By Sam Celaya
Your self-storage facility is your livelihood. To be successful, it needs to operate with maximum efficiency and minimal hassle. Management software plays an integral part in achieving this goal.
There are a number of satisfactory options available when it comes to self-storage management software, but the key is finding the program that best meets your specific needs. To begin, ask yourself why you’re in the market for software. Are you building a new facility, transitioning from pen and paper, or just looking to reduce your software expense? Are you looking for more intricate features such as revenue management, financial reporting or systems interfacing?
The answers will steer you toward the management-software platform that’s right for your business. Below is a summary of the criteria to evaluate when shopping for self-storage software.
If you’re building a new facility, you’ve already made a significant investment in your business, so keeping additional startup costs to a minimum is important. While price shouldn’t be the sole factor when evaluating management software, it does play a big role in your decision.
In addition to the initial price of the software program, operators must consider the long-term costs. One of the first concerns for many self-storage operators is whether the software will require a long-term commitment or contract. Purchasing requirements will vary, so cover this topic in the initial conversation with the software vendor.
You also need to consider any hardware requirements. For example, Web-based software has few hardware requirements because your data is stored with your software vendor. PC-based systems, on the other hand, may require certain hardware and could include future upgrades. Also, ask if software updates are free or fee-based. Find out if tech support is included in this fee, and what hours it’s available. The long-term cost and fees will play a major role in calculating the return on investment of your management software.
Ease of Use and Access
Training managers how to use the new management software is another key consideration. The program of choice should be easy to learn and master, with a user interface that’s intuitive and simple to navigate. Many software providers offer training with their products, so check with the vendors to see what’s available.
Also allow managers time to learn the new program. Don’t expect to purchase the software on the 25th of the month and be ready to unroll it on the first. Instead, allow your managers a few weeks for training and practice. This will minimize mistakes and stress on behalf of your staff.