Your self-storage management software is the glue that keeps your operation together. You rely on your program to be fast and accurate, to function as planned, and to provide the information you need to make smart business decisions. In short, it’s a big deal! So, it’s no wonder that the decision of which provider and product to use would be a bit intimidating.
To help you better understand your options in the marketplace, we’ve assembled the following profiles from facility operators, who weigh in on the programs they use and why, and software vendors, who discuss the current, coming and best features of their offerings. We hope this insight from each side of the equation helps you in your next purchase.
Editor’s note: The insights printed here are in the contributors’ own words and do not reflect the sentiments of ISS staff. We neither endorse nor disprove specific products or services. We recommend that you conduct your own thorough investigation of the options available.
Please note this is just a sample of the software companies and products on the self-storage market and isn’t all-inclusive. To see a list of more providers as well as their contact information and other details, access the ISS Buyer’s Guide.
Operator Insight: Monument Court Storage
Operates: One location in California
Uses: Storage Commander
What aspects of the software do you like most? It's extremely stable. Frequent upgrades and enhancements are enabled seamlessly without any downtime or negative effects to my daily usage. When I was researching software options, all the other companies I investigated wanted me to change the way I did business to match their software rather than listen to my needs. I spoke directly with the developers of Storage Commander, and when they understood my specific need, they adjusted their product to suit my application. They care about every customer, not just the “big guys.”
What aspects do you find most frustrating? I wouldn't own a product that frustrated me. That's why I went searching for a replacement of my previous software. Software is a tool I need to work for me; I don't work for software. Since the management programs and gate interfaces are of supreme importance in customer trust and security and must work reliably at any time, I won't settle for something that causes frustration. I read about far too many managers that have to contend with their software on a daily basis. I don't know why they put up with it.
If you could add one feature, what would it be? I may not know what I'm missing, but currently there's nothing I wish it could do that it doesn't already do.
Vendor Insight: Domico Software LLC
Years in business: 35
Contact: [email protected]
Software: DomicoCloud (Web-based, released 2009)
Popular features: Text messaging and e-mailing, revenue management, automation, and the ability to work in multiple windows and manage all facilities from one login. Also provides a work-order system, vendor-management system and lead management as well as online payments, rentals and reservations.
Best feature: We help build and add customization settings to meet each facility’s growing needs. By utilizing the automation feature, we work with operators to streamline tasks and workflows to ensure their business practices are properly executed. Automation is a powerful tool that’s effective for eliminating human error and saving valuable time for other important tasks.
Coming features: A new and improved user experience that’ll include increased utility, shortcuts and a comprehensive site map.
Advice: Make sure the software fits your needs, but also that the software company fits your needs.
Operator Insight: DAK Self Storage
Operates: One location in Leesport, Pa.
What aspects of the software do you like most? Back in 1998, we purchased the software to help run the facility while we were running our house-painting company. We went to a tradeshow in Las Vegas and decided QuikStor was the right match.
What aspects do you find most frustrating? The bugs have been worked out since the 1998 beta program. The software and hardware seem to be rock-solid now.
If you could add one feature, what would it be? Electronic signature of lease and a chip-card reader that also accepts mobile-phone payments. Discounts should show on receipt.
Vendor Insight: Easy Storage Solutions
Years in business: 11
Contact: Luke Abegglen
Software: Self Storage Management Software (cloud-based, released 2009)
Popular features: The tools are easy to find and use, making it intuitive for even beginners. The software comes with a website, has an online payment system and is mobile-friendly. It also offers the ability to rent online, use two-way texting and send automatic notifications, and provides rate management.
Best feature: As a self-storage owner myself (CEO and co-founder Ken Hendrickson), I understand how much harder life is with difficult software. That’s why ease-of-use is my favorite trait of our product. I can utilize all the features, find my way around, and easily train employees, making my life easier every step of the way.
Coming features: Some exciting upcoming features are integration with a camera system, discount and promotion abilities, multiple facility reporting, improved website enhancements and StorLogix cloud integration.
Advice: To find the best software for your company, consider your needs and look for one that will work for your facility. Ultimately, you will want to choose a program that’s easy to use, so you can best utilize its features. Things like being Web-based, the ability to take payments and online unit rentals are all features that should be considered.
Operator Insight: Five Star Storage
Operates: 16 facilities in Minnesota and North Dakota
Uses: SiteLink by Storable
What aspects of the software do you like most? Functionality and reliability. Over the years, I’ve never encountered any major issues with the software. It performs for us day in and day out. Their reporting tools for multi-facility operators are great. Being able to create consolidated reports for certain markets or the whole portfolio couldn’t be easier.
