Inside Self-Storage

MAR 2019

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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M anagement software is essential for running a self-storage facility effectively and efficiently. It should suit the individual needs of your business, whatever those may be; however, certain features will simplify and streamline your operation, regardless of its size and type. Following are three features your program should possess today. Let's see what they are and why they're important. Online Rental Capabilities At the very least, your management software should have online rental capabilities. In today's Internet-reliant world, the potential for business growth increases exponentially when your prospects can rent a unit online. This is because once someone is on your website, he's more likely to decide quickly. In fact, 97 percent of people agree that a website has some effect on their buying decisions, according to software developer HubSpot. When someone goes to your website to rent a unit, a few things should happen. First, your software should keep track of your unit inventory and display—in real time—how many units are available and in what sizes. Furthermore, your rates should be accurate, so your prospect knows what he should expect to pay. Once the tenant has decided to rent, he should be able to complete the process online. This includes signing the lease agreement electronically. It's also imperative that your software accepts credit cards. A tenant shouldn't be able to use your unit without first making a payment. This process should be easy for the customer while providing you with all the information you need. Access-Control Integration The next feature your management software should possess is the ability to integrate with your access-control system. Most management-software companies offer integration with a few gate-operator software programs, so you can choose one based on the needs of your property. Often, a management-software company will have a preferred gate provider, which will give you the most power to control facility access. For example, if you use the recommended gate provider, you may have the ability to open and close your gate directly from your management software. It's always a good idea to discuss your access-control options with your management-software provider first to make sure integrations are available. Communicating with the people who develop your program can be extremely valuable. For example, if you need help navigating the software or finding a feature, your vendor should be more than willing to help. You can also ask for tips and tricks. Most companies will answer questions and tell you whether the software can do certain things. They'll show you how to get the results you want. Furthermore, you may have a fantastic idea of how the software could better suit the needs of self-storage operators. If you have a good relationship, the company is likely to consider your suggestion and determine if it's feasible. Must-Have Sof tware Feat ures Essential tools for business effectiveness and efficiency By Alyssa Browning Choosing Sof ware: Dos and Don'ts Choosing self-storage management software can be a relatively quick decision, but the impact of your choice can ripple through your company for years. Follow these six guidelines to make the right choice for your business. DO DON'T Understand software platforms. Forget future needs. Consider features. Prioritize price over value. Plan for the switch. Forget the value of training. Source: Inside Self-Storage, "6 Dos and Don'ts for Choosing Self-Storage Management Software," by Mark Smith Rate Management Your management software should also contain a rate-management tool. Managing your rental rates is a vital part of running a self-storage facility because it helps you increase your revenue. Without this tool, it's still possible to increase rates, but it'll take longer, especially if you have a lot of units. With rate management built into your software, you can effectively increase rates on a mass scale and set rules to remind you to update rates after a set time. Getting Help Regardless of what features your software offers, it's imperative to maintain a good relationship with your provider. Your management software is a vital piece of the self-storage success puzzle. Make your operation as effective and efficient as possible by choosing a program that best suits your business style. And don't be afraid to ask questions! Alyssa Browning is the marketing director of Easy Storage Solutions. Launched in 2008, the company provides access control, accounting, call-center services, management software and SEO (search engine optimization) services to small and mid-sized operators. For more information, call 888.958.5967; visit 72 ISS I March 2019

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