By the time the first iPhone 6 is sold to a member of the public Friday morning, a handful of people will have been waiting in line at the company’s 5th Avenue retail store in New York Cityfor more than two weeks.
The number of people staking out their spots will only get bigger as launch day nears, and one New York entrepreneur is looking to capitalise on the frenzy.
Robert Samuel could make up to $US10,000 Friday, minus what he has to pay employees, through his company Same Old Line Dudes (SOLD Inc.).
Sold Inc. charges people money to hold their place in line at shows like Shakespeare in the Park, popular food destinations like Shake Shack and Dominique Ansel Bakery (home of the cronut), and, of course, tech product launches.
Samuel, whom we profiled in July, told us Thursday morning that so far, 23 of his 25 line-sitters have been booked by iPhone fans itching to get their hands on Apple’s latest innovation. He says he’s still receiving calls from prospective customers but that he is trying to limit the number of new bookings because “it’s getting chaotic.”
He tells Business Insider that in the event of overflow customers, he is prepared to reach out to friends and people who had previously applied for a job with him to handle the additional business. As of Tuesday, his people were booked for four Apple stores and six AT&T and Verizon locations in the New York metro area.
“I’m still a small business and I’m not a well-oiled machine yet, but I’m on my way,” Samuel says. “It’s big events like this that help refine me as an entrepreneur.”
Samuel charges $US25 for the first hour his company waits in line for someone and $US10 for every additional 30 minutes. He declined to say exactly how much money he had made so far, but revealed that his 23 customers for the iPhone 6 launch had paid between $US65 and $US485.
The disparity in payment figures comes from the fact that some customers ask SOLD Inc. to hold their spot for upwards of 20 hours and purchase the phone for them at the end, while others merely ask Samuel’s company to spend a few hours holding their spot before ultimately reclaiming it and purchasing the phone themselves.
Samuel declined to reveal how early he and his line-sitters planned to arrive for the launch, citing increased competition from other line-sitters on Craigslist.
He is also competing against the errands marketplace TaskRabbit, which emailed its users immediately after Apple announced its new products to let them know they could use the service to find someone to help them “#skiptheline.”
Samuel countered this threat with a Twitter blast that hijacked TaskRabbit’s hashtag and trumpeted SOLD Inc.’s services.
Competition aside, Samuel says he’s excited for the event, even if it means he might not get an iPhone of his own because he’s waiting in line for a customer.
“I’m an iPhone fanatic myself,” he says. “It’s like waiting in line for Beyoncé, but you’re not going to see her.”
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