Pre-Owned Apple® Products: What You Need to Know

Ask any long-term user of Apple products what they love most about their computer, tablet or other device, and most likely they will say – reliability. Mac® computers, for example, are not sold in the volume of other computers; they’re more expensive and are sometimes intimidating to PC users but their users love them. Additionally, gaining access to test out the usability of Mac products can be very limited in some areas.

Buyers who are on a tight budget often find even the most affordable Mac computers unobtainable which can lead them to consider purchasing a pre-owned model. Of course purchasing anything pre-owned comes with risks but we can help you make the best decision for you and your needs.

Here are some tips for purchasing a pre-owned Apple product:

What is a pre-owned Apple product?

Pre-owned Apple products can include gently used Mac computers, MacBook® laptops, and iPad® tablets that were traded in for an upgrade or bought out-right for rebuild. Pre-owned Apple products are inspected, repaired, and tested prior to being sold at a lower cost. At Experimac, we are proud to offer our customers a 90-day repair or replace guarantee on every product you purchase.

Why purchase a pre-owned Apple product?

Apple products are known for their sleek design, reliability, and cutting edge technology – not to mention their easy usability. Unfortunately, brand new Mac computers can cost a hefty penny. Pre-owned machines also offer the high reliability and ease of use like brand new Mac computers but at a much lower price point. Buyers can feel confident that their investment is in a high quality machine that functions just as it would if it came from the Apple store.

How much savings can you expect?

Pricing for each pre-owned product is unique and based on the age and computing capability of that product. While there are no exact savings that we can guarantee for each of our pre-owned Apple products, we can guarantee that you can expect a great deal and a great product.

What about warranties?

Experimac is proud to offer a 90-day repair or replace warranty on every pre-owned Apple product that we sell. We also offer our customers a full 7 days to familiarize themselves with their new product ensuring that they can feel confident that they have purchased a product that meets or exceeds their expectations.

Owning a high quality Apple device or computer doesn’t have to break the bank. Experimac has a large inventory of pre-owned Apple products such as Mac computers, MacBook Pro® laptops, and more that can fit your needs and budget. If you, your family or your business is in need of a computer or other device, consider stopping by your local Experimac store to try out a pre-owned Apple product. Our trained staff can answer any questions you might have about taking the plunge.

Owner Spotlight: Joe Muir from Experimac of Boynton Beach, FL and West Palm Beach, FL

Meet the Muirs

Muir Family PhotoThe Muir family, South Florida residents since the 1960s, is closely tied in with the success of the Experimac brand as Experimac started out of a garage in the Muir family home. These long-time residents of South Florida are a close-knit family with very strong ties to their community. Jim Muir, the family patriarch, opened the first location in West Palm Beach in 2009 and then the Boynton Beach location in November 2011. After a few years of successfully running those locations, Jim Muir teamed up with Ray Titus, founder and CEO of United Franchise Group (UFG) in February 2015 to begin offering the opportunity to franchise and expand the Experimac brand to other entrepreneurs. Joe Muir, one of Jim’s sons, recently said “My brothers and I have gone to school and grown up in Palm Beach County making many great connections along the way. Through our church, we have met a lot of incredible people as well. Staying connected and growing in the community has played a large part in our success with the company.” Today, Joe oversees both of the original locations and manages their day-to-day business, maintaining the family presence. The rest of the family has transitioned into roles with UFG. John Muir was the first family member to become part of the UFG brand, he was in charge of purchasing and distributing (PSI). Jimmy Muir teaches the first two weeks of the training program for franchisees. Josh Muir works as an Operations Advisor traveling the country visiting locations and helps out wherever needed. And last, but not least, Jeannine seems to keep everyone in line.

Joe Muir from Experimac of Boynton Beach, FL and West Palm Beach, FL

We recently sat down with Joe Muir from Experimac of Boynton Beach, FL and West Palm Beach, FL to talk about his experience running the two original Experimac locations. Here is some of what he had to say:

EXPERIMAC: Have you run your own business before? What was your business background prior to joining Experimac?
Joe: I joined the family business in 2013 when it was called The Mac Toy Store.  Prior to joining the family business, I managed a restaurant in Boone, NC for many years.

EXPERIMAC: Had you worked with your family previously? If so, how is this different? If not, how are you getting along?
Joe: There is no doubt I had a little hesitation joining the family business. To think I would be working with my ENTIRE family 2 weeks after I got married and moved my wife to sunny Florida. I can’t say it hasn’t had its ups and downs, but all in all, it has been incredible. This experience has brought us closer then ever.

EXPERIMAC: Have you been able to get involved in the local community in your area? Have you joined any networking groups, chambers of commerce, etc.?
Joe: We are part of an organization called the Executive Association of the Palm Beaches. This is a very tight group of member firms that meets on a weekly basis to encourage local business between its members. We have also recently added additional outside sales representatives to our company for business to business. We are actively pursuing local businesses and groups for opportunities to grow.

EXPERIMAC: Have you participated in any local events to get to know the people in the community from the perspective of a business owner, not just a long-time resident?
Joe: We love to support the community when we are able to. We are actively involved with several high schools in the area. We promote their band, theater, and football programs. We also like to support local runs with a positive cause; we have sponsored several 5K and 10K events.

