By Matt Wiley
Do you hate your computer? That’s the question Jeffrey Blank asks many of his customers. Are you fed up with the infamous “blue screen,” the endlessly spinning “rainbow wheel of death,” or the grey Apple logo screen? All of these are signs of doom to the productivity and possibly the life of your computer. Regardless of the operating system, however, Blank says that every computer is capable of having its share of problems.
That’s where he and his company, WSICA (We Save Individuals Computer Assistance) come in. New Tampa computer viruses, spyware and malware beware. Help is on the way!
“I troubleshoot, repair computers and network computers,” says Blank. “I also remove viruses, malware and spyware. I give customers answers in plain English so that I don’t confuse you —unlike some other places.”
Blank says he has been working with computers for more than 25 years and has made a business out of repairing them since 2000. He works mainly with Windows computers, but has some experience with Macs, as well.
“If you’re not sure if you should replace your computer or not, I’ll advise you,” he explains. “I don’t sell computers, so I don’t profit from you replacing the one you have.”
Blank says that it all started with his friends and neighbors back in Vernon, NJ, who were always calling him to ask for advice about their home computers.
“I think my wife, Laura, got tired of me leaving to go fix people’s computers all the time and said, ‘Hey, it’s time to do this as part-time work,” he explains. “So, I started it as a part-time business.”
He took the business full-time while living in New Jersey, but had to build an entirely new customer base when the couple moved to the Hammocks community of New Tampa (next to Grand Hampton, off County Line Rd.) in 2011.
Blank handles the repairs, and Laura handles the phones, making sure the customers get a quick call back. Because his customer base is still in the early stages of growth locally, with most new customers hearing about his service through advertisements and word-of-mouth, it’s still a part-time gig here. However, when Blank left New Jersey, he says he also left behind more than 600 customers.
“The problem with business up there was that I was doing such a good job that people weren’t calling me back anymore,” he jokes. “I’d fix their computers and then they wouldn’t need me again. When I moved, my customers were upset. They wanted to know how I could leave them. Where would they get their computer help?”
Slowly, Blank is beginning to build a New Tampa customer base, one computer issue at a time.
“The biggest ‘headache calls’ I get are from people who brought their computer into a small shop and the guy in the shop told them to replace theirs and offered them a deal on an off-brand computer,” he explains. “Six months later, that shop’s out of business and the customer has a computer that doesn’t work, with no way of restoring it. I always tell people to stick with the name brands.”
Another issue Blank says that he deals with most is “slow computers,” or computers that have become bogged down malicious background programs and viruses.
“Figuring (the issue) out I can usually do in an hour,” he says. “Fixing (the issue), however, can take longer.”
Blank charges $75 per hour when he works on computers, but, instead of the customer taking the computer to a shop, Blank comes to the customer’s home where, usually, all the repairs are done. But, if the computer has to be completely reloaded with software or needs new parts, he may take it home.
Some free advice he offers is to always have an up-to-date virus program, for a PC-compatible especially, and to always clean your computer, especially the ducts. He says computers are like vacuums without bags, so dust can cause a lot of problems.
Another way that Blank helps his customers is by answering the “little” questions free of charge.
“Once you’re my customer, if you have a quick question, I’m not going to charge you,” he says. “Rather than throw geek-speak at the customers, I explain things to them in plain language. That usually calms people down a lot. They don’t have to call a software company and wait on hold for an hour to talk to someone in India.”
But, don’t just take his word for it. Amy Steele, one of Blank’s many customers, knows whom to call with her computer issues.
“I have confidence that if a computer problem can be fixed, Jeffrey is the one to do it,” she says. “Not only does he resolve the issue, but he takes the extra steps to ensure that the proper software is installed to prevent similar problems in the future.”
So, if you hate your computer, or it seems like it’s slowing down, give WSICA a call at 973-4507 or send an email to WSICA@WSICA. com. For more information, you also can visit WSICA.com.