Self-Storage Software 2001

May 1, 2001

30 Min Read
Self-Storage Software 2001

Self-Storage Software 2001

Making the right choice

By Barry Morris

Theconcept of "hands-on management" has changed through the years. Beforethe advent of technology as we know it today, many business functions, such asbookkeeping, were done manually--literally "hands on." But in the 21stcentury, we use a helpful tool called the computer, and if you're not usingone--in conjunction with management software--to handle many of your businessfunctions and make life easier, you may be unecessarily attached to yourfacility.

Do you ever lie awake in bed wondering if your self-storage customers arepaying on time or getting extra days free at your expense? Were all theappropriate tenants subject to the most recent rent increase? Are employeesskimming cash from the till? Does your unit mix need adjusting? Which marketingmethods are bringing in the most business? Good self-storage management softwareprograms can answer these questions and more.

For self-storage operators, the computer can be like a trusted friend.Virtually any management or accounting function can be accomplished, dependingon the software package--inventory management, printing of deposit tickets andleases, invoicing, late-charge processing, lock-out of delinquent tenants,monitoring marketing efforts, etc. The right package greatly enhances theefficiency of every task it performs, leaving managers with more time toaccomplish other tasks and more money toward the bottom line.

Whether your facility has 50 or 500 units, automation has its advantages. Butfor smaller facilities that have always gotten by with manual record keeping,the thought of relinquishing control of daily business to a machine can beintimidating. For others who jumped in at the dawn of automation with aDOS-based system, the emergence of Windows is creating pressure for many toconvert, sometimes at considerable cost. Regardless of which system is used,most agree the effort required to computerize a self-storage business is ashort-term inconvenience with long-term benefits.

A World of Possibilities

Fixingbroken unit doors or persuading potential tenants to sign on the dotted line arebeyond the capabilities of management software. But make no mistake, theseprograms can simplify management and financial functions so a manager has moretime to devote to facility maintenance, customer relations and other duties.Other benefits of the self-storage software packages include greater operationalaccuracy, revenue enhancement, more detailed management reporting and theftdeterrence.

The majority of programs will generate any paperwork needed by a self-storageowner or manager. Bills, statements, notices, letters, sales and transactionreports, move-in/move-out reports, payment and fee-collection reports, andoverdue/delinquent tenant reports are among the documents routinely produced bymost available software packages. Most also provide integration with familiaraccounting software such as QuickBooks, and many interface with access-controlsystems to limit entry to customers in good standing.

Some packages have unique features or variations in the way they performfunctions that may make one more suitable than another for your particularfacility. Graphic interfaces, such as facility maps, are offered by a handful ofsoftware vendors. These maps vary in flexibility and function, but the vendorswho offer them are careful to ensure self-storage operators can use them easily.

Most vendors of programs with interactive map functions agree a property mapneeds to be flexible. It's critical the user can go into the map at any time andchange it around to suit his needs. For instance, operators frequently turn twounits into one, and vice versa. A map needs to be able to reflect that. Theability to add or delete units is another vital function. What users don't needis to depend on the vendor at every turn. The program should be flexible anduser-friendly, allowing the user to handle those tasks.

Printing the map falls into the same category. With self-storage being thehands-on business it is, a frequent walk-through of a facility is seen by manyowners and managers as the best way to keep track of what's going on--they don'tsee a map as necessary. Yet other operators mainly use the map feature so theycan print out the map for customer use.

Other features, such as pay-at-the-gate, create convenience for managers andtenants. Besides allowing facilities an instant, hassle-free way to collectdelinquent rents and late fees, it provides tenants a way to reconcile theiraccounts at any time, even after hours, without embarrassment.

What many operators want most from a software package, however, is strongfinancial-reporting capability. With varying degrees of detail, virtually allavailable packages perform these tasks admirably. SMD Technologies of WakeForest, N.C., producer of the SiteLink software package, has made great stridesin this area, according to Marketing Director Markus Hecker. "The way wecan track or analyze activities at a facility has really come a long way,"he says. "We're not just talking about discounts or adjustments; we breakit down by what kinds of discounts or adjustments they were.

"One of the biggest problems in reporting is showing where the moneydidn't come in," Hecker continues. "Think of it as rent or receivablesat the top of the page, and receipts at the bottom of the page. Somewhere in themiddle, you need to itemize where money went away because the bottom linedoesn't equal the top line--receipts don't equal receivables. That's a verycomplex task--to show the financial performance of your facility on onepage."

