5 Tips for Business Owners: Choosing Best Technology for Your Business

Experimac means business! We understand that business owners are very busy and are often spread thin with multiple tasks requiring their attention at the same time. Having the right pieces of technology in place could make it easier to get it all done. Here are Experimac’s top 5 tips for business owners when deciding on the right technology to power your business.

  1. Maintain Security
    Incorporating secure connections and safe storage isn’t easy for any business, though it is the most important factor in running a successful business. Using computers, phones and tablets that offer security is vital. When it comes to protective technology, no one does it like Apple®. Products such as the iMac® and Mac Pro® are known for their resistance to viruses which takes one more worry off the table for business owners. Not to mention, these are reliable tools for any workplace.
  2. Become Mobile
    Your work tends to follow you wherever you go. Being able to access important documents and applications from the office, home or on the go is important for employees and executives. Apple’s software and iCloud® storage has innovatively made it possible to share documents from your MacBook Pro®, to your iPad®, and even to your iPhone®. Investing in products that promote easy access on the go, wherever and whenever you need access, is a must for any business.
  3. Save Time and Money with User-Friendly Devices
    Purchasing user-friendly devices for your business will save you time and money. Time and money spent on training employees on using company computers and technology isn’t necessary. Apple offers a variety of user-friendly programs, applications and software designed to be convenient and easy-to-use.
  4. Go Paperless
    From internal documents to presentations, making an office paperless can save your business money and space. It’s also easy with the right tools. With the iPad and iMacs, there is no longer a need for paper in any company. Apple’s large assortment of applications such as iCloud, TurboScan®, and TeamViewer® prevent the need for a scanner, fax machine, filing cabinet or copy machine.
  5. Keep Up with the Competition
    Technology continues to improve and progress, and impressing clients and maintaining a smooth-running business requires mastering technology. Incorporate technology by implementing easy to use devices that serve a multitude of purposes, such as the iPhone which is capable of many basic yet vital business functions:
    accessing documents, emailing, and of course communication via texting, calling, or VOIP (video over internet protocol, e.g. Facetime® or Skype®). Keeping up with the demands technology places on modern-day businesses is vital to the success of any business.

Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, MacBook and iMac have revolutionized the business world. With secure software, powerful devices and countless applications, Apple has become the new face of technology in the workplace. Here at Experimac, we take pride in our services and products. We offer expert advice, savings on pre-owned devices as well as additional discounts on the purchase of multiple Macs®. Need help figuring out what you need in your office? Stop by your local Experimac to see what devices would best suit the needs of your business.

Tips for Taking the Best iPhone® Photos on Spring Break

It’s Spring Break time! Here are our top tips for taking the best iPhone photos during Spring Break or any time of the year. Learn how to get the most out of your iPhone camera’s features.

  1. Save time and use the camera shortcut
    The perfect moment to snap a picture can happen at any time, isn’t that why we use our phones to take them? Don’t waste time unlocking your phone to take a picture, simply swipe up from the bottom of your lock-screen and snap a shot. Don’t worry about privacy, your stored pictures can’t be accessed if you lock your screen.
  2. Use the volume button to take pics
    The iPhone’s thin design, while sleek, can make taking pictures difficult, particularly selfies. You may find it easier to use the volume buttons to take pictures instead.
  3. HDR Auto
    HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range” and could drastically improve your pictures by allowing you to take pictures that may have high contrast light, such as a bright sunset, without distorting any part of the picture. You can turn this feature on or off at any time, but many find it helpful to rely on iOS 8®’s HDR Auto feature, which leaves it up to your iPhone’s sensor to turn it on or off.
  4. Focus
    A blurry picture doesn’t do anyone any good. Prevent blurry pictures by holding down your finger on an integral element of your picture, locking focus on whatever you press down on. Be sure to not get your iPhone too close to the subject of your photo; this will make it difficult to focus your picture properly. Try to also get on the same level as your subject for a better photo.
  5. Burst Mode
    Spring Break usually brings adventures and trips out and about. Again, your pictures don’t have to be blurry but you do want them to capture the fun. Use Burst Mode when chasing after the kids, going for a ride or for any picture you try to capture in motion. By taking pictures in burst mode, the quick succession means a better chance of getting a clear shot of the image you want in addition to more options to choose from.
  6. Grid
    iPhones have a grid option installed, designed to help you keep your pictures balanced, straight and on-point. You can enable this feature by going to the camera section of your iPhone’s settings.
  7. Selfie-Stick
    If you plan on taking many selfies, pictures with landscapes or pictures with a large group, a selfie-stick is a fantastic way of capturing moments. Many stores and online shops sell selfie-sticks as they have become very popular. They are pretty much an arm extension when taking a picture, meaning that you can fit more people or background into your shot. These are great for large family gatherings or visiting landmarks such as the Grand Canyon. Some tourist attractions don’t allow the use of selfie-sticks onsite, so be sure to double-check before bringing one.
  8. Filters
    There are many apps that you can use to spice up your photos and edit colors and crop any image. These apps can be particularly helpful if you plan on uploading pictures to social media accounts because they make it easy to label where the photo was taken or add festive borders, for example. Snapchat and Instagram offer their own fun and colorful filters for pictures and videos.