EXPERIMAC: What has been the most interesting or exciting part of being part of the family business? The most challenging?
Joe: The most exciting part of running the family business can also be the most challenging. We are very active and aggressively looking for ways to promote and improve our business. One of my favorite parts is coming up with an idea and being able to watch it play out.

EXPERIMAC: Do you do the repairs yourself or have you hired technicians for the Boynton Beach and West Palm Beach locations?
Joe: I am able to do a majority of the repairs. However, I have technicians that are far more advanced than I am. These are guys I was teaching how to fix devices to at one point and now they can run circles around me. At this point, I have found my time better spent on other aspects of the business. Every now and then, though, I like to jump in there and get my hands dirty.

EXPERIMAC: What kind of feedback have you gotten from customers?
Joe: We pride ourselves on customer service. This is the key to our success. Customer feedback is very important to us. Starting out, advertising and social media was very limited for us. We built a lot of this company through word of mouth. Making your customers happy and comfortable is vital to success.

EXPERIMAC: Have you noticed any patterns in reference to the kind of work Experimac customers need done – more screen repairs, less upgrades, for example?
Joe: When you compare the numbers at the end of the day, phone repair tends to be a little more common than computer repair/upgrade. However, the revenue leader for both our locations is clearly the pre-owned product. The best way to increase sales and profit is moving computers as quickly as you can.

EXPERIMAC: Is there a “typical” Experimac customer?
Joe: I can’t say there is a typical Experimac customer and that’s what makes this business so great. We have something every member of the family likes. From the grandparents being able to FaceTime® to the grandchildren teaching the grandparents how to FaceTime® and everything between.

EXPERIMAC: How many hours do you work on an average day?
Joe: In an average week, I will work 50-55 hours. This is spread out between two locations and some minor work at home (answering phone calls and a few emails). When I’m in the stores, they are my main focus but when I’m home, I think it’s important to work on that part of my life.

EXPERIMAC: When you’re not working, do you have any hobbies or favorite pastimes?
Joe: I guess I have a hobby but more like a second job. For the past several years, I have really invested a lot of time in real estate. I enjoy flipping houses. My wife and I are currently starting on our third home.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Joe: Dedication – You have to be fully invested into your idea. Strength – Tough times require a lot of perseverance. Support – You can only go so far without the right team.

EXPERIMAC: Is there anything else you would like to share on behalf of the family business?
Joe: It has been an amazing whirlwind of activity the past few years and I am looking forward to seeing Experimac continuing its tremendous growth. The opportunities we have now, that didn’t exist when we first started, are going to take this company to a level my family couldn’t even dream of.  Thanks to all of our franchisees, we have built a brand that is here to stay.

There is no doubt that Joe Muir is a busy man. Running the various aspects of the family business started by their patriarch, Jim Muir, the Muir brothers are truly invested in the success of the Experimac brand from every angle. The long work weeks are an investment in a company they strongly believe in. Remember to stop in at the original Experimac locations in West Palm Beach and Boynton Beach when you need your phone, tablet, laptop or computer repaired or if you’re considering the purchase of a pre-owned Apple® device. We know you’ll receive top-notch customer service you will want to brag about.

Owner Spotlight: Jeff and Monika Prainito from Experimac of Charlotte, NC

Jeff and Monika Prainito from Experimac of Charlotte, NC

We just recently sat down to have a chat with the hard-working, but fun, husband-wife team behind Experimac of Charlotte, NC, Jeff and Monika Prainito. Their location in the booming area of Charlotte opened up just over a year ago, at the end of July 2015. 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. Experimac also sells accessories for these devices and we offer same day service for repairs and upgrades. Often, we’re able to fix your device for you while you wait. Experimac offers a 90-day warranty on all repairs so customers never have to worry about their repair work.

Choosing to open Experimac of Charlotte came as a result of one of Jeff’s friends working with Transworld Business Advisors and connecting Jeff with Experimac. “For me, it was about wanting to be the first one in Charlotte and getting our choice of location,” said Jeff. Monika really liked the idea of people having another option other than the Apple® store.

Jeff and Monika Prainito from Experimac of Charlotte, NCOwning a small business of their own comes as nothing new to this power couple. Growing up, Jeff’s family were small business owners, opening three separate restaurants. And Monika is a business owner herself, completing architectural surveys. They seem to balance one another out well and are therefore able to focus on different angles of their Experimac business. Jeff is clearly a people person who is eager to please his customers with good service and looks forward to the moment they smile as they walk out the door with a working device in hand. Monika is able to see things differently from behind-the-scenes and provides valuable insight as she handles the marketing for Experimac of Charlotte. More than anything, it’s evident that Charlotte is home and they really want to do their part to be part of this thriving community. Here is more of what they shared with us about the journey of owning an Experimac location.

EXPERIMAC: What’s your background from a work experience angle?
Jeff: When I was really young, I did work on the first computers, the 386-40MHz and the 486-50MHz. Things you probably have never even imagined. I custom built AutoCAD workstations. Later, I had a full career in industrial engineering in the automotive and healthcare industries. Then, this opportunity came to own our own small business.
Monika: I have been working on computers, as a user, for 25 years. I am an interior designer but I’m more into the drafting side of it. That’s what I was doing in the hi-tech world, working with telecommunications companies. I was drafting and marketing for them. I eventually started my own company and have been working as an architectural surveyor and I started using PC computers until our oldest son suggested I switch to Mac® computers so I did and I’ve been using Apple® computers for about 6 years now. So the idea behind Experimac immediately appealed to me. I still do my surveying and I help Jeff with marketing for Experimac of Charlotte.

