I am a former SCORE small business counsellor. The reason I am no longer a counsellor is because my own existing businesses take up far too much of my time. But let me address some of your complaints about SCORE.
These people are volunteers. They are providing their time and their knowledge to help you. They receive nothing in return. Since these are volunteer positions, you will find all levels of expertise. If you aren`t happy with the counsellor you are talking with, ask for a different one.
These SCORE Counsellors are not always "old retired people" on their way to the rocking chair on the front porch. Many of them are still very active in the business world, operating very successful businesses of their own. Others are recently retired, some, because they are so successful, at a much lower retirement age than many of you will experience.
You will find expertise, in some cases, far beyond any that you could pay for. When I started my first business 20 years ago, I used SCORE. The marketing specialist that worked with me was retired from a major New York advertising firm and had worked with some of the biggest marketing companies in the country. His guidance enabled me to succeed beyond my wildest dreams.
And, no, they are not there to provide the answers to you or to do the research and work for you. They are there to guide you and to make you think about research you should be doing.
Unfortunately, many of the people who contact SCORE are like pwheel. They have a dream that they know will work regardless of what anyone tells them. They aren`t willing to do the research, to write the business plan, to work out the financials. Their ego and dream is to big for anyone to tell them anything.
As with any business counseling, you receive what you are willing to put into it.