By JUAN RODRIGUEZ
KENNESAW, Ga. – Two brothers, both former Kennesaw State University students, have grown their smartphone repair business from a single store in Smryna to now three locations in the metro Atlanta area.
Founded by its CEO Shahzad Pirani in 2011, who was later joined by his brother Sal Pirani, the COO, iRepairIt is a retail store where you can get your smartphone, tablet or laptop fixed. It provides repair services to both consumers and businesses.
Shahzad Pirani got the idea for his business when he was working his way through college at a cellphone accessory store at a mall. While working at the store he noticed that many customers wanted to get their screens fixed but were unable to find a business that did it.
After realizing that there was a high demand for screen repairs but no one to fix them, he decided that it was the right time to start his business. At first there was no actual store. It was him by himself offering his repair services on Craigslist and through word-of-mouth and going to his customers directly.
With so much time being consumed by his growing business and his grades starting to slip, Pirani decided that it was best to leave Kennesaw State and focus on his company.
“I tried to go to school but I would skip my classes, not show up, not do my homework. I lost my HOPE scholarship and my grades were going down,” he said. “I decided to not go to school so if I decide to go back I don’t make a bad impression and still have the option to go back.”
With no competitors to help drive business and with Smyrna being relatively quiet at the time, he took the risk of opening his first physical iRepairIt store opened in 2014. Rather than looking for investors or taking out loans, Pirani was able to open his store with the money that he had saved up from fixing phones for the past three years.
Once the physical store began to pick up, Pirani asked his brother Sal Pirani to join him. Much like his brother, Sal Pirani was also a student at Kennesaw State when he began working with iRepairIt. He was brought in to take care of inventory, bringing down the cost of parts as much as possible and ordering parts that are both top quality and cost efficient.
“I make sure that we order the highest quality parts from our suppliers and we are paying more for these parts, but in return we are having less issues and defect rates,” Sal Pirani said.
The risk of opening up a store in the area paid off, and within two years after opening up their first store they were able to open two more, one in Midtown and the other in Buckhead.
With two new stores, Sal Pirani’s job entailed more. Along with his previous duties, which he now had to do for all three stores, he was also put in charge of making sure that all the stores are running well and that all the employees are doing their job the right way. With the added work, he too decided to leave school in order to devote all his time and energy to the company.
Although he has had success with opening up new stores, Shahzad Pirani does not see himself opening up any more stores in the future. Phone companies have begun to make the screens on their smartphones and tablets stronger and harder to fix. This poses a problem for the Pirani brothers whose company’s main source of revenue is fixing those devices.
They are aware that smartphone repairs will no longer be a lucrative business in the near future, but they are prepared for this. The two brothers also own their own real estate company, were they are 50/50 partners.
“We just started investing into homes and renting them out to college grads and other students, so were trying to get more into that and focus on the Smyrna area,” Shahzad Pirani said. “Everyone wants stable income and this is what I believe is the only stable income that exists.”
With the three rental homes that they currently have, they are looking forward to continuing and growing their real estate business in Smyrna. The addition of the new Braves stadium, The Battery complex next to the stadium and an influx of other business moving to Smyrna, Shahzad and Sal Pirani are excited about their future.