Karim Hussen’s business is spiking. With more customers working from home on personal laptops, the owner and staff of LapFix (4613 Duke Street) have their hands full recovering data and fixing personal computers and phones.
“We are busier now than ever, because everyone needs cameras for their computers and webcams for Zoom chats,” Hussen recently told ALXnow. “Of all things it’s webcams. Thankfully we are an essential business, according to the Commonwealth of Virginia, so I’m thankful that we never closed.”
Hussen started the business 15 years ago and opened at the Shoppes at Fox Chase about six years ago. The shop prides itself on fixing liquid spills cheaply and has drop-off locations around the region for customers to leave their equipment to be picked up.
“A majority of the work we do is on right now on high-level motherboard repair for liquid spills,” Hussen said. “A motherboard might cost $500, and plus $200 labor you’re looking at up to $700 for repairs. What we do here is fix it for you for a fraction of that price, because it’s basically our specialty.”
Business might be good for the time being, and Hussen hopes to have small physical locations throughout the region in the future. Still, problems lie ahead with computer companies like Apple increasingly making it more difficult for companies like his to fix their equipment.
“This laptop is from 2015, but I can’t find the chip for the 2018 model,” Hussen said. “Newer models, especially Apple become harder to fix for computer shops like us, due to the lack of availability of newer parts. It’s well known in the industry that this is happening, because Apple wants you to buy another $2,000 laptop. That’s the reality, that many of the these companies only internalize their repairs, which makes it difficult for shops like us.”
Hussen, a native of Eritrea, moved to the area in 1999 and got his degree in computer science from George Mason University. It was at GMU, in fact, that a classmate asked Hussen if he could take a look at his broken laptop. After fixing the problem, Hussen realized there was a market for electronics repair in the area.
One major source of business has been his Youtube channel.
“We are one of the top channels for motherboard repair in the country,” Hussen said. “We go out of our way to make things easier for you.”