Financial controls are also important to self-storage owners. What wasperhaps the most dangerous drawback to manual accounting systems, and even someearly computer programs, has largely been eliminated in many of today's softwarepackages. "We make sure that transactions entered into the system cannot bemodified after the fact," says Ron Plamondon, president of IntegritySoftware Systems in Traverse City, Mich. Financial controls, says Plamondon, area major strength of the company's software, Mini Storage Personal Accountant."In our software, we post information into what we call a batch, which isbasically like a trip to the bank.

"Whenever you go to the bank--close out a batch--that information ispermanently recorded in our software and can't be changed. If you're doing youraccounting practices of balancing your software to what actually went in thebank, you can be sure that people aren't going back on those records andchanging them later. You can still do adjustments within a new batch ofinformation, but it makes sure that things aren't changed and tracks aren'tcovered."

Empower Software Technologies of Sun City, Calif., was readying the releaseof its new version of Storage Commander, 4.0, at press time. The company alsoplans to release a stand-alone tool kit that works in conjunction with StorageCommander. The tool kit contains a market analyzer, which reads a customerdatabase to show where customer concentrations are coming from based on theaddresses they give at move-in. Other demographic filters will allow marketassessment according to new housing developments, new freeway construction,median income and many other factors. "Literally hundreds of otherdemographic filters can be put into the system so you can see where yourcustomer concentration is," says Tom Smith, Empower's managing director."That helps from a planning standpoint, so you know where to target newcustomers and where your business is coming from."

Umbrella Systems of Poulsbo, Wash., was also planning to introduce itsnext-generation package, Umbrella 3.0, at press time. The new version has beenredesigned to look similar to the popular QuickBooks accounting program, thoughusers have the option of using the package on a stand-alone basis or exportingdata to QuickBooks, Peachtree or other popular accounting packages. Automaticreport distribution is also featured, says Umbrella's president, Clark Stave.

DOS: Dead Operating System?

Thedominance of the Microsoft Windows operating system might suggest that DOS-basedsystems are going the way of the dinosaurs. But this isn't the case in theself-storage industry, where a handful of vendors still have a sizable DOS userbase. Most of these vendors have also developed and introduced Windows-basedsoftware packages, but pledge as much continued support as possible to theirloyal DOS customers.

"You have a lot of facilities that go by the 'If is ain't broke, don'tfix it' philosophy," says Jon Reddick of Denver-based Sentinel SystemsCorp. "Our DOS program is so solid, we never hear from those users. It'ssomething they have installed, it continues to run and works great for them, andthey don't want to spend the dough to upgrade it, so they don't."

Besides Sentinel, there are other software providers still working in a DOSenvironment, and these vendors' many customers are an indication the oldoperating system shouldn't yet be relegated to the pages of history. Yet most oftoday's self-storage software companies have long since moved away from DOSbecause the latest PCs simply aren't designed to run DOS programs. "There'sstill a lot of DOS hanging on out there because people don't necessarily want tochange or don't know why they should change," says Mike Skrentny, CEO andpresident of Mystic Systems Technology Corp. (MSTC). "But what we'refinding is that the new technology is starting to force them to change."

Peripheral hardware is also a consideration--most modern printers aredesigned only for use with Windows systems. And product support is verydifficult--there is little or no ability to modify DOS to meet changing needs.The laws of supply and demand are also a factor. "We don't do a ton of newdevelopment in the DOS version simply because 99.9 percent of the product wesell now is Windows," Reddick says.

An apt real-world analogy illustrating the situation was offered by yetanother vendor. "Computers have become like toasters and TVs," saysMichael Kelley, president of New Braunfels, Texas-based Dilloware Inc."When you have a problem, you don't fix them--you throw them out and getnew ones." The Billing Clerk, Dilloware's software package, is designed forsmaller self-storage operators who need basic business functions.

Hardware requirements for running Windows instead of DOS are significantlydifferent. The best way to ensure you have the necessary computer power to runthe management software of your choice is to consult with your software vendor.He can tell you minimum and recommended hardware requirements for programs, andcan probably help determine whether your existing system will make the grade.Generally, new Windows-based PCs come with enough memory to run any self-storagemanagement software, but buyers should always ask to be sure.

