Must have features and what to watch out for when selecting software for a smaller self storage facility.
Self storage software makes facility management so much easier. It also boosts efficiency and overall profits. Currently, there are dozens of self storage software solutions on the market, so choosing the right one isn’t easy. So far, we covered the must-have self storage software features and the biggest software mistakes to avoid. In this post, we decided to compile all of our know-how and client experiences to make a list of the most important software features for small self storage businesses and facilities.
Small storage businesses face two restrictions that bigger players don’t have: a tighter budget and a smaller team of people. It can seem that a good self storage software solution is too expensive for a small development budget. In reality, there are many decent free programs available. Most solutions come with a monthly or annual subscription plan for users who want more advanced features. In other words: you don’t need a big substantial up-front investment and flexibility in the future.
As for the human resource capacity – software significantly frees up your time through self storage automation. More about that later. Modern solutions are cloud-based and can easily integrate with existing software like CRM or accounting programs that your business is using. User-friendly interfaces flatten the learning curve and make the experience better for front-end and back-end users.
It depends on your preferences and your business when it comes to handy features. But here are suggestions for must-haves based on our experience in the field nevertheless.
One of the most time-saving and helpful features that self storage software brings is the automation of invoicing and billing. It’s the bare minimum that saves your business much time and makes the software investment pay off. The system automatically generates invoices and sends them to your customers at a pre-defined date. It can then either charge the amount to the credit card or send regular reminders automatically if the customer is past due payment. This feature not only reduces your time effort it also lowers credit risk.
Generally, self storage requires many accounting features unique to the industry, so ensure that the software supports appropriate payment methods. For example: selling merchandise, renewing the lease, or upgrading the lease, to name a few examples.
Take the contactless interactions further and offer e-signatures on the self storage lease. Customers can select a unit from your website with the help of a selection tool, pick a lease duration, sign digitally and even book a move-in digitally. All you need to do is to set up the templates once.
This one often goes hand-in-hand with the previous feature: A colour-coded facility map where renters can see the location of their unit and which are occupied or vacant. This map should be printable for maximum user-friendliness.
At automated facilities with smart-lock access, the self-storage management software will integrate with the system and automatically provide each tenant with an access code. This saves you the stress of dealing with keys and locks. But more importantly, it gives you the option to lock up customers who don’t pay at the click of a button (or even automatically). When they cover the bill, the system will reinstate the access code.
The self-storage software solution should have remote access for both the renters and the management. The point of self-storage software is to outsource many tasks to the system. Having to be in the office to use it will defeat the purpose. Because modern solutions are cloud-based, you can manage your facility from any location and device with a stable internet connection. Similarly, your renters can manage their unit, their contract, and billing from the comfort of their tablet or smartphone while sitting on the couch.
Finally, the software must have reporting capabilities. Only if you regularly review the performance of your business can you make improvements to your strategy. For more insights, you can check out our in-depth guide on self-storage KPIs.
The list of possible features goes on — for example, integration to college housing or booking a moving truck. We consider them add-on features. Whichever solution you pick, as long as you tick the must-haves, your self-storage will be in good hands, figuratively.
Storeganise a cloud-based self storage management software for businesses of all sizes. We offer various automation features that let you run your facility entirely remotely.