After more than a decade of home tech support throughout Southern California, Make It Work and its familiar fleet of red Mini Coopers have called it quits.
“We’ve been heading the wrong direction since 2008,” said co-founder and CEO Eric Greenspan on Monday. “We had a substantial client base, and tried to ride the wave of the economy like everyone else, but the revenue just stopped flowing.”
Make It Work, which dispatched employees from its La Cumbre Mall headquarters to customer homes, was also hurt by shifting consumer tastes (user-friendly smart phones and tablets) and emerging technologies (self-healing operating systems, solid state hard drives). “We actually got more of a variety of calls, but the volume wasn’t there,” said Greenspan.
A few months ago the company shifted its pricing structure — from per hour to per job — and last year secured a contract with Costco to offer tech support for products sold from 20 of mega-retailer’s California locations. The life-saving bids worked to a degree, but not enough to keep the company afloat.
“We were running on fumes,” Greenspan explained, a dramatic down-shift from a time between 2003 and 2008 when Make It Work’s revenue soared and its growth seemed limitless. “You can only offer so many promotions before you start giving your services away,” he said of more recent days.
Greenspan spent Monday helping his 34 employees find new jobs and watching as the leased Mini Coopers were picked up. The company is selling off all its equipment and supplies just to pay final paychecks. Of how the closure has affected him personally, he said: “I’m financially ruined. I’m going to be forced to seek relief.” The father of two kids, though, said he’s already received a few job offers and hopes to be back on his feet soon. His former technicians, he went on, have been directed to keep an eye on Make It Work’s Facebook page, where potential employers are already posting other job opportunities.
Wrapping up what he described as “the longest day in my life,” Greenspan suffered insult to injury when he discovered his biggest competitor, Techease, had called a number of local media outlets — including The Santa Barbara Independent — to talk of Make It Work’s demise and explain Techease would be taking over its customer base and honoring any prepaid service contracts.
While Greenspan did seem to have such an agreement in place, the preemptive calls from Techease owner Evan Asher to this paper and others have made him rethink the transfer. “Evan will no longer get our business,” he explained. Greenspan said he encourages other area tech support companies to contact him if they’re interested in absorbing his client list.