Who are the Nerds?

Once upon a time… waaaayyyyyy back in 2004… computers were just becoming a household staple. 

They were big, bulky behemoths with about a thousand wires connecting a “tower” to keyboard, monitor, mouse, internet (often still dial-up!), printer, and more. If something went wrong – you got a virus, couldn’t get online, or couldn’t get your printer to work, you had to take everything apart and lug that 30-pound desktop tower into a shop. 

The technician would monkey with it over the course of about a week, pronounce it “fixed!” and send you on home to attempt to decipher how to get it all set up again. If they were kind, they’d at least wish glazed-eyed computer newbies a heartfelt, “good luck!”

What about Nerds On Call?

Nerds on Call founders Andrea & Ryan Eldridge knew there was a better way: friendly computer nerds that would go to you to fix your computer, trained to translate the “techno-babble” into understandable English, without charging you an arm and a leg.

As technology evolved, so did we. First expanding our shop locations when the laptop boom led customers to want convenient locations to drop off their mobile devices, then launching a remote service department when customers wanted immediate fixes without a technician in their home.

Today, Nerds on Call is still offering fast, friendly, and affordable computer repair and technology services to hundreds of thousands of loyal customers. 

Parody poster says a lot about Nerds On Call
Parody poster for learning about nerds on call
Parody poster for nerds on call

A Spark is Lit 🔥

Our story begins in 2003.

Ryan & Andrea Eldridge had moved from Orange County to Redding, California, leaving a successful company in search of some trees. One day Andrea’s mother called, from Shasta Lake City a few miles away, frustrated and discouraged. Her computer wasn’t working – could Ryan please come over and either fix it or kill it?

After he cleaned up her problem, she turned to him and said,

“Someone ought to start a company that sends people to your home to do this sort of thing! Kind of like a plumber, but for computers.”

That was it: the inspirational moment that brought Nerds On Call to the world.

Nerds on Call is Founded! 🤓

Thinking that if Andrea’s mom needed a computer repair house call, other moms of the world surely did too, Ryan and Andrea decided to test the theory. 

Cautiously optimistic, yet trying to remain practical, they put Andrea’s cell phone number on the first flyer that went out in the local paper, the Redding Record Searchlight, in March 2004. 

Within a few days, the buzz of this new service began to hit a fever pitch. Ryan was working from 7am to midnight every day; Andrea had a phone attached to her ear so often, they were kind of afraid the radiation would turn her into a comic book villain.

Andrea Eldridge at nerds on call

“You’re welcome” to Verizon for the next two months of thousand dollar cell phone bills!

New Hire Nerds! 🤓🤓🤓🤓🤓

In March 2004 – realizing they needed sleep, and consistent meals – they swapped Andrea’s cell phone for a landline.

Next, they began the hunt for qualified, friendly Nerd employees: technologically savvy enough to build a computer from spare parts in the basement, but still able to “speak english” instead of “technobabble” to those of us not versed in nerd lingo.

Employees for the history about nerds on call

New Digs 🏠

While working from home was fine when it was just Andrea and Ryan, it was awkward for the newly hired technicians and scheduler to work from the Eldridge’s downstairs den.

In July 2004 the team moved into their first office on Market Street in Downtown Redding in the historic Sherven Square Building. Living above the old Cheesecakes Unlimited location had it’s perks. Being on the second story (remember what we said about computer equipment being big & bulky back then?) was not so convenient.

Nerds on Call car going out to for computer repair in Redding

Nerds Invade Chico and Sacramento

We knew that we could help more people, if only we could get trained and skilled technicians in more communities.

In 2005 – with the help of our right-hand man, Shane – Nerds on Call expanded, opening locations in Chico and Sacramento.

Secret Expansion by Sneaky Nerds

Overwhelmed with the logistical challenges of managing three locations, Andrea puts a freeze on new location expansion. 

Undaunted, in Spring of 2006, Ryan and Shane teamed up and did a “secret launch” of service to the Yuba City and Marysville area, sending our Chico staff to service the first calls and revealing their dastardly deed to Andrea once demand warranted a dedicated shop location.

Luckily Andrea forgave them.

A New Store Every Minute… Almost.

Fueled by momentum (and their success convincing Andrea that we could do more), the trio pushed through a blitz of new location launches in 2007, opening Vacaville, Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield, and Medford Oregon.

And we continue our annual holiday party tradition to celebrate the team and all they do to keep computers and gadgets everywhere running smoothly – but we relocate the party to Rolling Hills Casino in Corning to accommodate all locations and staff.

Go North Nerds!

After successfully launching their Medford, Oregon location in 2007, and after doing the math on how long it would take to travel to locations if we kept pushing south, the team decided to invade Oregon “for real.” In 2008 we opened locations in Eugene, Oregon; Portland, Oregon; and Tacoma, Washington.

And while Shane and Ryan expand Nerds on Call service locations North, Andrea expands the Eldridge family by a factor of +1 mini-Nerd – Jackson born in November 2008.

Inc. Magazine Takes Note

With our rapid expansion, loyal fans, and exponential year-over-year growth, we made it onto the radar of Inc. magazine. In 2009 – and for the following 3 years,

Seeking opportunities to help people with the day to day usability of gadgets, Andrea and Ryan begin appearing regularly on news and morning shows such as Good Day in Sacramento, Wake up with the CW in Las Vegas and More Good Day Portland, talking about ways to keep your technology working for you instead of irritating you.

Andrea also begins writing a weekly column with her sister, Heather, “Nerd Chick Adventures” that appears in the Redding Record Searchlight.

Heather and Andrea posing for photo for the 'about nerds on call' page

Remote Support is the Future of Repair

Evolving technology and customer needs begins to show that what customers really want is immediate help, especially for the small but super frustrating issues like printers not connecting, email inbox issues, and weird system errors and alerts.

