Hi John ,
I found out about your
company on a post card I received from ifixit.com
I am located in the Sacramento area and provide
a similar service here,but on a much smaller scale.
The struggle I have is trying to find good sources for broken Apple computers that
are in need of repair.What type of places do you get your Apples from?
The vast majority of my broken laptops come from electronics recyclers. If you do a Google search in your area, you'll find a surprising number. I'd give a bunch of them a call and ask if they ever get "as-is" broken Apple laptops that you can buy in quantity. Most recyclers specialize in PCs, because they get 10x as many as Apple, so often the Apple laptops are sitting in a corner until enough are accumulated to sell in bulk. Keep in mind though, recyclers expect quantity purchases and will get annoyed if you are not willing to take everything they have, and whenever they have it. Essentially recyclers are playing a giant game of Tetris -- they have a warehouse that quickly fills up, and they need to empty it. So if you are willing to take a chunk of the problem away, they will value your business, but if you nickel and dime them or leave the undesirable portion of their inventory, they probably won't call you back next time. But if you can manage to keep a good recycler happy, it can be an almost unlimited source of great inventory. Also, recyclers tend to specialize in older machines, since that's what's being donated to them, although MacBooks are finally a regular thing at most big recyclers.
Another idea is to post an "I Buy Broken Laptops!" ad on CraigsList. Early on in my business I had lots of success doing that, although it does require a fair amount of driving, and for only a few laptops a day. There's also lots of good stuff on eBay, if you search for "MacBook lot", or "iBook lot", etc. You'll want to use the "newly listed" search and keep a constant eye on it, because there are lots of people like me on there who will grab the good stuff very quickly after it's put up. A lot of recyclers are selling on eBay, so it's a good place to get in touch with them. Be aware, though, that lots of the stuff on eBay has been picked over and has had repairs attempted...the laptops are generally not quite as untouched as typical machines from recyclers or CraigsList, so you've got to be really careful that you're not buying machines assembled from all bad parts.
And remember the most important rule of buying broken computers: Never pay a cent more than you can sell it again for broken. In other words, never gamble. Assume everything is unrepairable. That way, your inventory is never a disappointment, and even in the worst case scenario you are making money, or at least you can get back what you paid.
Anyway, hope that helps!
One other question comes to mind.
How do you re-acquire the OSX software for each laptop if
the hard drive is missing ?
Taking it a step further, once you have the OS on a machine set up the way you like, you can use an imaging tool like Super Duper to capture the image into a file, and store it on an external hard drive. You can set up the external to be bootable. Then you can boot up from the external, image the laptop's internal hard drive, reboot, and at that point you've got a fully installed OS on the machine in a fraction of the time it would take to do it manually.