Alternative Revenue Sources

Self-storage managers nationwide are discovering how ancillary products andservices, such as packing materials, boxes, tape and even rental trucks, areproviding a boost to their bottom line.

Storage facilities of all sizes are also taking advantage of another type ofprofit center--their otherwise idle space. Many law firms, banks, hospitals,insurance companies and others have a volume of critical businessrecords--patient files, client files, as well as backup tapes for dataprocessing, etc.--that get rotated off-site for a period of time prior todestruction.

Often, these firms just don't have the room or don't want to pay for thevaluable office space to keep all those records on site. So they ship them tooutside facilities, such as self-storage, where they are stored and retrieved asneeded. Moving and storage companies, which typically boast higher-capacitybuildings than would be found at a self-storage facility, are becomingespecially active in this area.

To serve this growing niche area, Cleveland-based Andrews Software Inc. (ASI)offers an information-management software package for commercial recordscenters. Features of the ASI software package include a client/departmentaldatabase module, user-defined fields and reports, dynamic warehouse tracking,multilevel invoicing for customers, and unlimited capacity. The program isbarcode driven for speed and accuracy.

ASI is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Andrews Companies, arecords-management and transportation firm. The size of the facilities involvedand the number of containers stored by Andrews clients makes it absolutelycrucial to have an efficient software program capable of handling all aspects ofthe business, says ASI National Sales Manager Scott Bidwell.

"Our Cleveland operation has about 1.2 million cubic feet of records.There are two buildings, each about 65,000 square feet and 40 feet high. Say acustomer calls up and says, 'I need box 22.' Imagine trying to run thatoperation without a software program," says Bidwell.

"The benefits of using a true commercial records center application arethat you get into the business with the right tools," he continues."There are no bad habits created by trying to wing it. It pretty much doeseverything for the business aside from going out and selling to customers. Ifyou follow the business rules and logic in the software, it will pretty much runthe operation. There are few industries where the software runs the operation ordrives the business on a daily basis like the records-management business. Itdoes everything from creating the bar codes to tracking the boxes in thewarehouse."

Even though self-storage companies tend to get into records storage toprovide an additional revenue stream, Bidwell stresses the importance oftreating records storage as a separate business. "The ones who understandit and treat it as a separate business with a separate building--with a highceiling or multistories--do very well with it," he says. Self-storagecompanies are usually not as successful with this type of endeavor asmoving-and-storage firms, says Bidwell, because the building dimensions are notas conducive to high-volume storage.

While moving and storage companies might be better suited for records storagein the United States, Irvine, Calif.-based O'Neil Software says that's notnecessarily the case overseas. O'Neil serves more than 700 records centers in 37countries. According to Ian Thomas, vice president of business development, allbut two of the company's 20-plus Australian clients have emerged from thatcountry's self-storage industry. "Some of these operate within theirself-storage facility, but others have become so big that branching out wasnecessary," he says.

Noticeable consolidation has occurred in the records-management industry inrecent years, with three major players dominating the landscape. But that's notto say that there's no room for competition. "We find that as quick as anacquisition takes place, a new player emerges in that market filling thevoid," says Thomas. "We still think the industry is only on the tip ofthe iceberg."

Many operators don't think of security as a potential source of income, butit can be. QuikStor, which produces keypads and alarms in addition to itssoftware, offers empty alarm boxes for installation on storage-unit doors, whichcan be replaced by working alarm boxes for tenants who choose the option."Crooks can't tell the empty boxes from the real ones," says DougCarner, marketing director. "What you do is 'rent out' the security to thetenant. When you do, you replace the empty boxes with the real ones. With mostsystems, you have to buy the security system outright and hope you get yourmoney back. In this case, you only install it as tenants want the service."Carner says the reasonable price of the alarm boxes--$60 per unit--allowsoperators to quickly recover their investment even at modest rental rates.

Getting Together

The prevailing opinion remains that universal interface--a standardization ofsoftware protocol to allow any management software to automatically integratewith any security/access control system--will likely never exist in totality."I'm a strong believer in universal integration," says QuikStor'sCarner. "It would really make me happy to see that a person could buy anymanagement software and any security system and tie the two together." Butas Carner points out, there are too many forces at work that prevent universalinterface from being in the best interest of the most important industryplayers.

