going hi-tech, laptop/printer install

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by BSDeality, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    Do you consider yourself efficient for one time jobs? Last week I had work in a development, signed a group of neighbors all up together. The night before I plugged in everyones info and printed out their invoices so I could drop them on my way out, (aka get paid faster). I thought i was ahead of the game until 4 other families approached me while i was working and asked for the service also, luckily i had some proposal sheets I had printed out to sell the other neighbors on-hand. I scrawled in their names and property sizes and did the math out by hand. It worked, but it was a very sloppy hack job since my handwriting sucks.

    I decided that was the last straw, today I went out and bought a wireless printer ($179) and a newer WIFI card ($69) for my laptop. I had a 400w power inverter in my truck already which i use to power it. I could have boughten any cheap printer and run a USB cable from my dash to the backseat where i have my printer, however that would mean i would have to hook up before i could print anything. However with my wireless connection I bring the laptop outside the truck with me and still print. It *also* allows me to sit inside here and and print out tomorrow route sheet, right in the truck. Nothing aggrevates me more than getting halfway to my first stop and realizing i forgot my route sheet. The printer sits under my backseat in my extended cab 350 very snug, It is a perfect fit height and depth. The inverter is up by the center console.

    I feel the potential is huge. I can take my measurements at an estimate, go to the truck, plunk in the numbers and print something out *on the spot* for the customer. I also no longer have to try to remember what the service price is.

    The only thing i do not have at this point is a stand for the laptop, however I do not feel I will need one since I use Gopher's Palm software for my maintainence route. I can even stop at the Post Office on the way home, print out the invoices and drop them off.




  2. N.H.BOY

    N.H.BOY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,603

    Nice set up. A few ? as you would quess. Is that printer a special kind to fit under a seat or was that just a wild luck of the draw that it did? It looks pretty tight under there. Snug fit? I have a palm pilot T-5 and I use it for my account info and other info, but I didnt realize Gopher has a software for the palm! How does that work for ya and any info on the software will be great. Im checking Gopher after I write this. Nice set up and good luck with it all, lock your truck payup
  3. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    I went to staples.com and checked out what they had for wireless printers. you can get the physical dimensions of the printers from the website, I went out to the truck and measured and turns out its almost a perfect fit. It looks tight top to bottom, but you can put weight on the seat and it doesn't pinch the printer. It's a "normal" printer in all aspects except it has wifi built in.

    Gopher's palm software is still in development, but it does function OK for daily maintenance work. When i get to a job, i hit "start" and "stop" when i'm finished. it then marks it as complete in Gopher at the end of the day when you sync up. I bought a sticky dashpad that holds my nextel and pda right on the dash and it will *not* bounce loose (we have extremely bumpy roads around here too).
  4. N.H.BOY

    N.H.BOY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,603

    Hey bud there is a great thread on laptops in trucks on Elements of Buss. you might check out for your "laptop stand" in your truck.
  5. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    having a lap top in the truck is great we have one but the stand is no good i used to drive a tow truck and we had one on a stand in the truck like most police cars do....lasted 3 maby 4 months....the bouncing around is too much it just kinda moves alot so just fold it up on the seat and when you need it use it. Just my two pennies worth
  6. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    I forgot to mention I have GPS with navigation in the truck also, I'm going to be looking at running it into my laptop to do tracking on a (large) map and see if I can speed up my routes any more.
  7. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

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    Hi BSDeality,

    I am really happy to see your set up. Great pictures. I hope your ideas inspire others with what they could do as well.

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  8. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    I plan on doing something very similiar soon, as well as getting internet hooked up to it so that I can check the weather and search for directions when doing estimates.

    I tend to go home to do my callbacks when I can, since I feel more comfortable talking to someone with my schedule and my computer in front of me. I think if I had a setup like that, I would feel much more comfortable doing callbacks out in the field.
  9. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,807

    nice set up.. how great are wi-fi printers though. i just purchased one a few months ago for the office, we have a few laptops. its awesome to be able to walk around and print..
  10. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    I've been thinking about upgrading my cell plan to do wireless internet, but i'm not sure if its worth the investment for me. Our library provides free wireless, I can park in the parking lot and get on from the truck, check email, weather, etc. I also have a client or two which I have noticed have open wireless routers... not that I would ever use it...

    I love having the printer in the truck, it was in from september to december with no problems from the use and abuse i throw at it. I took it out for the winter because I'm sure freezing temperatures aren't good for the ink

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