TEMPLE TERRACE — Is there a digital doctor in the house?
That might be the thought crossing someone’s mind when their smartphone or tablet slides out of a pocket onto a screen-shattering surface, or is found in a just-washed load of clothes.
In Temple Terrace, there is. Digital Doc is an electronics service franchise offering repair, refurbishment and recycling of personal technology from cellphones to monitors, Acer to Xperia.
Jim Bookamer, 62, became a franchisee after a career as an industrial designer. He embarked on his entrepreneurial adventure as one of the first to obtain a Digital Doc franchise when the opportunity arose to do something different with his life.
“It’s kind of like if you could get in on McDonald’s at the ground level,” Bookamer said, adding that he’s optimistic about the future of the enterprise that opened at the beginning of March.
“I wanted to get into something stable and hopefully provide some growth,” he said. “This type of work is not going to go away soon.”
As an emerging electronic equipment repair business, Digital Doc is part of an industry that, according to First Research, a provider of marketing tools and analysis, generates about $19 billion in annual revenue.
Digital Doc has 15 stores open or planned, including three in Florida (Tampa, Cape Coral and a soon-to-open Miami location). The corporate headquarters is located in Owensboro, Ky. According to the company website, the franchise fee for a first store is $29,000, with the capital needed to open a franchise estimated to be between $83,250 and $137,450. The company’s royalty fee is 6 percent.
“Digital Doc gives quite a bit of help with marketing and technical expertise because coming into this business, we don’t know it all,” said Bookamer.
Services provided range from light body work, such as repairing dents, to major overhauls of equipment that’s sustained virtual-life-threatening damage from mishaps — think of a tablet being run over by a car. Removal of viruses and malware are also on the service menu. Digital Doc provides a 90-day warranty on repairs and 30-day warranty coverage on refurbished tech purchases.
While there may be times it’s cheaper to buy a new or used device compared to repairing a broken one, Bookamer is discovering that salvaging the pictures, videos, documents and other data is what earns the greatest appreciation.
His wife, Sharon, who helps with the business, attests to the unrestrained joy expressed by customers who are reunited with a resuscitated cellphone.
“I’ve seen them practically kissing their phones when they get them back,” she said. “He gets people who shake his hand and say, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’”
Bookamer currently has three technicians working for him, and with business picking up he’s considering hiring another. It’s the kind of work where patience and nimble fingers are essential traits. So is a commitment to customer service.
“The key factor is whether you feel a business is being honest and my aim is to never violate that trust,” he said.
The customer service area is clean and bright and complimentary coffee as well as treats from Cassie’s Perfect Cookies are served to help take the sting out of a personal technology disaster.
Digital Doc is located at 5303 E. Fowler Ave., Temple Terrace, in the Terrace Ridge Plaza at Fowler Avenue and 56th Street. The store is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.