My Big Idea: Making Money on Charging Phones

I can’t seem to fight the marketing blood I got in my body as I have an idea that might change the world. Well let’s be honest, this idea won’t change the world at all but it would make the life of someone like me much more convenient. And if there is something that can make the life of Brent Reser a little less complicated than it has to be gold, right? Totally kidding.

I have mentioned before in this blog that I have a little problem with my iPhone. For whatever reason, my phone can’t hold a charge. I will have my phone plugged in all night long and by the time the lunch hour hits I am down at 20%. By the time work ends I have recharged my phone back up to 100% only to see it at 32% by 9 p.m. I have tried everything from killing my apps when not using them, having the screen turn off in a timely manner after usage, and even not utilizing my phone as much but I have just learned to cope with that fact that my iPhone 5 is charge-challenged.

Because of this I take my charger with me everywhere. When I say I take it everywhere I don’t mean that I keep it in my workout bag or in my car…I mean I keep it in my pocket with me at all times. I charge my phone at work, at restaurants, and at stores. If there is an outlet, I am using it. A low point came this Fourth of July when as my family gathered in a grassy area to watch fireworks I plugged my phone into the old, dirty outlet of the bathroom building on the premises to build a little bit of a charge.

As I am conditioned to always have my charger with me in my pocket, I have never really thought about the horror of not getting an adequate charge while I happened to be out and about. However, I faced this conundrum just this past weekend. After a long day in the sun at the beach area of a river in Missoula, Paige and I went and ate dinner at of all places, Hooter’s. With being outside all day with no outlets available, my phone was down to under 10%. Luckily I had my charger and Paige had an outlet right under her seat. She plugged my phone in and then delivered the terrible news…my phone was not charging. The problem was my charger, not the outlet. Believe it or not, iPhone chargers sometimes stop working and there is nothing you can do about it. My phone died inside of Hooter’s and it just about ruined my whole meal.

Stick with me here, yes, I realize it is taking me longer than expected to get to my point…

Now I know many places and events sponsor “charging areas”. At Spokane’s Hoopfest this year the local electric company offered a plentiful amount of outlets at a central area for people to plug their phones into. At a place where I sometimes play poker they actually have phone chargers around the playing area for people to plug into. However, I have an idea that has the potential to make a lot of money.

If I had the money to startup a business, I would invest in a company that installed charging outlets in restaurants and other places where people gather. I would design an outlet piece that included built in chargers of the three or four most popular phones out at the time. I would then install these pieces at restaurants all across town. To activate these charging services, customers at the restaurants would pay a fee, let’s say $5, to plug their phone in for thirty minutes. Once the fee was paid the electricity would flow and the phone would get a charge.

People who depend on their phone and can’t live without it (like me) would pay for this service in a split second. While many of us iPhone-addicts carry around our chargers and might initially scoff at paying a fee there are always those times where we forget to pack our charger, or, like in my case, our charger stops working all together. Also, if this service was offered many people would just stop bringing their charger with them in the first place knowing that they would have a legitimate and secure place to plug their phone into. To be honest, there is a level of shame that many of us feel when plugging our phones in at random places. We look desperate and we recognize that we are stealing the electricity of the particular place. To have an area where charging phones is promoted and encouraged would definitely bring some relief and comfort.

After I installed the initial charger outlets across Missoula I guarantee some big corporate organization would take notice and pay me millions of dollars for the idea and the rights to take the concept to every restaurant across the nation. Life would be great.

So there is my big idea for the month. Anyone think I am onto something? Anyone think it is just another one of my crazy ideas that will never work? Anyone think that I am a big loser? Please let me know, maybe we can go in on this idea together! Don’t Blink.

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