Interview with self storage industry expert - How to choose the best management software for your facility
We sit down with industry expert Miles Davison, where he breaks down how to choose the best management software for you.
Self-storage software can be infinitely beneficial to you and your business, but given the wide variety of programs to choose from, it can be difficult to settle on which one. Here we speak with Miles Davison, founder of Storeganise, where he’ll break down the biggest factors to consider when choosing self-storage software.
What is the first thing developers need to know and do when choosing software for their self storage facility?
Miles lists out several main points to consider when deciding which kind of software they should look at:
Cloud or on-premise
“Cloud is by far the most common service offering for any modern software solution - not only within self-storage but for other industries as well” he says. Further, it provides a solution that can be constantly updated, has no special hardware requirements, includes automated backups and can be used from anywhere.
On the point of automation, he considers it a super important consideration: “You should consider a system that allows them to automate many of the processes that would otherwise take up staff time”. Miles also says that automation is key if a developer is planning to run an unmanned facility at any point.
“Running any business these days requires more than just a single software or system so it is important to consider how easy it is for the management software to integrate with other systems.” If multiple systems don’t work well with each other, it will make the management experience much less seamless.
Ease of use
Miles stresses that you must “consider a platform that will be easy for any staff member to pick up and start using from day one”. Overly complex systems can become a real drain on staff time and also result in mistakes that can become costly in the long run.
“With the move to online bookings growing every year, it is important to consider a platform that can allow end users to view, manage and book units online at any time. Something that can be added immediately to any website will reduce initial and ongoing costs.” Further, the effects of the pandemic have made it abundantly clear that users need an effective customer portal to use contactless solutions.
As with any business, Miles says that analytics is key in decision making: “Data and reports will drive a lot of business decisions, so it is important to look for a system that can provide great insights into a business and help a manager delve into where they have opportunities to expand, increase revenues, improve conversions, etc.”
Finally, he stresses that your software must be able to keep up with the changing business environment: “An important consideration is finding a software which is modern and intuitive today but which will also grow with the business and keep updating over time. “
Should they be cost conscious or will that cost them in the end?
When it comes to cost, Miles states that it should always play a factor, but not be the primary driver. It’s important to look holistically also at your total cost of managing things: “If the software you choose can automate a number of tasks for you, that may come at a relatively small cost when compared to the amount of hours you will save through the automation.” He stresses that your management software is the core of your business operations, so it’s worth “investing in the platform that works best for your business now and into the future.” Also, you need to make sure you’re taking all extra costs into account: “Consider also what features are natively covered in your software that you would otherwise need to invest in building separately. For example, if your software already includes a customer booking portal out of the box, this can save you great expense as compared to having to build this yourself. Do you need to pay separately to get integrations added with access control, for example? All these different fees can add up, hence the need to view everything holistically.”
What type of budget should they consider when choosing software?
“As with anything, this can vary a lot depending on the size of the storage operation. The number of sites and units per site is usually the main driver of price but some systems will charge also for the number of users using the platform” Miles says, “Storeganise, for example, starts from just US$ 100 per month.”
What products do you offer and what kinds of other software systems does it integrate with?
“Storeganise provides management software for both valet and self-storage operators all over the world. Our software is made up of two main interfaces which are both cloud-based and mobile responsive. The Management Portal enables a business to manage all parts of their operations, while the Customer Portal is a re-branded portal that allows end users of self-storage to book and manage their units from any device.”
Miles also emphasises that Storeganise integrates natively with a number of systems, and the Open API allows to easily add other custom integrations easily. These include access control systems (such as PTI, Nike, Entryfy etc.), Payment gateways (Stripe, Braintree, etc.), Analytics solutions (such as Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, Google Tag Manager etc.), Accounting platforms (Xero, Quickbooks), and others. “Storeganise is a flexible, modern and comprehensive system which allows companies to manage traditional self-storage but also valet storage, including barcode-based inventory management, logistics tracking, and offering self-storage websites.”
Is it key in today’s self storage industry, to have software that all “talks to one another?”
In this final question, Miles was quick to answer: “Yes, this is imperative. These days it is important to find software solutions that best solve and address your specific needs. You may decide to use a number of platforms together to get the best out of each (e.g. a management software, a CRM and an accounting system). If you can’t easily get these systems to talk to each other, the time required to manage things between different systems will quickly become overwhelming. With modern APIs, this should be a basic requirement when choosing a software provider.”
Considering what software to use for your business contains a multitude of factors that need to be taken into account. Hopefully, this Q&A with industry expert Miles Davison will provide the starting steps for you and your business in selecting the right software that will work the best for you.
Interested to learn more about Storeganise? Feel free to book a personalised demo here.
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