EXPERIMAC: Have you worked together professionally before opening Experimac of Charlotte?
Monika: Since I knew of Jeff’s background with AutoCAD and computers, while we were waiting for Experimac to be ready to go, we worked together for a few months doing the surveying. It was very interesting! I didn’t know he would do so well, so quickly. We actually did some of our own surveying jobs, he at one site and I at another.
Jeff: I used Macs® to do it. Yeah, she didn’t know I would be as good as I was. On a serious note, Monika is a great boss and a great trainer. She is by far, one of the best in the country at what she does.

EXPERIMAC: How has it been working together? How would you explain the experience?
Monika: I would say that because we have different perspectives on it, we complement one another. He is great with the customers and the technical part and being the front man at the store. I do more of the marketing side, behind-the-scenes. If I’m there, I will say hello and have quick conversations with customers but I prefer being behind-the-scenes. Jeff totally enjoys the interaction with customers.

EXPERIMAC: Sounds like it’s been a good fit, then.
Monika: Yes, totally. I see the business more from the behind-the-scenes, entrepreneurial side of it and he’s very much about the commercial, out front with the customer side of it. It works really well for us.

EXPERIMAC: Tell us a little bit about your family.
Monika: Of course! We have 3 children. Our oldest son, 29 years old, is an audio producer in South America. He lives in Colombia. He uses a lot of Apple® products and computers and he’s even working with Spotify now. Someday, he’d like to leave South America and go to Germany to work on his music there. We also have 16-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, they are sophomores in high school. Of course, they love their iPhones! . . . and sports, both are very involved at school, but they both worked a little at the store over the summer. She can repair an iPhone already. He seems to like the business side of it more.
EXPERIMAC: So they balance one another, just like you and Jeff do. That’s great!

EXPERIMAC: What is your connection to Charlotte? Why did you choose to open your store here?
Jeff: My company relocated me to Charlotte from Michigan about 8 years ago. This location is right around the corner from us, our kids go to school close by and it’s just very convenient. When I talked to Jim Muir, founder of the Experimac brand, his main advice was whatever you do, make sure your store is as close to your house as you can get it. You’ll be there a lot and you want it be an easy commute. I took his advice. We’re about a mile from our house.
Monika: It’s a really nice, family-oriented area. For me, it was important to be close to our house and the kids’ school. Our kids go to one of the best high schools in the area so I really liked it for that reason. There are also a lot of big companies moving their headquarters to Charlotte so there are a lot of businesses in Charlotte and the areas nearby like Ballantyne and South Charlotte. In that sense, we thought we had a great opportunity in this area.

EXPERIMAC: Now that you’ve been in Charlotte for 8 years and have opened up your own business, how involved are you with the local community?
Monika: We want to get more involved but we have had some meetings with the Chamber of Commerce and now we’re working on getting involved with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. They approached me about us joining their group a couple of months ago. This is a big deal here. We’re working on this more and more. We are members of a big church and that’s another place we are able to network through and market our business as well. Also, through the school and the sports teams, we’re able to help get the name out there.
Jeff: Like Monika says, the kids being in high school and in sports has been a great feeder for broken cell phone repairs and computer sales. I fixed most of their friends’ phones (some, multiple times) at our kitchen table leading up to the store opening. I attend various business networking groups and we are also listed on the Blakeney Racquet and Swim Club VIP Discount card, for example, offering exclusive discounts to club members.
EXPERIMAC: Grass roots marketing is a big part of it; getting people to know the brand more. We’re sure you’ll get more and more involved each year.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say has been the most interesting or exciting part of being in business over the past year?
Jeff: For me, personally, it’s when a customer comes in with a seemingly difficult repair, for which they have been quoted a very high price or have been told it cannot be fixed, and we happen to have just the right part for them at a price $100’s less than another place would have charged them for it. It’s just amazing how those things happen. It’s a great feeling. I can think of 10 stories like that when exactly what I need comes through the door just when I need it. Those little miracles and people smiling when they walk out of our store, that’s what I want and that’s what I enjoy.

EXPERIMAC: What kind of feedback have you gotten from customers?
Monika: They love it! For the most part, we have really great reviews. Even yesterday, while I was at the store, someone stopped by just to say how great the store was. People like it a lot. Once they know that we’re here and what we do, they really like the idea.
Jeff: Yeah, I get that every day. People come in and say “what a great concept,” “we’re so glad you’re here,” “it’s just so convenient,” etc. We’re now down to the 3rd or 4th level of referrals . . . “My friend told me,” “My cousin told me,” etc. A lady came in just to see me because she was referred by another customer who told her, “you have to go see Jeff, he takes care of all our devices.” She brought her Samsung phone in for repair, and I tried to give her the best advice possible in her situation. People appreciate the honesty. We don’t try to talk them into repairs they don’t need.

This is one of my favorite reviews on Google: “This store is fantastic for Apple repairs, sales, and buybacks. They successfully fixed water damage on a MacBook Pro that Apple said was ruined for a very reasonable cost. They also repaired my iPhone 6+ very quickly. Great ownership and friendly environment.”

EXPERIMAC: That’s really great! It must make you guys feel really good with such a warm reception from everyone.
Monika: Jeff is amazing at that. He has a great heart and it shows with his customers. People appreciate that. He gets a lot of appreciation for that.