Whether your Spring Break will be spent catching up with old friends in your hometown or abroad on a grand adventure, make sure your iPhone is ready to help you take those memorable pictures. Experimac can repair your screen or assess your camera issues before you set off on Spring Break.

Considering a MacBook® Laptop or a Mac® Desktop? Pros and Cons to Keep in Mind

The investment in a laptop or computer can be a significant one, and the process of selecting the right Apple® device to invest in can become overwhelming. Understanding what your options are is the first step in the process. We’ve broken down some pros and cons based on device type for you to consider before taking the leap.

Apple Laptops

Loved by many loyal users, MacBook laptops are the go-to device for students and professionals across countless industries looking for portability and flexibility.

MacBook

The MacBook is one of Apple’s most popular products. Being one of the first laptop models introduced by Apple, the MacBook’s specifications fall between those of the higher-end and pricier MacBook Pro® and those of the less expensive, yet less impressive MacBook Air®. The 12-inch MacBook is the most portable, considering its small size, slim build and the fact that it is the lightest model. The MacBook is perfect for professionals on the go who need a sturdy, powerful laptop for a variety of tasks.

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro has been Apple’s higher-end laptop option since 2006 for good reason. Seeing that all MacBook Pro models feature incredible specifications such as state-of-the-art retina displays, powerful speakers and the fastest processors available, it is not surprising that the MacBook Pro is Apple’s more expensive line of laptops. Available in multiple sizes, this laptop is perfect for artists and professionals who want the high-resolution retina display for projects, pictures, movies, presentations and more.

MacBook Air

Though Experimac makes owning any Apple product affordable, the MacBook Air is the most affordable and, arguably, the longest-lasting Apple laptop model. The MacBook Air also allots a generous battery life, contributing to a long life overall. Its USB ports make it the perfect Apple laptop to use in group settings, and many find its traditional keyboard more comfortable than the newer flat “butterfly” keyboards found in the latest models of the MacBook and MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air is the perfect pick for students, due to its sturdiness, lower cost and long battery life.

Apple Desktops

Unlike the above options, the iMac®, Mac Pro® and the Mac Mini® are all desktop devices, meaning that they aren’t as suitable for traveling.

iMac

The iMac comes in varied sizes and capabilities, most of which are more powerful than the Mac Mini, yet not as powerful as those of the Mac Pro. The entry-level iMac

computers offer similar abilities to that of the Mac Mini; if investing in an iMac, it’s wiser to go with the higher-end variations. The iMac is the perfect choice for work and gaming.

Mac Pro

The Mac Pro is the king of all Apple devices. It’s motto, “Built for creativity on an epic scale” is very fitting; this computer is a powerhouse. However, when it comes to Apple computers, with great power comes great expense. If you’re not running Pro level software such as Final Cut Pro X®, Logic Pro X® or others of that caliber, then the Mac Pro is most likely more machine than you need. If you like the idea of a powerful desktop, consider higher-end iMac models.

Mac Mini

The Mac Mini is a great at-home, general desktop to be used for basic functions such as exploring the Internet or creating basic documents. Though it is not as strong as other Apple desktops, the Mac Mini is a wonderful option for those looking for a very basic yet well-built device. The Mac Mini is a great option for a first Mac® or for anyone who doesn’t need a powerful device.

You really can’t go wrong with any of Apple’s products; they’re beautifully designed and are powerful machines built to last. However, with so many options, it can be overwhelming picking the proper model. Stop by your local Experimac today to get more information on pre-owned Apple devices and find out which model fits your needs best.

Upgrade your Mac® computer or laptop at Experimac

Are you interested in upgrading your MacBook® laptop, Mac Pro® computer or Mac Mini® computer? Experimac can make your Mac device just as fast and efficient as the day you brought it home.

Everyone knows Apple’s® products are well-built and will last for years if they’re well cared for. However, they can suffer from logic board failure, failed hard drives and screen damage, all of which may impact the longevity of your computer or laptop.

Whether you’re looking for a faster experience when launching programs, more space to store your memories and files, or even an accessory that will give your Apple computer new features, we at Experimac take pride in our ability to make quality upgrades.

