What was the scope of their involvement?
The requirements were for a two-dimensional website. One caters to the general public looking for apartment condos to rent and also serves as a platform that allows our agents to run their businesses. Our agents are independent contractors who we provide with all the tools needed to rent our apartments.
The second and most important part was providing a set of tools that allows agents to do 30–40 different things, from sharing apartments with their customers to posting those apartments with the click of a button on various websites (e.g., Craigslist, Trulia, HotPads, Zumper). The more important part was giving agents tools for increasing both their business and ours without them having to be in-office.
The site also had to be highly functional to allow users to make searches easily as well as be able to come up with the required dwellings. Geeks Chicago did an amazing job in both respects.
The website layout allows the general public to make searches, share apartments with friends, and send showing requests to us via an integrated calendar. Beyond the attributes visible to the general public (e.g., number of bedrooms, bathrooms, available parking, proximity to schools, contact information), agents get access to a completely different set of information. They can see the owner name and phone number, leasing and presentation instructions, and the contact information for the agent in charge.
Geeks Chicago was also able to figure out a way of mapping each apartment in reference to certain school districts. Chicago Public Schools offered an API, but it was difficult to work with and required a week of work from their team. Geeks Chicago created a custom API for dealing with this which lists every school district.
We have a completely custom site. I believe they used PHP.
What is the team composition?
We worked with two or three people from their team. The scope of the site was set up with Mark [Co-Founder, Managing Partner]. I also dealt with two programmers from his team who were responsible for everything. Mark checked in with me periodically to see how everything was running.
How did you come to work with Geeks Chicago?
I came across their name when I was looking at different companies online. I talked to one of my competitors who I’d known for years and he told me some good things about Geeks Chicago as well. I reached out and found them to be a good fit.
How much have you invested with them?
The cost of their work was around $35,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with Geeks Chicago around mid-October 2017. The project was wrapped up in mid-December. We have them on a monthly retainer.
Over the past 20 years we’ve built websites that were top-notch at time of launch, but eventually became obsolete. We decided to keep Geeks Chicago onboard so they could continue to improve the site and eliminate the need to completely rebuild it in two years.