So you’re thinking about purchasing rental software. Perhaps you’ve been Googling around, looking at various options. Maybe you attended a tradeshow and saw a great demo, or someone you know has recommended a specific company. So you make a phone call or go onto a website and request more information. Now what?
When you get on your first call with the salesperson from the software company, there are a few things you should expect. Typically, the salesperson will ask you questions about your business. They should have an in-depth conversation with you about your challenges and goals. For instance, they may ask:
This process will help you make sure you're choosing new rental software that's the right fit for your business - both now and as you grow.
According to Jeff Loomis, Business Development Director at InTempo Software, these early questions are crucial. “It helps us understand if our solutions are going to help them solve their problems. It also focuses our conversation on the aspects of the technology that are most important to that person and business.”
Next, the discussion should turn to what type of system you are looking for. For instance - do you need a fully integrated rental ERP (enterprise resource planning) system, or would you be better served by a small-business solution with streamlined functionality? There's no right or wrong answer here, as your choice will depend on:
According to Loomis, having a basic understanding of what type of software you’re looking for before sitting through a demo can help you avoid wasted time.
Budget is, of course, another crucial factor. Loomis cautions that while it can be tempting to look for an inexpensive option (or one that only requires a monthly payment rather than a long-term commitment), doing so may actually end up being more costly in the long run.
He cites the example of enterprise rental software, which handles everything from the front counter to the back office.
“Think about the value you put on your business. If you don’t have to do manual invoicing, if you don’t have to go into Excel and generate an invoice for every transaction, it could save you hours every single week that you can go focus on other things. It can save you the salary you’d otherwise have to pay for an employee.”
There's also the issue of add-on licenses and "upgraded" functionality. A low-cost solution may require additional payments every time you add a new user, or the base software may not actually give you everything you need to run your rental business. Costly upgrades like this can add up over time.
Today, many software systems offer similar features. When you're comparing apples to apples, support can help you choose a system that'll ultimately be the best fit for your business. Would you be able to get support quickly, from a team that understands not only the technical side of the system, but the ins and outs of the industry? Do you have to call an overseas call center, or can you shoot a quick email over to a local team that you know will reply with clear instructions? All of this can make a great difference with your ability to successfully use your new rental software.
Think about where your business is now, and where you want it to be a few years out. Will you be trying to keep the business in the family with operations that are largely the same as they are today? Are you hoping to grow your business with the hopes of being acquired, or maybe even do the acquiring yourself? Do you want to eventually become a dealer and add an additional revenue stream? As you weigh the pros and cons of different rental software options, keep that roadmap in mind. Changing to a new system every few years isn't just costly - it's extremely time-consuming. Investing once and using the same system for decades provides a better return - not to mention a better operational foundation for your rental business.
Regardless of your needs, you’ll want to work with a salesperson who understands your business and your needs. When you sit through a demo, focus on the value the functionality of that particular system provides to your business. Your return on investment comes not only in rental revenue, but also in time saved and efficiencies gained. Your company is priceless to you, so you’ll want the best software you can get — a system you’ll be happy with today and in the future.
Want more resources? Here's a blog post on six questions you should ask before buying rental software.