pitfalls to avoid with self storage software

8 Pitfalls To Avoid Choosing Software

8 Pitfalls To Avoid While Choosing Self-Storage Management Software

Whether you are purchasing a new facility or you have decided to switch software providers, researching new management software for your self-storage may seem like a daunting and sometimes confusing task to undertake. With new features and services being offered every day it is more important than ever to educate yourself on the providers and software available to you. As a simple guideline, here are 8 pitfalls to avoid while choosing your new self-storage software.

1. Waiting Too Long To Purchase Management Software

While your facility is under development, you may face opening day on the wrong foot if you delay purchasing your management software for too long. Generally, I would suggest beginning research for management software up to six months in advance of your opening date and to have decided upon a provider within 3 months of opening. This ensures that you have enough time to finish setup and can begin accepting new inquiries in order to give your operation the strongest start possible while breaking into its new market.

2. Choosing The Wrong Platform

All too often operators are beginning their pursuit for new software without knowing the differences between the available software providers’ platforms.  This can lead to confusion during the purchase process and in the worst cases—being stuck with a product that isn’t an adequate fit for your facility. Educating yourself on terms such as stand-alone, web-enabled, and web-based will provide a strong foundation for your selection process.

3. Can The Software Keep Up With Technology?

Most management software these days will already come with hardware integration already built into the software. Understanding and utilizing these integrations can have a dramatic effect on your day-to-day operations and should not be overlooked. Using devices such as combo scanners, kiosks, customer access terminals, and fingerprint scanners will grant your facility and its customers more control and overall security.  Even if you are not planning on using any hardware at the moment of purchasing your software, you should always make sure the software provider you choose can provide you with these integrations for future use in case you reconsider purchasing these devices down the line.

4. Not Taking Advantage Of Your Software’s Features

While researching software, you might come to the realization that your potential provider may offer additional services and modules that are not included with the basic software package. While your first instinct may be that the company is trying to nickel-and-dime you, these supplementary packages are often developed after the initial release of the software and were created to help increase your management’s productivity and enhance your facility’s revenue potential. By adding additional elements such as online payments, online reservations, and online reporting you are not only taking full advantage of the software, but you are also relieving yourself of the time and energy of having to complete these actions manually.  In fact, many of the available software providers (such as Storage Commander) offer these features included at no additional cost, so make sure to do you homework first.

5. Not Reading The Fine Print

Make sure that the details of the partnership with your software provider are made perfectly clear before the purchase is complete. Unfortunately for the buyer, when a deal looks too good to be true it often is and the real problem is that most buyers don’t realize this until it is too late. Some key questions to ask software providers in order to protect you would be:

  • Does the software company maintain ownership of your data? If so, do they charge to release ALL of your data should you decide to switch providers?
  • Some providers will attempt to hook you in at a lowered rate only to have their “introductory rate” increase dramatically after a set time. Asking if this rate will be maintained throughout the entirety of your partnership will help avoid fluctuating future costs.
  • If a provider is offering a free web site, do they maintain ownership of the domain name (www.examplestorage.com) or will you have to pay to have the domain name released to you if you decide to change providers?

Being aware of some of these elements and tactics can save you untold time and money in the not-so-distant future.

6. Purchase Your Software From A Software Company

When self-storage software is not the main focus of the company you are buying from you are the one who becomes last priority. Purchasing software from gate access and truck rental companies that are attempting to sell a “Package Deal” tend to leave you with a rigid product whose limitations can leave you with a sense of buyer’s remorse for years to come. Choosing from a reputable and experienced software company will always ensure that your operation and your software will always come first. 

7. Make Sure To Choose A Flexible Software

The ability to modify and add basic things such as custom billing plans, automated late steps, and additional payment options are sometimes overlooked while researching. These are all important tools used to keep you in control rather than allowing your software to govern how your facility is managed based on its limitations.

8. Watch Out For Features Not Provided From Within The Software

Some software providers available today will sometimes boast capabilities or features that are not directly developed within the actual software. Unfortunately for the consumer, these “extra features” are not being paid for by the software provider which leaves no one but you to pick up the tab. This tactic has been proven to add substantial costs in monthly charges incurred in some facilities and should be avoided whenever possible.

Additionally, this can also bring rise to problems in customer service regarding issues with your 3rd party feature. As many well know, it becomes a painful task to resolve an issue when both companies in a partnership do not want to accept responsibility for a problem.

In closing, while your software might not dictate how successful your operation is as a whole, having a favorable relationship with a trusted and established software provider will undeniably assist you in reaching your full potential as a prosperous facility in your market. Look closely at the experience of these providers and make your decision based on what benefits your future software can provide for you and your team for years to come. If you would like more information on Storage Commander you can continue to Storage Commander’s features page or request your free demo today!

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