Many remodeling companies use computers with wireless modems in the field. The superintendents of Mingioni Construction, in Edgemont, Pa., did so, too, until owner Joe Mingioni realized that the company was losing time and money when staff couldn’t consistently get an Internet connection.
“Laptops are fine, but if you’re on the road and can’t get a signal when you need access to the Internet then there’s a problem,” Mingioni says. Superintendents would have to get information e-mailed or faxed to the office, then go to the office to bring it back to the site.
So Mingioni invested in AirCards, also known as mobile broadband cards, which plug into a port on your laptop, PDA, or cell phone and allow you to connect to the Internet. You don’t have to search for a hot spot or share a line to an Internet connection.
“As long as there is cell service, you can get access to the Web,” says Mingioni, who purchased AirCards through his Sprint Nextel phone service plan. (Other cell phone service providers also offer them.) Check with your service provider about the type of coverage you’ll get. All three superintendents, plus Mingioni, have AirCards. Mingioni pays $65 per month per card to have Web access 24/7.
Now the remodeler doesn’t worry about getting information right to the site, and he can get e-mail anywhere and correspond directly with suppliers. “It has helped communications between the supers, the office, and the customer,” Mingioni says. “Files, bills, PDFs directly from vendors, design specs for appliances ... It’s worth the investment for me.”
—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.