Have you ever been tempted to do your own upgrades? Many have tried, but in the end, they found that it wasn’t worth the risk. Instead, our highly-trained technicians will work with you to determine which upgrades are necessary, making it easy for you to make sure your Apple computer runs flawlessly for years to come. Experimac only uses quality parts in every upgrade and offers a 90-day warranty on all services. With Experimac, you don’t need to make an appointment as we offer same-day and fix-while-you-wait services.

Looking to also add accessories? No problem! We also offer a large inventory of keyboards, chargers, displays, and cases, which come in a variety of selections and can change the look and capabilities of your computer or laptop.

Here’s a list of some of the services that Experimac can perform for many Apple products:

  • Memory Upgrades
  • Hard Drive Repair, Replacement or Upgrade
  • LCD Screen Replacements
  • Data Recovery
  • Data Transfers
  • Diagnostics & Troubleshooting
  • Optical Drive Repair (CD Rom/ DVD Rom)
  • PC to Mac® Migration
  • iCloud® Setup & Troubleshooting
  • New Software Setup and Configuration
  • Parental Control Configuration
  • So much more!

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a new computer to have things run like new. Stop by your local Experimac today to find out how we can upgrade your Apple computer or laptop and improve your user experience.

Owner Spotlight: Leonard Blue of Richmond, VA

We recently spoke to Leonard Blue from Experimac of Richmond, VA. He’s coming up on the 1-year anniversary of his location; Leonard opened his Richmond store in mid-April 2016. Although he had held leadership positions during his 22-year military career, he had never owned a business before opening his Experimac store. With franchises across the country, Experimac is a trusted tech source for Apple® product repairs and upgrades, pre-owned sales and trade-ins for iPhone® devices, iPad® tablets, iMac® computers, MacBook® laptops and more. Additionally, Experimac sells accessories for these devices and offers same-day service for repairs and upgrades. We’re often able to fix your device while you
wait. Experimac offers a 90-day warranty on all repairs because we want all of our customers to experience the Experimac difference.

Leonard has a great store manager, Kevin, working alongside him in Richmond. Kevin spends most of his time doing the actual repair work and following up with customers who have been in the store for repairs. They have found that following up with customers is a great way to touch base with the customer, make sure they are happy with the service they received and it pretty much guarantees a return customer in the future. Kevin started out as a customer in the store until one day he sat down to talk with Leonard and it turned out, he had experience so Leonard decided to bring him aboard. The days are long for Leonard, averaging 12 hours, but he is really enjoying the customer contact and community involvement that owning his Experimac store in Richmond brings. Here’s more of what Leonard had to say:

EXPERIMAC: What is your connection to the community of Richmond? Why did you choose to open a location there?

Leonard: I liked the location. We’re close to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) so we can be help the kids going to college there. We offer a 10% discount to all students and faculty members that come into the store, no matter what they are coming in for. We’re trying to make it easier on them. Also, I do a lot of volunteer work within the community with young kids through a program called Go to High School, Go to College. We try to get them interested in higher education and help them stay focused on school so that they can have a better future. And I’ve also volunteered for the March of Dimes for 10 years trying to bring awareness to infants born with disabilities and other issues.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say has been the most interesting or exciting part of owning an Experimac location?

Leonard: For me, every day is different. It’s a new opportunity with each individual that comes into the store, dealing with different personalities and being able to provide the assistance that people need. You never know what to expect in terms of what’s going to happen throughout the day. I just like doing it, really. I like working with people. I like the employees I’m working with. It’s about helping people. It’s not about making money, that’s going to come in the long-term. It’s about providing that assistance to someone because you’re working on a device that they use on a daily basis and they really can’t be without it. Most of the time, they need it fixed fast and I try to assist them with that service so they can make calls and get their work done.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say has been the most challenging aspect of it?

Leonard: Knowing what to provide people. It’s so different every day. For example, knowing what to have on hand as far as the inventory you keep in the store. When you finally think you understand what your market is, it changes. You never know what type of computer the individual will find more user-friendly. It’s been challenging to get those inventory reports and all of the equipment into the store.

EXPERIMAC: Are you doing the repairs yourself or is it all done by hired technicians?

Leonard: No, I do it myself as well but not as much because I’m more focused on the initial customer service experience at the front of the store and maintaining the inventory. I’m on the computer quite a bit trying to get stuff done. We try to provide same-day or next-day service so if we’re really busy, I’ll jump in to help. I try to stay out of Kevin’s way so he can get it done but I help if he’s backed up.

EXPERIMAC: Have you been able to get involved in the Richmond community? Networking groups, schools, etc.?