Most companies' management software can be made compatible with any othercompany's security/access control system. This task is often undertaken on acase-by-case basis by a vendor--usually the second one to come into thepicture--as a courtesy to a customer.

Empower Software's Smith says his company interfaces with all major securitysystems "as much as they'll allow us." But, he adds, "I thinkwe're at the same old impasse. There are three standards out there now that aresimilar, but not completely the same. We would like to see universal interface,obviously, but I don't see it happening anytime soon, even though it would bebetter for the market in general if it happened. But we can understand thereluctance of the security providers in that they don't want to give anyfeatures away by making a standard."

Economics are a big reason companies like Empower don't press harder to makeuniversal interface a reality. "You only have finite resources, and wewould rather spend our resource money on improving and maintaining the leadingedge in software than trying to divert into hardware, gate systems and soforth," says Smith.

But at least one vendor feels the absence of universal integration encouragesbuyers to place too much emphasis on "one-stop shopping" formanagement software and access-control hardware. "With one-stop shopping,there are some benefits when it comes to troubleshooting and assigningresponsibility for problems," says Tom Garden, president of Syrasoft(formerly Automation Technologies), which produces the Storage Management Systemsoftware package. "But some companies are good at hardware, and somecompanies are good at software. No one is very good at both, in my opinion. Youreally need to see that they are two very distinct entities.

"The consumer, when he is making this difficult decision aboutaccess-control and management software, really gets confused. The question youhave to ask is, 'Do you want one company that does both in a mediocre or averageway, or do you want to pick the best for both hardware and software?' Somepeople limit themselves in this way, and I think do themselves a disservice as aresult."

Helpful Hints

Checklists for buying software typically adhere to common principles. First,when compiling a list of vendors, it's best to stick with those specializing inthe self-storage industry, as there is no substitute for experience-basedknowledge. Trying to adapt software designed for other purposes, such asapartment management, will likely produce disappointing results. "Choosesomeone who's established and has a good Windows-installed base," saysSyrasoft's Garden. "Many of the old companies that were and still arepowerhouses in the DOS world either have not finished a Windows product that'sviable, or have not put one out there that's really ready for prime time."

Research product offerings. Obtain demonstrator copies, references andbrochures from several companies. Attending a tradeshow makes side-by-sidedemonstrations possible and allows direct, in-person contact with salespeople.If visiting a show is not possible, most vendors offer an abundance ofinformation on the Internet, and some even provide downloadable demo programs ontheir websites.

Garden advises that customers ask vendors whether they can get a workingdemo, or if they'll only be shown some PowerPoint presentation. Plamondon ofIntegrity Software agrees. "I would recommend they get a demo copy of apiece of software. You can't really look at a brochure and say, 'Yeah, that'sgoing to fit what I need to do.' If I was buying software, I would want toactually try it before I bought it--and not just glossies on a self-runningdemo." Plamondon says there's a big difference between a self-running demoand actually sitting down to a real-life demo that shows what the software cando for your particular facility.

About references: Getting input from other operators is never a bad idea. Butremember: Software vendors only include their satisfied customers on referencelists. Don't simply ask fellow operators about the product they're using and whythey like it; also find out if they tried other products before settling ontheir final choice. By doing this, you'll learn about red flags that may neverarise in a salesman's demonstration.

"I would print out the reports, making sure they have real data inthem," says Hecker of SMD Technologies. "Look at a bonafide paper copyof the reports--there should be about a dozen or so. The software should comewith a printout of the reports, but if it doesn't, print a report through thedemo CD-ROM and make sure it has some sample data in it. You don't want to printan empty report. It needs to have totals at the bottom. There needs to beexplanations of terms on the reports every time you print a copy, so if you arenot at the office and you wonder what a certain term means, you can see it atthe bottom."

Ease of use is something most buyers will want to emphasize. "There aresome people who get a little hung up on the features, and get lost when it comesto the ease of using the program," Carner says. "You definitely wantsomething powerful, and something that can do the marketing and financialanalysis that it takes to run a successful business. But you don't wantsomething where your manager is constantly battling to understand what to dowith the program, and your relief manager is lost."

The customizability of a program should also be examined, Hecker says. Doesit customize to your late fees? How easy is it to change the interactive map?Being able to tailor a program to the unique nuances of your facility isimportant.