EXPERIMAC: Honesty is refreshing for people these days.
Monika: People find a store like ours easier to approach. We can provide a lot of one-on-one attention.

EXPERIMAC: How many hours does Jeff typically work at the store in a week?
Monika: He’s here about 60 hours a week, probably 10 hours a day. The store is open Monday – Saturday so we feel his absence at home at times but it’s part of owning a business. We’ve had conversations about it, being the business owner, he needs to be there and maybe eventually, there will be a manager he can trust and leave there while he takes care of other sides of the business. He enjoys it a lot though!

EXPERIMAC: What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Monika: Most importantly, you need to love what you’re doing. Also, you need to know what you don’t know so you can find someone to help you with those things as well.
EXPERIMAC: Wise words.

Jeff and Monika are working really hard to push their business ahead. Balancing business ownership and family time is demanding but they are both excited about this journey with Experimac. Monika hopes they can take a nice vacation on a beautiful island with the whole family one day soon but in the meantime, she and Jeff will keep working towards success with Experimac of Charlotte. Feel free to stop by and present Jeff Prainito with your technology challenge and we’re sure you’ll get nothing but the truth from this successful entrepreneur.

Experimac Opens in Arvada CO

On Aug. 29, Rick Salinas began leveraging his decades of experience in the software development industry by bringing Experimac, the new concept that provides pre-owned computers and devices; repair and upgrade services for laptops, phones and tablets; trade-ins of existing devices; and sales of accessories, to Arvada. Located at 8410 Wadsworth Blvd., Salinas and his son Zach bring the newest concept from industry veteran United Franchise Group to serve customers throughout Greater Denver area by providing popular Apple® devices at prices far below retail prices.

After 32 years in Corporate America in the software development industry, Salinas decided it was time for a change and time to strike out on his own in business with his son. With a strong technical background and a pension for Apple® products, he was drawn to Experimac.

“I will be able to leverage my technological background with Experimac,” Salinas said. “We are able to help customers understand their Apple products and help them work through whatever issues they may have. From broken screens to helping them select the right product to suit their needs, Experimac will be there to help.”

Read More: Denver Post

Apple® Devices as Complete POS Systems

Apple Devices as Complete POS Systems

In the recent past, a point-of-sale (POS) system for completing customer transactions required retail, restaurant and other business owners to invest in either traditional or PC-based POS equipment. At minimum, this equipment includes cash registers, bar code scanners, payment terminals, touch screens, paper records and printers, and could cost thousands of dollars in upfront fees with continued fees for licensing, maintenance, and upgrades.

Today, cloud-based technology has enabled Apple devices such as iPad® tablets to be turned into complete, secure and multi-functional POS systems that are less costly, more mobile and easier to use than traditional POS systems. A recent study discovered that 20% of retailers of all sizes currently use mobile POS systems, while another 56% are planning to implement use of these systems within the next three years. Aside from convenience and lower cost, the transportability of a mobile device enables owners to conduct work from home and allows employees to assist and checkout customers throughout the store. This mobility prevents long checkout lines, enhances customer service and can potentially increase sales by as much as 25%.

Tablet-based POS systems effectively replace the traditional cash register, but they can also manage other business needs, all within a convenient, centralized system. There are many highly rated cloud-based POS software systems currently available. While features may vary according to the particular POS system you choose, installing POS software on an Apple device can enable you to accept customer payments; send digital receipts via text message or email; receive customer feedback; control inventory; manage tips, taxes, and discounts; accept online orders; manage employee logins; track employee sales; connect to direct deposit; integrate loyalty program features; and, for restaurants, keep open tabs and split bills.

Additional hardware is easily accessible and inexpensive. You can add a small credit card reader that fits into the mobile device’s headphone jack, permitting you to scan customer cards for payment, and you can even purchase chip and contactless readers to accommodate chip cards and mobile-based payment methods such as Apple Pay®. Unlike traditional POS providers, tablet-based POS apps offer low month-to-month service fees with convenient cancellation policies.

Pre-owned Apple Devices: The Better Choice

When thinking about using an Apple device for your business’s POS system, you should consider a pre-owned device for several reasons.

  • Cost – Even though an Apple device may be much less costly than a traditional POS system, new, “off-the-shelf” Apple devices from a big box store are notoriously expensive, requiring a relatively big investment. This cost can pose a particular barrier for new business owners who will most likely already be paying start-up costs and fees. Although Apple® offers pre-owned devices, the discount offered through Apple is usually never more than 20%, and often 10% or less. When buying through Experimac, however, the difference in cost is astounding, saving business owners and individual consumers an average of 60% on purchases. For example, new iPad tablets start around $400, Experimac often has iPad tablets available for purchase starting at $199.99.
  • Reliability: Unlike other pre-owned products, you do not have to worry about a reduction in quality when purchasing Apple devices. Apple products are reliable and designed to last for a long time. At Experimac, you are guaranteed to receive a product that has gone through rigorous inspection, testing and reconditioning, making it as good as new.
  • Options: You may prefer a “vintage” Apple product, which, like a classic car, might actually make for a better model. While purchasing directly through Apple will only allow you access to products from the past five years, Experimac offers pre-owned Apple devices from 2007 and beyond.
  • Service: When you buy a pre-owned Apple product through a resale store like Experimac, you will have easier access to help and support, along with enormous benefits. At Experimac, these benefits include quick same-day or fix-while-you-wait service, a 90-day cost-free replace or repair warranty, honest and reliable quotes, and excellent customer service from Apple product experts in numerous locations across the U.S. and abroad. You can come into the store to test the equipment, and if you experience any problems down the road, you do not need to make an appointment or box up and ship your device for repair; just come in to a convenient nearby location!

