If your equipment rental company isn't currently using an ERP system, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. After all - spreadsheets, whiteboards, paper-based inspection reports, manually created invoices, and maybe even QuickBooks have been working just fine all this time...right?
Maybe so, maybe not. But the truth is - as your equipment rental company grows from small business to mid-market business or even to a larger regional chain, it's important to keep everything organized. That's where specialized ERP software comes into play.
Let's start with the basics.
That said, there's an important distinction to make between ERP and non-ERP software. Several rental software systems can handle all of your operational tasks, like creating reservations or scheduling machines for service. However, non-ERP software doesn't include the accounting/financial side, which means you'll need a separate third-party system for Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, General Ledger, and Depreciation. It's entirely possible to run your equipment rental business with non-ERP software + a separate accounting system, but it does make things harder. (Learn more about why you should be using rental-specific accounting software.)
Real-time updates are another important distinction between ERP and non-ERP software. If a solution calls itself an ERP, that implies that it operates in real time. When a sales rep creates a contract, your yard team can see that same contract and start staging the reserved equipment. When a driver picks up a damaged machine, your maintenance team can start preparing for the repair. Everyone stays on the same page; it's an easy way to connect the dots from the counter to the back office.
Some ERP solutions are "industry-agnostic". That means that companies in any industry can use them to run their business.
Of course, the equipment rental industry is truly unlike any other industry, which means that non-rental-specific ERPs may not have the functionality you need to run your business. For instance, a generic solution may not be able to accommodate checking inventory in and out or cycle billing your customers. That's why it's helpful to invest in equipment rental ERP software that can support your unique processes.
Let's do a quick exercise:
Is your hand still raised? Congratulations - you're unlocking the full power of a rental ERP. Hand down? It might be worth finding a system that'll help you grow.
You may think that ERP systems are only for the large "household name" rental chains, but that couldn't be further from the truth. ERP isn't just for the big box stores; the technologies are a great way for small to medium businesses - even those with only one or two rental yards - to optimize their businesses and level the playing field with larger competitors. In fact, these local and regional companies make up the largest-growing segment in the equipment rental ERP space.
If you're just starting out, it may make sense to choose a streamlined solution that keeps things simple. However, once your business starts to grow, it's worth considering a specialized solution. The larger you become, the more important cross-department communication becomes; the same goes for the standardization of your processes. It's often around the $4-5 million mark (of rental revenue specifically) where companies start to see the best return on investment.
Even if you aren't at that $4-5 million mark just yet, rental software that's purpose-built for small businesses can still help you get similar benefits at a lower cost. Even brand-new start-ups can reap the benefits of digital dispatching, quotes and contracts, delivery scheduling, customer notifications, e-signatures, and more.
Some vendors also provide pricing structures to accommodate businesses as they grow. That means that you can get started on one solution, then add more modules or locations as your company grows.
Generally speaking, companies with high-value assets (such as construction equipment) benefit most from these solutions. Sub-industries like aerial and access equipment, pump and power equipment, and specialty (oil and gas, shoring, modular) equipment all find great value from ERPs.
InTempo Enterprise is perfect for consolidating service and rental and accounting all in one place. (It even offers similar functionality for your dealership sales department, if you have one, so you can manage both sides of your business on one platform.) With all-in-one base functionality and a variety of optional modules to help you as you grow, we're proud to be the last rental software you'll ever need.