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What Makes the Best Equipment Rental Software?

Faith Kubicki Faith Kubicki

When you’re searching for new equipment rental software, every vendor will tell you their solution is the best. But here’s the reality: the best software for your rental business may not be what’s best for Company X. What’s best for Company X, who has five locations that all specialize in industrial equipment rentals, will almost certainly not be right for Company Y, a small business with an inventory of 50 power tools. 

That’s why it’s important to start your search for the best equipment rental software with a detailed list of wants and needs that are tailored to your unique business. (Assuming you're already using a software system, it can also help to make a list of what isn't working with your current platform - be it the cost, the functionality, or the responsiveness of the support.)

What Features Should You be Looking For?

One truth that applies across the board: the more you can do in your rental software, the better return you’ll get on your investment. (There's a reason companies adopt all-in-one ERP systems, and it generally comes down to convenience and visibility.) 

If you're looking to standardize (and speed up) your processes, keep all your data in one place, and get more accurate with your reporting, you’ll be best served by a system that consolidates multiple functions on one platform. Look for a solution that offers modules for:

Ask each vendor: what modules are part of your base software package? Do we need to purchase an upgraded package to use any of these modules?

A Full Product Ecosystem Makes Growth Easier

Even though you’ll want a system that lets you manage all your accounting, inventory, maintenance, and dispatch operations on the base-level package, you’ll still want to find a vendor that gives you room to grow. If you’re a new or small equipment rental business, you may not need a mobile app or a connected assets/telematics platform on day one – but those options may help you achieve higher profits and greater efficiency as your organization grows.

Best Equipment Rental Software

Ask each vendor: what add-on modules do you offer as part of your total solution offering? At what point would it make sense to start considering those options, and what’s the process of adding them to our base rental software?

Integrations are Crucial

One thing to keep in mind: if you need to continue using software systems that you already have in place (like QuickBooks, where you may have years’ worth of accounting data already stored, or Salesforce, where your sales reps already manage their customers and accounts), you’ll need to find an equipment rental solution that can integrate with your preferred third-party platforms.

Ask each vendor: what third-party integrations do you currently offer? What if customers need to integrate with software that’s not currently on your list?

Do You Want On-Premise or SaaS Software?

On-premises installation gives you full control over your software, but it also means that you have to manage the server and the data yourself. A SaaS solution lets you rely on your vendor to reduce the technical burden, but requires careful attention to security settings and performance.

Ask each vendor: do you offer on-premises (on-prem) software, SaaS software, or both? What security measures do you have in place for your SaaS offering? What are the technical requirements if we want to manage an on-premises deployment ourselves?

How Important is Support?

When it comes to equipment rental software, most technologies offer similar functionality. However, a platform that you have to figure out by yourself – and that can’t be customized based on your business practices – can only get you so far.

When you look at software as a tool to not just manage your day-to-day operations, but to sustainably grow your business, that conversation changes. You need a support team with quick response times and real-world experience on the platform. If they know the day-to-day ins and outs of writing contracts, invoicing customers, and managing control records…even better.

Ask each vendor: what channels do you offer for support? (I.e., an online ticketing system, a hotline, or an email option.) What’s your typical response time? Is your team US-based or international? Do you have support employees who have actually used the system themselves?

How Important is Customization?

Many teams equate customization with expense. However, heavy/construction equipment rentals are so unlike other industries that companies need a fully configurable platform to be truly successful.

If you aren’t sure what a specific workflow should look like? It’s incredibly helpful to have an experienced team that can provide proven best practices. You get to avoid costly trial and error and go straight to a viable solution. That may require some flexibility within your rental management solution, but that's almost always better than trying to make do with an inefficient workflow just because your software supports it. 

Ask each vendor: what’s the process of configuring business processes in your software? Are you built to accommodate rental-specific processes, such as cycle counts, cash customer billing, cycle billing, and managing multiple dealer warranties? If we need something custom-built for our business, are you able to accommodate that, and what does that development process look like?

What Billing Model Will Be Best (AKA - Most Cost-Effective) for Your Business?

Equipment rental software pricing is often based on two main factors:

If you’re paying by the user, you may end up with a higher cost than location-based pricing. With the latter option, you only pay more as you grow your business – not when you make personnel changes.

Ask each vendor: is your pricing location- or user-based? What increases would we need to prepare for if we add more users or open more rental branches?

What’s the Typical Customer Tenure?

Changing software is expensive and time-consuming. You don’t want to constantly move from system to system, which means all your due diligence in selecting the best equipment rental software will pay off in the end. You’ll want a vendor who will work with you to build a long-term relationship – not just a one-time transaction – as you build toward sustainable success.

Ask each vendor: how long do customers typically stay on your software? Do you have referrals from customers who have been using your system for 5 or 10+ years?

Discover InTempo’s Best-in-Class Rental Software

InTempo Enterprise (RentalMan) is one of the industry’s most renowned equipment rental ERPs. Companies who use our platform consistently earn more per-branch revenue – and grow up to 25 percent more year over year – than companies that use other technologies.

With customizable functionality for rentals, sales, and service; a full ecosystem of add-on products and integrations; a cost-effective pricing model; and a long history of successful customers, we’re here to be the last – and best – rental software you’ll ever need. Take a look at the results we’ve helped other rental companies achieve, or request a demo today.

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