Leonard: We’re in the process doing something with Fox Elementary, providing grab bags for parents with promotional items at the PTA meetings. We also do a 10% off for them and if they purchase something, 10% goes to the school’s PTA so they can use that money to send kids on trips, etc. We also do stuff at VCU like providing actual diagnostic checks on the campus to let them know what we do here, try to provide them with assistance. If there’s anything we can’t fix on the spot, we have them come to the store and we provide the service at a discounted rate as well.

EXPERIMAC: What kind of feedback have you gotten from customers so far, whether in store or online?

Leonard: Excellent feedback so far! 5-star reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook. Even when we do our follow-up calls with our customers, they enjoy our customer service, they appreciate us calling and following up on their repairs. Most of the time, when we call them, they have additional needs that we can help with. We’ve been getting good feedback. The only “issue” we sometimes have is people coming in the store saying, “we didn’t know you guys were here, I would have come to you first.” So, building more awareness is a focus.

EXPERIMAC: Have you noticed any patterns in terms of the type of work you’re doing? Repairs, less upgrades or more upgrades . . . any pattern?

Leonard: Honestly, I have not found a pattern yet. We do more computer repair, whether it be PC or Mac, for the local community. Screen and phone repairs is more prevalent with the college students. But, that’s all as far as patterns. The customers’ needs are always changing and we just adjust to it.

EXPERIMAC: Would you say there is a typical Experimac customer? Do you see more college students? Families that need their phone replaced?

Leonard: Honestly, since I haven’t been in business for a full year yet, there are some trends when it comes to Experimac customers but I’m still trying to narrow it down to target a certain market group. It seems like it’s always changing. Most of my computer repair work comes from the adult community, most of my computer sales comes from individuals living or working in and around Richmond but as far as phone repairs, I get quite a few from the college students. Every now and then, those college students do come in and buy a computer or a family member that is visiting will come buy a computer from our store. We’re still a young store so I can’t say for certain who our target group is.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say are the top 3 skills to be a successful entrepreneur?

Leonard: I would say, enjoy what you’re doing so you have a passion for doing it and want to do it. If you don’t, you won’t want to do it for very long or you won’t want to put forth the work to make it successful. In this particular business, you have to be a people person. You have to be able to listen to the customers. You need to understand where they’re coming from in order to take care of their problems. Listen to them, be a people person. You need to be a “go-getter” type of person. The business is not going to just come to you. You need to explain things to people, put yourself out there, let people know what you do and stand behind the service you provide. If you stand behind your 90-day warranty, for example, and make the repairs if something goes wrong, that customer is going to be even more grateful and get you additional referrals.

As Leonard has figured out, owning your own business requires a lot of time and dedication so his early morning workouts give him the stamina to make it through the day. It’s clear that where there’s a will, there’s a way because somehow, Leonard still makes time to volunteer and mentor young adults in the community in his spare time. If you live or work in the Richmond area, stop by Experimac of Richmond, VA and see how Leonard and Kevin can help you with repairs, upgrades, or trade-ins of your favorite Apple® products. We’re confident you’ll feel right at home at Experimac of Richmond, VA and will receive excellent customer service as well.

Experimac Pays Tribute to its Female Entrepreneurs: International Women’s Day 2017

WEST PALM BEACH, FL, March 8, 2017 – In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD), Experimac honors its female franchisees. Today, and every day, we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political accomplishments of women around the world and within our own company.

IWD 2017 Theme – #BeBoldForChange

With the theme chosen for this year, #BeBoldForChange, Experimac is proud of the women within our organization that have been bold and taken action in their own lives. We look forward to working with more women looking to advance their career and take it in a new direction to improve the world around them.

The Women of Experimac

Experimac boasts over a dozen women owners of its franchises. Here’s a glimpse at some of the women of Experimac:

Michelle Foley – Experimac of Garland, TX

With 20 years of IT experience, she was looking for her next (ad)venture. The goal for Michelle was to build something for herself and her young son instead of building something for someone else. Michelle says, “If I could share 1 piece of advice for other women considering entrepreneurship, it would be this: Do it for yourself, on your own terms, but build a team of trusted advisors. Someone else has learned the hard lessons, learn from them.”

Eliza Mallue – Experimac of Dayton, OH

Eliza says she did not mean to become an entrepreneur, it just kind of happened for her. Working for her family’s business for over 10 years, she realized it was time to start a different business for herself. Eliza says, “The most important wisdom I could give to any aspiring female entrepreneur is to surround yourself with positive people. Create a tribe of people that you can learn and grow from, both personally and in your business.”

Rina Sehgal – Experimac of NE Dallas, TX

As a busy wife, mother, and women and children’s advocate, Rina worked for AT&T Retail Operations for 17 years before deciding to venture into her own business with help and encouragement from family and friends.

