Cyber Fixit Firm Makes House Calls

May 27, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — Be careful whom you call a nerd … he just might be every computer novice’s dream.

At least that can be said of the nerds from Nerds On Site, a computer assistance company born in London, Ontario, who come right to the front door of the computer or computer user in need.

Now the nerds have come to West Michigan in the form of Benjamin Woolley.

Back in Canada, the founders of the company, David Redekop and John Harbarenko, were working in a computer shop when they realized there wasn’t anyone to fill the niche of door-to-door computer service.

“They saw many businesses and people losing valuable production time and thought there had to be a service there that could correct that,” Woolley said.

“They wanted a business that was completely mobile so that customers could have one less thing to worry about.”

In addition to working as independent contractors from their homes, Nerds On Site drive Volkswagen Beetles, in a nerd-only shade of red. The cars are wired with Internet access and carry the company’s logo as well as its nerd’s name.

Woolley said the company currently has between 200 and 250 nerds traveling door-to-door in Canada and South Africa and — so far — four in the United States. Woolley said he got into the business because he had a background in computers and wanted to have his own firm.

“I liked the idea of bringing the business to people so they didn’t have to pack up everything and bring it to the shop,” said Woolley. “It also makes it easier to diagnose the problem when someone is working on their computer.”

Nerds On Site works primarily to provide IT support but also designs Web sites, provides maintenance, helps solve software problems, provides network security and virus protection, network design, installation and support to complete IT department outsourcing.

And while Woolley has only been a nerd since Feb. 17, he said his business has taken off.

“It started out with a call every other day and then went to a call a day, and now it is several calls a day,” he said as he silenced his ringing cell phone.

Company promotions have helped Woolley out. He says he started with some mailers to businesses and residents, and then he and some other nerds got together to parade their red Beetles around town, converging at Krispy Kreme to get people’s attention.

That, Woolley added, is what is great about this business. He said that working for the company means having your own small company inside of a larger one, with everyone willing to help each other out.

“We are not competing with each other, but we are here to help each other out,” he noted. “If one of us can’t diagnose a problem, hopefully another nerd can.”

The company operates on a diagnostic cost basis, charging a one-time $79 diagnostic fee, refundable if a diagnosis cannot be determined, non-refundable if the problem is diagnosed but is not repaired by Nerds On Site or applied to the cost of service if a nerd diagnoses and fixes the problem.

As of now, Woolley is very proud to be a nerd and looks forward to taking his business into many homes and businesses in the area.

“I want to continue to service the brand,” said Woolley. “We want to be the power brand for computer service. When someone has a computer breakdown or some type of IT need, we want them to think, ‘Oh, we should call the nerds.’”

Nerds can be reached at www.nerdsonsite.com or 1-877-MYNERDS; Woolley can be reached directly at 262-8831.

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