More On Computer Geeks Who Will Make House Calls

from the sustainable-business-model? dept

For many many years, I've seen plenty of companies come and go that promised to offer "house calls" for computer repairs. The idea seems to make sense, but most companies that get into this business don't last. The economics just aren't there. It's a labor intensive business, with customers who really aren't willing to pay that much for the service. However, every time another company pops up with this plan, someone out there writes about it as if it's something new. Here's an article about yet another such geeks-on-wheels company. This one is based on a franchise model, where the franchisee has to buy a $37,000 franchise and needs to buy (or lease) their very own bright yellow PT Cruiser to drive around it. My bet is that the only people making any money on this deal are the ones selling the franchises (and Chrysler for the PT Cruisers).


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    MissinLnk, Jun 10th, 2003 @ 5:59am

    Works on a small scale

    The Geeks-On-Wheels idea actually does survive in a small scale environment. There is a business located in Lawrence, KS who's name actually used to be Geeks-On-Wheels and is still affectionately (if that's the right word) called that. The business is actually part of the local cable provider, which may be the reason that they've been able to survive for so long.

    Their technicians arn't the best in the world...ok, so they're a joke. But for $65/hour for on site work, people don't really seem to care that they suck.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Martin, Dec 12th, 2003 @ 10:09am

    Geeks on Call

    I know a few of the Geeks on Call franchise owners including one that just bought several new territories after being a franchisee for the past year. I think they are doing well and I don't think someone would by more territories if they weren't making money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Cindy Little, Apr 8th, 2004 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Geeks on Call

    I too know of a Geeks on Call franchise owner and they are doing well. I think the idea that it is a labor intensive business is why they survive. No bricks and mortar, little inventory and a focus on labor make this idea work. Plus, with many of the franchisors like Geeks on Call they are able to provide back office support for a percentage of what it would cost for each support provider to develop.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2004 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Geeks on Call

    My experience with G-O-C is much different! One of their franchises in Maryland actually came into our computer store and asked if we could design and setup a network for THEIR business, as they didn't have such skills. Further, our customers have reported absolutely horrific experiences all resulting from lack of experience and them messing up the systems they work on. Further, currently their rates are 99$ for a site visit and $100/hr in 15 minute increments.

    No offense intended, but at those rates, they are no different than a reputable 18 year-old brick-and-mortar computer store...and their skills are suspect, at best.

    Hmmmmmm.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Joshua Goldman, Dec 26th, 2004 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Geeks on Call

    I had a similar experience as "anonymous coward" here in Chevy Chase MD. A Geeks on call employee entered my law business offernig free computer checkups in an effort to get new business. We allowed the free checkups and he offered up many ways he thought our systems could be improved. We decided to have him install a server where we could keep cetralized files and connect 2 printers that everyone in the office could connect and print to.

    We wanted to go with a reputable company for the hardware such as dell or compaq, but were talked into purchasing a custom built pc server from geeks on call. The server was cobbled together from acer parts (which I have since learned are lower quality components) and the operating system was installed by geeks on call. The printing never worked properly from the get go and the file shares would dissappear on some users machines. We tried repetedly to get this fixed, but the geeks on call employee was unable to get it fixed and was even trying to charge us more money for work that was never done correctly from the beginning. To make matters worse the main board in the server failed and while it was replaced without cost it took geeks on call 8 days to complete the repair leaving us without the use of the server.

    We have since had one of our lawyers sons home from college look at our problems and he was able to fix them all in about an hour. He stated that the printer problems were due to an incorrect driver being installed for our model printer (correct driver easily accessible on hp's website) and that no persistent drive mappings were done. Apparently the geeks on call employee mapped the drives from the client and not done properly by mapping them on the server.

    I would not use them again! also rate was $100 per hour in 15 min increments. We have since found quality support for 2/3 the cost.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Joshua Goldman, Dec 26th, 2004 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Geeks on Call

    I had a similar experience as "anonymous coward" here in Chevy Chase MD. A Geeks on call employee entered my law business offernig free computer checkups in an effort to get new business. We allowed the free checkups and he offered up many ways he thought our systems could be improved. We decided to have him install a server where we could keep cetralized files and connect 2 printers that everyone in the office could connect and print to.

