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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.