How To Calculate Appraisal Office IT Cost

Understanding your Total Cost of Ownership, and how it affects your business.
Calculate Appraisal Office IT Cost


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Why Total Cost of Ownership is a Key Concept

With Information Technology, like a commercial building, “Total Cost of Ownership” or TCO is a key concept.  It’s a reminder that the purchase price of hardware or software is only the starting point to calculate appraisal office IT cost incurred by your business – and often it’s the smallest part of the TCO. 

And like commercial buildings, one way businesses try to keep TCO down is to buy cheap and defer maintenance.  Buy the cheapest hardware (servers, desktop computers, laptops) and hold on to it as long as possible.  Do the same with packaged software.  Maybe have a part-time IT person do set-up, but avoid a service contract.  This is a risk/reward calculation just like any other business decision.  The point that many don’t appreciate is that it’s a ticking bomb.  It’s not “if” a problem occurs, but “when.”  Servers will crash, printers will need maintenance, software becomes incompatible with other newer products and is vulnerable to malware attacks.

 Neglected IT means downtime for employees and lost revenue. 

 Here’s one way to get a feel of how much problems cost the business.  Consider the revenue generated by a good appraiser is about $1,000 per day.  Any down time costs about $125/hr.  There’s actually more though – what’s the long-term cost of missing a deadline to a lender? 


Calculate Appraisal Office IT Cost Overall

Now, let’s scale this up.  There’s a lot of technology even in a small office.  For example, an office with 5 appraisers and 2 administrative staff (total of 7 people) might have: 

  • One server for shared file storage with backup system 
  • 5 desktop computers
  • 2-5 laptops (depending on appraiser personal preference) 
  • High-volume printer/copier 
  • Router and WiFi access point 
  • Desk phones and phone service 
  • Internet service 
  • Mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras 
  • Microsoft Office software 
  • Appraisal automation software 
  • Quickbooks 
  • Part-time IT and phone service person.  (The office is too small to support a full-time expert.) 

Adding up all the hardware, software and services for a new office creates a big number.  And, for many offices, there’s a chunk of money spent on getting everyone set up, trained, and keeping things humming along well.  Then, there may be as much as a couple years before any serious trouble hits.  A new office will invest some time in getting things installed successfully, and maybe some training too, but then it often stops there.  Things are new and problems are less frequent, lulling the management into a false sense of security. 

Fast forward about 3-5 years.  What we see time and again, , that IT guy hasn’t been around in months, maybe years. The hardware is outdated and slow, some has failed.  The backups may be happening (but probably not), who knows?  The software is old and security holes are not being patched.  This is the situation many small offices find themselves in today. 

There’s a Better Way

Today, there are many tools for simplifying the IT environment: 

  1. Retire the office server and put shared files in the cloud.  Options include Box, GoogleDocs, SpiderOak and more.  Read a review by PC Magazine here.  The files will be backed up, you can access files from anywhere, and it will be cheaper. 
  2. Get rid of your office phone PBX and use a VoIP solution.  There’s a multitude of options that, compared to an in-office PBX, will have more features, be easier to manage and can be remotely supported by the phone vendor.  A review of the most popular is here.   
  3. Upgrade to Microsoft Office 365.  Having the current version of the ubiquitous Microsoft Office suite is very helpful when interacting with other companies, sharing files and more.   Yes, there’s a recurring cost per person to use it, but it’s usually worth it.  The subscription will also provide file storage, so you can get both Office apps and a cloud for one price. 
  4. Move to realquantum commercial real estate appraisal software.    Realquantum is the only cloud-native, commercial real estate appraisal software that requires no Excel or Word plug-ins.  The app runs in a web browser, is accessible from anywhere on the internet and doesn’t need a local IT expert or a local server to function.

A Ton of Value for a Tiny Investment

Add up what you’re paying for all the technology I mentioned. With realquantum, you can simplify all that. You’ll find our solution is the best value for running a modern appraisal practice. Simply pay a monthly subscription based on the number of users you have, plus one-time implementation/conversion fees. That’s it. Then you’re off and running-and loving life.


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