Archive for May 2009

ServRight

Business to business computer repair, scanner repair and network cabling service.

Note: Formerly known as USNet.

 

Contact:

ServRight

5350 Shawnee Road, Suite 250
Alexandria, VA 22312
Phone: 800-642-6015
FAX: 703-916-9096
E-Mail: Sales: sales@servright.com

Web Site: http://www.servright.com

Application: http://www.servright.com/become_a_member.html

Elite Force

Nationwide IT service company for small offices, home offices and individuals. The company was launched at CES in 2007 or 2008 (The official recruitment e-mail was sent to The Force Field on January 19, 2008 but was dated January 19, 2007)

Contact: Gerry Hartis, President

2234 Great Falls Street
Falls Church, VA 22046

Phone: 866-ON SITE8 (800 667-4838)

e-mail: ghartis@EliteForceLLC.com

Web site: http://www.eliteforcellc.com

Provider signup: http://www.eliteforcellc.com/members.html

Affiliations

 

Bloggers' Rights at EFF

ACRBO

2010 Best Small Business Podcasts Top 100

 2009 Best Small Biz Podcast Top 100

 

Electronic Frontier Foundation

<a href="http://eff.org/bloggers"><img src="http://eff.org/bloggers/badges/bloggers-legal-148x120px.png" alt="Bloggers' Rights at EFF" width="148" height="120" border="0"></a><br />

National Association of Small Business Contractors

The organization supports the interests of small business contractors.

 Contact:

1200 G Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005
888-861-9290

http://www.nasbc.org/

Service Magic

Service Magic is a web based service platform that matches homeowners to qualified service professionals. The company was founded in 1999 and is primarily intended for home improvement projects and services such as carpentry, plumbing and other home repairs. In recent years Service Magic has expanded into IT as well .

The system is simple. Buyers put in requests for contract work and the requests are routed to service providers in their areas to perform the work. In simple terms, it is like most of the other platforms such as OnForce, ServiceLive, etc.

The difference is that with Service Magic, the requests are actual leads for the work. The leads are routed to a maximum of three providers, the providers contact the buyer directly and the buyer chooses who will perform the work. The contact information is not filtered or hidden. It is sent directly to the providers.

The buyer routes the lead at no cost to him or her. The provider pays a flat fee for receiving the lead. That fee is based on value within a category of services predetermined by Service Magic.

Service Magic was reviewed on The Force Field web site May 25, 2009 in the article Review: Service Magic.

Service Magic

14023 Denver West Parkway
Bldg. 64, Suite 200
Golden, CO 80401

Phone: (303) 963-7200
Toll Free: (800) 474-1596
Fax: (303) 980-3003

http://www.servicemagic.com

Service Provider signup

Reviews of service platforms

I don’t normally write reviews of vendors, contractors and other resources listed in the IT Business Resource Directory for several reasons.  First, the site itself is vendor neutral. That is, The Force Field as a portal does not endorse any specific resource. Second, as a portal, I wanted let the members do it themselve, leaving the praise, criticism or judgement of any specific company or organization to those who work with them directly. Third, it’s a lot of work and I just don’t have time to do it.

While The Force Field remains neutral, I, as a member, also have my own voice independent of the portal. Therefore I can post my own opinions and experiences in my own articles under my own blog or as one of the contributing writers in a review or editorial.

End disclaimer.

There are numerous service venues and platforms popping up on the web. Some are good, some marginal, some questionable and a few are outright scams. Many of our members have dealt with a number of each over the years and have the scars to prove it. As more of these services and companies appear, it is more important than ever to differentiate between the good, the bad and the ugly to protect ourselves, our customers and our businesses.

Therefore, from time to time I will post reviews on these various “platforms” in order to enlighten and protect IT service professionals from mistakes that could cost them more than just money.

Today I will review Service Magic.

Review: Service Magic

Service Magic is a web based service platform that matches homeowners to qualified service professionals. The company was founded in 1999 and is primarily intended for home improvement projects and services such as carpentry, plumbing and other home repairs.

However, in recent years Service Magic has expanded into IT as well, and this, I believe is where they have problems.

The system is simple. Buyers put in requests for contract work and the requests are routed to service providers in their areas to perform the work. In simple terms, it is like most of the other platforms such as OnForce, ServiceLive, etc.

The difference is that with Service Magic, the requests are actual leads for the work. The leads are routed to a maximum of three providers, the providers contact the buyer directly and the buyer chooses who will perform the work. The contact information is not filtered or hidden. It is sent directly to the providers.

The buyer routes the lead at no cost to him or her. The provider pays a flat fee for receiving the lead. That fee is based on value within a category of services predetermined by Service Magic.

The upside to this system is that both buyer and provider are free agents on the platform. Once the lead is accepted and the work is performed, both are free to conduct future business together. In other words, unlike many other venues and platforms, Service Magic is a true, bona fide marketplace.

The downside is that it isn’t cheap. Every lead that is sent to the provider is billable, whether the lead pays out or not.

Now, on the surface, this seems like an open and fair deal. You win a few, you lose a few and it all works out in the end, right?

In principle, this is right, provided the company operates within and stands by a set of principles. However, any system can be manipulated or abused. Every transaction is based on a level of trust between the buyer and provider. Yet the party that most to be watched is not always the buyer or the providers. It is often the platform itself and the organization that runs it.

Yes, I was with Service Magic for a couple of years. Currently my status is suspended – at my request. Basically they are set up for general service contractors and offering IT services is clearly out of their league. I have had numerous issues and discussions with them to no avail. I have tried to explain that the IT service market is not like general houshold maintenance work and requires an understanding of the business to be able to offer their services to it at a fair price.

