Money to be made from ‘make do and mend’ businesses

New research shows companies repairing items such as smartphones, shoes and watches generated revenues of over £340m last year...

Looking for a lucrative business opportunity? Now could be the perfect time to start a ‘make do and mend’ business aka a business focused on repairing items.

According to new research published today by Funding Options, companies repairing items including electronic gadgets, appliances, watches and jewellery achieved revenues in excess of £340m in the year ending March 2017 – a 41% rise on 2012, up from £241m.

Dubbed ‘repairers’, the study claims these businesses have continued to achieve strong growth due to a stagnation in real wages and a struggle among consumers to keep debt-to-income ratios under ctonrol which has meant that an increasing number of people are extending the lifespan of items rather than facing the expense of buying replacements.

One of the biggest markets for repairer businesses is said to be in consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, with turnover increased of 22% in the past five years; rising from £91.7m five years ago to £112m in the past year.

The research suggests that, with new smartphone devices costing up to £900 and rising, consumers are willing to pay substantial sums for phone repairs: “The cost of the devices we all now carry has created a whole new growth industry of mobile phone repair, with businesses springing up on high streets all over the UK.”

One start-up which has found success as a ‘repairer’ is The iOutlet – a specialist in smartphone repairs and the retail of used phones. Launched in 2013 by Young Guns Liam James and Matthew Green, the business has already achieved monumental growth; generating turnover of £14m turnover and £2m profit in 2015 to customers in 40 countries.


The iOutlet’s Liam James and Matt Green

Another popular industry for budding ‘repairer’ entrepreneurs is in shoes and leather goods. The research highlighted growth of 34% for repairs of these items over the last five years as “UK consumers have cut back on their clothing and shoe budgets”.

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Funding Options founder, Conrad Ford, commented on the rising demand for businesses with a focus on repair:

“As real wages continue to stagnate, more and more people are making economies by ensuring their phones, TVs and washing machines last longer. Repairers are reaping the benefit of people taking austerity to heart.”

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