Newbie needs suggestions for an office

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Hank & Kathleen

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Mar 28, 2006
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Our home is for sale!  We are making the leap to full-timing in a 5er. 10 years ago we full-timed in a 32' motorhome for a year but, as a software developer and computer programmer, the availability of high speed Internet wasn't good enough to support my business requirements.  Now, with the newer satellite systems we think we have a better chance.  Both Kath and I have laptops but we also need our own desk top, file cabinet and usual office stuff.  Then there's a printer, paper, CDs, books, etc., etc. We don't want to have to open, move and otherwise arrange our desk everytime we want to do some work.  One idea we had was a toy hauler. Convert the backend to an office area.  Another idea is get a 5er with bunkbeds- tear those out and build a desk/wall unit of some sort.  We are going to be buying used, would like a couple of slides and not afraid of 36'.  Expect to purchase a 1-ton, diesel, so the length and weight shouldn't be too big of a factor. 

I've been reading the posts for about 2 days and can't find anyone who's done anything like this but I'm certain you're out there somewhere!!  We'd appreciate any suggestions, warnings, prayers. 
 

Tom

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Hank & Kathleen,

A number of folks here have had office conversions done in motorhomes, some of which might give you some ideas. Click here for before and after photos of what was done in our coach. We don't fulltime nor do we work fulltime in the coach, so this was adequate for our needs.
 

Karl

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Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
Hank and Kathleen,

There are quite a few folks out here who have made the switch from home office to rolling home office, and there are many different approaches. It all depends on your needs and wants. With a used coach, your choice of layout may not be as extensive as having one built to your specs, but mod's can be made. In my case, I removed the dinette and replaced it with a desk from one of those office supply places; the printer(s), an inkjet and a laser, reside in an overhead cabinet and the space above the washer/dryer, respectively. Others have had custom cabinets/desks built for their specific needs with great results.

Moving from a house to an RV is a big change in lifestyle, and usually requires some careful thought on what to bring and what to leave behind. Same with moving a business to the RV. Maybe now would be a good time to look for ways to make some changes to how you work. For example, do you really need office size file cabinets? Like it or not, we're pretty much a paperless society now, and with the availability of huge hard drives it makes both online storage and off-site backups a breeze - especially if you have a desktop computer. You could stick the tower in the footwell of the desk where it's out of the way. Large flat panel LCD displays make long hours of work so much easier, and installing a wireless router/access point would still give you the flexibility to use your laptops almost anywhere you choose. 

I'm sure that others will have suggestions as well.

I wish you well :)         
 

Ned

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We have been living fulltime in our 38' motorhome for 9 years while I work as a part time programmer.  We also removed our dinette and replaced it with a custom built desk (see attached photos).  My wife's notebook computer sits on the glove box lid for her use and for navigation while travelling.  What you want to do is not difficult at all.  We also have a satellite internet system (HughesNet, nee DirecWay) using the Motosat Datastorm antenna.  It has made working on the road as easy as working in an office, but with much nicer views :)
 

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JGarrick

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Ned said:
We have been living fulltime in our 38' motorhome for 9 years while I work as a part time programmer.

This sounds appealing. Are you finding plenty of work?
 

Ned

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I have one primary client that keeps me as busy as I want to be.  I also have some software that I sell via the internet that brings in some income.
 

Hank & Kathleen

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Mar 28, 2006
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Thanks for all of the input.  Ned, do you have VOIP with your satellite system. I read that the latency prevents most communication.  Still wondering if anyone has experience turning a toy hauler into an office or maybe that's just overkill.

 

Ned

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I have used Skype to talk to another computer, but if both ends are on satellite, it's not very usable due to the large latencies.  I'm fortunate to be on a transponder that has very consistent ping times so using Skype to broadband, other than satellite, or to a land line is very usable.

I think a toy hauler is overkill for what you want to do.  You can do something similar to what we and several others have done for an office and still have a usable and attractive interior for living.  To me, the inside of most toy haulers look more like a garage (which they are :) ) than a home.
 

Tom

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Hank & Kathleen,

Like Ned, I thought a toyhauler might be overkill unless, of course, you need lots of file cabinets and the like. Although the examples so far have been in motorhomes, I assume that similar conversions could be made in travel trailers or 5th wheels. The result would probably be a very nice office and living area(s).
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At my Silver Springs FL home
Most of the toyhaulers are pretty spartan and not really intended for more than a weekend outing. There are some new ones coming out that are better equipped, but you are looking at used ones and so aren't likely to find the newest models. I think I would look for a model with plenty of floor space and go from there. Stripping out the typical furniture and replacing with built in desks and cabinets is not a real big deal. Most large fifth wheels have a huge rear lounge that can be converted easily enough - several folks here have add a computer desk to theirs.  Some models have that as an optional floor plan anyway. Alfa does and I think Carriage (Carri-lite series) does too.

Expect to purchase a 1-ton, diesel, so the length and weight shouldn't be too big of a factor. 
Typical mistake. A 1 ton dually seems huge beside a passenger car but it is NOT infinite in tow capacity. All but the lightest weight trailers in the 35-36 foot range will exceed the rated capacity of any 1 ton. Since you want to go large and add potentially heavy gear as well, try to find a larger truck, e.g. and F450 or F550 with a pick-up or RV hauler body.  You want at least a 26,000 lb GCWR for a large fifth wheel.

 

wordprod

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Feb 26, 2010
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I would contact Samaritan's Purse and ask them what they use. I looked inside one of their 18-wheelers set up for locations and they have some sort of Global satellite service.

Unless you've got it taken care of.
 

Ned

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You do realize that this topic is nearly 4 years old?
 

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