Online IT Marketplace OnForce Gets Some Competition

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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SmartSource, an IT recruiting firm that caters to the permanent and temporary staffing needs of IT solution providers and systems integrators, is launching its own online IT staffing marketplace, saying that the self-service option provides a budget recruiting option for those in the market for temporary IT workers. Tecdirect.com is launching with a database of 8,000 technicians.

Online IT services marketplace OnForce just got a new rival, and one that has a history of serving the staffing needs of IT solution providers.

SmartSource, a Chicago-based IT recruiting company that caters to solution providers' temporary and permanent staffing needs nationwide, has launched Tecdirect.com—an online marketplace for temporary IT staff.

The self-service marketplace is being pitched to IT solution providers looking to augment their staff in a more cost-effective way than the traditional temporary staffing services that SmartSource also provides.  

CEO Joe Iovinelli is making the marketplace competitive with OnForce by not charging a $15 fee for work order origination. All revenues to Tecdirect.com come from the standard 10 percent charged on the total work order. He says that OnForce charges both the 10 percent and the $15 origination fee.

Not paying the $15 would seem like pennies to some, but Iovinelli says it can add up if work orders are not picked up and must be resubmitted.

Tecdirect.com emphasizes individual technician experience over the work order approach as well, listing several technicians and the prices they typically charge for the type of work they specialize in.

Such an approach theoretically could remove the low-ball bidding on work orders that many VARs say OnForce’s work order approach has caused, which they have said erodes the prices paid for services.

"We think Tecdirect.com will be a big splash, since OnForce has so many clients," says Iovinelli. He estimates they have 30,000 transactions a month going through their site. OnForce CEO Peter Cannone says that number is actually "north of 50,000" at the online IT services marketplace which got its start in April 2004.

Iovinelli adds: "The other thing is that we are positioned more as a one-stop shop for systems integrators and IT solution providers" because SmartSource also offers traditional temporary and permanent IT recruiting services for that market.

"OnForce makes sense if people want a self-service model. So we thought we’d offer both a full-service and a self-service model," he says

While he doesn’t have actual numbers, Iovinelli estimates from discussions with the technicians registered with Tecdirect.com that about half are also listed at OnForce.  Tecdirect.com currently claims 8,000 registered technicians in its database, and the service has been running as a pilot for the last six months. About half of those 8,000 have worked with SmartSource before, and the other half were referred to SmartSource.

Average work orders are about $150, with top jobs being desktop repair services, POS installations and simple installs.

"We are getting service calls picked up in about 10 minutes," he says. And clients that don’t find a resource can still call SmartSource for more comprehensive recruiting help.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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