How You Can Use Self-Storage Management Software
June 12, 2023
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Take Advantage Of Storage Software
As the owner of a self-storage facility, you know how important it is to leverage any tools at your disposal to make managing your business easier. Property management software (PMS) is one of those tools.
Whether you’re using a general PMS (like Innago) with essential tools like rent collection, tenant screening, and leasing or you’re interested in a storage-specific software solution, there are many ways to use software to simplify management—and the truth is, few owners in the industry are applying its full range of features. That’s why we’ve highlighted the following nine ways you can use self-storage management software to help your business realize its full potential.
1. Manage Facility/Customer Data
Diligent record-keeping may not be the most interesting part of your job, but as in all businesses, it pays to be organized. Instead of keeping manual records on paper or tediously entering data in an Excel sheet, you can store your data on your software platform, including:
- Unit numbers, sizes, and prices
- Tenant names and contact information
- Lease details and statuses
- Gate codes
- Rent payment records
Your storage unit software can be its own database of your entire storage facility. It can also automate many components of data entry, keeping track of which units are assigned to which tenants, when each lease expires, and which tenants have or haven’t paid their rent.
2. Collect Rent Online
Speaking of rent collection, your software can automate this too. Collecting rent is one of your most critical responsibilities as a storage facility owner, so it makes sense to make the process as automatic as possible.
PMS allows each of your storage renters to create an account on the platform from which they can pay rent by debit, credit, or eCheck each month. They can also set up automatic payments to ensure they’re never charged a late fee again. Rent collection software streamlines your responsibilities, too—your software can send automatic payment reminders, generate invoices and receipts for each transaction, enforce and apply late fees, and even give you access to back-end accounting tools like financial reporting and tax document creation.
3. Maximize Revenue
Property management software can be a comprehensive self storage revenue management system for your facility. Rental prices can change daily, and it’s helpful to have a software tool that meets the dynamic tendencies of the rental market. Your software can help you track and adjust prices over time, monitor your business’s growth, and generate profit/loss (P/L) reports at the end of each month to analyze the overall financial health of your investment.
4. Improve Your Lead-to-Lease Pipeline
Every signed lease is the result of a single lead that was effectively supported through the leasing pipeline. Self-storage management software can help you improve that pipeline. From submitting applications to tenant screening and lease signing, software for self storage management can facilitate strong relationships between you and your renters from day one. It can even help you achieve fully remote leasing, giving your renters the flexibility to move in without the inconvenience of coming into the office multiple times throughout the process.
5. Store and Sign Digital Documents
You can also improve the lease-signing process itself with self-storage business software. Instead of requiring new renters to visit your facility or office in person so sign leases, you can simply send a copy of the document to your renters’ email addresses, where they can then sign digitally with an e-signature.
If you’re wondering whether e-signatures are vulnerable to fraud, you can rest assured knowing that e-signatures can actually be more secure than traditional pen-and-paper ones. By partnering with a secure document signing platform like DocuSign or Dropbox Sign (formerly HelloSign), your software protects sensitive information and verifies a signer’s identity with data points like their email address and IP address (location).
6. Track Renters’ Insurance Plans
Do you require your customers to purchase storage unit insurance? If so, you can also use your management software to track and verify the plans they purchase. Better yet, you can suggest a plan for purchase directly on the platform, with the coverage and limits you think are necessary for your renters.
7. Develop Your Marketing Strategy
Property management software can even help you market your storage units effectively. Many platforms offer listing syndication services so that you can advertise vacant units in just one or two steps. Some platforms also allow you to integrate, link, or even design your website on the platform, allowing for greater visibility of available units and a more professional business appearance.
Additionally, software can also sometimes assist you with value-based pricing to help you decide on the best price for your units based on relevant features, occupancy rates, and comparable properties. These calculations can be tricky to do by hand, so software that automatically performs them can help you advertise at optimal rates and increase your overall marketing efficacy.
8. Maintain Security and Monitor Access
For most self-storage customers, security is a top priority. They need to be able to trust your facility to store their belongings safely and securely before agreeing to pay your monthly rate. To meet this need, most self-storage facility owners turn to on-site security technology, such as smart locks, kiosk or mobile entry, and secure access.
In some cases, software can integrate with these devices and help you monitor security and access within your facility—even if you’re hundreds of miles away. These platforms offer features like smart entry integration, automated move in and move out, and customer ID checks to ensure that only your verified renters can enter the facility, even if there are no on-site security personnel to monitor them.
9. Communicate with Customers
Storage facility owners typically only need to communicate with renters at the beginning and end of their lease terms—much less frequently than traditional residential tenants. However, when you do need to communicate with your customers about rates, renewals, rules, or something else, you can use your software’s tenant messaging tool to facilitate simple, centralized communication.
Hopefully this article has demonstrated why investing in self-storage or general property management software is a no-brainer. Here at Innago, our team is happy to work with self-storage facility owners to help ensure smooth onboarding, access to the features you need, and individualized overall software experience.