If you are starting a new business or looking to upgrade your POS system, come visit us and experience the Experimac difference.

Owner Spotlight: Neil Kent from Experimac of Sandy Springs, GA

 
We sat to talk with Neil Kent from Experimac of Sandy Springs, GA recently. The Sandy Springs store opened on March 4, 2015 and was the very first Experimac store to open. Neil worked really hard to learn how to develop the brand from the ground floor building a foundation for other franchisees. 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 with locations across the country. Experimac also sells accessories and offers same day service for repairs and upgrades. They 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.

Coming from previous business ownership experiences, Neil Kent knows that hard work is necessary and says, “I love what I do.” He is dedicated to making his business successful and works about 11 hours a day, 8am to 7pm, 6 days a week. He went on to explain that he gets about 5 calls a week from potential franchisees asking if he would do this again and his response, “Absolutely!”.

Neil has lived in the Marietta area for just over 11 years, Sandy Springs borders on Marietta and therefore, only 5 miles from home. The idea to open the Experimac store in Sandy Springs was actually an idea that came from Ray Titus, CEO of United Franchise Group (UFG). Neil loves to point out to customers is that when you buy pre-owned products from Experimac of Sandy Springs, not only are you going to save a lot of money, you get to put your hands on the product right here in the store, you get to test them out and take a look at them. If there’s an issue, you don’t have to box it up and ship it. You come in and you talk to nice people who really want to take care of you. Helping the customers and ensuring they are satisfied with their products and service received is very important to Neil. Here’s more of what Neil had to share:

EXPERIMAC: Had you run your own business before?
NEIL: Yes, I had worked consulting for Event Management for a long time, probably 10-15 years. Additionally, I have owned a candle and incense distributorship. I got involved through some family, at the time, I invested in the business and ended up taking over. At this point, I work double time with my Experimac store.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say has been the most interesting or exciting part of having your Experimac this last year? And the most challenging aspect of it?
NEIL: The most interesting . . . you have no idea who is going to walk in the door next. The challenges that we face are the same challenges that any business would face, getting people to know to know that we’re here. For us, it’s two-fold. Getting people to know that we’re here and then getting them to understand that we’re not a cell phone repair store. The focus of our business is the selling of the beautiful pre-owned Macs and these other Apple products, but that we also offer repair services and when you talk to people they just get the impression that you’re the same old cell phone repair store that you see anywhere. So, that’s the hard part of it.

EXPERIMAC: And Experimac is a new brand, in general, so it’s a challenge to position yourself as the pre-owned Mac or Apple store, right?
NEIL: Yeah, we talk about ourselves as the ‘Smart Shopper’s Alternative,’ a phrase that one of the other franchisee’s came up with that I love. You don’t have to park 2 miles away at the mall. You don’t have to make an appointment with us. You’ll literally save anywhere from $400 to $1,000 buying from us instead of a brand new Apple product. And a lot of times, you’re getting a product, that I often think, is better than some of the new products that are out. If you equate it to the car market, everyone wants those classic cars. There’s still this wonderful market for them because they just don’t build them like that anymore. Computers are basically the same. There’s some software trickery that computer companies are playing, Apple included, with things called Turbo Boost where they take a slow processor and using some software magic, they try to make it appear faster but it’s not exactly what it’s claimed to be. We offer processors that really are what those processors are, there’s no software trickery involved and also the flexibility to upgrade products is really key. If you buy a product today that offers 4 GB RAM, that’s all it will ever have but if you needed 8 GB for some reason, you need to buy another computer. When you buy a 2012 model, you can upgrade it from 4 GB to 8 GB to 16 GB and so on. You can do it at your leisure and you can put any hard drive that you want in. So there are a few pluses to these pre-owned devices and it’s very much like those classic cars where you’re going back to something that was made very, very well.

EXPERIMAC: What kind of feedback have you gotten from customers?
NEIL: If you look at the reviews for our store, there’s about 130 reviews and 129 of those are 5-star reviews. The approach we’re able take with people, as much of a geek as I am and as much as I like shopping online, there really is nothing like going into a business where the people are smart, intelligent, enthusiastic and love what they do. That’s a really contagious thing for people. When you talk to someone who really loves something, you’re going to get a lot more excited and interested in it than you are when you just click on a link.

EXPERIMAC: How involved are you with the local Sandy Springs community?
NEIL: Yes, certainly, our local Chamber of Commerce and some of the local networking groups as well.

