Looking for a Web site that only lists information about freelance computer consultants and consulting companies?Rent A Geek, a no-frills site with a simple database of information on independent consultants, may be the place for you. While Rent A Geek doesn’t provide job listings or any of the enhanced project-management services you would find on a site such aseWork Exchange, it does offer, among other benefits, a simple design and ease-of-use likely to appeal to hiring and project managers seeking your services. This site is also a good place to register if you’re based outside the United States or looking for work overseas because it facilitates the posting and retrieval of international listings.
Registering with Rent A Geek is free, easy to do, and takes only five to ten minutes. Just click the Add a Listing link on the home page and fill out a simple registration form. You include your name, location, and the city or region in which you’re willing to work. In your contact information, you list an e-mail address and a Web site URL, which will appear as hypertext links in your online profile.
The next step in the process is to enter keywords and phrases that will help potential employers find you when they search the database. According to the site, “The more information you provide, the easier it will be for potential clients to find your listing.” It’s recommended that you include software packages, programming languages, and any other skills that you have or services that you provide.
After you enter keywords, check one or more boxes that note your areas of specialization. Included among the 13 areas to choose from are graphic design, Internet setup, training, database design, HTML, and repair/support. Note your platform expertise by selecting from Unix, Mac, Windows, Windows NT, O/S 2, or Novell.
Next, you enter a brief description (up to seventy-five characters) of the services you provide. This description will appear in a potential client’s list of initial search results. You also can add a longer description (up to 650 characters) that will be included in your full profile.
You conclude the registration process by creating a password. When you submit it, you’ll be assigned a User ID. These two pieces of information will enable you to edit your listing any time by clicking the Edit link on the home page. To delete your listing, you have to send an e-mail message containing your User ID and password to Rent A Geek.
Searching the database
Rent A Geek’s database currently includes listings for about 3,500 consultants. Performing a search of the database is especially quick and easy for potential clients because a search box is positioned at the top of the home page. It’s the first thing they see when they visit the site. To find a match among the consultants listed, these potential employers just need to enter keywords describing specific skills they’re looking for, and a province, state, or country name.
|Using the search box on the home page makes finding contractors a quick and easy process.|
The site also offers an advanced search interface that enables a search to be performed using any combination of location, keyword, name, area of specialization, platform, or listing date.
Be aware that there is a drawback to renting yourself through Rent A Geek—you could get some bogus e-mail. A “Spam Alert” posted on the site at this writing notes that someone is sending out unsolicited e-mail and impersonating Rent A Geek. Rent A Geek, however, does not send out spam and promises to fix the problem. Despite this temporary inconvenience, Rent A Geek provides a very useful service for helping consultants connect with clients.
For additional information about the site and its services, send questions firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thomas Pack is a freelance technology reporter.What do you think about Rent A Geek? Do you know of any other interesting or helpful sites for consultants? We want to hear from you. Post a comment or send us an e-mail.