Thursday, March 28, 2013

What is a Trunk Slammer?

There's a term we nerds sometimes use with each other: Trunk Slammer.

A trunk slammer is an unprofessional IT "consultant" who is really just an amateur working out of the trunk of his car. This personal is generally untrained and got into computer support because it looked like fast, easy money.

A trunk slammer is probably very good at installing most software. But he won't know about most of the tools or techniques for fixing any real problems.

Trunk Slammer
A trunk slammer will do a lot of on-your-job training, very often breaking things in an attempt to fix them. He might then actually fix everything. With luck, he won't charge you for breaking things and then fixing them. But many do.

Note: A trunk slammer is NOT the same as a newbie. Many people who are new to technical consulting as a business have been working on computers professionally for a long time. In fact, some of the best IT consultants are those who spent years supporting users in a large company.

Trunk slammers often charge ridiculously low prices. Like $40/hr or $50/hr. At that rate, you can expect to buy at least twice as many hours than if you had hired a good, experienced consultant. The worst case I have experience with is a guy who charged a client for 16 hours labor and did NOT fix the problem. We fixed it in less than one hour.

There are some technical chores that can be done by anyone with a little knowledge. But in the big picture, your business will be better off if you work with a true professional.

Cheap tech support never is.


Why This Blog?


My name is Karl Palachuk. I am an author, speaker, and technology consultant. I have been working with computers since 1983. I have purchased millions of dollars worth of tech support. And, as a consultant for the last eighteen years I have sold millions of dollars worth of tech support.

My primary job these days is to help technology consultants be better at the "business" side of running a technology company. That includes good processes as well as good business sense.

As you can imagine, I attend a lot of technology events and speak to thousands of consultants every year. I've come to realize that there's something missing in the big picture of technical support: Truly honest advice about finding, hiring, and using good tech support.

There are plenty of self-serving white papers and "books" on how to choose a good technical consultant. (I've written my share.) But there hasn't been a place where business owners can get good advice on technology consultants from someone who doesn't have a stake in the game.

I don't want your business.

Really. If you email me because of this blog, I won't let you hire me.

This blog is intended to give you good advice - and that means I'm not trying to take your money. So why AM I doing this?

I am doing this so that technology consultants can be held to a higher standard. I want our entire profession to be more professional. I've sat on boards and teams designed to make this happen. I've written about it, spoken about it, and advocated it for years.

I hate the fact that there are so many incompetent amateurs in this business. It takes time, experience, and education to keep up with technology. It takes good business practices to give clients good support. And it takes a commitment to the profession as a profession.

If you want a taste of the advice I give to I.T. consultants, see my other blog - You'll see that I am a stickler for doing things the right way. And I believe there IS a right way.

There's also a right way for you, the business owner, to choose and use your tech support. If you want good support, there are certain things you need to do. There are times when you need to spend money. There are times when you need to turn over trust to the people you've hired. There are times when you will rely on consultants to save you money.

And some day you may rely on a consultant to save your business. But you better have the right consultant in place before disaster strikes, or you will probably be out of business when disaster strikes.

I want to help you hold my profession to a higher standard. I want to encourage good, competent tech support and I want to drive morons and amateurs out of business.

You'll find me very opinionated. And I will be as tough on you as I am on the consultants you hire. I hope you'll stick with me for this journey.