    We wanted to go with a reputable company for the hardware such as dell or compaq, but were talked into purchasing a custom built pc server from geeks on call. The server was cobbled together from acer parts (which I have since learned are lower quality components) and the operating system was installed by geeks on call. The printing never worked properly from the get go and the file shares would dissappear on some users machines. We tried repetedly to get this fixed, but the geeks on call employee was unable to get it fixed and was even trying to charge us more money for work that was never done correctly from the beginning. To make matters worse the main board in the server failed and while it was replaced without cost it took geeks on call 8 days to complete the repair leaving us without the use of the server.

    We have since had one of our lawyers sons home from college look at our problems and he was able to fix them all in about an hour. He stated that the printer problems were due to an incorrect driver being installed for our model printer (correct driver easily accessible on hp's website) and that no persistent drive mappings were done. Apparently the geeks on call employee mapped the drives from the client and not done properly by mapping them on the server.

    I would not use them again! also rate was $100 per hour in 15 min increments. We have since found quality support for 2/3 the cost.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Person, Jan 21st, 2005 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Geeks on Call

    I have excellent PC support and Server skills. I thought about buying a G-O-C territory because I need help with marketing and advertising. It's a thought.

    Me
    MCSE NT4, MCSE 2000, CNE, CCNA

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    clay, Apr 18th, 2005 @ 10:16pm

    Contributed by Mike on Monday, June 9th, 2003 @ 1

    Any other information on the Geeks? Looks like they are bigger then ever!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    clay, Apr 18th, 2005 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Geeks on Call

    Have you made a decision? On the franchise?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    clay, Apr 18th, 2005 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Geeks on Call

    Don't "throw the baby out with the bathwater". One bad tech. or franchise owner does not make a company.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    GOC Tech, Jul 15th, 2007 @ 3:43am

    Geeks on Call

    You are right, all the big money in the Geeks on Call is in the franchising fees. I would not recommend buying into this crap, there is no "out". Once you are in it is nearly impossible to get out. If you really want in, your best bet it to purchase franchise territories that another owner is selling (at a greatly reduced rate) and then transfer them to your location. If you want to try this, contact an owner and ask for info on someone who is selling. I would not recommend contacting the HQ because they want full price and will not help you make the needed contact. I am a goc tech and I do a good job with my customers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Goc tech., Jul 15th, 2007 @ 4:03am

    Re: Re: Geeks on Call

    What is wrong with asking for help when you need it. Typically, but not always, franchise owners in this business are just that Owners, they have the money to start the business, they are not techs. So in this case a new start up wants a network installed, so what, might as well do it right instead of guessing. As a start up he/she probably has not hired any techs yet. As you work for a brick and mortar store and is an employee, you do not have the capital and expertise in starting your own business anyway. Business owners are just normal people, one in Kansas City was a formal Chiefs football player, he had some minor tech knowledge, but he would have hired someone to install a structured network for him to.
    I do not think it is wrong or bad to ask for help when you don't know.
    As far as the rates being high, yes I would say they are higher that most mom and pop, small time computer stores for on-site labor, but with GOC the rates are set by corp, and good thing too, they charge so much in royalties and advertising fees, that unless you are doing really well, you are loosing money or at best, breaking nearly even.
    Cost to the local franchise owner: Tech's salary, car, car insurance, gas, inventory, office space for business use, Corp royalties (10-13% of every $, parts & labor), Corp advertising fees ($250 per week, per territory). If MUST have 1 tech/car per territory. Geez look at the startup/overhead cost.
    1 Franchise (includes territory) 30-60K
    1 tech salary 35-45K (you get what you pay for)
    1 car 13K
    1 yr of advertising fees 13K (250 x 52)
    So without one customer, royalties, insurance, or even an office, etc. The start up cost are nearing 91K-131K for only one territory! (each additional territories are 15-30K + 13k per yr advertising, plus you are required to have another tech and car) All techs must be at least A+, many are N+, MCP's and some are MCSE's.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    BL Geiger, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Works on a small scale

    I agree. Services are excellent for computer home repairs.

    Violations of contract time frames, & selection of skilled
    computer programmers are questionable & not of excellent representation of their franchise of other skilled staff.
    I was told "Best Buys owns Geeks on Wheels." This office
    mgt. & programmer were felon profile but not other staff.

    I will report to the corporation office number if anyone can find the number to consumer reports.

    King Pin operation.

    Unsupervised by franchise corporation skilled buainess majors, Attorney General's office. Federal Trade Com.

