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Hi folks,

I am trying to decide the best way to store reports and their related things. I figured I would start a folder for each quarter.

For example;

4th-2007, would be a a folder for Oct,Nov,Dec of 2007.

Within each of these quarterly folders would be sub folders for each inspection that would include the the summary and full report, scanned copy of the agreement and all pictures associated with the particular job.

I am trying to decide what is the best way to title the sub folders to make it easy to reference them down the road if needed.

What do you think is the best way to title the job sub folders for ease of future reference? Client name, property address, doc #, date,etc...?

Any other suggestions?

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I do similar as Chad:

yyyy/mm/dd-XXXX Year/month/day/running sequence number.

Each inspection has it's own folder and they are moved via quarter to a storage box (but accessible). At end of year put into aging storage.

Files on PC are done similar with backups to external hard-drive as well as CD / DVDs.

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Hi John,

That's a good question. I guess it's safe to assume that the reporting software you are using does not have its own database to do this for you. If you aren't interested in keeping things in a database, then a directory hierarchy will do fine.

You will choose whatever organization makes you comfortable, but I suggest a root node (directory) titled something like HIClientDocs. Since you aren't using a database, you now need to decide how you want to find each document. Each document needs a uniquely named directory path.

People's names aren't always unique, so you might want to title directories by date. Start with a folder named 2007. Below that, you can decide whether you want directories JAN, FEB, MAR... or perhaps Q1, Q2, Q3...

Within these directories, you can store the actual files. 27A might be the name of today's first inspection report. That means today's first report is at C:\HIClientDocs\2007\SEP\27A. Of course, C:\HIClientDocs\2007\Q3\0927A would also work. Customize the path to suit your needs and your reports.

Since you do not want to lose any information, it is important that you keep backups. Everyone knows this, but many don't do it! I recommend burning a CD periodically. (Make sure you are burning quality CDs and not coasters!) Depending on the volume of business, you may want to do this daily, weekly, or monthly. I also kept a hardcopy of my reports. There are also websites that let you store things securely. You're the boss, so choose what lets you sleep well.

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I have a folder for each year and then go by report number. You can keep a data base in Excel cross referenced so if someone calls with an address or name you will be able to find the report. Some reprting software have data bases built in or as an add on. I have an external hard drive and save a back as soon as the report is finished. I would also suggest keeping a backup off site in case you office or home is robbed or has a fire. I have to admit I,m a little behind on that one. There are also online services where you can store data. As said before, backup, backup and backup. Don't forget to also regularly backup your inspection software if you edit your library often.

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We recommend to inspectors using our software that they follow the method Gary mentioned. Create a folder for each year, with a folder for each month inside of it. Within that we recommend saving the file itself with the address name and last name of the client i.e. "/2007/September/1234 My Street, My Town - Maricic.pdf". That way you can easily do a search later by either and find what you need. While it might not be the perfect method, it works pretty well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As for backing up, I use 2 external hard drives. One is at home, one is in the safe deposit box at the local bank. Once a month I switch them out. If I have a total loss due to fire or storm, or my home is robbed, I still have a backup available and its information is never more than a month old.

Before I had the 2nd backup I once had to reformat the computer. When I started I forgot to disconnect the ext. drive and erased everything.

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Good subject for me as well.

I have been using Horizon and they store for you but now I am developing my own system and may get away from them.

(though it is a great looking report)

Back to subject I have no office background and would like a comment on two things.

Goggle has a free program called Docs and Spreadsheets.

Would this be a good way to store my reports and client info?

Also ,I have begun storing on discs my reports however was wondering about jump drives (those little USB thingies) are they good for this as I am told they store much more.

Perhaps I am better off to buy an external hard drive as mentioned above.

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Thanks Kurt.

As far as off site storage goes I have checked on several of them and found that most offer up to 1 gig free,however when researching a little I found that you need to make sure the site stays in business.(choose a big name)

I can look it up later but two of the good ones on reviews from the Chicago sun Times are Box.net and omnidrive.com.

I will check out mozy as I never saw that one.

Aol is the one to avoid from what I read as they have little support.

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