Seven Steps to Buying Equipment Rental Software
So you’ve decided to purchase equipment rental software. Now you need to make the right selection. Here’s a process you can follow to identify the solution that is the best fit for your company.
Step 1: Step back and write down your goals.
What are you looking to achieve?
Hard metrics may include:
Soft metrics may include:
- Improve inventory management
- Reduce the number of systems used
- Eliminate reliance on paper
- Increase visibility into ROI on purchased equipment
- Eliminate manual Accounts Receivable work
- Provide better rental experience to customers
- Enhance security
Step 2: Plan your timeline.
Depending on your needs and the vendor, implementation time can vary greatly. Build in ample time for training so you are able to make the most of the system.
Ask yourself when you want to:
- Start the selection process?
- See detailed vendor presentations and demos?
- Make a final decision?
- Start implementation?
- Finish training?
- Be fully up and running?
Step 3: Identify your requirements.
Choosing the right rental business management solution goes beyond just picking the right technology.
- Review your administrative, integration, and technical requirements. Are there other technologies you have the system will need to work with, such as a CRM?
- Verify you’re getting the software functionality you need today—and what you’ll need in the future. For help on this, read through sections 1-3 of The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing Rental Software.
- Will you need to integrate with your existing accounting software, such as QuickBooks, or is it time to consider adopting ERP rental software that eliminates the need for a third-party financial platform?
- Identify requirements beyond the technology aspect. Who will use the system? How crucial is ease of use? What additional support and training will you need?
- Turn requirements into real-world use cases. Describe real scenarios you’ve encountered that you’ll need to be able to accommodate. Make sure you're choosing software that can accommodate your rental-specific processes; those that are built for general use in any industry may not be able to do what you need them to do.
Step 4: Assemble a team to choose and manage the solution.
Include representation from across the organization. However, the primary users of the software should drive the final decision.
Step 5: Evaluate vendors.
Narrow your list to the 2-3 vendors that best suit your needs.
- Ask each one to demonstrate how they would deliver your specific processes and scenarios.
- Compare technology to your requirements. Check all boxes to cover your administrative, integration and technical needs. Learn about third-party product integration.
- Look beyond the technology. Evaluate each vendor’s ability to make you successful through access to online community, support, consulting and training. Ensure that each vendor is reliable and has the longevity to stand by you now and years into the future.
- Ask tough questions. Have the vendor show you they have what they say in terms of functionality.
- Avoid comparing every single feature. Focus on the big picture. Go back to your business needs and use cases and make sure each vendor can deliver on your criteria.
- Think about the future. Ask how each vendor’s product roadmap aligns with your needs.
Step 6: Ask for references.
Reputable vendors should be able to connect you with a customer that will vouch for their company and their technology. Talking to references is one of the most important steps of the purchase process.
- As for references and case studies in your industry. You can ask the vendor directly and solicit others from your professional network.
- Go beyond technology. Ask references about support, training opportunities, user communities, etc.
- Learn what to expect next. Determine whether the implementation and training process is likely to set your business up for success.
- Ask about problems and issues. One of the best insights you can get into a vendor is to learn how they handle issues and complications as they arise.
Step 7: Make a decision.
It can be tempting to consider price to be a major factor. But rental software is the very foundation of your businesses. It’s not just an expenditure, but an investment in your organization. Look at everything holistically from features to vendor longevity to user communities to support—and ask yourself which supplier will help you be the most successful today and in the long run.