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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering how most of your guys summit a proposal. When
doing a on the spot estimate. I just just have a hand written bid sheet
with a carbin copy for myself. So I was thinking of purchasing a small
laptop with a printer, to store in my truck. I think it would be more
Professional looking and it would kept my bids more organized. Thanks
for your thoughts
 

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I was wondering how most of your guys summit a proposal. When
doing a on the spot estimate. I just just have a hand written bid sheet
with a carbin copy for myself. So I was thinking of purchasing a small
laptop with a printer, to store in my truck. I think it would be more
Professional looking and it would kept my bids more organized. Thanks
for your thoughts

It is not a bad idea but not for all types of estimates. Some of them requires little more than few minutes. For some smaller or less complicated jobs you can close deal right the way.
I am doing it as well.
Combination of Tablet PC (fujitsu T4020), Sony digital camera HP OfficeJet H470 Mobile Printer. OneNote (drawing) and QuickBooks (estimating).
 

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INTRA, I have the "mobile-office" type deal set up in my truck. People are surprised when I say I will go to my truck and write up the estimate then return with an official letterhead with the proposal on it all instantly. In my type of work, I think it helps set me apart a little bit. Here is a guy with a nice computer typed up proposal who is only a few hundred dollars more than a guy who just showed up and wrote down the proposal on a napkin. The way I personally see things is that a guy who takes the time to buy a computer and type up an estimate and make it look official and nice will most likely take more care on the project being done to the home.

Other people just dont really care because all they want is a number. People who want a quality product and install are the ones that care about something such as this.
 

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I go home and do everything 3 times just to make sure. I also like to get on my CAD and do blueprints so the customers get a visual feel of what they want and then I e-mail everything to them where they can sit there and ponder and such. Being in Cen TX with 90 days of 100 deg heat I would not take a laptop and besides on job sites there always seems to be dust which would bring havoc to any kind of PC stuff. Heck my simple calculator only lasted about 2 weeks. :blink:
 

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You are establishing a mindset with the customer when you hand them anything. The level of professionalism your submittals (of any kind) convey will solidify impressions and expectations of you, personally and professionally, and the quality of work that can be expected.

See my post HERE.
 

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For those with printers in you trucks, what do you do to keep the ink from freezing in the winter?

I know you can start the truck and turn the heater on, but I can well imagine it could take an hour for that heat to work it's way deep into a printer.
 
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For those with printers in you trucks, what do you do to keep the ink from freezing in the winter?

I know you can start the truck and turn the heater on, but I can well imagine it could take an hour for that heat to work it's way deep into a printer.

I usually keep the whole set up inside at my house except on days I know I am going to do estimates so I have yet to run into that problem. Also, since I do outside work, not too many people are looking to have work done in the winter. It usually just collects dust until spring.
 

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I usually keep the whole set up inside at my house except on days I know I am going to do estimates so I have yet to run into that problem. Also, since I do outside work, not too many people are looking to have work done in the winter. It usually just collects dust until spring.
Weather is a factor in my location and I have considered decking out the truck with the computer, stand and printer for smaller estimates as well as invoices on service calls.

I've always been too worried about the elements to make the jump though. Mostly due to the question 480 sparky raised regarding ink.

If anyone has a link for a complete system including the printer, please post it. I've tried looking on sites that equip police cars, etc. and gotten no clear idea about if something like this is available for a somewhat reasonable cost.
 

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I was wondering how most of your guys summit a proposal. When
doing a on the spot estimate. I just just have a hand written bid sheet
with a carbin copy for myself. So I was thinking of purchasing a small
laptop with a printer, to store in my truck. I think it would be more
Professional looking and it would kept my bids more organized. Thanks
for your thoughts
Not to forget the OP, I hand write smaller estimates and send larger ones via e-mail or snail mail from a computer.

It depends alot on your penmanship, spelling and grammar. Mi spelin iz reelie gud n soz my gramir, but my penmanship is horrendous. I am also interested in doing something like you have in mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I think it will be worth the money. My bids will look more professional and organized .So i'm going to start shopping around. If any of you other guys can recommed brands,models, that would be a great help. Thanks
 

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Most every one has a printer at home now .
I can give a customer a verbal quote then email it to them and they pull it off there computer and print it , wile i Waite
There is no difference who hits the print button .
Most of the time i drop back with a proposal and a plan .
I like to give the customers time to get to know me .
Most of my work requires planing and design that doesn't seem to happen on the first date. John
 

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I think it is great idea to have your computer and printer in your truck if you can. It truly sets you apart, but if you can't do that a good idea is to print out some blank estimates with your letterhead. If you have to give an estimate on the spot at least it will be on your letterhead and not a plain piece of paper or carbon copy type. I always try to take a little time before a proposal making sure you've covered everything and so I can print out eveything instead of handwriting it on the spot, but I have given handwritten estimates on letterhead before (pressurewashing, small painting, etc.).
 