EXPERIMAC: Have you participated in any local events to promote the Experimac brand?
NEIL: Well, through my band, we did a lot of events with the city of Sandy Springs. We’d introduce the band, this is who we are, etc. If, by chance, my store was a sponsor of the event, we’d get a shout out from that. We do what we can to support the local police departments when they do their events and local nights out and that type of thing. We’re invited to those events and I really appreciate what they do. We’ve been broken into twice so how many times would it be if we didn’t have a police department nearby. The work they do is really, really important. We show them a lot of support. We also do a lot of work with schools and right now it’s a big push with ‘Back to School,’ we have a lot of ideas of things we can do with the schools that would benefit them as well as us.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
NEIL: In this particular business, the key thing that you need to know more than anything else is marketing. That’s your #1 driver. The second thing I think is patience. People come in and a lot of times when they find us, they’ve been to 2 other stores and have gotten the run-around to find that people don’t want to work on their products because they’re too old. When they get to you, they’re both frustrated and relieved. You need to understand that their frustration is not with you and that they need a little extra kindness and sympathy as you go through the process with them. They need assurance that you’re thrilled to take care of their devices and that you’re really good at it. And, they need to know that they’ll have their computer, phone or whatever it is, back today. The other is two-fold. First, you should expect to work some pretty long hours. And lastly, you should be financially prepared that it really takes a while to get your business started and in a month, you’re not going to be able to never see your store again and assume that everything’s going to be perfect. There’s a great opportunity here. And you’re going to make money but it’s going to take a lot more work than people are generally expecting.

EXPERIMAC: What has been the most surprising thing? Is this what you expected? Has everything gone the way you expected it to?
NEIL: As far as surprising things, I would say that everything I expected was absolutely wrong. I have no clue how to schedule for traffic flow. Every time that I thought we would be amazingly busy, that these would be our peak hours, we are dead. And times when you think, why in the world would anyone be here, that’s when there’s 5 people in the store.

Neil Kent is clearly a hardworking man who is dedicated and passionate about what he does. He really seems to have endured the struggles of opening a business pretty well and is enjoying the work he gets to do with the people of Sandy Springs and the surrounding cities when they visit his store for repairs, upgrades, and purchases of pre-owned Apple products. Putting in the long hours and trying to understand the quirks of any business seem to be par for the course and getting to work close to home in a community where you enjoy working with local schools and supporting the local police department seems to bring Neil the satisfaction he was looking for as a business owner.  Keep Experimac of Sandy Springs, GA in mind for your next computer or device repair, upgrade, trade-in or purchase. We’re confident you’ll have a 5-star review of your own to write after working with Neil and his team.

Owner Spotlight: Jim and Jamie Spisak of Experimac of Plano, TX

 
We recently sat down for a nice chat with Jim and Jamie Spisak from Experimac of Plano, TX. They were the 19th Experimac store to open. This dynamic father-daughter duo, who had never worked together before, opened their doors just before the holidays in December 2015 after leaving corporate America and making the decision to pursue a business of their own. 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, we also sell accessories for these devices and offer same day service for repairs and upgrades. Often, we’re 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 can be quite the roller coaster but it seems to have been a great choice for the Spisaks. They get along really well and have open lines of communication which will undoubtedly help them be successful. Jim and Jamie have found it really rewarding to go above and beyond for some of their customers, really going the extra step to help out and they have made a big difference for their customers as they become a part of the community in Plano, TX. Here is some more of what they shared about their experience as the owners of Experimac of Plano, TX.

EXPERIMAC: Had you run your own business before? What was your background prior to this?
JAMIE: I had been a bank manager.
JIM: I was working in managerial positions with high tech companies. I had spent 25 years with IBM. I was also with Honeywell and Motorola.

EXPERIMAC: What made you leave your corporate jobs and venture out on your own?
JIM: It was time for me to go off on my own. I was tired of working for other people. My last job I was with a private equity group and that’s when I decided I wanted to go out on my own so I spent about a year researching various businesses, franchises, and existing businesses and when I came across the Experimac model, it really seemed to fit well with my background and everything else.

EXPERIMAC: And what about you, Jamie? Was it Dad convincing you?
JAMIE: Yeah, absolutely because I really liked my job. Dad asked if I would do it and I trusted him. How do you say no to your Dad? And I figured it would be something exciting and something I had never done before.

EXPERIMAC: What are your different roles in the store? Who’s doing what?
JAMIE: Ironically enough, we both do a little of everything. Dad does more of the ordering but we both do the repairs. Dad is better with software than I am and I’m better with hardware than he is but we both do repairs and we both interact with customers. At first, there were times I had to call other stores, like Experimac of Boynton Beach, FL, and say, “So this guy has a computer, it won’t turn on, where do I start?” Josh Barnes would spend a lot of time face-timing with us, walking us through the steps. We have learned a lot and our questions went from, “So this guy has a computer, it won’t turn on, where do I start?” to “This guy has a computer that won’t turn on. I’ve done this, this, and this. What would be your next step?” We have also hired Vance who is an expert coming to us after working for Apple for 15 years and then the Apple store for 8 years where he was a Genius. He’s got a lot of software know-how and has already taught us so much.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say has been the most interesting or exciting part of opening your own Experimac store? And the most challenging aspect of it?
JIM: The most challenging has been the technical side and making sure the customers walk out of here happy especially as we were coming up the learning curve on the technology. We had a couple of stumbles and that certainly made life exciting. We were able to recover. I think the vast majority of our customers are pretty darn happy with us. We’re getting a lot of referrals. During that learning curve as we were ramping up, that was exciting because people would come with some things and we had no clue what it was they were bringing us.

EXPERIMAC: What is your connection to the community of Plano? How long have you lived here? Why did you choose to go into business here?
JAMIE: My parents moved to Garland about 6 years ago and now we all live in Garland, about 10 miles away from Plano. When dad was looking to buy a franchise, we liked Plano. My mom teaches for the Plano School District in East Plano and we really liked the diversity in Plano. Plano is really big and it’s growing so it’s kind of neat to be a part of that. We like the Plano Chamber of Commerce a lot too.

