Nerds to Go President/CEO David Colella started in the family room of his Old Saybrook home. Now, he has a fleet of computer technicians in bright yellow Scions throughout the region.
David Colella is awfully proud of his new television commercial.
“It’s on a CD somewhere around here,” he said as he dug through boxes stacked high with papers and computer books. Without any luck finding the CD, Colella sat back down in his desk chair.
“Its like that old Wendy’s commercial, the ‘Where’s the beef?” ad,” Colella explained. “But ours is three little old ladies around a computer. They’re having all sorts of problems and one finally goes, ‘Where’s the nerd? Where’s the nerd?” Just thinking about the ad was enough to spark a chuckle form the president and CEO of Nerds to GO, a computer repair company that brings the technician to customers’ homes.
With a fleet of 25 “Nerdcars” and 35 “Nerds”, Colella is hoping to become the household name of computer repair the way Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have become for coffee.
With the business growing each month, Colella is on his way to success, but it wasn’t always fleets of bright yellow cars and catchy commercials for Colella. There was a time when his wife, Kristina, was raising their kids in one room of their Old Saybrook home while he was answering calls on his toll-free telephone number in the dining room.
“I literally started the business out of the dining room until my wife said she wanted to serve Thanksgiving dinner in the dining room,” Colella said.
As Colella’s business expanded, his computer work began to take over the kitchen. Before long he had wires running from room to room and he was quickly running out of space.
“I’ve always had high, hopes but I’m also realistic,” Colella said. “When it got to the point that I had computers in the kitchen and an 800 number coming into the house, I knew I had to find an office.”
Now, Nerds to Go is in an out-of-the way second floor office, tucked away in the back corner of shopping plaza in Guilford. When Colella went office shopping, he intentionally looked for places that were off the beaten path. As an in-home repair service, Colella said it was more important that potential customers find their cars than their office.
Colella said he encourages his employees to customize them — that’s why he bought Scions.
“It’s super customizable. IT’s boxy and nerdy looking,” Colella said. “It’s been recently listed as one of the ‘hot tech toys’ for 2005. Who would have thought they would have become popular vehicles?”
Colella, a former computer technician for a large company, said he wasn’t surprised by his own business’s popularity.
“There are over 290.000 computers in residential homes and small businesses that need support,” Colella said, “With that need, our plan is to have a nerd within five miles of every customer.”
While NErds to GO services mostly PCs, the nerd technicians are also certified to service other computers. Every nerd has at least 10 years of experience as a computer tech and has Microsoft certifications. Most of the nerds also have Apple certifications.
“There are a lot of people who don’t even realize Apple still exists,” Colella said. “But there are still a lot of people who are very loyal to Apple. If the nerd for an assigned area isn’t an Apple guy, then we’ll send a different nerd.”
Colella’s techs have serviced nearly 1,000 machines this month — a month Colella described as “slow.”
“We get really busy around August and September because of back-to-school,” he said. “But then we’re busy around Christmas time, too. June and July are pretty slow because of vacations.”
As Colella’s customer base swells, he said many people still tell him they’ve never seen a computer service like his before.
“A lot of people say ‘you could be the next Bill Gates,’ but who knows about that,” Colella said, pausing for a few seconds,
“Well, I guess it’s possible.”
Those finding themselves in need of a nerd can call 1-800-390-NERD or visit the web site www.NerdsToGo.com
By Laura Robida