"People should use a program that adapts to them, rather than themadapting to the program," says Calvin Quayle of Quayle Computer Concepts,whose software package, SWAMP (Storage and Warehouse Asset Management Program),caters mainly to the small, independent owner/operator. "Even though I saythat, there isn't a lot they can do to change (our) program. But we've writtenSWAMP with that in mind, so that they can do things in simple language and letthe program do the work."

After-sale involvement is extremely important, vendors say. "Support isthe number one key," says Sentinel's Reddick, whose company employs 10dedicated support staffers. "Software is only going to work as good as thepeople who built it, but at the same time customers are going to have questions.You can't expect to just put a product in and never have a question about it.You've also got to have a good support staff customers can get to."

Customer satisfaction is the main goal of every software vendor'stech-support efforts, but there are different approaches. Most offer access viae-mail or a toll-free phone number, but some offer other methods designed forsimplicity. Hawaii-based HI-TECH Smart Systems has devised a method that is notonly easy, but provides the technician with maximum information at the time ofthe request. "Within our screen, a user can fill out a request for techsupport," says HI-TECH President Michael Richards. "They hit the sendbutton, and it comes right into our database. From our point of view, it saves alot of time because we have all the information about their system we needrelevant to our software, and are better able to help them."

Your present and future situation, as well as that of the software company,should also be strongly considered. Are they going to be there for you everystep of the way while you reach your comfort zone? Are they going to be theredown the road? And exactly what value does the vendor place on personalrelationships?

A proliferation of programs has altered the marketplace in recent years, saysUmbrella Systems' Stave. "Two years ago, we were one of 10 or 12 softwarecompanies," he says. "I'll bet there are 30 of them out there now. Themarket has been flooded. It's much more competitive and, as a result, I thinkeveryone has been in a race to upgrade their programs."

Looking Ahead

Software packages are continually being improved by vendors, with newfeatures being added and existing ones enhanced. A number of vendors are stillin their infancy in the Windows operating environment, a fact that will requirethose vendors to stay current with improvements and upgrades.

Wireless keypads, along with remote consoles that allow a manager to open andclose units and gates and make other system changes from anywhere on theproperty, are among the new bells and whistles expected in the near future.Further development of Windows software packages, dealing with bugs andincorporating enhancements as the Windows system itself evolves will alsoactively continue.

Interfacing with personal digital assistants such as the Palm Pilot arealready materializing. Innovations such as touch-screen technology are also onthe horizon, though its viability in many markets is uncertain. "I think,ultimately, that's where everything is going to head--away from the mouse andtoward a touch-screen application," says Dilloware's Kelley. "It'sexpensive, but if enough people get on it, it could come down in a hurry."

To varying degrees, most vendors believe the future of self-storage softwarelies on the Internet, another advantage for the Windows system. Some sayaccelerated involvement of the Internet is still a few years away, but othersare gearing up to grab the bull by the horns much sooner.

"We see it evolving now," says Smith of Empower Software. "Atthis time last year, it wasn't there in any measurable amount. But we're seeingmore and more interest, primarily from larger, multifacility owners andcorporations. We've taken that to heart, and we will be releasing this year aversion of the program that will support that."

Empower has "major commitments to produce a very sophisticated Internetsolution," Smith adds. "All I can say now is that it's going to bemajor--there's not going to be anything like it as far as we've been able toascertain in reviewing the market trends ourselves."

Burlington, Mass.-based MicroTask Inc., which used to produce and support theStor-Rite software package, recently shifted its entire focus toward itsself-storage Internet portal, The site gives would-be self-storagecustomers an easy, one-stop method of locating a suitable site and reserving itwithout ever leaving their computer. To accomplish this, a handful of softwarevendors are including in their packages a piece of MicroTask-written code,enabling operators using those software packages to update their space inventoryas shown on

"We have a lot of customers on with us right now who are dying for thatfeature, so it's to software companies' benefit to put it on," saysMicroTask President Chris Capozzoli. "It's a nice, seamless way to get thatinformation up on the web so people can reserve online--you don't have to worryabout managing the database."

Capozzoli says MicroTask plans to provide self-storage customers with theability to pay their rent online. Multifacility operators will even be able toprovide their customers a link to the online payment service from their ownwebsites. "That way, if they don't have an online inventory system like wedo, they can use ours and park it right on their site," Capozzoli says."So whenever they update the inventory to, they're looking atthe same data."