Allison Stahl – Experimac of Pickerington, OH

Allison, a Mechanical Engineer, spent more than 11 years traveling for her career and was ready to get off the road and buy a business of her own. Allison says, “It is a great feeling to walk out onto my showroom floor to help a person find just the right computer or tablet for their needs.”

Some of the other amazing women behind Experimac are listed below:

Nadine  Kaakouche – Experimac of East Gilbert, AZ

Lynette Ray – Experimac of Scottsdale, AZ

Janice Lee – Experimac of Santa Ana, CA

Marie  Umberger – Experimac of Suwanee, GA

Christine  Witte – Experimac of Fenton, MO

Kasia Morgan – Experimac of Asheville, NC

Kimberly  Bottemiller – Experimac of Tacoma, WA

Tara Barnett – Experimac of Kennesaw/Marietta, GA

Patricia Maddux – Experimac of The Heights, TX

Valeria Salis – Experimac of North Katy, TX

Kim Thwing – Experimac of McKinney, TX

About Experimac

With franchises throughout the country, Experimac is a trusted tech source for Apple® product repairs and upgrades, pre-owned sales and trade-ins for iPhones®, iPads®, iMacs®, MacBooks® and more. Experimac also sells accessories for these devices and offers same-day service for repairs and upgrades without the need for an appointment. Experimac offers a 90-day warranty on all repairs. Experimac, a member of the United Franchise Group, started in 2009 with its original location in West Palm Beach, FL and now has over 80 locations with more opening each month.

Contact:

Allison Larsson

Marketing Manager

United Franchise Group

(561) 868-1498

alarsson@ufgcorp.com

https://unitedfranchisegroup.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addicted to your iPhone® Device? What happens to your brain?

While phone addiction is not classified as an actual disorder yet, there are many psychologists and doctors who are studying the long-term effects of consistent use and reliance on cell phones. There are several correlations between cell phone overuse and depression, anxiety, insomnia and even memory loss. Phone addiction is just like any other addiction; the brain senses pleasure in the use of the device, and pleasure receptors in the brain reward and crave more use, thus leading to addiction. Though causation has not yet been discovered for most of these, links and correlations have, paving the way for more research in this area.

Depression and Anxiety

There are several theories and studies that showcase varied reasons that our cell phones could be causing depression. Cell phones allow users a certain level of escape from reality. A study completed on college students found correlations between students who struggled with depression and anxiety, and those with addictive phone behaviors: “People who self-described as having really addictive style behaviors toward the Internet and cellphones scored much higher on depression and anxiety scales”. Scientists are not certain as to the exact reasoning behind these theories, but many have stated that the overuse of a phone can make users feel disconnected with reality or lonely, bringing out depression and anxiety.

Insomnia

Melatonin is a natural hormone released by your brain that is designed to help your body relax and fall asleep. Studies have shown that the use of phones before bedtime may delay or limit the release of melatonin into the user’s body, thus resulting in restlessness or limited sleep. The light emitted from your phone can also confuse your body into thinking it is not time for sleeping, thus preventing the release of melatonin.

Memory Loss

Constant use of a smart phone can be taxing on the brain, and has been associated with memory loss. Those who overuse a phone may have trouble with long-term and/or short-term memory. One factor that may contribute to this is the fact that we depend on our phones to remember facts, dates and other important information. This limits our practice in retrieving information on our own, thus weakening that skill. Some doctors have also found that phone use can make decision making and learning more challenging as well.

What Can Be Done About It?

There are many ways one can reverse phone addiction. Putting limits on when you use your phone and for how long is the first step to correcting phone overuse. You can start slow; dramatic changes don’t need to be made overnight. For example, if you currently use social media sites for hours, try limiting yourself to 20 – 30 minutes per day.

Some of us depend on social media sites for business purposes. If that’s your case, consider limiting your use to only business relationships. Also, avoid using your phone the hour before bedtime; pick up a book or magazine instead. Call a friend or meet up for lunch rather than chatting online. Try doing simpler tasks without your phone, such as adding the tip to your restaurant bill. These small changes can add up to big improvements over time to your health and wellbeing.

Taxes on the Go: The Best Tax Preparation Apps

Tax season is officially underway! With Tax Day, Tuesday, April 18th, quickly approaching, it is important to start making plans on how you are going to file your taxes. Luckily for Apple® device fans, there are several iPhone® device and iPad® tablet apps that will make your tax preparation much easier this year. Take a look at our list of the top iPhone device and iPad tablet tax preparation apps.