EXPERIMAC: Have you guys been able to get involved into the Plano community?
JAMIE: Yeah, we sponsor a couple of public and private school PTAs. It’s a lot of fun! At one, we actually got to go and set up a little table at their “Fit Night” so we had a couple of iPads with some fitness apps on there and it was a lot fun to do that. And now we’re planning on doing the same thing next year. We donated to a chapter of my sorority at UT Dallas for their annual, big philanthropic event. That was cool and we’ll do that again next year as well. It’s still the first 7 months but we’re definitely starting to get involved and definitely want to work with schools. That’s where we really want to get involved. We really want to be helpful to people because we know there are schools and students, no matter how old they are, that could really benefit from our services and the products we sell so we really want to make sure they know about us.

We’ve joined the Plano Chamber of Commerce. My dad is also involved with the Knights of Columbus at his church. We’ve seen the return on going to those PTA events as well as advertising in small, local papers when customers come in to the store and share where they learned about us from these papers and we love that.

EXPERIMAC: What would you say the typical Experimac customer looks like?
JAMIE: There’s not one. It’s just not at all like that. We’ve had it all. There was actually a lady that we actually went to her house to help her with her computer and she was in her mid-80s and we’ve had people in here that are young parents. One guy who was in here the other day, he and his wife just found out they are pregnant and he needed a laptop instead of a desktop. And then we’ve got high school kids coming in here. Our youngest customer would be, well, our neighbor’s daughter with her broken iPad. Our customers range from 2 years old to 85 years old.

EXPERIMAC: So you actually went to someone’s house to fix their computer?
JAMIE: Yeah, that’s on a case-by-case basis. We can’t always do that but there is a nursing home across the street and this lady had come in for a repair so I went to help her with her printer because that wasn’t working so I went to get her computer all set back up because she had needed a whole new hard drive.

EXPERIMAC: What have been the big surprises in the first 6 months? Is this what you expected? Has everything gone the way you expected it to?
JAMIE: I think it’s probably been spot on. The one thing I expected, but didn’t want of course, was that we weren’t busy right off the bat. It’s taken time and a lot of effort to get busier. And I knew that would the case but that’s been the hardest reality I think. That being said, we’ve grown tremendously.
JIM: Early on, there were a few days when nobody would walk into the store and you worry.

EXPERIMAC: What are your goals for the next 6 months?
JIM: Getting more into the software services side of it. Repeat business. Offering classes.
JAMIE: That was a big part of bringing Vance on. We’d like to start offering classes for people who are new Apple users or you’d be surprised how many people don’t back up their phones, for example. And then something happens and they’re completely at a loss because they don’t have their information anywhere. We want to teach them how easy and how inexpensive it is to back up their most precious devices. We want to make sure they’re coming to us and trusting us in the long run as their local experts. We’d like to continue expanding on the services we offer. We have an Apple consultant we found through their network that we’d call up with some software things we weren’t sure about and he started sending us his customers with hardware issues because that’s not his thing. Some of his people have gotten upgrades but didn’t know what to do with their old devices that were still working well so now we’re an option for his customers too.

EXPERIMAC: Do you guys have any hobbies or things you enjoy when you’re not at the store?
JAMIE: Dad likes to cook. Every Sunday we have a family dinner and now that I live in Texas, our whole family lives here so we always have family dinners on Sunday with new recipes every week so that’s definitely his favorite thing to do. As for me, I have 2 dogs that I’m obsessed with. I like country music and I enjoy going to concerts so anywhere you can two-step is great.

As you can see, Jim and Jamie Spisak are off to a great start and are really enjoying doing business with the people of Plano, TX and welcome questions and visits to their Experimac store any time. In fact, a visit to their showroom will give you a chance to see a colored, vintage iMac computer that they’ve turned into a fish tank, of all things. The residents of the fish tank are Steve Jobs 3.0 and Steve Wozniak, both beta fish, and an albino catfish that they talk to every day. Come on in have chat with the residents of the fish tank at Experimac of Plano, TX.

Former Office Depot E-Commerce Director Brings Experimac to New Jersey

Experimac - Apple Experts

When Cherry Hill resident, Glenn Trommer opened his Experimac store in early July at Lee Newman Plaza, he brought fairly novel Apple product services to the south Jersey region, including Cherry Hill, Marlton, Haddonfield and Voorhees.

“Within my specific market there are no other stores that buy, sell, trade and repair Apple products. Experimac has a very unique value proposition and this provides me with the opportunity to gain specific market share.”

Opening his Experimac store fulfilled a long held dream, a promise he made to himself as he graduated from Emory University more than 30 years ago.
“I told myself when I graduated that I would have my own business one day, but since then had always held jobs in corporate America,” Trommer recalls.

Among those corporate positions, he was Director of e-commerce and implementation services for Office Depot, responsible for creating and implementing their business to business website back in 1996. “It left me with good knowledge of retail as well as business-to-business sales,” says Trommer.

With a long held passion for Apple products, his choice of Experimac as a franchise was easy. “I owned the first iPod and have owned iPhones and a MacBook Air ever since,” Trommer says, adding that he looked at a wide range of franchise options before selecting Experimac.

