I have two questions for you. I have renters coming in to my house each week throughout the summer. Tech-wise, what should I do to prepare for potential tech-related issues that might occur? My second question is similar: What should I do to prep for common unforeseen issues that might arise at the business I manage?
It’s that time of year again. Trips to the Post Office take 40 minutes instead of five minutes, traffic going into Five Corners gets backed up toward the drawbridge, driving into Edgartown via VH–Edg Road backs way up the hill, and the Island’s population skyrockets. People coming here mostly do so for the love of where we live. It’s an amazing thing that we should appreciate. Living where people actually want to come see. This season boosts our economy in a way that not many other small communities see. First of all, thank you to all of our visitors and seasonal residents. We might not say it, and potentially could come across as put off by the crowds, but from my perspective, thank you for coming to our little place in the ocean.
Back to the questions at hand, though. I love writing these articles that might help some readers out of what would be tough spots. Thank you for writing in. Without further ado, here we go: Home rentals are great, but also require some core tech needs for your renters. The basics are related to Internet, TV/streaming services, and printers. With regards to Internet, make sure you know your Wi-Fi password, and change the default password on your wireless router. Oftentimes, people call me as a result of someone changing the settings on their wireless router, and the new tenants can’t access the Internet. It adds a stress that doesn’t need to be there, so I’d make those items the first to check off the list.
If you offer a streaming device to renters (maye a Roku connected to a TV), you might want to wipe out the logins for your specific streaming services, but it’s not a necessity. I’ve heard people talk about all sorts of odd things that are popping up in their Netflix recommendations. Let’s just say some of those movies could use a certain Barry White song as a theme, and awkward moments have happened as a result. If you don’t wipe out your logins for streaming services, your history and preferences will be shared with whomever is using your subscription, and their viewing habits will be attached to your accounts. Again, not a huge deal, but something to be cognisant of.
Last, a rare request I’ve heard from people is to have a printer available for their renters. It’s a pretty nice thing to offer, as many people combine work and vacation and it can be handy to have the ability to print. Grab a few extra ink cartridges and leave them in a handy spot. It might not be as appreciated as a nice coffeemaker or corkscrew, but if the need arises, it will be a really nice rental fringe benefit.
With regards to work, there are some basic things I remind people of year after year when entering the busy season. The first is the same as I mention to homeowners. Change your default passwords on your wireless router, and make sure you know all of your equipment and network passwords. Take stock of your vital equipment, and try to have some replacement equipment readily available if possible. A network switch is a big one to have. A switch allows for multiple devices to plug into your network. Every once in a while a port on it will go bad, or the unit itself will die. An 8-port gigabit switch currently sells for $25 on Amazon, so it’s an inexpensive item that will be invaluable if you end up needing it. Spare network cables are handy to have around too. Chances are you won’t need them, but figure out the longest lengths you might need and buy a few.
We all know what can happen when everyone has their air conditioners running, right? Power issues can arise, and a surge protector or UPS (uninterrupted power supply) can be very handy to have in use. A decent lower-end UPS will cost $50 to $75, and will keep whatever is plugged into it running for a certain period of time if the power goes out. Most of the time it’s a quick lapse in electricity, but that will still shut things down, and sometimes when power comes back on, there’s a surge that can ruin your electronics.
I’d also make sure you have your Internet service provider’s contact information and your account number handy. Looking for that information once a problem arises can add stress to a situation when people are reliant on Internet being up and running.
Hopefully you won’t need to use any of the things I’ve recommended, but you’re better off covering the bases and being prepared in case you have an issue. I write a similar article either going into the summer or early in the summer each year, and each year someone reaches out to me with a story relating to at least one of the items I mentioned in this article.
Adam Darack is the IT administrator for the town of Edgartown. He writes regularly about the technological issues facing Island business owners. Got a question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Dear Geek.”