  1. TaxSlayer

TaxSlayer is a fantastic app for filing taxes. It includes features like taking pictures of your W-2 and driver’s license, saving you time this tax season. TaxSlayer has two modes, one of which asks you guiding questions to help you make the most of your tax return, as well as a more independent mode for those who know exactly what to put. It’s best and worst quality is the same: simplicity. While it is simple to use, it is really only designed to process income, unemployment and healthcare. However, TaxSlayer is the perfect pick for simpler tax returns.

  1. TaxACT Express

TaxACT Express is a tax preparation and filing app that allows you to file your federal and state taxes for free. Like its competition, this app allows you to prepare, print, and e-file your tax return for next to nothing. While it covers basic options encapsulating everything from your wage income to your education credits, its status as a “free” service limits it to just the basics. So, though filing through TaxACT is indeed free, the app likely won’t work for you if you need to file more complicated information – such as freelance work, for example. For those with simple tax needs, however, TaxACT provides a decent set of utilities at no cost, along with an easy-to-use interface and guaranteed accuracy.

  1. TurboTax Tax Preparation

Intuit’s TurboTax is the most popular tax software around, and for good reason. Like all versions, the iPad tablet TurboTax app is user-friendly, looks wonderful, and will guide you through the entire process of filing your federal and state returns, step by step. It’s simple to use, but thorough. TurboTax for iPad tablets allows you to scan your W-2 and proceeds to fill most stuff out for you. It’s added features like Touch ID – a convenient security measure, and SmartLook – a live on-screen video help option, help it stand out from the competition. TurboTax is tried and true, which is why it has the most positive reviews of any tax app out there. The people have spoken.

  1. IRS2Go

Despite being the official app of the organization that handles your taxes, IRS2Go, doesn’t have a ton to offer. You can check the status of your tax return after you’ve filed it and it provides tax tips should you happen to need any friendly advice. While the filing status tends to be more accurate than other apps with the same function, the most useful part of the app is the free tax preparation locator. For those who qualify, IRS programs like Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly, can be a real savior, and the app helps you find them close by. You’ll also get access to the IRS Twitter feed, just in case that’s a thing you feel like you’ve been missing in your life. This app is also available on the iPhone device.

  1. Ask a CPA

This free app gives some basic tips about taxes in a number of categories, but it’s better if you have a specific question. You can ask any question for free, and if all goes well, you’ll get an answer. If you want a more reliable (and possibly more detailed) answer, there’s another app called My Pocket CPA, which also lets you ask a question, but charges a fee (starting from $10) per answer. We recommend My Pocket CPA if you have a more serious question, as it has a more detailed interface for asking questions. With Ask a CPA, you’re mostly limited to a text box.

  1. Quick Tax Reference

If there’s any source to trust when it comes to financial information, it’s Bloomberg. The company has put together a digital tax reference sheet with its Quick Tax Reference app. The app provides access to all of the information that you’ll need to have on hand when filing your taxes. Information like tax rates and information on trickier topics like capital gains and estate taxes will make sure you aren’t giving up too much of your hard-earned cash, while easy access to the corporate and individual tax schedules will make sure you don’t miss your deadline. This is a universal app on iOS, so it works with the iPad tablets and iPhone devices.

  1. MyBlock – H&R Block Tax Preparation

After a few years of splitting apps up in a confusing format, H&R Block seems to have successfully consolidated its mobile offerings. The iPad tablet now gets a fully featured tax filing app with H&R Block Tax Preparation. It allows users to prepare taxes right from their iPad tablet, or switch between tablet and browser. The app offers a review process to make sure there are no issues with your filing and promises 100% coverage and full audit support should the numbers come into question. The latest update introduces the super convenient W-2 photo capture function, which enables you to snap a photo of your W-2 and let the app do the work of importing all the info. You shouldn’t have anything to worry about. H&R Block guarantees accuracy and a maximum refund, which is really all you can ask for from a tax app.

  1. Mint – Budget, Bills, Finance

Starting with one place to manage all of your finances with ease will make your life easier and next tax season less stressful. This free money manager and financial tracker from Intuit, the makers of Turbo Tax®, does it all. Mint allows you to keep your bank account, credit cards, bills and investments in one, easy-to-use place so you always know where you’re at. You’ll be able to track what you’re spending, figure out where you can save money, and stay on top of paying your bills like a pro. Keeping track of your credit score for free is also a cinch in Mint. Mint may very well make next year’s taxes a lot less daunting for the average American.

If your iPad tablet or iPhone device could use a once-over before you download one of these great tax preparation apps, stop by Experimac. Our techs can run a full diagnostic check and let you know if something needs to be repaired. We’ll help you make sure you’re ready to do your taxes!

