OK, this is NOT my office, but it could be!
No matter how hard I try, paper continues to flow into my office like water flows over Niagara falls.
People fax me stuff, mail me stuff, hand me stuff. I take notes on paper and print out things to take notes on.
I'm trying to get better
ActiveRain issued this challenge and it made me think where I can get better.
Here is the list of things that I either have been doing or think that I can do better.
1) Faxing: I vow not to fax and add more paper to someone else's desk. Instead, I will scan and email or send an efax.
2) Use Acrobat Pro: I had a friend with an extra Acrobat Pro license. So, I have Pro on my computer. This gives me the ability to receive a contract an edit it without printing off.
3) MLS Documents: Our local MLS added a document section. Instead of copying disclosures and leaving at properties, we are posting them on the documents section.
4) Voice Recorder: I have a voice recorder App on my Droid. Instead of taking notes on paper, I take memos here.
5) Flier Reduction: I think that having fliers in front of listing are a smart thing to have. When someone drives by, they can get something physical that may later remind them to take action. That being said, we are putting QR codes with links to information about the property in front of all of our listings. Additionally, we are using a return text feature that will send a link when the client sends a specific text message. We still have the fliers there. When people stop taking them, we will stop making them.
6) Sync: I rent an exchange server for my team. This allows us to keep our contacts, calendars and tasks synced with each other and with our phones.
7) Backup: If you plan to go paperless, backup is essential. I recently had someone call for a HUD-1 for a 2007 transaction. I went to my basement and pulled out a copy, scanned it and emailed it to him. While my house could burn down (knock-wood) and destroy my paper records, the chances of that are staggeringly remote. A hard-drive failure is exceedingly more likely. Talk to 10 people and you probably won't find someone that has had a house fire, but I'd bet that at least three of them would say that they lost some data from a hard drive.
8) Transaction Management: A key part of any office is managing your transactions. Do you have the correct data, forms and tasks? Our MLS provides a very low-cost on-line transaction management that is a must to go paperless.
This post is written as a submission to the ActiveRain & Kodak Paper-less Challenge contest. I have the chance to win the high speed KODAK SCANMATE i1120 Scanner, great for helping real estate professionals reduce their stacks of paper by scanning contracts, photos and business cards in seconds.