Frequently Asked Questions
What services does Holland Consulting provide?
Holland Consulting is a computer support resource for small businesses.
The primary thrust of my business is networking, however I typically
act as a first "point of contact" for most of my clients support needs.
Design and implement new office networks
Upgrade existing networks
Implement fault-tollerant, rapid-repair networks
Clean-up existing networks to make them operate as the users expected
Implement backup and redundancy systems
Restore broken systems to operation
Cost effective, needs-based internet connectivity, ranging from very cheap
to very expensive.
In-house Internet servers
Other computer support issues
System maintenance, support and upgrade
Act as the client's advocate with other product and service vendors
What DOESN'T Holland Consulting do?
No, Holland Consulting doesn't do anything and everything.
Holland Consulting is not a repair service. I am neither in business
nor equipped to do repair of broken computers. That being said, I
am a very competent and very experienced repair person, and a master diagnostician.
I do not sell hardware or software. I worked for a computer dealer
for nearly ten years, and I noticed how the needs of the customer always
seemed to reflect what was in inventory or what was currently offering
a dealer "spiff". When I make a recommendation, it is based on the
client's needs. Period. I do not accept spiffs from dealers
or vendors for referrals. You will very often hear me make recommendations
that no one else will ever tell you.
Another surprise to most people is I don't install Windows 9x peer-to-peer
networks. The logic is simple: Rule 1: A server that crashes
is bad. Rule 2: Windows crashes. Put it together, and you quickly
see that Windows makes a lousy network server. Some people do have
"successful" Windows 9x peer-to-peer networks, I do not deny this, and
these people have a very cost effective solution, however, I have seen
this happen in probably only 50% or so of the installations I have seen
and done. 50% likelihood of success is not acceptable to me.
Implement other people's design. Generally, someone who is qualified
to design a system is qualified to implement it. While I am very much in
favor of as much client input as I can get, if you know how to do my job,
you don't need me to do it!
Bad jobs. I won't undertake jobs where I am not confident I can make
my client happy, even if I do exactly what the client asks me for.
Where do you do work?
Primarily the Detroit (Michigan) Metropolitan area. Telephone consultations
to other areas can be arranged, but I am not really wild about responsibility
for a system I can't lay my hands upon within an hour or so in a crisis.
What do you charge?
Everyone's favorite question. Click here
for detailed rates. Short version, $125/hour.
Wow, that's a lot of money! I have a neighbor who will help me for
much less than that!
Most people take the $125/hour, multiply that by 40 hours a week, and
multiply that by 50 weeks/year and come up with a darned impressive number,
and they figure my service has a very low overhead. Unfortunately,
that is not the way it works.
First of all, I like to keep a "loose" schedule for the purpose of being
available when problems arise. Like most people, I get frustrated
when I go to a doctor's office at the time of my appointment, and end up
waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Or having a repair
person come by, where if you can get a four hour window of when they will
show up, you are doing well. I don't want to do these things to my
clients -- I find that much more than 15 billable hours in a week starts
getting difficult to manage. There are many other things which take
up my non-billed time, none of which I get direct revenue from, but are
critical to the business -- travel time, research, keeping up with technology,
As for the overhead, it is much higher than you might expect -- software,
hardware, books, equipment, it adds up. Worse, much of what I end
up investing in has the effect of reducing the time required to diagnose
and repair problems. This means I often end up SPENDING money to
REDUCE my income! I do this deliberately and consciously, however,
as I feel that for the long run, providing top-notch support will improve
my business through referrals.
Unlike your neighbor, this is my job. If you have a problem at
10:00am in the morning on Tuesday, you can get ahold of me. If your
needs are not critical to the operations of your business, your neighbor
would probably be a better choice. However, if your computer support
needs are critical to your business, you need a full-time support provider.
How many people are employed by Holland Consulting?
One. Nick Holland. And to head off the next question, yes,
I work out of my house. Other than I would love a lot more space,
I can't find any reason to have an office. Although it might be nice
to be able to "go home" from the office, many of my clients appreciate
the ability to reach me at odd times of the day and weekend.
Wouldn't it be better to have someone else to "back you up"?
Perhaps... However, if you look at many "larger" computer service
companies, you will often find their entire network support staff consists
of one very capable person -- except that person's pay goes to pay the
book keeper, the phone answerer, the building, etc.,
Another problem is, who? If the person I would hire was my equal
or superior in abilities, why would they wish to come to work with me?
If the person I were to hire was my junior in skills and ability, do you
volunteer your client to be supported by the second-rate person?
I think I provide some of the best support available to my clients.
I do not believe this is in spite of, but rather BECAUSE of being a very
small company -- you have one person doing, scheduling, designing, repairing,
Yes, there is a risk that if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, you will be
without a support person. However, in the case of many "larger" companies,
which still have only one support person, you aren't in any better shape.
I am aware of this concern, and it is legitimate. This is one of
the reasons I keep my systems very easy to support and maintain.
A competent network support person should be able to walk in and continue
the maintenance of one of my systems. I'd rather keep you a client
by keeping you happy, not by keeping you hostage.
How stable of an operation is Holland Consulting?
Well, this has been my one and only source of income since April, 1992.
That's a pretty good track record in this business.
I also brag that in my first year of business, Holland Consulting had
higher profits than both IBM and General Motors combined. But then,
IBM and GM were both running at a loss in 1992. )
Why don't you pursue medium and large businesses as clients?
Well, small businesses are just more fun.
They pay their bills in a timely manner, I get to work with the decision
makers and the system users in one group, and they understand the
importance of their computer systems to their business, and are much more
likely to be results-oriented, not just obsessing on names.
That being said, I don't hide from medium sized businesses, although
I try to keep from having any one client responsible for more than 10%
of my annual revenue.
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since June 24, 2000
Copyright 2000,2004, Nick Holland, Holland Consulting
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