A visit to the iDoctor

Local man finding a career repairing smartphones, tablets

Published on January 4, 2014
Justin Penney, the iDoctor, has a small business repairing iPhones, iPads and other devices.
— Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram

He calls himself the iDoctor; you could say he’s an “app-tometrist.” In any case, he’s a specialist with a tonne of patients, and he prides himself on his short waiting list.

Justin Penney of Paradise specializes in repairing iPads and other tablets, iPods and all kinds of smartphones, including his most popular: iPhones.

He’s an electronics technologist by trade, with a speciality in electronics manufacturing. After graduating from the College of the North Atlantic, he took a job with an electronics manufacturing company in Toronto, where he became familiar with products from the design stage to the production floor.

A native of Wabush, Penney came back to this province and, just under two years ago, opened his own home-based business: iDoctor NL.

“I came back, just like how every Newfoundlander goes away and wants to come home,” Penney says.

Like any good doctor, walk into his office on any given day and you won’t be his only patient. With smartphones having become like a fifth limb for many people, users are in a hurry to get their items fixed. Penney says he can have most devices fixed and returned in 24 hours or less. Most iPhone repairs, he says, take about 30 minutes.

The most common repairs? Broken “home” buttons, broken connector ports and, above everything else, cracked screens. Penney repairs between 10 and 12 cracked touch-screens a day.

“People run over their phones, they drop them off of buildings, over bridges. I’ve heard it all,” he says, chuckling. “How many phones I get because the (Toronto Maple) Leafs lose, you wouldn’t believe it. The Leafs losing and jealous girlfriends and boyfriends.”

Penney says he used to repair phones dropped in water, but stopped, after a particularly gross incident. His doctor services don’t extend to bodily fluids.

“I had one instance where the customer never told me that it was dropped in a Porta-Potty at Salmon Festival, and when I opened it up, it was full of urine,” he said.

Penney hasn’t done much advertising, relying on social media and word of mouth. He’s already got relationships with electronic stores around town, which recommend him to their customers, and he handles repairs for some of the province’s biggest companies.

“Being in business is not really challenging if you offer good service and, if you’re in the repair service, you offer quality parts,” he says. “People just keep coming back to you and then they recommend you to other people.”

Penney’s prices range from $40, for a rear screen replacement on an iPhone 4, to $147, for an iPad screen replacement. He offers a warranty with all his repairs.

Penney can be reached through his website, www.idoctornl.com.


Twitter: @tara_bradbury