So you’ve bought or developed a self-storage facility. Now what?
Managing a self-storage business isn’t necessarily rocket science. After all it isn’t unheard of for some old school self-storage facilities to keep tabs on their units using index cards. They also haven’t raised rents in 30 years. But if you are reading this far, chances are you are looking to run your facility with precision and efficiency. The best way to do that is with self-storage management software.
Overall, self-storage management will help you maximize revenue, enhance your operational efficiency and optimize the tenant experience. Here’s how.
The Benefits of Using Self-Storage Management Software
Self-storage management software is a turnkey solution for running numerous aspects of your facility. Utilizing a management software program to run your facility will make it easy to instantly see which units are occupied, how much you are earning from each unit, and which units are overdue for payment.
The ability to quickly access this information and more will not only make it easier for your managers to run the day-to-day operations of your facility, but by operating more efficiently you will also increase profitability. You can be sure that your best competition is using self-storage management software, and if you want to be on an even playing field you’ll need to use it as well.
Many self-software packages will also integrate with your website or online storage aggregators that people use to find available units. That means that customers can access up to date pricing and availability information with little effort on your end. Many software providers will enable you to manage online reservations as well, making it easier to reach more customers than you would from walk-ins alone.
Shopping for Software Solutions
The market for self-storage management software actually has quite a few options to explore. While most self storage software have similar common features among them, there are key differences that you will need to research and understand before choosing one. Some offer turnkey all-in-one solutions out of the box, while others are highly customizable to facilitate any unique business process. Some also provide additional perks and services, such as payment processing, access control and tenant portals.
Let’s explore some of the more common features you can expect to find when shopping for a self-storage management solution.
At a bare minimum, a self-storage management platform will allow you to manage move-ins and move-outs, keep a database of customer information, and allow you to review the status of their accounts.
A good software product will feature a property management dashboard that will give you a quick view of revenue, occupancy and other key metrics.
Inventory control will keep track of which units at your facility are available for new rentals in real-time. Many software options can even give you a visual read out of your occupied and available units using a custom facility map.
Collect Online Payments
The ability to collect online payments is a game-changer for storage operators. More and more consumers prefer to have the ability to manage their personal payment account online, and self-storage is no exception. If a customer discovers your self-storage facility through an online search, the ability for them to reserve and pay for a unit online with a credit card is of vital importance. Otherwise they may continue their search and find another facility that allows them to book and pay online.
Look for the following features to get the most out of online payments
- Tenant portal for customer
- Ability to manage online reservations
- Electronic signature capability for lease documents
- Payment processing service for collecting online payments.
Access Control and Security
A good self-storage management software option will integrate with your building’s access control systems. This includes the management of gate access and entry codes. In addition some software will sync with your video security systems and door alarms.
Some self-storage management software companies also provide web design features, such as storEDGE. This is a great option if you have no web presence and want to get up and running with a software solution at the same time, or if you want to upgrade your website for a better experience. This comes with many advantages, such as having seamless integration between your online reservations, inventory control, and other management systems.
When choosing a self-storage management software product, you will want to choose a user-friendly option that your property managers won’t need to spend a lot of time learning how to use. Higher-end software providers tend to provide better customer support and even have employees that are dedicated to customer relationship management. You will also need to consider whether you have compatible computers at each of your facilities for running the software. Most providers are Mac and PC compatible, but be sure to confirm the system requirements of management software before purchasing.
Self-Storage Management Software Providers
There is a large number of self-storage management software providers. Some are low cost, but offer less robust features. Others may be more costly, but offer better features. Depending on the specific goals of your storage operation, finding the right balance will require some additional research and comparisons. Most providers will offer a free demo, which is the best way to get a feel for which software will work best for your facilities.
Here is a list of software providers most commonly used by the self storage industry:
There are a number of other providers out there. Ultimately you want to find a product that makes it easier to run your business. With a basic understanding of what self-storage management software can do, take the time to evaluate your options.