Luckily, by the time 2009 rolls around, remote login software has become reliable, allowing us to offer remote login support to customers needing quick fix repair immediately. 

Meanwhile, Andrea’s technology column is picked up for syndication through the Scripps Howard News service, helping to expand the reach of her tech tips and recommendations for online tools.

Andrea begins to wonder: does it count as “bring your child to work day when you don’t technically ever leave the office?

On the bright side, computer proficiency will surely be an early life skill for the Eldridge brood.

As the travel agenda for monthly segment appearances in Sacramento, Fresno, Portland, Las Vegas, and Redding becomes more daunting, Andrea recruits Ryan to take on more of the live appearances. He sets out to prove that Nerds can be funny and charming under pressure (*at least in Andrea’s opinion).

Ever Evolving

As our remote support team grows to keep up with customer needs, we soon discover that we need a more robust technician community than the relatively small town of Redding, California can supply. 

In 2011, we make the difficult decision to divide our call center and remote support departments off from our corporate offices, relocating the remote staff to Fair Oaks, California – on Fair Oaks Blvd., no less.

This leads to two years where Ryan is in Sacramento running the call center while Andrea is running the corporate office in Redding.

Andrea working in the Redding office of Nerds on Call

Ryan commutes from Sacramento to Redding each weekend. While he enjoys the expansion of restaurant dining opportunities (El Pollo Feliz really does have the best chicken ever and if you want to dispute that you may have to fight him) but it’s tough missing out on so many moments of the earliest years of the latest lady Nerd to join the Eldridge family: Isabella, born in January 2012.

While on her (not actually) maternity leave (haha), Andrea partners with Ehow.com to create a series of Videos detailing how to DIY repair common technology problems. Baby Isabella does great on set, even though she doesn’t make any “official” appearances.

Andrea’s Ehow partnership quickly expands to a joint partnership between Nerds on Call and Ehow to create a new service Ehow Now.  Ehow Now offered Ehow site users “instant access” to get technology questions answered through a chat interface on Ehow.com.  Nerds employees handle thousands of questions per week, and in many cases would remote into customer’s computers to fix their tech issues.

Andrea wrote a book, actually, three books in a single year (!) as part of her continued Ehow partnership. Not sure how she finds time to sleep… wait, that’s right – two kids under the age of 5 means she wasn’t sleeping at this point anyway.

Today and Tomorrow

If we have learned one thing about working in the technology service world is that you have to be ever adaptable. Over the years we’ve morphed from providing primarily in-home service to homes and businesses due to bulky, cumbersome desktop computers, to providing more in-shop service to dropped off mobile devices like laptops and tablets, to offering ping-in online support to a growing number of clients that want quick fixes without having to wait for an appointment or have someone in their home. We’ve expanded our smart home division and offered digital marketing solutions to select small and startup businesses, all in an ongoing effort to bring technology services to everyday folks that just need a Nerd.

Ryan and Andrea continue to dedicate their professional lives to the goal of making technology work FOR you. Family TV appearances are our favorite way to find “work/life” balance.

The 2020 pandemic led to another phase in our support of our customers – helping to support work from home warriors and home school “Zoomers” through the trials of keeping home networks and devices working overtime.

Whether you’re home, in an office, living remotely or out “in the trenches,” our Nerd team aims to keep you connected to your friends, family and colleagues.

Andrea and Ryan continue to share tips and tricks for making technology work for you on our blog and through regular appearances on network morning shows in Sacramento, Redding, Las Vegas and Portland, OR. To see our latest videos, check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/c/Callnerds/videos

Timeline

November 2003

A computer virus attack inspires Andrea & Ryan to launch an onsite computer repair company, so no more moms and grandmas need suffer the injustice of dismantling a desktop to take it into a shop.

November 2003

March 2004

Nerds on Call is founded in Andrea & Ryan’s Redding, California home office. They quickly determine putting Andrea’s cellphone number on the flyer was a bad idea.

March 2004

May 2004

The first Nerds are hired and Andrea & Ryan realize they can’t keep having technicians and schedulers working out of their house…

May 2004

July 2004

The first Nerds on Call location is opened on Market Street in downtown Redding.

July 2004

2005

Nerds on Call opens locations in Chico and Sacramento, California.

2005

2006

Ryan & Shane team up for a “stealthy launch” of service to Yuba City, California.

2006

2007

New location blitz! Nerds on Call launches locations in Vacaville, Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield, and Medford Oregon.

2007

2008

Nerds go North, opening locations in Eugene, Oregon; Portland, Oregon; and Tacoma, Washington.

2008

2008

Our most popular offering ever: The Nerds on Call Online Service Plan, is born, allowing customers to have access to unlimited online support for a low monthly fee.

Read the article

2008

2009-2012

Nerds on Call is recognized by Inc. Magazine as One of the Fastest Growing Companies in America, four years in a row.

2009-2012

2011

Remote Support is launched, allowing Nerds on Call technicians to instantly log-in to fix customer issues, eliminating annoying wait times for quick fixes.

2011

2012

The call center and the remote support team relocate to Sacramento, CA.

2012

2013

Nerds On Call partners with Ehow to create Ehow now an online live chat tech support service.

2013

2017

The digital marketing department, Squirrel Digital Marketing, is launched, allowing Nerds to help small businesses navigate the waters of digital marketing.

2017

2018

Nerds on Call partners with Home Technology Pros to offer custom smart home and home theater installations in the California area.

2018

2020

Amidst a global pandemic, we relocate our Nerds on Call Sacramento shop to combine with our remote support call center, offering Sacramento area customers a more convenient location and more open hours availability.

2020

Nerds on Call in the news

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