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Anyone have any good set ups for using the computer in the truck? I am not looking to permanently mount anything, but I get real cramped and aggravated using the computer in my truck
 

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Weather is a factor in my location and I have considered decking out the truck with the computer, stand and printer for smaller estimates as well as invoices on service calls.

I've always been too worried about the elements to make the jump though. Mostly due to the question 480 sparky raised regarding ink.

If anyone has a link for a complete system including the printer, please post it. I've tried looking on sites that equip police cars, etc. and gotten no clear idea about if something like this is available for a somewhat reasonable cost.

There is a place in Lombard that has all kinds of stuff for your work truck or Van:

http://www.inlad.com/JottoDeskComputerLaptopMounts.aspx
 

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You may want to do a search on this site of pcplumber and printer. I have not seen him posting in awhile but he had some good ideas on sales, and one included a digital camera and portable printer.
 

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I carry a Cannon i70 and have used it for about 6 years. Never had an issue with frozen ink.

I rarely pull out the printer unless the customer is ready to move forward with the project. My experience has been that providing specifications, drawings, and documents prior to a commitment reduces my closing ratio significantly whether through email or print.

This might be a good place to differentiate between bids, proposals, estimates and selling.

IMHO, bidding is when a set of specifications is provided and players calculate a price for the same exact work. The bottom line usually gets the job. I never bid on anything, but if you do a mobile printer could be an asset.

A proposal is when you come up with some recommendations based on your best guess of what the homeowner may want to accomplish. I never propose, but if you do, a mobile printer could give you an edge.

Estimates are what people think they want, some wild number pulled from the air on what some project may cost without any information about size, quality, specifications, needs, etc. I never estimate, but if you do, a mobile printer would only get you into serious trouble because you'd have no idea what to write down.

Selling, is when the provider asks a series of questions to ascertain the goals of the buyer, listens to the meaning of the answers and focuses a presentation on exactly what the buyer wants and needs to know to make a decision. This does not include high pressure, a close, or trickery. It does include a genuine concern for the customer, honesty, a huge "open" and writing specifications to complete a perfect project. The solution is unique, complete, and exclusive so it is not available as a handout.

I do not bid, propose, or estimate. I am a salesman, and I sell. When I make a sale, I use a mobile printer to complete the process in one fell swoop. If you sell, a mobile printer could be a valuable tool to make your life easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
i carry a cannon i70 and have used it for about 6 years. Never had an issue with frozen ink.

I rarely pull out the printer unless the customer is ready to move forward with the project. My experience has been that providing specifications, drawings, and documents prior to a commitment reduces my closing ratio significantly whether through email or print.

This might be a good place to differentiate between bids, proposals, estimates and selling.

Imho, bidding is when a set of specifications is provided and players calculate a price for the same exact work. The bottom line usually gets the job. I never bid on anything, but if you do a mobile printer could be an asset.

A proposal is when you come up with some recommendations based on your best guess of what the homeowner may want to accomplish. I never propose, but if you do, a mobile printer could give you an edge.

estimates are what people think they want, some wild number pulled from the air on what some project may cost without any information about size, quality, specifications, needs, etc. I never estimate, but if you do, a mobile printer would only get you into serious trouble because you'd have no idea what to write down.

selling, is when the provider asks a series of questions to ascertain the goals of the buyer, listens to the meaning of the answers and focuses a presentation on exactly what the buyer wants and needs to know to make a decision. This does not include high pressure, a close, or trickery. It does include a genuine concern for the customer, honesty, a huge "open" and writing specifications to complete a perfect project. The solution is unique, complete, and exclusive so it is not available as a handout.

I do not bid, propose, or estimate. I am a salesman, and i sell. When i make a sale, i use a mobile printer to complete the process in one fell swoop. If you sell, a mobile printer could be a valuable tool to make your life easier.
great post
 

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For those with printers in you trucks, what do you do to keep the ink from freezing in the winter?
Don't use an inkjet printer. :thumbsup:

Seriously. LED page printers and even laser printers have become so reasonable these days that there's no real reason to avoid them. You don't have to worry about temperature or clogged nozzles. And although inkjets may still have just a bit of an edge when it comes to color printing, it's not by much at all when you add the price of the cartridges to that of the printer itself.

The one thing you do need to be aware of, and most people aren't, is that just like inkjets, LED/laser printers have a minimum duty cycle rating--performance isn't guaranteed if you print less than X number of pages a month. But although some of my past customers ran into that limitation, I personally have never had a problem with it. And my printing needs ran well below their usage levels.
 
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