By Jay Kroll
I remember the mess laying out on the table in front of me. Bits and pieces carefully scattered and a how-to guide pulled up on my computer. I worked my way through the laborious step-by-step instructions on how to replace the screen of the iPad my youngest child had accidentally damaged in a tug-of-war match with her brother. Tiny screws were lined up in order, along with a selection of miniature tools needed to complete the work. However, something was wrong. I followed the directions to the letter, carefully managed my workspace to prevent any contamination, and even had the one oddball screwdriver to get the last screw behind the battery. Yet, somehow, the new part would not fit. It was close, but the cable was in the wrong place, and a few screw holes did not quite line up. I had done everything right on my prep and process, but the part I bought was meant for a different model. Did I mention the correct one was a few dollars less, and I could have gotten it two days quicker? After the hassle of the return and reorder, and a few more days of delay, I finally got the iPad working again. Sometimes you have to learn things the hard way, and the reminder can be painful and humbling.
A few years ago, early in my career with General Formulations, I got a chance to put up a large wall mural, printed on peel-and-stick vinyl. My co-installer thought I should try and figure it out myself, and being the hands-on problem-solver I am, I accepted the challenge. I had been working with adhesives for close to 20 years, but this was my first attempt at installing a decal larger than a poster. This time, I was working on a 2.4- x 3.6-m (8- x 12-ft) wall. The project taught me a lot about layout, alignment, surface prep, tools, and technique, and I have worked to improve those elements in the years since.
I am willing to bet there are pros who have had similar experiences, along with some memorable installs which made much out of little or involved pulling a proverbial rabbit out of a hat. They might have even had a few failures which taught painful lessons that still stick with them today.
In my iPad repair situation, I had the right tools, but the wrong material. My wall mural had the right material, but a remarkable lack of application knowledge. These two vital components go hand-in-hand to make sure a job is done right, avoid rework, and drive repeat business.