Avoid These 10 Mistakes When Purchasing Self-Storage Management Software

Tom Garden and Alison Kiesa Comments
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Mistake No. 7: Restricted Payment Options

You need to provide convenient payment options that will result in timely payments and positive customer relationships. The software should allow tenants to make payments on your facility’s website 24/7, or through automatic credit card and ACH/electronic check processing. The more options you provide, the fewer excuses your tenants will have for missing a payment.
 
Mistake No. 8: Giving Managers too Much Access

Why not give your managers the keys and the checkbook? If your employees know you review the books on a regular basis, it serves as a deterrent to employee theft. Your level of familiarity with the management software should include knowing how to perform daily functions.

Your managers may not need to access all the reports your software can provide. Set up appropriate user profiles and passwords so employees can only access the features appropriate to their tasks and all transactions are tracked with their user identification.
 
Mistake No. 9: Limiting Knowledge to Software Fundamentals

Fifteen years ago, self-storage owners and managers only used management software to rent units and post payments. Now they use it for more than basic accounts-receivable tasks. Property managers can enter customer information into the software via driver’s license scanner hardware; track tenant types such as military, student, commercial/condo/apartment, commercial contractor, commercial law or medical, etc.; and communicate specifically to those individual customer types through targeted services and correspondences. 

Language-specific correspondence, where a customer receives e-mails and letters in the language preferred, e-mail-based invoices and letters and rate-management systems increase the effectiveness of marketing a self-storage business and help maximize its revenue. The self-storage industry is far more mature and sophisticated now, and management software has added many features to support the varied demands of the industry. 
 
Mistake No. 10: Partnering With the Wrong Software Provider

The total investment you make in hardware, software, people and training for your business is much larger than your investment in management software, but the quality of the relationship you build with your software provider is essential to the successful operation of your business. A good software tool along with a responsive, knowledgeable, honest and helpful provider will ensure your long-term success.
 
Tom Garden is president and Alison Kiesa is the marketing director for Syrasoft Management Software, a provider of Web-enabled software and technical support to the self-storage industry. For more information, call 800.817.7706; visit www.syrasoft.com 

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