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I just bought a laptop with printer & want to set up a mobile office. I will also be buying a digital camera so I can some how include photos of the customers home in my proposal. My goal is to have everything up & running by Spring of next year but would like it to be sooner. So right now I am brainstorming different ways to utilize a mobile office, mainly ideas that involve helping me sale more jobs and stand out from the compitition. I know printing out estimates on the spot is one big bonus of the mobile command unit but what other ways could I utilize this technology.

Thanks for any input
 

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LOL did you get that title, "mobile command center" from me? That's what I call my mobile office.

Download all your brochures from your manufacturer's websites and keep them in your computer. I've sometimes forgotten to bring something with and I get to print that on the spot... always being prepared.

Bring your computer in the house with you and show pics of completed work, or work in progress, to your customers.

Get some type of wireless connection for checking e-mail and being able to keep up with your customers, and your office staff, remotely.
 

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Hey Grumpy, I actually seen "mobile command unit" on a few -Geek Squad- computer repair trucks but, I have also searched this forum & might have picked it up from you to & not realized it.
I use my phone for e-mail right now which notifies me when ever I have a new e-mail. It works great except sometimes the on-line function doesnt work for a few hours at a time. My laptop is wireless ready but I still have to figure out where the hot spots are when I'm cruising around.
Do you use pictures of the customers house in any of your materials? I think the customer would be impressed by this but I'm not sure if I want to take multible pictures & set it up as a slideshow or take just one of the front of their house & place it on my proposal somewhere.
 

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I also do the 'mobile office' thing. In fact, I wrote an article about it last year for hte NGPP Installer magazine. Look into color preview software. I got mine from my Ben Moore rep for free, but only think it cost about $20 anyways. I don't have to use it much, but on big sales, it has helped slide it to my favor. It allows you to take digital pics of the rooms in question, and 'paint' them in different BM colors. For high-end clients, I offer this as a add-on service. 3 rooms, 3 pics each, 3 color combo's (ceiling, walls, & trim) $250. It can be done on-site, or after at the office and emailed later. If I think it will make the sale right away, I do it for free. Easy to use once you learn it.

Also, you can keep spreadsheets on production, hours worked, material usage, etc etc. The opportunities are endless with a PC on-site.

Don't forget map software for those remote bids.

What printer are you using? I have the HP 450 Deskjet WBT. comes with Bluetooth connectivity and a battery. works great.
 

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Pro, It's about $15.00 here and I got it for free too. Just another tool in the box. I've found that the colors are not exact even after tweaking as recommended.
 

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For hot spots check http://wireless.yahoo.com/

I have step by step pictures of everything we do, all types of roofing, all types of siding, all types of gutters all types of windows. I then am able to show the customer step by step what to expect. This was very time consuming but worth every second.

The simple fact that you bring a laptop in with you to your meets tells the customers that you are a professional and sets you aaprt from the hacks with the low price.
 
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