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Interview: Talking tech with Darshan Gor, Gadget Care

By Linda

In the business blog this week we chat with Darshan Gor of the newly opened Gadget care in Island Bay.

Photo of Darshan Gor from Gadget Care

When a fledgling suburban business began receiving spontaneous reviews peppered with “Amazing service”, “Impressive”, and “Excellent service” on a local social media site it seemed a good time to head to Island Bay to investigate what this business was doing to make such an impact.  

In the business blog this week we chat with Darshan Gor of the newly opened Gadget Care in Island Bay. Darshan talks to us about his journey to opening his phone and computer repair store on Wellington’s South Coast and why customer service is integral to a business.

WCL: Tell us a bit about who are you and your background?

My name is Darshan Gor, and I’m a business owner of Gadget Care.

I was born and brought up in Bhuj, Kutch, India, and came to New Zealand on a student visa in 2015 for one year of IT studies. Back in India, I had completed a Master’s in Computer Science. After finishing my studies in New Zealand, it was a bit challenging to get a job in the particular field I was looking for. Eventually, I got a job in phone and computer repairs in Auckland. Later, I moved to Invercargill for the same job to set up a new store for the company I was working for at that time. I was there for about a year, and then I got an opportunity to move to Wellington in 2018. I continued working in Wellington in this field for about 7+ years. After gaining enough relevant experience, I managed to start my own phone, computer, and gadget repair store in Island Bay about four months ago.

What was your driving motivation to set up your own business?

Since childhood, my grandparents and parents have all owned a family business. They are wholesale fruit and vegetable commission agents. They get seasonal fruits and vegetables directly from the farm and sell them in the local wholesale market for farmers, earning a commission on it. I have always heard from my grandparents that owning your own business is something you grow for yourself and that there is more opportunity to expand. So, from the beginning, it was in the back of my mind, and I was looking for the right time and opportunity to create something for myself and my family. That was the main motivation for opening my own business.

Which came first – living in Island Bay, then opening the shop or have you moved to Island Bay since opening the shop?

We have been living in Island Bay for about a year now. We moved here because my parents were coming from India to visit us, and we were looking for a bigger place. We were also looking for a commercial shop to lease in Wellington, and my father was aware of my plans. I didn’t know about this shop in Island Bay initially; my father saw it during his morning walk and told me about it. We came for a viewing, and everything went well, so we decided to start our new venture in the heart of Island Bay, surrounded by a beautiful and caring community.

What’s good about Island Bay?

In the research and homework that I have done, I found out that people living in the far southern parts of Wellington, including the suburbs of Island Bay, Owhiro Bay, Southgate, Houghton Bay, Berhampore, and Vogeltown, usually need to go to the city center to get these kinds of services. Island Bay has great community support and very friendly people to work with. Being in Island Bay and setting up the store here is also beneficial for attracting customers from nearby suburbs. So, that was the main reason to start in Island Bay, and being an Island Bay resident myself was another main reason to establish a reliable and trustworthy business here.

Starting a business from scratch isn’t easy.  How did you go about it?

Yes, especially when you are stepping out from your permanent job. Many things came in my mind that were worth considering but being in this same field and doing what I’ve been doing for 7 years gave me confidence. My experience of handling gadget repair stores and technical experience helped me a lot. 

What challenges have you faced?

The desire to start something on our own was there before we got residency. Just after getting our residency, we started a cleaning company and acquired a Cleantastic franchise. My wife and I were planning to stabilize our cleaning business in the evenings and then start a phone and computer repair business. After some ups and downs, we managed to start Gadget Care after running the cleaning business steadily for six months. The real challenge came when The Parade road work in Island Bay started just 15 days after we opened the business. For about two and a half months, sales and customer walk-ins were significantly affected until the work moved past our store.  Luckily we are past that phase and it’s getting better.

How did you advertise locally and let the local community know you were open for business?

Primarily, it was through social media marketing. I distributed flyers and used the Island Bay Peeps Facebook group along with other nearby suburban Facebook groups.

What do you enjoy about having your own business?

I like the independence and flexibility it provides, enabling me to make decisions and set my own goals.  Regarding this specific business Additionally, building relationships with customers and being a part of the local community gives me a great sense of satisfaction.

"I love fixing things.  Every day you walk into the store and you start a job, and you find something new every time.  Like ‘What’s wrong with this device?  Let’s do the diagnosis’.  That’s exciting for me."

What’s the most interesting problem you’ve had to solve?

In my profession, there are many interesting repairs that I have done, but it’s always intriguing to work on certain iPhone models with microphone issues, which require proper diagnostic skills. With many parts  involved and a couple of microphones, identifying the exact issue and determining whether it relates to a particular part or the logic board audio IC is crucial. Similarly, laptop repair diagnostics also require a great deal of attention and patience for each job. That part of my job is always exciting.

You’re offering a seven day a week service in the shop and you have the cleaning business as well.  Do you have staff?

Yes, we offer seven-day-a-week service as well as after-hours urgent repair service. I’m the only one who works at Gadget Care at the moment, but my wife helps me in the evening with our cleaning business.

Gadget Care Logo

Do you outsource work like website design or your admin work?

For bookkeeping we hired an accountant locally and for the website and digital marketing we are working with one company in India.

"First of all, not just with this phone and computer repair business, but customer service is an integral part of every business."

You have a service focus.  What constitutes good customer service to you and why is it important?

Customers should feel welcome. I believe the first impression customers notice when they walk into the store is how you greet them. Additionally, timely updates on their device repairs, transparent pricing and communication, in-depth explanation about the services in a way that customers can understand, and standing behind your work by providing after-sales service are essential parts of good customer service.

Another main thing in this business is to keep your customer’s private data safe and secure. 

Many of my elderly customers visit us just to learn how to use their phone or laptop, and it’s exciting for me to teach them how things work and which features can make their device-using experience easier.

We also offer free pickup and drop-off for customers who can’t come to the store. So, if anyone is unable to come to the store, they can still get their devices fixed. Alternatively, if there is something they need to learn or fix, I can visit them after hours. 

What’s the significance of being WINZ registered?

By registering as a WINZ supplier, we help many customers who are in need and want to get their devices fixed without paying upfront. This not only assists those customers but also helps the business to attract more customers who are looking to pay with their green card. Alternatively, we also accept Afterpay as a payment option.

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to start their own business?

The initial priority should be customer service. It’s crucial to consider how you’ll serve customers when they walk in. Another important aspect is technical knowledge. Even if you’re knowledgeable about something, it’s essential to conduct thorough research, develop a plan, ask for feedback and gain hands-on experience before considering starting a new business. 

Want to learn more about how to offer a great customer experience? Have a look at some of the resources offered by Wellington City Libraries.