After a full career in the banking industry, Ralph Faulling found a new calling. He and his son Hunter went into business together to open a franchise that repairs all types of personal communications technology. After college graduation, Hunter worked for SmartPhone MD stores in both Columbia and Charlotte where he went through a yearlong process to learn to be a technician for popular devices like the iPhones, iPads and Samsung Galaxy phones.
Opening a SmartPhone MD franchise in their hometown of Orangeburg seemed like a great fit for them, but before the two invested money, Faulling visited their local SBDC.
“I was in banking for 28 years and I am very familiar with the Orangeburg Area SBDC,” Faulling explained. “I have encouraged businesses to use their services because it is free and offers a valuable guide to starting a business.”
Faulling and his son worked with business consultant Pamela Free, who helped them develop a business plan that would provide a roadmap for the future success of their business, as well as help them secure the financing necessary to purchase the franchise.
“I wanted to be able to prove to myself that we were making a good business decision,” Faulling said. “But it was even more important to be able to prove to a bank that we had a valid plan.”
With Free’s help, the Faullings completed a business plan and financial projections (forecasting potential income and determining needs). They obtained the needed financing and opened their store in January of 2013. Faulling is amazed by the accuracy of their financial projections for their first year of business.
The Faullings have been creating a wall of cracked glass from devices they have repaired. While repairs are the bulk of their business, they also sell refurbished devices, as well as accessories. Their accessory sales range from a single sale to bling out an iPhone to a large order from schools that need protection for the hundreds of iPads they provide to students.
Their store currently employs the two owners and one part-time student.
“We’re still working on our first store,” Faulling said, “but we intend to open a second store within the next year. That would mean hiring two employees for our Orangeburg location and two more for the second location.”
Faulling is sold on SmartPhone MD as a franchise opportunity.
“The SmartPhone MD franchise was easy to get involved with and we expect to see a lot of growth in the next year,” he said. “For under $100,000 you can buy into the franchise and secure your building and inventory.”
“Mr. Faulling was an ideal client,” Pamela Free said. “He focused on attainable goals. He had the collateral required for a loan and he has strong business sense. I see great potential for success and growth for the Faullings and their SmartPhone MD ventures.”