What aspects do you find most frustrating? The one area that could be improved with Web Edition would be to create a much easier, more streamlined process of toggling between locations. Many of my rental offices operate multiple facilities. Having to keep multiple windows open simultaneously is cumbersome. However, I have heard that SiteLink has been pushing more with their developments in the myHub platform, which may assist with this. With that said, our team doesn’t utilize myHub as much right now.
If you could add one feature, what would it be? If we want to take this concept of speeding up efficiencies for multiple facilities further, vendors could develop a rental platform that puts all those facilities into one streamlined program. For example, if an operator has a home-base facility with a rental office and two annex locations a few miles away, then merge the individual databases into some type of consolidated database for rentals. This would assist managers with the rental and sales process because everything is at their fingertips. No longer would my team need to switch between windows or a toggle between facilities from a drop-down menu.
Vendor Insight: QuikStor Security & Software
Years in business: 30-plus
Contact: Shaina Cossairt
Software: QuikStor Express (standalone), SmartClient (hybrid), QuikStor Cloud (cloud-based)
Popular features: On Express, they’re the customer-relationship module, photo module and electronic signature. On Cloud, they’re the lead-management portal, site map, vehicle-parking tab, management overview and daily-management summary.
Best feature: Our interface is designed with the manager in mind. While fancy graphs and charts are very pretty to look at (and we have tons of them), at the end of the day, you need to be able to do move-ins, reservations and payments quickly. Our main screen keeps the focus on what matters most, with all tenant information available right at your fingertips.
Advice: There’s no one solution that will fit every operator. Most software companies offer some type of free trial. Take full advantage of the trial period. Try the software. Actually use it at your facility and get your manager’s feedback. Choose the solution that works best for you, whether it’s a cloud-based or an outright purchase of a standalone program.
Operator Insight: Self Storage 101 (operates as Copper Safe Storage)
Operates: 13 facilities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee
What aspects of the software do you like most? Ease of use, reasonableness of fees, integration with credit card processing and tenant insurance. Also, responsiveness of customer service staff when we need a question answered.
What aspects do you find most frustrating? Ways some of the reports are laid out. They’re not as helpful as they could be.
If you could add one feature, what would it be? Fully integrated on phone/tablet move-ins, and easier to add and remove features online.
Vendor Insight: Sentinel Systems Corp.
Years in business: 44
Software: Platinum Property Management Software (cloud-based, released 2017)
Popular features: These include access to the cloud system via one’s mobile device, the online payment and rentals portal, and unsurpassed integration to our own self-storage security system.
Best feature: You can access your site or facility at anytime from anywhere! Our software is compatible with any smart device that can be connected to an Internet network. Use your tablet, phone or computer to control your facility from a remote location.
Coming features: Adding features and upgrades is an ongoing occurrence for us. We’re constantly trying to improve and perfect our products.
Advice: Look for a company that has been in the industry for a while. Their longevity shows that they have copious amounts of knowledge and expertise in their field. A structured company also shows signs of great customer service and reliability.
Vendor Insight: Space Control Systems Inc.
Years in business: 35
Contact: Kevin Taylor
Software: Insight and Onsite (cloud-based, released 2015)
Popular features: Overview, credit card security, automated discounts, automatic rent raise, texting (no third-party needed).
Best feature: Reporting accuracy and ease of use. New employees can get acclimated to the software quickly.
Advice: Talk to other sites and ask about their experience with their current software and other packages they’ve used.
Operator Insight: Armor Storage LLC
Operates: One facility in Colorado
What aspects of the software do you like most? It’s easy to use and handles many different aspects of our business such as credit card transactions, billing, gate activity and access, alarm control, delinquency process. It also stores tenant information all in one system.
What aspects do you find most frustrating? Different errors occurring randomly such as alarm tampers, not recording units opening/closing.
If you could add one feature, what would it be? The ability to e-mail automated rent-raise letters through the system.
Vendor Insight: Storable
Software: SiteLink (desktop and cloud-based, released 1996), storEDGE (cloud-based, released 2014)
Popular features: For SiteLink, they’re highly configurable daily workflows, sophisticated data management and simplified portfolio administration. For storEDGE, they include daily workflow automation, intuitive tenant management and fully integrated communication capabilities.
Best feature: We built the Storable platform to fundamentally rethink the way operators leverage technology and services and unlock new opportunities to improve business outcomes. Both programs offer unique capabilities that enable operators of all sizes to deliver maximum revenue, enhance operational efficiency and optimize the tenant experience. SiteLink is a great fit for those seeking a comprehensive and flexible solution to solve their unique business needs. storEDGE is a great fit for those seeking an all-in-one, modern, intuitive user experience.
