New tech repair business boots up in Wrangell

If your smartphone screen is cracked, your tablet is on the fritz or your laptop won’t stop generating pop-up windows after you clicked on a suspicious link, Tyler Riberio of Tydi Creek Tech might be able to help. His new tech repair service assists Wrangell residents as they navigate the intimidating world of computers, whether he’s fixing minor cosmetic issues or performing total rebuilds.

Riberio moved to Wrangell with his wife in July. After taking on a few pro-bono tech repairs, he “noticed that there was a need in the community” and decided to start a business. He offers a range of services, including computer and smartphone repair, virus removal, data recovery, custom PC building and e-waste disposal.

A custom PC, he explained, is “a lot like a tailor-fitted suit.” Different people use their computers for different purposes — an artist might need extra processing power to run Photoshop, for example, or a writer might not want to waste money on technological bells and whistles if they’re just going to stare at a blank Google Doc all day. A custom build allows users to “efficiently utilize their money,” Riberio said.

If a customer’s phone, tablet or computer is damaged beyond repair, he can also “act as a chop shop.” E-waste contains heavy metals and valuable materials, like gold, silver and copper, that should be “recycled in an effective way that keeps (them) out of landfills,” Riberio said. He can “discard of the components that aren’t working and harvest the components that are working” for sale on the secondary market.

Tech repair is a “side gig” that allows him to use his skills and serve the community while pursuing a separate career. “I’m not looking to get rich,” he said.

Riberio works remotely as an environmental analyst for the state Department of Transportation. He first picked up tech repair skills when his laptop died unexpectedly in college. At the time, he was “the typical college student who doesn’t have any money to buy a new laptop,” he explained. “I had to figure it out myself.”

He turned to YouTube and internet forums like Reddit, where he learned troubleshooting and hardware repair. Soon, he was building custom PCs and helping his fellow students with their computers. Though he didn’t go to school for tech repair, he has spent “the last 10 years learning and gaining experience personally.”

His rates vary depending on repair type and supply costs. New batteries, for example, can get pricey because of the complications associated with shipping reactive materials like lithium. His flat rate for phones is generally around $100.

However, he plans to price his services in a way that will make them accessible to all. “My goal is more to provide the service to the community in a way that’s affordable for those who need it,” he said. “And maybe make some money at it as well.” Consultations are free. “If I can’t fix it, you pay nothing,” his ad reads.

Since he lives and works 12.5 miles out the road, he is willing to drive into town to make home visits. Customers who drop their tech off at his place may be eligible for a discount.

Since announcing his new service via Facebook on Dec. 4, he has “gotten several orders, mainly for phones and tablets to do repairs regarding batteries and screens.”

“I’m not swamped yet,” he said. “But we will see.”

 

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