Owner Spotlight: Bob Nonnemaker of Experimac of Huntington Beach, CA

 

 

 

We recently sat down for a talk with the owner of Experimac of Huntington Beach, CA, Bob Nonnemaker, and his son Kevin, the store manager. This classic father-son duo had previously worked together running some small e-commerce businesses. Their Experimac location has now been open just a few months; they opened their doors on October 10, 2016. With franchises across the country, Experimac is a trusted tech source for Apple® product repairs, upgrades, pre-owned sales and trade-ins for iPhone® devices, iPad® tablets, iMac® computers, MacBook® laptops and more. Additionally, we also sell accessories for these devices and offer same day service for repairs and upgrades. We are often able to fix your device while you wait. Experimac offers a 90-day warranty on all repairs because we want all of our customers to experience the Experimac difference.

Life as an entrepreneur is not new for Bob. He’s owned a broad array of businesses, franchise and non-franchise, for the last 30 years in countless industries, everything from insurance and mortgages to financing and automobile tag registration and notary services. Thankfully, Bob and Kevin work well together because Bob is still operating two other businesses so Experimac is Kevin’s baby. Bob has taken on the task of helping run the back office, taking care of administrative tasks, and offering guidance with some sales and marketing thrown in too. Kevin has customer service experience from a related industry so he’s enjoying working with the customers and learning the repair side because he likes technology and has always had an interest in that. Learning the ins and outs of Apple products has been exciting for Kevin. Bob and Kevin get along really well and working together has been a positive experience for both of them which will undoubtedly help them be successful and keep them busy. Here is some more of what they shared about their experience as the owner and manager of Experimac of Huntington Beach, CA.

EXPERIMAC: Why did you choose to open your business in Huntington Beach, specifically Fountain Valley?

Kevin: I moved out to Huntington Beach about a year and a half ago and fell in love with the area and just knew it would be a great area because there are so many people in this area. The population in Orange County is so large that I knew it would be a good area for pre-owned Apple product sales and repairs. Everyone has Apple products out here. And we’re only two miles from the beach!

EXPERIMAC: Have you done any community outreach stuff since opening?

Bob: Community outreach has been going on since the day we opened. We’ve all done some at different points. As an example, we’ve handed out about 2,000 business cards in and around the local community just stopping in at businesses of all kinds and sizes to introduce ourselves. We sponsored a local golf tournament and have been “feet on the ground” introducing and re-introducing ourselves in the area. This is something I really believe in. This week, we’ve started going back out with a flyer and new information they haven’t seen before to remind that we’re here since we’re so new.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say is the most interesting part of owning an Experimac?

Kevin: I would say learning about all the different computers and the repairs. When we get in something we don’t know, it’s fun to learn new things and to troubleshoot things and once you figure it out, it’s a really good feeling when the customer is thrilled. We’ve had a couple of products that the Apple store couldn’t fix or that they had told the customer that it would cost more than the computer itself, for example. And we were able to fix it for a reasonable price and the customers were happy.

EXPERIMAC: On the other side of that, what would you say is the most challenging part of owning an Experimac location?

Kevin: I think just the nature of this business, finding the best products for our inventory and finding the best product.

Bob: I would add to that, although I’m not the technical guy, I’ve seen these guys dealing with some of the technical things like fixing something and then you realize it’s not actually fixed and you have to tweak it. There’s definitely some fine tuning and some learning even though they’re technically oriented, there were some things that caught us off guard. It’s a learning process, there’s a learning curve. There was more of that than I anticipated because I’m used to selling intangibles but it’s been okay.

EXPERIMAC: It seems like Kevin and some other technicians do the repairs. Bob, you don’t really do any repairs yourself, is that correct?

Bob: No sir Steven, we’d already be shut down and bankrupt if I was doing the repairs (chuckling).

EXPERIMAC: Have there been any kind of events that you’ve attended representing the Experimac brand?

Bob: There was a holiday gift boutique sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce which we’re members of. It gave us an opportunity to have a table and present our services to the community.

Kevin: Coming up on February 22nd, we’re having our Grand Opening event with the Chamber of Commerce. We’re inviting all of the customers we’ve already served to come out, we’re going to have some food, drinks and raffles.

Bob: We’ve also had an opportunity through some of our networking and cold calling to go around the community to do some mini presentations in front of groups like realtors. We went in to a real estate office and asked if we could present ourselves at a weekly or monthly meeting and they said, “Yes!” so Kevin and I had an audience of 40-50 realtors who we were able to give a presentation to. We’re trying to do more things like that.

EXPERIMAC: What kind of feedback have you gotten from customers overall?

