One-man Tampa TV repair shop does it all
Angie's List member Richard Dawson of St. Petersburg, Fla., values his old rear-projection television; it was built into the family room's cabinetry before he bought the home. "If I lose that TV, then I'm facing a major remodeling situation," he says. "I want to make it last as long as I can." He frequently hires Bill Herron, owner of Venus Electronics, when he needs to keep the old model running a while longer.
Herron handles everything from modern flat-screen televisions to old tube sets. He does all the work on-site: "It's tough to pick up a big TV and drive it somewhere for repair, especially for senior citizens," Herron says.
Herron has seen TVs advance dramatically. He stays abreast of current developments to be as capable of repairing a 2011 plasma screen as he is a 1982 projection set. "Thirty years ago, TVs had a lot more quality built into them," he says. "Most people would keep their TV for 15 years. Now the average set only goes two or three years before it breaks. As prices get cheaper and cheaper, people just throw TVs away and get another one that'll last a couple of years."
Despite his description of TV repair as "a dying industry," Herron stays busy. In addition to televisions, he works on musical equipment and touch-screen vending machines. He also does consultation work: "A lot of my elderly customers have had their TV for 10 or 15 years, and when they get a new one, they just want someone to come out and show them how to use it."
Herron says keeping his operation a one-man show ensures perfect quality control. "I work completely on my own, so I don't have to worry about employees screwing things up," he says. "I answer the phone myself, and I do all the work myself."