According to MSTC's Skrentny, an Internet product can be complex. "We'respending a lot of time creating the foundation and the blueprint for (anInternet solution) because we don't want to lose what we've currently got. It'sa whole different environment--it has its own set of capabilities andlimitations. In developing a new system, we want to be really careful. I thinkit's going to become an option, but I don't think it's going to be the rightsolution for everyone. Rather than replace the Windows program, it's going to bea viable option for businesses that want to gain in some areas but lose inothers."

Syrasoft's Garden, however, offers more bridled enthusiasm about theInternet's prospects. "I'm sure it will be very real in three years, buttoday it's not what makes us money," he says. "We're doing webenabling of certain features like e-mailing of statements, using the web to getupdates automatically--things like that. I'm sure we'll be there when the timeis right, but right now I don't think the investment would be regained for quitesome time."

Predicting the response of users, Garden adds, "If they're not forcedoff the Windows platform the way Windows forced people out of the DOS world,many of our current customers will be there forever. The web-enabled applicationis certainly two to three years away, and I think it will be kind of a newmarket at that time. I think the large chains will certainly be going thatway."

Acorn Products/DCAL Computer Systems
4100 Adams Road, Suite C101
P.O. Box 3936
Bartlesville, OK 74006
Phone: 918.333.2996; 800.328.3225
Fax: 918.335.0240

Acorn Products/DCAL Computer Systems, a producer of software productsdesigned for self-storage, has been in business for 20 years and serves theUnited States, Canada, the Bahamas and Australia. Acorn Products forself-storage consist of UNItroller Management Software, UNIkey Access ControlSoftware System, Vertical Lift Gate, Central Office Systems and all ancillaryitems to provide complete control of a self-storage facility. UNItrollerManagement Software and the UNIkey Access Control System operate on one computersimultaneously. The UNItroller system communicates to the UNIkey system who tolock out for nonpayment, and will automatically unlock them when their accountis brought current.

Andrews Software Inc.
One Andrews Circle
Brecksville, OH 44141
Phone: 440.838.8611; 800.807.2093
Fax: 440.838.8781
E-mail: [email protected] 

Andrews Software Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Andrews Companies,boast 90 years of experience in the records-management and transportationindustries. Andrews believes its experiences running commercial records centersand serving hundreds of customers enables it to provide proven quality softwaresolutions to the information-management industry. The company uses these toolsevery day in its Cleveland and Columbus facilities. Its goal is to maintain aleading-edge position in the industry. Andrews Software products have a proventrack record accommodating most (if not all) of the management and operatingchallenges in records management. These products include Visual Corporate Keeper®,a records center's "backbone"; and InfoKeeper®, anInternet solution giving clients total control of their databases through a webbrowser.

Dilloware Inc.
2825 FM 2722
New Braunfels, TX 78132
Phone: 800.880.0887
Fax: 830.899.2124
E-mail: [email protected] 

Dilloware has been providing storage facilities with easy-to-use, affordablebilling software since 1981. The Billing ClerkTM automatically billsand tracks monthly rents, insurance, etc., and generates invoices, statements,late charges, past-due notices, receipts, multiple reports and much more. Unitavailability is easily accessed. History is maintained for as long as needed foran unlimited number of units and customers. There is a large notepad forinformation on each (comments, credit card numbers, access codes, contactperson, etc.). Technical support is provided by the people who actuallydeveloped the program, offering no long hold times or waiting for call-backs.The first year of support (up to 60 minutes) is included in the initial price of$599.95.

Empower Software Technologies
27851 Bradley Road, Suite 120
Sun City, CA 92586-2202
Phone: 877.672.6257
Fax: 909.672.6258
E-mail: [email protected]

Storage Commander was designed as a 32-bit Windows-based modular system,allowing owners of small, medium or large facilities to purchase a basicmanagement system at an inexpensive price, with the ability to add additionalcomponents for increased productivity as needed. This concept allows Empower tooffer turnkey versions of Storage Commander to meet the needs of all managementcompanies requiring advanced functions such as Internet facility control,manager security access based on a unique ID and password, photo ID system,interactive site map, comprehensive tracking of all accounting and facilityactivities, and a complete range of facility and financial reports.