Bob: The feedback has been generally very positive. There are certainly some customers you can never please and there have been some glitches with some devices that haven’t gone perfectly. Kevin does a great job of smoothing it out but the general feedback has been, I think, very, very positive. People saying, “We’re glad you’re here, we’re glad to know you’re here, glad to know you do this” and thrilled with our service and what we’re able to provide. We’re certainly hearing the good feedback in the store and we’re starting to see repeat customers in the store already after only 3½ months which is always encouraging and to me, that’s what will make the business really grow.

EXPERIMAC: Have you guys noticed any patterns in terms of the work your customers need done? Have you seen more foot traffic for iPhone repairs or upgrades or is it more computer sales?

Bob: Well, the repairs are what bring the people through the door. Most of the initial foot traffic is about the repairs. There’s no question about it. And mostly, phone repairs. But, certainly, there’s a mix, maybe 70% phone and 30% computer. Give or take. And that just spins off into the computer or phone sales after the fact typically. Definitely, the repairs are the draw, I would say. We’ve done a Groupon offer and that has picked up our in-store traffic and our phone is ringing more. The repairs are definitely the main draw initially anyway. I think that will change but that’s what’s bringing people to us now.

EXPERIMAC: In terms of customer demographic, are you finding that the people that are coming in are primarily college students that broke their phone, is it families that have clumsy kids?

Bob: I’d say it’s all over the board. It’s definitely not just college students, definitely not just kid’s phones, it’s all shapes and sizes and ages. We certainly haven’t tracked demographics that much but it’s definitely a little bit of everything. I don’t think there’s been any kind of pattern. We’re not right across the street from a school or college although there are some around but it’s really just been a mix.

EXPERIMAC: How many hours do you typically work per day?

Bob: In the beginning, I was probably here 6 – 8 hours per day but now, I’m here 3 – 5 hours a day. Kevin is here 9 hours a day, 6 days a week.

EXPERIMAC: When you’re not working or inside the store, do you have any hobbies or things you enjoy doing?

Kevin: I like to snowboard, go to the beach, play video games, take my dog for a walk, etc.

Bob: That’s what he would enjoy if we would give him some time off (chuckling). For the most part, there’s no really taking the day off at this point. That’s just the way it is when you own your own business.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Bob, you clearly have some expertise in this area.

Bob: I would say number one is sales and marketing acumen. At the end of the day, no matter what kind of business it is, you’ve got to be able to market your business inside and out. That’s what has helped us here. Kevin does a great job inside and I do the outside work. I would say number two for Experimac would be Apple product knowledge and technical aptitude to do this work.

Kevin: Number three would be customer service.

Bob: Once you have them in your store, then it is about knowing how to treat them and deal with the different personalities that come through whether you do a perfect job or not. You have to enjoy dealing with people.

As you can see, Bob and Kevin Nonnemaker have been working hard for the last several months but have enjoyed working together to make their Experimac location a success. Come on in to their Huntington Beach location, we’re sure Kevin will dazzle you with all he has learned about Apple repairs and upgrades. Bob’s business background will undoubtedly continue to prove to be useful as they move forward. If you’re in the area, remember to join them for their Grand Opening on February 22nd, it’s sure to be loads of fun!

Fact or Fiction? Put your phone in rice to dry it out.

 

Cell phones have revolutionized the world and have become everyone’s favorite pocket-mate. They have become an essential part of our lives, and we invest a lot in them to be able to connect to the world around us.

However, phones can also cause a lot of panic should your phone get wet from a rainy day, fall into a pool or get splashed on in the bathroom. Water can destroy a phone very quickly, and usually important components can become damaged the moment they come into contact with a liquid. Warranties don’t usually cover water damage either. This leaves many users desperate for ways to fix water-damaged phones.

There are many suggestions about how to fix a water-damaged phone at home. One of the most popular ones dictates that you should put your phone in rice to dry it out.

Unfortunately, this is a MYTH.

The idea is that the uncooked rice will absorb the moisture from the phone. However, putting a water-damaged phone in a bag of rice is not a good idea for several reasons. Despite the common myth, dry, uncooked rice will not help your phone or tablet dry out. Phones sometimes turn on after water exposure, regardless of whether or not it was put in rice afterwards. Regardless, the rice will not absorb all the moisture and water from the phone, but can instead cause rice grains and particles to get lodged into small places in the phone and cause further harm and long-term damage.

It’s essential to take your phone to your local Experimac store right away so that the phone can be dried and cleaned properly before the internal components have time to corrode from sitting in the water.

Home remedies aren’t easy and usually don’t work; in fact, they typically allow for more damage to be done. The easiest way to fix your phone is to drop it off with the highly-trained professionals at Experimac, who offer same-day service and a 90-day guarantee on all services.