July 5, 2017

Theresa Java/Free Press
Victor Figueroa fixes cracked screens on phones and tablets quickly. He's officially open full time at the Marathon Gas Station on Plantation Key.

Theresa Java/Free Press Victor Figueroa fixes cracked screens on phones and tablets quickly. He's officially open full time at the Marathon Gas Station on Plantation Key.

ISLAMORADA — Victor Figueroa has built a successful business, Keys Smartphone Repair, by rehabbing busted cellphones. At a minimum, he fixes about four phones a day. He starts working on them immediately, because he considers six hours too long to be without a phone.

People need their smartphones. It’s what modern-day livelihoods and social lives are based upon. So Figueroa’s business motto is “Phones Fixed Fast.”

He said it usually takes him about 30 minutes to fix an iPhone. He tells his customers, “By the time you go have lunch, I’ll have your phone fixed.”

Figueroa has done thousands of iPhone repairs. He said they’re the most common as the glass screen is fragile. He says the glass on Samsung phones is much thicker. He’s repaired two that were run over by a vehicle and still worked; they were just dimpled from pea rock.

Samsung Edge phone repairs take a little longer and usually cost more, he said.

“The edge of the glass is curved, which costs $230,” he explained.

He said he fixed the phone of a woman who was desperate to get to the photos of her child who passed.

“I love what I do,” Figueroa  said. “I’m able to help people.”

Strong Jones, 9, was making a video last Monday night when he dropped his iPad Mini. It was bad timing as he needed the device for summer camp. His mother found Keys Smartphone Repair just by Googling “iPad repairs in the Keys.”

“He came up as No. 1. He had the most and the highest ratings,” she said while she was picking up the device last Wednesday.

As for repairing tablets, Figueroa said the larger surface area demands more concentration on his part. He brings them home with him at night so he doesn’t get distracted, so the turnaround time is a day or two.

Figueroa said he has always been good at fixing things. He has been tinkering with computers and electronics since he was in high school. He fixed police cars for seven years and still works at Napa Auto Parts part-time since moving to the Keys from the Bronx 20 years ago.

He began fixing cellphones in 2010. His girlfriend at the time, Lisa Andersen, who is now his fiancée, wanted to upgrade her phone. She had planned on trading in her old phone the very next day when she dropped it.

Figueroa went online and bought a phone repair kit on eBay. He figured out how to fix it and Andersen was able to trade it in. Then he started fixing friends’ phones when they broke.

“Someone always has a broken phone,” he said. Since then, he’s taken a class in Miami and has learned a lot more.

He opened his kiosk on Plantation Key at the beginning of the year. Keys Smartphone Repair is located at 90270 Overseas Highway, inside the Marathon Gas Station. Figueroa is there from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday with emergency hours available.

The average phone repair cost ranges from $80 to $120.

For more information, call 305-896-1675 or find Keys Smartphone Repair on Facebook.

tjava@keysnews.com