HI-TECH Smart Systems
407 Uluniu St., Suite 312
Kailua, HI 96734
Phone: 808.263.7775; 800.551.8324
Fax: 808.261.4447

HI-TECH has been producing software for the self-storage industry since 1986.RentPlus is HI-TECH's self-storage software for Microsoft Windows. RentPlus wasdesigned from the ground up to provide all of the features needed forself-storage today and in the years to come. Highlights include an on-screeninteractive map of your facility; daily, weekly and monthly rentals; multipleplans; automatic charges and notices; complete built-in inventory management;customizable letters and much more. Customer and other photos may be attachedand viewed with a customer's record. RentPlus includes technical support,updates and a risk-free money-back guarantee.

Integrity Software Systems Inc.
3211 Continental Drive
Traverse City, MI 49686
Phone: 800.THEY.KNOW; 231.941.2322
Fax: 231.941.9544

Integrity Software Systems' Mini Storage Personal Accountant has beendesigned to offer self-storage facilities an accounting system that is easy touse and provides strong financial controls. Such controls prevent locking outcustomers who have paid and helps prevent manager theft. Chris Ray, a certifiedpublic accountant, and Ron Plamondon, a professional system developer, are wellqualified to design, develop and support installation.

Mystic Systems Technology Corp. (MSTC)
7430 E. Butherus Drive, Suite A
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Phone: 800.BUY.MSTC

Mystic Systems Technology Corp. (MSTC) has been developing automatedmanagement systems for the self-storage Industry since 1984. MSTC offered one ofthe industry's first PC-based property-management software systems complementedby a billing-sensitive, PC-based security system. The company also offers24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week technical support to its users. Windows-based32-bit applications for property management and security systems are available,as well as a full line of security hardware to meet all facility automationneeds. MSTC also offers a one-of-a-kind Computer Based Training (CBT) systemthat offers complete on-site interactive property-manager training and testingtools.

Quayle Computer Concepts
3204 Cherrywood Lane
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Phone: 715.832.2614
Fax: 413.451.2511

Storage & Warehouse Asset Management Program (SWAMP) is the result of afather in the storage business and a son who is a programmer. Both have morethan 20 years experience in their respective fields. It was a natural merger forCalvin and Gordon Quayle to combine this experience and create a softwareproduct specifically designed for the smaller operation at a reasonable price.The company takes pride in keeping its overhead low and listening to itscustomers. It will continue to add the features customers want. Quayle believesin software that fulfills its promise of making users' lives easier; helps usersmanage their business; is affordable; and saves money and time. The motto atQuayle Computer Concepts is "making computers work for you."

O'Neil Software Inc.
8 Mason
Irvine, CA 92618
Phone: 949.458.1234

Founded in 1981, O'Neil Software provides records-management solutions tomore than 700 records centers in 37 countries. Through its corporateheadquarters in Irvine, Calif., and international offices in London andBrisbane, Australia, O'Neil has helped hundreds of people increase theiropportunities in the commercial records-storage industry through superiorsoftware design, comprehensive barcode-tracking hardware and portable receiptprinting. Committed to ongoing advancement, O'Neil invests a great deal of moneyin development, consistently providing its users with a top-notch softwareproduct.

13908 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Phone: 800.321.1987; 818.990.5575
Fax: 818.501.5785
E-mail: [email protected]

QuikStor provides digital, wireless door-alarm security available with20-plus years of battery life and long-range, spread-spectrum, 900MHzconfigurations to penetrate metal walls and unit contents. QuikStor has fouryears of wireless experience protecting more than 100,000 self-storage units.Permanently installed or rented to tenants on demand, QuikStor's wirelesssecurity can provide an outstanding return on owner investment. The company'saccess-control keypads allow delinquent tenants to use a credit card to pay atthe gate. Keypads are designed to survive violent storms, vandal attacks andyears of neglect. Video surveillance offers pan/tilt control, multiple-inputdisplay and time-lapse recording. The package allows a manager to instantlyretrieve the images of the people who entered a gate code at any date or time.QuikStor's management software automatically collects tenant rent, e-mailsinvoices and provides marketing analysis to increase owner profitability.Installation packages are economical, professional and won't disrupt existingtenants. Call for a custom quote.