Coming features: SiteLink is getting enhanced promotion/discount controls and advanced user management. storEDGE is getting comprehensive multi-facility portfolio-management tools and advanced reporting capabilities.
Advice: Before you can select the best software for your business, you need to fully understand the problems you're trying to solve. Simply having software doesn't necessarily help you move your business forward. Are you looking to automate daily tasks so you or your manager can focus on the things that really matter, such as taking care of your tenants? Are you looking to rapidly grow your business by using comprehensive reporting that informs your marketing strategy and increases operational efficiency? Once you’ve determined these answers, you can partner with providers to understand the value they provide and be confident you’re making the right decision.
Operator Insight: MD Investments
Operates: Six locations under various names in California and Nevada
Uses: SiteLink by Storable
What aspects of the software do you like most? The ease of use. I’ve dealt with numerous systems during takeovers and SiteLink has always been my preferred.
What aspects do you find most frustrating? Not too much really, though I seem to have a knack for finding a way to crash it.
If you could add one feature, what would it be? It would be great if you could put reservations to specific sizes instead of specific units.
Vendor Insight: Storage Commander Software
Years in business: 21
Contact: Kevin Kerr
Software: Storage Commander (desktop and cloud-based, released 2015)
Popular features: Online rentals, integrated payments, seamless multi-site control, do-not-rent list, to-do list, unit inventories, website development, revenue management and customer relationship management.
Best feature: Software scales seamlessly to fit the needs of small and large operations without adding complexity to the user experience. Whether you have a single traditional facility or a large enterprise with RVs, boats and valet storage, it has tools you need to succeed.
Coming features: New cross-platform software.
Advice: Know what software features you’ll need now and possibly want in the future. If there’s even a possibility of adding more locations or specialty storage such as boat or valet storage, make sure you choose a package that’ll be able to accommodate without having to compromise functionality or ease of use.
Vendor Insight: Syrasoft Self Storage Software
Years in business: 28
Contact: Mark Somers
Software: Syrasoft Version 9 (desktop, released 2013), Syrasoft Connect (cloud-based, released 2016)
Popular features: Occupancy-based rate management, automatic credit card and ACH payments, MobileManager Mobile Application & Online Tenant Portal.
Best feature: With our MobileManager mobile application for iOS and Android devices, staff can perform many functions from their smartphone or tablet. It frees managers from the confines of their office and lets them get work done without running back to the office or finding a hotspot for their laptop.
Coming features: Syrasoft Connect, which provides pay-per-click marketing-campaign tracking.
Advice: Spend some time creating a list of the tasks you perform on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, then run through that list on every software you demo. The only way to find out if a software is going to perform as required is to test it in real-world scenarios. We also suggest going over the specific details of how your facility operates in terms of late events, payment processing, overlock and lockout procedures, etc. You want to be absolutely positive your chosen vendor can support your practices, and be aware of any areas where changes to practices are required to work with an otherwise perfect software solution.
Vendor Insight: U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network
Years in business: 17
Contact: Tommy Lulkovich or Scott McNulty
Software: WebSelfStorage, (Web-based, released 2003)
Popular features: Online move-ins, e-signature, text messaging, mailing service, online advertising and reservations, contact center, free tech support.
Best feature: Our customers are instantly connected to millions of online customers visiting uhaul.com for online advertising, online move-ins and reservations. Through a unique partnership with U-Haul, independent self-storage owners gain access to many benefits that provide network members with a “big business” competitive advantage on a small-business budget.
Coming features: Enhanced “Storage Walk Around Report” to increase efficiency and time management, website development, and tools to maximize remotely managed facility efficiency.
Advice: Find a company that fits your independent business needs and what you’re trying to accomplish for your customers. Check if local support is an option and how long they have been around, and ask for referrals from other storage owners. It’s important to feel confident in the company you’re partnering with so you can feel supported in running your day-to-day business.
Vendor Insight: Yardi Systems Inc.
Years in business: 35
Contact: Chad Stroman
Software: Yardi Breeze (cloud-based, released 2018)
Popular features: Yardi Breeze is a simple software designed to save operators time and money. Users will lease units faster with integrated websites and retain tenants longer with seamless online payments and easy ways to communicate via text and e-mail. They’ll also gain unprecedented insights with built-in accounting and powerful reporting.
Best feature: The software streamlines a business by offering everything operators need in one place, including built-in accounting, automated ILS listings, payment processing, stored goods insurance, an integrated website, and secure tenant and owner portals.
Advice: Always consider the total cost of ownership for your property-management platform. Factor in the hard costs of every system you’ll need to “bolt on” to your platform to achieve everything you need to do. Also, factor in soft costs such as additional training in multiple systems and the time required to build and maintain interfaces between disparate systems.