What equipment do you need for a home office?
If you are starting or already have a retirement business you should be using your home as an office. If you are able to set aside one room as your home office you will probably be able to take a home office deduction on your taxes. And if you are using part of your garage or basement to store equipment, inventory, or materials you can deduct that too.
- Laptop or desktop computer – Tablets and iPhones are great devices but not for a lot of typing and productive work.
- Printer – Invest in a good color inkjet printer with copy and scanning capability. Also consider a smart printer that can work with your wireless router.
- Router – These are very cheap and allow you to connect your desktop, iPhone, laptop, printer, smartphone, and tablet together in a home network. Don’t rent one from your Internet provider as it is much cheaper to buy one.
- Office suite – You need a good set of software like Microsoft Office, Google Docs, or Open Office.
- Anti-virus – Protect your data from hackers with good anti-virus software like Avast which is free or purchase.
- Graphics software – If you will be working with images or selling products that you want to display on your own website you will need a program to crop and modify images. While the standard is Adobe Photoshop it is only now available online as a pricey subscription. You are better off getting something like PaintShop Pro.
- Accounting – You should not keep your book manually. Instead I suggest that you get either QuickBooks.
- Disk drive – Invest in a separate hard disk drive to backup you data and / or use an online backup service.
Telephone systems –
- Cell Phone – If you have a personal mobile cell phone you can use it for your business telephone providing that:
- You answer every call with your business name. Nothing sounds more unprofessional than answering a business phone with just “hello”. That means all your friends will always hear your business name unless your phone displays their calling information.
- You will need to have an answering system that will answer you cell phone even if you are talking on the line, on vacation, sleeping, or you forgot to carry the phone with you.
- If you are sharing the cell phone with someone else, then don’t use it for business. Even your spouse might not know how to answer or take messages well.
- Business phone – I don’t recommend getting a separate business phone (nor using your house phone) because they are more expensive. Also you need to be able to forward calls to your mobile phone and take voice messages. Many simple business phones will not notify that there is a call waiting and will simply give a busy signal to the caller as they cannot record a message while you are using the phone to speak to someone else.
Read more here on answering systems.
- Lamps – I suggest a floor lamp and goose neck table lamp.
- Storage – Get a used filing cabinet.
- Table – I found that a draftsman’s table was better than an office desk because the table surface was deeper and it could accommodate peripherals like a printer and extra disk drive better.
If you will be shipping products then you will need
- blank shipping labels (which you can print on your computer)
- boxes (get new ones as recycled boxes look cheap)
- mailing scale
- packing foam (instead of old newspapers)
- tape with a dispenser
- Bluetooth device
- Credit card swiper for PayPal
- Phone charges
Setting up your home office
- Remove everything from the room to start with. That mean beds, clothes, tables, furniture, plants, and bookcases. This will help you get a fresh look at the space that you have to work with.
- Clean and paint the room a bright white. Fix any switches or light fixtures. You don’t want to be working in a dark cave.
- Install more electrical outlets, shelving, and decide where you will place the phone, router, and modem.
- Bring in your furniture. Then your computer equipment. Keep cords together with ties.
- Next bring in any wall items like business license, calendars, whiteboards, and artwork.
Check out this link for more ideas. Hundreds of Retirement Business Ideas.
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