    Expecting customers to pay for a service 2,500 dollars in advance then fail to provide skilled services costing the investor, designer, months of livlihood in a city of 40,000 students. Even franchises are overstaffed & not receiving business in new shopping centers. Real estate stock market is all time low.

    Web site leased project required almost 6 months with investor, me, having to coach, prompt, recap transaction.
    My product customers are superior by ethics, skilled, polite, & one percent of USA that built this country.


    Anyone knows that if you own a business, one has to be able to operate all details for small businesses. I think this is a very nice franchise. I was impressed with the design of Geeks On Wheels franchise, vehicle ID, clean cut, prompt front desk staff.

    Geeks Kingpin was no show when office hours are 8:30 am.
    He fails to return a call based on diretions from CYA excellent staff who have higher ethics than the bosses son, King Pin. Case where the owner is genuis nice rep. Son is spoiled & obviously not worked hard through college or lived in 3rd world countries where multi human losses noted on a daily basis.

    The King Pin expects all customers to be email customers
    which is perfect but King Pin fails to read the email
    assignments/for edits.

    The King Pin has neurological anxiety expressions common in this state or if you saw the security staff behind GW Bush/Kennedy funeral footage. They needed a vacation to
    Shangri La from KKK felon factions.

    King Pin's computer programmer Mexican deletes passcodes
    creating suspicious racketeering so investor returns back to Geeks to pay 40.00 to reset a passcode. Programmer couldn't deny that he was deleting the passcode. Stalking
    first degree felony on this franchise.

    Computer is activated the sound system perpetrators listen to all discussions so one is a Disc Jockey, singer, exxagerating any discussion for Ears of Hamen. I changed a discussion with a guest to gutter blunt rude on purpose DJ role. " I would never marry anyone unless for business
    reasons, franchise romance, etc." Stage play on purpose,
    barbarian interaction.

    One's home ends up burglarized & vandalized by Baby Boomer
    computer voyeurs expecting the investor to be a foster parent entertain defective equipment operator.

    Also, second programmer was non certified, color blind disabled & disabling tantruming villager cretin that no one would ever allow in perimeters of their home, or any personal property. Law firm intervention to terminate Geeks staff approved, acidnine comments, insulting baby picture, baby product. ha! Dog face thinks he's an expert
    & stated how his son puts his elbows on the table. Plebian con artist. There were numerous complaints against this computer programmer that King Pin minimized.

    Hacker system noted. Firewalls are ineffective. The C.P.
    supposedly had 300 customer clients but he doesn't use spell check & could not even understand simplistic technical
    edits: Directions. Add, Delete. Corrected sentence. A class system difference.

    Facebook photograph doesn't quite fit the sound of the voice of programmer, I, pianist,writer of song on the radio, listen to resonance, lilt, broque of accent, & he certainly didn't have a second generation "cleaning up English language by British vernacular." His 70's humor was kind of funny but repeated the same discussion of fat girl on Bin Ladin's lap. Bin Ladin is mathematical genuis & has the ability to calculate numbers equal to a calculator's speed. Built a highway in Sudan & educated in USA so therefore did not like USA Yankees. I read bio.

    This is the worst franchise operation of organized crime.
    "I am about to have a tantrum daycare theme!"

    Sociopathic baby boomer age group. Also, the staff have
    more excellent business ethics & integrity. A simplistic secretarial skill overwhelmed the King Pin that any of their staff could have data entried in five minutes. Exploit Sr. Citizens. Also, there is arrogance competition.
    The laborio programmer/King Pin were trying to compete with the Investor, boarding school graduate, daughter of official diplomat, national merit scholar family, valedictorian. I agree with you. Geeks sucks. And
    65.00 per hour is ridiculous. Thirty in this city. Also, the sociopath hinted to work order bill $30.00 for 30 minutes direct work on website content when he had 2,500 dollars & had not even completed the job. Their Geeks vehicles should be psychiatric pink with map stripe on their vehicles so they know their way to jail house. The collaterals were identical to your location. I was told that two weeks after one invests in this joint then the investor has to return the project back to GOW for corrections. C.P. could not read or write/blabber mouth trying to take over one's life. My product superior to the franchise. Local staff would have been excellent C.P. if trained & represent the franchise correctly. Studies indicate that the children of medical dr.s, etc are never as competently skilled as the father in business. I am reporting to Computer Reports GOW. It is a nice franchise.
    Very backwards ownership & failing to understand business economics & business ethics.

     

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