What data should I be collecting about my repairs?

I have never been able to walk past a skip without casting my eye over to see what unloved item could be salvageable. I often thought about offering a free repair service but held off because I thought I might be liable for anything that subsequently went wrong.

After attending my first repair cafe last January (2019) I decided that risk was probably less concerning than I thought and started offering the service to people here and there. I particularly find it useful for repair cafe items where they need more time than the 40 minutes allocated. I strictly refuse any compensation and make it clear that I’m just doing my best, and it’s been going well.

I like collecting data and need a way to stay organised so have been asking people to submit items via web-form and giving their contact details. I then pull some of this info into a public sheet so people can see semi-live status updates on their item and also fro prospective helpees to see that it’s not just a scam for me to steal their broken appliance.

You can see my sheet here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1rEZuwaKwRZeGgh6GVrw3fReLVGcS5K5JCwry9vJlDvU/edit#gid=0

I would be interested to hear suggestions simple improvements to be able to contribute the global data pool and to better categorise information (ideally not just for the sake of it).


Hi @guy! Impressive list of repairs. We’d encourage you to take a look at the Open Repair Data Standard (ORDS), which provides a basic framework. We’ll be working on harmonising our list of product categories (more about that soon), but ORDS sets out the basics needed for us to aggregate data at scale. (Our “Fixometer” tool is built on ORDS.)

Your question also leads us back to an earlier suggestion about working with iFixit to document the successes and failures of DIYers.

Lastly, we have asked professionals not to solicit jobs directly at events to avoid any potential liability for organisers. Do you have device owners sign anything that relieves organisers of liability? We drafted some guidelines that ask people not to take jobs directly from events, but this is more for paid jobs:

Would be interested to hear your take! Oh and please do a self-intro if you like, we’d love to “meet” you

Thanks Janet, this is helpful. I will have a look through the ODRS and adjust my collection to fit.

I haven’t got a liability release form per se as only a few recent items have been from repair cafes but I do ask people to fill in a form I’ve put together. I’ve now tweaked it to explicitly say that I’m not linked to an organisation.

Something I’ve been thinking about here, the time a repair takes seems really important to me as it could be a very good indicator of something just needing a trivial fix to prevent it being discarded. Same with total repair cost.

These are very easily quantifiable values and very relatable to the general public so I feel they’d be interesting for press releases too.

There is a mention of repair time in the ORDS but it’s not emphasised much, and no mention of cost. How would I go about formally suggesting these two variables to be included?

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