Are you using Dropbox* yet? When I begin working with a new client, especially in last year or so, I automatically assume that the client:
- Knows exactly what it is
- Uses it regularly
- Is a pro like me 😉
When it comes to virtual file sharing systems, Dropbox is one of the market leaders. This is due to the fact that it is very straightforward and simple and requires education to get started. You’ve heard of “working in the cloud” by now, right? Well, Dropbox allows you to sync multiple files online over however many individual devices that you have and stores all your data on a number of servers with a strong encryption methodology. The files you store can be accessed with a minimum of drama from practically any device that has internet access (computer, tablet, smart phone, etc.).
Dropbox is a product that you can download to your device or access through your browser. It is designed to work on a multitude of platforms and on mobile devices as well. It works equally well on iPad and Android, and you can even use it on BlackBerry (if you still have one of those!) and it comes with a number of different pricing levels to suit your particular needs.
At the basic level, you’re able to get 2 GB of storage at no cost. However, it is likely that you will find the service to be so simple and handy that you will easily surpass that minimum level and will need higher tiered pricing. Their pricing is reasonable as you will pay less than $10 per month for 100 GB and can buy additional capacity up through the Pro level. This is called Dropbox Teams and for an annual investment of $795 you can get a terabyte of storage and access for up to five users. This is a great option for a real estate team who really wants to go paperless. I have 16.4 GB in mine, and I’ve never paid for it. You can share your Dropbox affiliate link like I have, and earn free space when people install it.
Getting set up is super simple, and they even have a “getting started” area if you’re having issues. To download, you’ll either:
- Receive an invite in your email from a current user who wants to share files with you
- Go to their website directly or through a link like this one: http://db.tt/DjduqFT (I get extra space when you sign up with that)
- Download the app on your mobile device from your app store of choice
Once you have downloaded and installed the software you will need to create a Dropbox account and you will then be able to access a specific folder on your device. You will see a new shortcut icon appear in your system tray or menubar, which enables you to get into your Dropbox folder with a simple click.
Remember that your files will be stored in the cloud when you load them into Dropbox, and even though all devices will be synchronized with the latest version of any particular file, Dropbox also keeps earlier versions of the files. This is especially useful when you accidentally delete something, or move it to another folder and can no longer find it.
I don’t use this feature very often, but through the “public” folder you can share your files with others. Don’t worry though; even though this is called “public”, the files are only accessible with the link that you are provided with. You can initiate invitations to people to share access to specific folders. When you do this you will be sent to the Dropbox website where you enter the e-mail addresses of the people whom you wish to have access. They in turn will need a Dropbox account, although they only need to install the client if they want the shared folder and automatic downloads into their own dedicated Dropbox folder.
If your’e not yet using Dropbox, here are some ideas on how to use it:
- One folder for each client, with multiple subfolders (remember though, you have to share the entire folder. Subfolders do not get their own set of rules!)
- One file for each transaction, labeled by address (obviously for realtors)
- Share files with your team
- Share files with your family
There are literally thousands of uses for Dropbox for both business and personal use.
Leave a message in the comments on how you use it!
*Full disclaimer: Dropbox link is an affiliate link. If you click it and install dropbox, I will receive extra space. You should do this too!
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