Device Pitstop offers consumers options to replace every day electronics
Dave Root spent three decades in business-to-business sales while his wife, Liz Root, worked in retail. The couple was looking for a business they could team up — and they found it with Device Pitstop located in southern Overland Park. Device Pitstop buys, sells, trades, services and upgrades laptops and mobile devices .
“We were weighing all of our options,” Dave Root said. “My age is close to retirement, but I wasn’t looking to do nothing. I thought this is a great way to stay active, have fun and build my retirement (funds).”
The Roots opened the franchise store March 26, the first in the area for the Minneapolis-based company.
Q: What does Device Pitstop offer?
Device Pitstop inventory includes laptops, tablets, smartphones and accessories including Windows, Apple and Android devices and parts. All sales are backed by a 90-day warranty. The company buys for cash or takes trade-ins. Root said his staff includes trained technicians who can repair and upgrade products in the store.
“The value we try to bring to the customer is since we do the refurbishing on site they can maximize their spending dollars rather than buying new pieces of equipment,” he said. “For example, a customer may bring in a laptop that’s got a broken screen and we estimate what it is to repair. They may decide that’s too much, and we will buy it from them for store credit and they use it for something they like.”
With the devices the store purchases, the items are either refurbished and put up for sale or stripped for parts that are reused in store stock.
“In other cases we’ll offer some parts on Ebay if we don’t have a need for it.” Root said. “It’s the entire green issue of recycle and reuse it.”
Root said the staff wipes memories clean on all items before they are resold.
On average, customers can expect to pay 20-40 percent less for devices than the equivalent new item.
Q: Why did you choose a franchise?
Dave Root said a franchise was the best way to go into business on his own because of all the support he receives.
”They build a roadmap that we can follow from negotiating with the realtor, the size of the shop, the type of inventory, down to smallest detail.... They help every step of the way. There is no way I would undertake to do this myself without their road map.”
Root said the parent company provided help on the business plan, a customized point of sale system and suggested pricing on what to pay customers for their devices.
“We rely on them for help on marketing including how much to invest in direct marketing versus TV,” he said. “We make the final decision, but they help guide us.”
Despite having the first franchise location in the Kansas City area., the Roots don’t have exclusive rights to the entire market.
The Roots used their own finances to buy into the franchise.
“Now we‘re in the process of applying for a loan” from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Dave Root said.
Q: How did you choose your location?
The Roots wanted a location in Johnson County with considerable traffic. It took a long time to find the perfect spot.
“We wanted to be in one location but Radio Shack was there and it was in the lease that no other electronic stores could go in,” Root said. “Then there were other places that didn’t want stores that sold used goods. Both limited us on where we could locate.”
The couple finally settled on the West 135th Street corridor.
Q: How do you run the store?
The Roots are active owner/operators and are in the store daily. They also have three employees including an assistant store manager.
“We have a lead technician who can fix just about anything out there,” Root said. He hopes to hire a store manager down the road “so I don’t have to work so many hours.”
“The key thing is to find the right technicians to work here and developing that trust with them,” Root said.
Q: What’s been the greatest hurdle for you since opening the store a few months ago?
“Building the traffic has been the most challenging yet,” said Root, “but we are already having repeat customers.”
Root constantly reviews where he’s spending marketing dollars to see if it gets results.
“We try to ask everybody who comes in the store where they heard about us,” he said. They have advertised on Hulu, among other outlets.
“We get a fair amount of activity when we post on Craig’s List,” Root said.
Device Pitstop also posts daily on its Facebook page.
“We are starting to have a weekend sales that we promote there,” he said. “It’s all taking longer than I anticipated. I want things to happen much faster.”
IN A NUTSHELL
COMPANY: Device Pitstop
ADDRESS: 7113 West 135th Street at Metcalf in Overland Park
TELEPHONE: (913) 703-5515