Residents of Pemaling, Sarpang district, unlike others in many parts of the country need not worry about their electronic gadgets, breaking down and causing other problems. And they need to thank Prem Prasad Humagai, who took up the challenging job of opening an electronics repair shop.
Twenty seven year old Prem Prasad Humagai of Pemaling, Sarpang district, chose to return to his village and open his “own mini-shop” after completing class X. Prem said that as his village is in a remote part of the district, he witnessed that most people in his community were throwing appliances that broke down, though they could be repaired. And there were others who send the different gadgets to be repaired in India and waited for months.
Though his passion for repairing gadgets was there, he did not fathom starting a business. “I was always passionate of repairing electronic gadgets. But I never thought that I would open a shop and provide service to my community as an electronic appliance repairer.” Prem says that he began working in 2017.
Coupled with experience that time has given him, today Prem provides services that range from repairing customer electronics and electrical home appliances to those like televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, geysers, vacuum cleaners, amplifiers, fans, curry cookers, rice cookers, water boilers, drilling machines, electric planners, rod cutter machines, angle grinders, and many others.
For Prem, it is not all about money. “I am satisfied with the service I am providing to customers. Further, I think that I am assisting in reducing environmental degradation,” he added.
When asked about his “master,” or those that trained him, Prem says it is the Internet. “I was not trained; I learned myself through the Internet and especially YouTube.”
Meanwhile, Prem began his business with Nu 11,000 borrowed, which he borrowed from his mother.
He also added that with the establishment of his electronic repair shop, people no longer need to send broken electronic gadgets to India and wait for 2-3 months.
Prem said clients are happy as they can get their things repaired faster.
Concerning his income, Prem said that it depends and that the charges he levies are based on what’s wrong with the appliances, including components that need to be changed to get the appliances functioning again. “I also add the cost of the components or spare parts, and based on that, I charge customers,” Prem said.
Though he is running the small business on his own, Prem has several people who are interested in his trade. “Most of the students show keenness to work with me, with some even saying they want to work with me in the near future,” he said.
However, he said that because his electronic maintenance workshop is small, he cannot afford to offer any employment opportunities at this time.
Prem said that while dealing with customers, he tries to give his best and to deal with them in the very best way. “I leave my ego out of my business, and I make sure to speak in a lighthearted tone while talking with customers.”
However, Prem shared that there are some challenges that he faces, which include his working space. “It is congested and makes me very uncomfortable to work and to provide fast service to clients.”
The other is getting required spare parts. “It is also difficult to get spare parts as they have to be imported from other countries,” Prem said, underlining that this was one of the biggest hurdles in making his small shop a complete one.
He also said that with the rise in customer expectations, “it is difficult to provide fast service as expected by clients.”
At the root of all problems is finance. “I want to promote and expand the business for which I need to increase my working space and get few people to work for me. But, I cannot do this currently, because of financial situations,” he said.
Prem mentioned that he wants to share his knowledge with anyone who has similar interests as he did. “I am always ever ready to share my knowledge and experience with the younger generation who share similar interests like me.”
He also shared that he wants to build on the knowledge and skills that he currently has. “If I get the opportunity in the future, I will pursue further studies related to my profession. I believe that there is no end to learning; neither is age a factor in learning.”
Moreover, Prem said that he wants to reduce electronic waste and increase his earning potential. “I want to help develop the country by making use of electronic waste, and I also want to increase my earning potential.” For this, he is working on separating usable waste from those that are useless, so that it can be refurbished into useful products.
Till date, Prem said most of the customers who avail his service have given him positive comments, and some have even praised him, saying that the items repaired by him last longer.
On what his message to people especially the youth would be, Prem said that he is not someone very qualified to do so. “Nonetheless, I would say that if someone wants to pursue dreams, it can be achieved. One has to be disciplined, consistent and hard working. It does not mean that one needs a graduate’s certificate to find a foot in society. With determination, there are no peaks that cannot be scaled or rivers that cannot be crossed.”
Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu