Who Is OnForce?

OnForce (OnForce.com) provides access to over 12,000 service professionals in a number of technology categories, including computers, printers, networking, voice over internet (VoIP), point of sale technology, and consumer electronics. OnForce
Services include repair, training, and installation throughout the USA and Canada. OnForce currently processes about 23,000 work orders per month. This is about 10% higher than last year.

This service allows small companies to easily provide service and support nationwide. Approximately 60% of OnForce work orders are for troubleshooting and repair. The rest is primarily installation or deinstallation of equipment.

OnForce, formerly ComputerRepair.com, is often compared to Ebay, but instead of merchandise, OnForce auctions technical services. In fact, some of the OnForce executives came from Ebay. The OnForce system typically results in work being awarded to the contractor who will agree to work at the lowest rate. OnForce and similar services have their share of detractors.

Certifications are tracked, and buyers can filter service providers by these certifications. The number of different certifications tracked by OnForce has recently been increased. This has historically been an important weakness of the OnForce system. Certifications from BICSI, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Nortel, Samsung, Sun, and SonicWall are now also tracked. With these changes, OnForce now earns a "Fair" grade (upgraded from "Poor") with their certification tracking. A comprehensive Microsoft certification list is the most glaring oversight.

OnForce also includes a system for tracking criminal background checks and drug tests. The contractor must pay for these checks, but since buyers often filter by these attributes, the contractor is encouraged to participate.

OnForce Technology

OnForce technology is reminiscent of early Ebay technology. Remember that Ebay was "technology-challenged" in the early years.

OnForce interfaces with the contractor via a web portal. Since most contractors in this type of work are mobile, OnForce also sends an SMS (cellphone text) message, to alert the contractor that they need to check their account. If the contractor has a web enabled phone, he can log in and accept the work order. SMS can be a weak link in the system since SMS relays are notoriously unreliable. Remember that the tech may only have a couple of minutes after the SMS message is received (if he is lucky!).
Onforce Service Vehicle

The next time that you see a service vehicle cut across 3 lanes of traffic for a highway exit, you might consider that it could be an OnForce tech racing the clock to bid on a job.

Remember when Domino's Pizza was sued for pressuring their drivers to drive recklessly to deliver pizzas on time? Dominos should have reorganized their drivers into a contractor workforce ... Shazaam!!!      Zero Responsibility!

Enhancements to the system by OnForce are promised. OnForce is undoubtedly an important development in the IT services chronology.

AT&T ConnecTech Now Partners with OnForce

AT&T now offers on-site tech support, called "ConnecTech" that include services such like PC repair or Audio-Video services. Zip Express Installations (a spin-off of Best Buy) also uses OnForce, primarily for flat-screen installs.

Because these tech support services are hard to manage with a unionized labor force, companies like AT&T are contracting with third parties like OnForce for these services.

The on-site IT market does not have a clear leader at the moment. With the bankruptcies of Circuit City and CompUSA, it is clear that there is not a retailer that's well positioned to fill that role.

OnForce has earned the Geeks Informed Smell Test rating of Somewhat Stinky.

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