So much software... So little time.
Back in the day, the choice for rental software was as easy as choosing from Door #1, 2, or 3. Today, there are over 40 companies that claim to offer rental software for equipment or party & event rental businesses.
Selecting the right rental software can be bewildering, not to mention time-consuming. So here are a few "non-denominational" guidelines that you'll find useful, no matter what software you finally decide to purchase.
Do your initial homework. Then, narrow down your selection.
Focus on the important criteria. You're searching for great software, not a great marketing company, right? So, don't fall for marketing hype. You're trying to purchase the best solution to suit your needs now and help you grow in the future. Of course, the software you choose must be within your budget. But don't shop on price alone. And be sure to...
Ask questions. Lots of them.
You can save so much time and money by asking the right questions. Your prospective software company should be very forthcoming and open, providing you with lots of honest information that can help you learn about their product and how it will fit for your company. They should be listening to you, not just talking at you. Here at UAS, we often liken client / software company relationships to a marriage. You want to do everything possible to be sure that you "marry" the right software company because - hopefully - your company will have a long and successful relationship with them for many years.
The Big Six
Here are 6 "must-ask" questions when searching for rental software (or any software, for that matter):
1. Is the system based on underlying technology that meets current and future needs? Today the best software vendors offer applications that can accommodate more than one database engine - a major advantage for many. Select the database that matches your unique needs and budget - and that can grow with you in the future. Also, be sure that your company offers both client/server or cloud-based systems. You want to have choices now, and in the future.
2. Are the screens easy-to-use? In this case, "looks" do matter. Look for well-designed screens that are not too cluttered. But don't be fooled by sparse screens, either. Rental companies need lots of functionality. That's what makes the rental business so unique.
3. Does the software package reasonably meet your needs? Identify your information needs and wants. Look for a solution that meets the majority of your requirements in order of priority. You should get the majority of your
4. Does the system include its own accounting modules or do you need 3rd party accounting software? It's a proven fact: Companies that work with one system for rental and a different system for accounting have a significantly lower customer satisfaction level and a higher employee frustration level. Taking the extra step of transitioning to one complete system can truly save headaches down the road by having one streamlined system. Unless, of course, you actually like staying at the office late nights and weekends trying to reconcile multiple systems rather than spending your time on the golfcourse?
5. What about software upgrades? How often are they released? Is there a charge for upgrades, or are they included in software maintenance and support? This can tell you whether or not this is a progressive company that will continue to keep up with changing industry needs and technology. Or just crank along with the same old software year after year.
6. Does the price make sense for your situation? Ah! Everyone's favorite question. Price should not be the main deciding factor - but it does matter. Here's a little secret: "Most expensive" does not mean "better". However, trying to save every penny on your software purchase now can result in losing lots of money in the long run. Just be reasonable.
Who ARE these people anyway?
It's not just about the software. It's also about people. What do you know about the company? How long have they been around? Who are their clients?
Ask for references. Call them. Speak frankly, not just about the product, but about their support services.
Because solid, reliable technical support is just as important as the right software.
A FREE Tool to help you compare potential software choices
Once you've narrowed down your selection to a manageable number, it's time to take a deeper dive in order to compare functions.
Ciick here to download your FREE copy of "Choosing the Right Software for your Rental Business - The Software Comparison Tool for Rental Professionals".
For a deeper dive of Universal Rental Enterprise Management system, register today for Universal's Tuesday, March 14 webinar: "Put Your Rental Business in the Fast Lane".