9 hot businesses you can start now

In a lousy economy, startup ideas can be found in surprising places. We asked Thumbtack.com which opportunities are drawing the most interest from entrepreneurs and their customers.

iPhone repair

John Fry
John Fry, 40: A steady hand helped him launch a lucrative iPhone repair business.
  • Searches by would-be customers: 9,043 in 2012, up from 2,698
  • Entrepreneurs listed: 456 in 2012, up from 133
  • Typical pay: $43 an hour

Fixing a broken iPhone, iPad, iTouch -- pretty much any of Apple's "i" products -- can be lucrative business.

John Fry was a former government contractor on assignment in Kuwait three years ago when he broke his iPhone. "I couldn't find anyone to repair it," he said. Frustrated, he took it apart himself, and with the help of YouTube, taught himself how to fix it.

After returning to Myrtle Beach, S.C., Fry started "working out of the car," making house calls to repair iPhones. With word-of-mouth referrals and advertisements on Craigslist, Facebook and Thumbtack, his business grew quickly.

"People break these products frequently," said Fry. "I have customers who have come in three times in one week."

In 2010, Fry opened a repair store for computers and Apple products. He now has two technicians working for him. "You can make good money doing this because the margins are great," said Fry.

For example, he charges up to $65 to $100 to repair a broken glass screen on an iPhone but the part costs him $7 to $40, depending on the model. "The key to success is having a steady hand."

  @CNNMoney - Last updated September 26 2012 11:04 AM ET

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