Real Management Systems
3200 N. Hayden Road, Suite 230
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Phone: 480.941.6047; 877.877.7325
Fax: 480.941.4121
E-mail: [email protected]

Real Management Systems offers a complete integrated system of managementsoftware, gate access, door monitoring and interactive graphics displays. TaskMaster is a user-friendly, Windows-based management software program designed tohandle all aspects of a self-storage business. The client-based systemsimplifies management of collections on delinquent accounts, assigning multiplerentals, consolidation of billing, and a one-step payment process for single- ormultiple-lease clients. Task Master manages merchandise sales, inventory,insurance and other income; and provides infinite client history withdemographic and client profiling for use as a powerful marketing tool. Automaticfunctions for daily processing, FTP downloading, e-mail and accounting exportsare included. Site Master interactive graphics are featured. Master AccessSystem features a hard-wired Multiplexers alarm system. Master keypads offersystem intelligence and the latest technology, and are equipped with alight-sensing LCD display, back-lit keypad and a built-in intercom speaker, inan all-weather aluminum case with a card-swipe option. Responsive,cost-effective support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contactthe company for an operational demo CD.

Sentinel Systems Corp.
1620 Kipling St.
Lakewood, CO 80215
Phone: 800.456-9955; 303.242.2000
Fax: 303.242.2010

Sentinel Systems has provided security electronics and property-managementsoftware to the self-storage industry for more than 26 years. What began as away to eliminate break-ins for a group of self-storage facilities has grown intoone of the largest security and software suppliers in the industry. The firm nowserves more than 16,000 systems worldwide, with a tenant-user population in themillions. The company's mission is to provide superior products and outstandingcustomer service through innovations in technology, people, systems andmarketing.

SMD Technologies Inc.
152 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC 27587
Phone: 919.562.6711
Fax: 919.562.0269
E-mail: [email protected]

SMD Technologies has been developing Windows-based software since the earlydays of the Windows operating system. The company's self-storage experience hasled to the development of SiteLink, a powerful, user-friendly tool for managingstorage operations. Unique features of SiteLink include the Task Master fortracking of deadlines and past-due events. Letters and the site map areunsurpassed in their flexibility and ease of use, SMD says, with documents andproperty map printable at any time. Users can automatically send reports andbackups to other locations. SiteLink's e-mail capabilities allow management ofdata at home offices, archiving of backups anytime, and importing of data intoQuickBooks.

Space Control Systems Inc.
2815 Mitchell Drive, Suite 205
Walnut Creek, CA 94598-1622
Phone: 800.455.9055; 925.943.6222
Fax: 925.943.6370
E-mail: [email protected]

Since Space Control's inception in 1984, President Ramona Taylor has kept thecompany's sights on providing a software-management package that would addressthe unique requirements of the self-storage industry. To meet this goal, theproduct has to be instantly understandable to anyone in that field, intuitive tothe novice user and highly automated. When research indicated absentee ownersneeded on-site control, Space Control filled that need by auditing everyvariance from standard procedure. From the smallest single facility with 85spaces to the largest facility with more than 5,000 spaces, Space Control hasmet the demand. The same philosophy has now been applied to Space Control II,the new Windows package.

Syrasoft (formerly Automation Technologies)
P.O. Box 194
Marcellus, NY 13108
Phone: 800.817.7706
Fax: 315.673.0911
E-mail: [email protected]

Syrasoft, formerly known as Automation Technologies, providesstate-of-the-art software for self-storage applications: the Storage ManagementSystem. Available in standard and professional editions, the system includesadd-on modules such as gate interface, automatic credit-card billing,networking, inventory, personal digital assistant and photo capture. Syrasoftsupplies the needs of small to large owner- or manager-operated facilities. TheStorage Management System also interfaces with QuickBooks accounting software. Afree 60-day trial is available on request.

Umbrella Systems Inc.
P.O. Box 1808
Poulsbo, WA 98370
Phone: 800.544.0652
Fax: 888.525.1414
E-mail: [email protected]

The Umbrella System is a complete software package for the management ofself-storage facilities. Programmed from the ground up, the Umbrella System isnot an adaptation of an existing software package, but is designed to be apowerful, flexible and simple product to use. The strength of the UmbrellaSystem is that it maintains a line-item record of all transactions, giving theuser an accurate account history, preliminary lien notices, an itemized rentstatement and fully auditable cash-flow statements. New additions include: newsite map, new checkbook, new P&L, balance sheet and new layout screens.

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