Ultimately, Trommer sees his new shop, and those he expects to open in coming years, as an opportunity to mentor future employees as well as to build a legacy for his family. He anticipates that family members will become involved in the shop and that the venture will create opportunities for future employees.

“I hope that we will be able to create significant brand awareness as we open several stores, and also want to mentor my employees so that they gain an understanding of how to operate a retail business. They may someday own a store of their own,” Trommer says.

About Experimac

Experimac is the latest addition to the United Franchise Group family of brands, joining a team with over 30 years of franchise experience. Capitalizing on a sustained demand for Apple® products, Experimac provides pre-owned computers and devices, repair of laptops, phones and tablets, trade-ins of existing devices, and sales of accessories. Experimac has more than 30 locations with 85 additional stores in various stages of development as of mid-2016. Projections are to open a total of 100 locations by the end of 2016 and 250 by 2017locations nationwide. For more information visit www.experimacfranchise.com.

New Pre-Owned Apple® Device Business Experimac Comes to Chico

Experimac - Apple Experts

(CHICO, Ca.) – On July 25, Chris Thomas will begin leveraging his experience as a utility craftsman and mechanical supervisor to run Experimac, the new concept that provides pre-owned computers and devices; repair and upgrade services for laptops, phones and tablets; trade-ins of existing devices; and sales of accessories and software for Apple® devices, to Chico. Located at 1354 East Ave, suite S, Thomas is bringing the newest concept from industry veteran United Franchise Group to serve customers throughout Yuba County, Butte County and Shasta County by providing popular Apple® devices at prices far below retail prices.

For 20 years, Thomas worked as a utility craftsman for the State of California before becoming a mechanical supervisor at an agricultural processing plant. Tired of working 12 hour days six days a week and answering to someone else, Thomas decided it was time to apply all of his skills to running his own business. Owning his own business, Thomas knew this would allow him more time with his family and his passion of being a High school Football Coach.

“Now I can put all of my hard work into building my own business,” said Thomas. “I am excited to offer great products and services to all at great prices. Apple is coming out with new devices all the time which guarantees a stream of business.”

The newest addition to the United Franchise Group, a family of brands that includes industry standouts such as Signarama, EmbroidMe and SuperGreen Solutions, Experimac is backed by a reputation of business success. This, said Thomas, gave him confidence in the concept as a viable career choice.

“Starting a business is a stressful situation, but if you don’t go for it you will never know the success in life that awaits you,” Thomas said. “If you’re willing to put in the hard work it takes to be successful you will succeed.”

Thomas looks forward to serving his community through providing a highly sought after repair service and top of the line refreshed Apple products. He also has plans to pass his business along to his children some day and use it to help prepare them for their futures.

About Experimac

Experimac is the latest addition to the United Franchise Group family of brands, joining a team with over 30 years of franchise experience. Capitalizing on a sustained demand for Apple® products, Experimac provides pre-owned computers and devices, repair of laptops, phones and tablets, trade-ins of existing devices, and sales of accessories. For more information visit www.experimac.com.

Local Former Teacher Makes Apple Products Accessible To Many

Experimac - Apple Experts

(Huntersville, NC) Portions of techno markets north of Charlotte and throughout the Lake Norman region, those who have bemoaned high quality Apple products as unaffordable over years of one product introduction after another, are appreciating Lisa Piatt’s newly opened Experimac store, with its quality line of affordable, pre-owned Apple products that range from Mac Books to iPads and iPhones.

A Huntersville resident with a background in graphic arts, Piatt opened her store at 9832 Gilead Rd., in mid-July. Already, she is sensing keen appreciation for the affordability option that her store offers. “Apple is a technology leader. The ability to fit that technology seamlessly into your everyday life at affordable cost is a huge benefit that can make a big difference for a lot of people,” says Piatt, who as a former teacher had the opportunity to observe firsthand what vital difference technology can make to the learning experience as well as other life endeavors.

Prior to the 32 year old former teacher’s July 15th opening of her Experimac store, she had used her graphic arts background, teaching young students. “While teaching, I could see the impact of using computers and iPads in the classroom. That technology really helps students to reach all of their potential, and not all of my students could afford a brand new iPad or Mac Book,” says Piatt, who opened her Experimac shop with a $200,000 investment that included a $50,000 franchise fee, and investment of $84,000 in her opening inventory.

As a young mother, Piatt sees her Experimac store as something of a family investment seed. She expects that down the road her family will share in growing the business. “This is a typically male dominated segment, but through this store, I may be able to employ my kids as they grow, and to teach them about business, to prepare them for life in the future,” Piatt says.

She will teach them largely by example, directing them to remain open to what markets have to say, observing experiences of other small business operators, and being nimble in responding to unavoidable changes in her industry. “You have to speak to as many people as you can. And no matter how well you plan, something will always throw you off schedule so being nimble, reacting quickly to change is an important attribute,” Piatt says.

About Experimac

Experimac is the latest addition to the United Franchise Group family of brands, joining a team with over 30 years of franchise experience. Capitalizing on a sustained demand for Apple® products, Experimac provides pre-owned computers and devices, repair of laptops, phones and tablets, trade-ins of existing devices, and sales of accessories. Experimac has more than 30 locations with 85 additional stores in various stages of development as of mid-2016. Projections are to open a total of 100 locations by the end of 2016 and 250 by 2017 locations nationwide. For more information visit www.experimacfranchise.com.