cracked screen repair is limited and doesn’t cover the latest flagships (iPhone 7).
The plans do have additional value by covering lost/stolen devices and the policy can be transferred to a new device unlike Apple Care which has to be paid upfront in full.
TMP policy holders will have more peace at mind if their in one of the 220+ locations and will likely have a more consistently positive repair experience overall, at a cost!
Regardless of value, Verizon says at least 40% of users opt-in for insurance so expect many users to carry this policy in the future.
Repair Franchise Partnership Info
I’m not exactly sure why the name of the partnership wasn’t announced.
Probably a branding thing where Verizon want’s it’s customers to feel like their getting the same day repair done by them and not another outside company.
After all, having a phone from Apple, service through Verizon, Insurance through Asurion and a repair done by a 3rd party starts to get a bit confusing.
In any case, there’s only so many repair franchises that have 220+ stores so it wasn’t that difficult to take the list of available locations Verizon is offering the same day repair service and try to match them up with some of the larger cell phone repair franchise locations to see who it might be.
It seems uBreakiFix’s locations are nearly identical and likely serves as their 2nd major repair partnership in 2017 following their deal with Google for repairing Pixel/Pixel XL devices.
The details are unclear but most likely Verizon won’t send the customer driving to uBreakiFix’s location.
It’s more likely that a repair technician from uBreakiFix will be notified of a date/time when the customer files a claim through Asurion and meet the customer at the local Verizon store.
Likewise, Asurion could just as easily provide the address for uBreakiFix during the claims process and everything happen at the franchises location similar to how Apple has started to refer off some repairs to their 3rd party authorized providers.
Why It Makes Sense for Verizon & Insurance Providers
Asurion spends big bucks supplying the new and refurbished devices necessary for over-the-counter exchanges and through their mail-in program.
A direct repair keeps another phone on the shelf that can be used for new or existing customer renewals and surely cost several X’s less than swapping the phone out.
Customer gets “instant gratification”, Asurion has a lower cost per insurance claim and Verizon keeps the customer in a closed loop. A big Win-Win-Win!
What does this mean for other repair shops?
Well, for starters it’s more competition that keeps less customers looking for another local repair shop.
Sure, not everyone has insurance, the plan isn’t very cost effective, not all models are eligible and these 220+ locations only cover so much territory.
However, Verizon sells enough insurance plans that other repair shops in these locations will immediately have some small impact.
Franchise Competitive Advantage
Most repair franchises have had similar marketing propositions to persuade entrepreneurs to buy into their brand.
Most all compete between upfront costs, royalties, supplying parts, marketing, training and ease of adopting other revenue generating verticals such as accessories and prepaid services.
However, these new partnerships with big box names will provide unique value to venture capitalist considering repair franchise opportunities.
Sure, these arrangements drive repair jobs but most importantly they instill confidence that corporate management is executing on big ideas and generating the best ROI for franchise owners.
What’s the future impact?
The forward progress of these types of partnerships is the largest future “threat” to other repair establishments.
By this, I mean the details of the partnership can more easily be improved upon after both sides have smoothed out the day-to-day operations of such a program.
More models can be offered, new franchises locations can more easily be added and the cost savings Asurion has from a direct repair gives them enough wiggle room to adjust premium and deductible prices to best compete with consumer repair options.
I would not be surprised to see Sprint, T-Mobile or AT&T follow in Verizon’s footsteps before year’s end.
Multiple carriers hoping on the bandwagon could result in a noticeable impact for existing repair shops.
It’s not a “new” concept.
Walmart has been directly integrating Cellairis technicians into their stores over the past year but now that Verizon has joined with another repair franchise proves this concept is here to stay.
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