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Best office equipment setup

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vargasteve

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Curious if anyone has suggestions for the perfect 2 man office. I've decided to upgrade for 2003

Should I network 2 machines, use a server with 2 workstations, have one super machine & comparable machine networked, any idea's - thanks in advance.
 

Rob Bodkin

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Washington
I have 3 machines, one for me, one for the new part time support person and one for my 2 part time appraisers to use. We are pier to pier and networked through a hub/router to each other and the internet. We don't use a server, the support persons machine has the DVD burner for file storage and back ups. A server seems like a hassle and waste for a shop this small, I don't know how it would help. We each have a printer and share them over the network.

We also just upgraded to new cameras, Kodaks, that share a docking port that downloads the photos and recharges the battery at the same time. Now if it would only make an Eggnog Latte...................

Happy Holidays

Rob Bodkin
Freestone Partners
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
I agree that a server is overkill. Just network your computer. I use Windows 200 and it was really pretty straight forward to like to my laptop. I am sure XP is just as easy if not easier!

You can share printers, scanners ect. Use a router for you high-speed internet sharing and you got it.
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
I would say "it depends"!

What software are you using?

Networking will work well on most appraisal software and a simple hub should be sufficient for a two person operation. A server is not necessary.

Give lots of consideration to the type of internet connection, dsl would be my preference that way you could get by with just two telephone lines...although three would be better with a dedicated fax line. Back in the old days when we had two people working two lines were not enough. Seems partner was always on the phone and the fax was busy so I would sit there waiting to get on MLS.

A good solution is to use or have partner use a cell phone for outgoing calls...lot less hard wiring to do. We also ran into problems both trying to print at the same time.

Eventually we went to seperate stand alone computers for three appraisers and an administrative assistant. That way everyone could do their own thing. If I had to do it over again would network for file sharing.
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
We currently have 4 workstations and a server. We leased 2 of the workstations and the server from Dell and has been good for us.

Ryan
 

Russ

Sophomore Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Go tablets! No more network, no more wires, no more space. Just get a couple tablets, simple wireless network, and a JFax number! Use the rest of your space for a pool table and bar!

Really! That is all you need!
 
B

Bemis Pownall

Guest
WE HAVE 4 STAND ALONE COMPUTERS.

Two for typing, one for email, comps, storing photos etc.
One for late nigh typing in front of the TV.

My buds who are networked just have one more problem to deal with when it aint working. Data gets moved around with zip drives.

that is all
 

Judy Whitehead (Florida)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
I have three computers networked - it's called a switch. Actually the only data that is stored on the host computer are the appraisal forms. Everything else is downloaded into the separate computers - sales information, etc. The cable service is shared by all three computers with the networking. We can all be on the internet at the same time with just one connected line - which saves money. Once you learn how to use the networking properly, you can access other files in other computers through the network, such as documents (blank FAX form, etc.).

We have only two printers - our office is small - all the computers share the printers through networking. This way I can buy expensive printers, but we all have to get ourselves up out of our chair in order to get our page out of the printer, except for me! The "boss" has some privileges! I am upgrading my computer (it is the host) this weekend. I'm lucky to have a good computer tech. The new computer will have Windows XP Pro and a greater capacity. This one is (after two years) reaching capacity. The other two we may leave with Windows 98 or upgrade to Windows 2000. My computer tech doesn't like XP Pro for some reason. I get the idea he thinks it is overkill for me, but I wanted it based on comments from other appraisers who use WinTotal.

I have two phone lines with call waiting, answering service and call forwarding. I have negotiated my long distance charges down pretty good - .07 per minute during business hours. I have a separate FAX line. These phone charges are the highest expense each month that I have, but I wanted a dedicated FAX line since 99% of my orders come by FAX.

Our office is small and we all come here to work, rather than working at home, etc. This set up works real good for us and I agree that a server is overkill. I also use Quick Books, which saves me a lot of time. Hope this helps!
 

Richard Carlsen

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Michigan
My suggestion parallels my own set up.

Get 2 computers that are 1.8 GHz or higher P4 computers, each with a minimum of 2-40 GHz hard drives running Windows XP Pro networked peer-to-peer. Put the appraisal software on one machine so all of the files are centralized. All photos should be on that one machine for the same reason. Use the additional hard drive as a mirror backup if you can. If not, use it as backup for your files, photos, etc. and storage for non-essential stuff. Copy files from the "C" drive to the "D" once a week or more often. Also copy them to the "D" drive of the other machine. This gives you good back up of the files and you will have plenty of space with the minimum of 40gig hard drive. If you need to do lots of printing, use two printers. Otherwise, channel the printing through the machine that is not running the appraisal software. Go DSL or cable for on line if at all possible. It's worth the money. Use a router so both can access the net and get a good firewall immediately. Some soft background music and you are ready for business.
 

Tejus

Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
First, identify your requirements/wish list. What do you need/want to do in the 2 man office?

Second, After you have identified your requirements/wish list, look for gizmos that fulfill your requirements/wish list.

Third, Perform a cost/benefit analysis to determine which gizmos are the best for your situation and obtain those.

cheers.
 
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