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.



  1. Lets not forget trunk slammers rarely understand business themselves, don't provide real strategy to the customer, and often lead them nowhere or worse, down the wrong path.

    Hire a true professional that understands the impact IT has on YOUR business, provides a roadmap, AND can clearly explain it.

  2. Good point, Juan. A professional takes himself seriously and learns something about business as well as technology. A good technology consultant will also be a good business advisor - from the technical perspective.

  3. When did trade consultants start charging more than lawyers and engineers?

  4. About 1970 I think.

    I remember when I was in high school, I was a member of VICA - the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America. They told this joke:

    A lawyer calls a plumber, who promptly fixes his problem. They the plumber says that will be $200/hr.

    The attorney says, "I'm one of the best attorneys in town. I don't charge $200/hr!"

    And the plumber says, "When I was one of the best attorneys in town, I didn't either."