With the proliferation of personal, hand-held electronic communications devices such as cell phones and tablets in today’s world, the need for such items to be repaired is a constant source of frustration for the millions of people who depend on them in their daily lives.
Having an independent, local repair facility, one with a friendly, compassionate owner/operator, who also possesses the electronics wizardry to effectively repair these devices or at the very least retrieve the all-important data from them, has made GQ Tech, a go-to operation for locals.
Opened literally a month before the global COVID 19 pandemic began in March 2020 by Greg Duhaney, GQ Tech has built its success thus far on not only on his repair prowess, but also on his friendly and understanding demeanour. As he explains, phone and tablets often contain not just sensitive or important data, but also photos and videos that are highly personal.
“There are times when I have people come into my store and I feel sorry for them because it turns out the phone is not reparable, often because another technician has looked at it before me and they are not skilled enough and often do more damage. But it’s a great story when I can at least retrieve the information or those photos and videos – it really is a heartfelt thing to be able to do that for them,” he said.
“Data recovery is a big thing, and I pride myself on being able to do that. When I get a phone that’s water damaged or broken some other way, many customers don’t care about the phone itself, they care about the stuff that is on the phone. I have had customers come to me in tears because their mother recently died, and all the pictures of their mother are on their phone. I am a very patient and understanding person and put myself in their position, so I don’t have a problem dealing with people who may be a little emotional. I get it.”
Besides cell phones and tablets, GQ Tech also repairs desktop computers, laptops and game consoles such as Xbox. Repairs can include fixing broken glass or LCD screens, water damage, issues with batteries or motherboards, or even software issues. This comprises the bulk of his business, although Duhaney also will help with activation of cell phone plans through a few different companies, as well as arranging for home internet outside of the two big firms, Bell and Rogers. Making it truly a one-stop connectivity shop, GQ Tech also carries cables, power banks, Bluetooth speakers and other accessories.
On top of this, he also offers a special ITTV service, that allows people to get up to 3,000 channels, local and international, for only $15 a month. This has proved to be a boon for many of the seasonal workers from Mexico and the Caribbean, as well as residents from various other ethnic and national backgrounds seeking some entertainment and information from back home. This is another example of Duhaney responding to the particular needs of his BWG customer base.
For Duhaney, no question or fix is too small, as he understands that making customers happy with the little things will generally have them coming back to take care of bigger issues.
“I have a lot of elderly people come to me with the simplest things, like their email isn’t working on their tablet, and I will take the time to go through it with them. And these folks not only come back, but they give me good reviews and recommendations, which are important for a business like mine.”
Duhaney said he was always a tinkerer when he was a kid. But instead of working on cars or other motor vehicles, he loved pulling apart and putting electronics back together.
“Tech is what I grew up on. I was repairing TVs and VCRs with my uncle when I was younger, so it was natural to move into cell phones and computers. I just had a passion for messing around with electronics. My uncle was an electrician and had his own business, but he also used to go around and pick up people’s TVs and VCRs that they threw out. We would bring them back to his shop, fix them and sell them. That was also when I learned about running a business, because not only were we taking something, fixing it and making money off it, but I also got to see firsthand how my uncle ran his business,” Duhaney explained.
“From then on I always wanted to own my business. It’s been one of my passions, one of my dreams. I like to work independently. I worked as a warehouse supervisor for 19 years, which was an environment where other people were telling me what to do. I like to be my own boss, and that’s what eventually drove me to open my own business.
“With my uncle, I saw how he had more freedom to do what he wanted to do and set his own priorities. But I also saw that it was a lot of work, but I was okay with that. I work a lot harder than I ever did working for someone else. I am always thinking about how to improve my business, so it’s kind of an around-the-clock thing. You don’t punch out at the end of the day when you own your own business.”
It took a couple of years of hard slogging, working the full-time warehouse gig on the night shift and then running GQ Tech’s storefront during the day before he decided that one of the two had to go. So, like any entrepreneur, that moment came when he had to take the proverbial leap of faith, quit the day job and focus all his energies and resources on his business.
“It was a hard decision. I worked at that company for 19 years. I knew how much money was going into the bank every two weeks, so there was security in that. I still had bills to pay, and even though my business wasn’t going super well, as I was only two years in, I had to make a decision, that leap of faith,” he said.
“And it was the best decision ever. I have no regrets at all. But it is tough, I can see why people have a hard time making the decision to open a business and leave their steady, 9 to 5 job. It’s all on me now, but I found that it motivated me at the same time. I was now accountable only to myself. As soon as I quit that job I was hustling and hustling and getting my name out there any way I could, advertising the business.”
He enlisted his family to help drop off flyers door to door in various neighbourhoods throughout Bradford, as well as putting up little signs along roadsides and at intersections within the community. He also leveraged his tech expertise to promote GQ Tech through various social media channels as well as through Google ads. Once the customers started to come, so did positive reviews and word of mouth, which continues to sustain and grow the business.
“The community has been great to me: really, really supportive. My reviews are amazing, and I am thankful for them,” Duhaney said, adding that his long-term plan is to open more locations in communities such as Barrie, Innisfil or Alliston.
For more information, visit http://gqtech.ca.