The advantage to using them is that it can be a better deal than the Yellow Pages if you are in a metropolitan area and are the only tech for their region. The leads are precisely that – leads. They don’t own the customer. You do. That was the main reason I went with them. If you want to build your customer base, it can be another source for leads.

However, it isn’t for everyone. The reason they were not listed in The Force Field IT Business Resource Directory before today is because I held off on publishing the listing. I did so on a promise to their rep that I would not publish anything about them – good or bad – until I had cooled off a bit from my last encounter with them.

I really like the overall concept but the execution is lacking. When I moved to Charlotte I temporarily suspended the account because they had been sending me leads and I was concerned they would continue to do so during the move. After the move they kept calling me to turn them back on and the pitch was that the new area I was in was hot. According to the rep they had 30 leads in the area and no one to send them to. Suspicious, I said okay on the condition that I would have a few free ones to cover some past issues. They agreed and – guess what – nearly a month with no leads. They finally sent me two, both of which were bogus. When I finally received one that was legit they wanted to bill me for it and I found out that the free leads were only good for thirty days, something which was never disclosed to me.

To add to the insult, one of the free leads was supposed to be a “refund” for a bad lead they sent me when I was still in Orlando.

I won’t go into the details, but to make a long story short, the rep was not correct about the “hot leads” and I called them on it. They offered to give me five free leads, which they later called and accused me of trying to “game” from them, which they initially offered me without my asking for them, and which I never actually got to use. They would just take money from my credit card and there was no way to stop it without actually cutting off the card. In the end they wanted to play the free leads game with me again at which point I told them where to go, cancelled my account (which was a very long call as the rep debated the issues with me) and I haven’t heard from them since.

(Incidentally, they owe me money, but I wrote it off as a loss because they don’t refund in cash, only in leads.)

They were initially charging me $8 for leads and then raised it to $9 with no notice. They did bill me once for an $11 lead because it involved wiring (Actually I had chosen the category “network” for advertising home and small office wireless networking but they lumped it into the electrical and low voltage wiring category because they didn’t have any sub-category for setting up wireless networking).

The company was set up for doing building and maintenance projects, not IT and they just didn’t know how to incorporate it into their platform. In my opinion, Service Magic is clueless when it comes to the IT industry and it shows.

The perfect platform would be a Service Magic lead generation approach with an OnForce platform and management. Service Magic is a marketplace in the true sense of the word. Unfortunately, based on my own experience, they seem to lack the integrity and trust that OnForce initially built into theirs.

If you want an example of a real marketplace , it is Service Magic. It doesn’t attempt to control or manipulate the marketplace, only provide a platform on which the client and provider can meet. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it isn’t the best one.

Episode 33 – Macgyvertech

This week we are going to talk to an IT Service Provider who does it all. We’ll find out how he manages both the business and tech sides of his company and ask him what it means to be a real Macgyvertech.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:19
Billboard 2:24

News and Comment segment 5:36
AMD announced that it would accelerate its roadmap with an early release of its six-core Opteron processor this June and plans to ship a 16-core processor in 2011.

Sponsor: Try GotoAssist Express free for 30 days! For this special offer, visit www.GotoAssist.com/techpodcast.

A new podcast called Macgyvertech launches May 2009 at http://www.macgyvertech.com. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

If you think Windows 7 will finally lure users away from XP and redeem Microsoft for Windows Vista, think again, says a new study by Kace Networks. http://www.kace.com/pdf/analyst-report/Windows-7-Adoption-Survey.pdf .

Commercial Break 1:00
Get Great Web Hosting at GoDaddy.com and save 10%! Listen for the discount code in the show. GoDaddy.com 1:00

Intro to Interview 1:51
This week we’re going to talk to Parrish Reinoehl of Pathfinder Networks, learn how he started his business, talk about his experiences as a tech who does it all and find out what it takes to be a real Macgyvertech.

Parrish Reinoehl Interview 13:24

Wrap up and Close :46

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show.

©2009 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

Episode 33 – Macgyvertech

This week we are going to talk to an IT Service Provider who does it all. We'll find out how he manages both the business and tech sides of his company and ask him what it means to be a real Macgyvertech.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:19
Billboard 2:24

News and Comment segment 5:36
AMD announced that it would accelerate its roadmap with an early release of its six-core Opteron processor this June and plans to ship a 16-core processor in 2011.

Sponsor: Try GotoAssist Express free for 30 days! For this special offer, visit www.GotoAssist.com/techpodcast.

A new podcast called Macgyvertech launches May 2009 at http://www.macgyvertech.com. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

If you think Windows 7 will finally lure users away from XP and redeem Microsoft for Windows Vista, think again, says a new study by Kace Networks. http://www.kace.com/pdf/analyst-report/Windows-7-Adoption-Survey.pdf .

Commercial Break 1:00
Get Great Web Hosting at GoDaddy.com and save 10%! Listen for the discount code in the show. GoDaddy.com 1:00

Intro to Interview 1:51
This week we're going to talk to Parrish Reinoehl of Pathfinder Networks, learn how he started his business, talk about his experiences as a tech who does it all and find out what it takes to be a real Macgyvertech.

Parrish Reinoehl Interview 13:24

Wrap up and Close :46

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show.

©2009 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

 

http://media.techpodcasts.com/theforcefield/media.libsyn.com/media/theforcefield/The_Force_Field_33.mp3  

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