Self Storage Units

What to Look For in Self-Storage Management Software

June 12, 2023

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Finding The Best Self-Storage Management Software

As a self-storage facility owner, you can’t operate your business alone. You need help, likely from employees, independent contractors, or a self storage management company. However, one of the best assets you can leverage for managing your business as an investor is software. Getting set up with a storage unit management software solution is one of the best ways to maximize your potential and limit daily responsibilities as an owner.  

However, with so many software options available, it can be difficult to choose one that is suitable for your business. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what software can do for your self-storage business and what to look for when searching for the perfect software solution. 

What is Storage Management Software? 

Self storage unit software is software used to manage the daily rental operations of your self-storage facility. It could be a software platform designed specifically for self-storage business owners, or it could be a general property management software platform that you use to manage your facility. 

Property management software companies offer a range of features that are useful for your storage facility. Basic features include online rent collection, digital leasing, and data storage for your units, availability, and prices. If you’re familiar with these features and looking for ways to further streamline your storage unit management, you can also use more advanced features like financial reporting or rental business accounting.  

Cloud-Based Software 

So, what criteria should you use when shopping for high quality software? The first thing you’ll want to look for is cloud-based software. Cloud-based software is web-based, which means it can be accessed from a browser anywhere with an internet connection.  

Cloud-based software is generally a better option than traditional desktop-based applications because it can be accessed from any device and is always backed up on the cloud. If your computer is lost, damaged, or stolen, you won’t lose access to your software account or data, nor do you have to pay multiple times if you want to use it on multiple devices. You’ll also likely be able to access your software from a mobile app, which is a huge bonus when you’re on the go as a busy self-storage owner and investor. 

Another benefit of cloud-based software is that it typically offers a tenant portal for your renters to view upcoming invoices, pay rent, access lease documents, and more. Access to an online portal is a huge selling point—local customers interested in renting a storage unit will likely search to “rent storage unit online”, so it will benefit your occupancy rates if your business is among the top results that allow online leasing. 

Good Reviews 

You should always consider reviews when making any big investment or decision, and software for managing your storage units is no different.  

Before you choose a platform, spend some time reading reviews about various storage management software companies on reputable review sites like Capterra or G2. Find out how popular the software is, whether other investors recommend it, and how seriously the company takes customer support. In general, there are three main criteria you should consider when reading reviews: 

  1. Quality – Software review sites like Capterra and G2 generally rate software quality out of five stars. Remember to compare ratings across the industry, as a 4.3 might seem reasonably good in one industry but not so great if the industry average is 4.8. You should also read qualitative reviews that describe why the ratings were chosen (pay special attention to any downsides listed). 
  1. Recency – Hundreds of five-star reviews can mean nothing if they were all posted ten years ago. It’s a good sign that a software company is at the top of their industry if they’re still receiving top reviews in recent years. 
  1. Diversity – Compare ratings and reviews across several different review sites to get the best idea of the company.  

Generally speaking, all software will have bugs from time to time. However, a software platform is probably reputable if users report responsive fixes, exceptional customer support, and easy onboarding/data migration onto the platform. 

General Property Management Features 

Features are another consideration for self-storage management software. Here are some general property management features to look for: 

Tenant Screening 

Failure to properly screen tenants could lead to problematic customers, late rent, and even evictions, so it’s essential that your software has a tenant screening feature. Check to see if the software’s screening feature is customizable so you can implement your own checks and standards. For cloud-based software, make sure that the process is easy for your tenants to navigate, too.  

Online Rent Collection 

Rent collection is your number one job, so it better be incorporated on your software platform of choice. According to a survey of our tenants here at Innago, 79% said they prefer to pay rent online. Tenants care about ease of use and responsive management and being able to pay rent online plays a big part in that.  

Document Management 

A high-quality software platform will let you store and save important documents like leases and addenda at little or no cost. 

Digital Lease Signing 

No-contact leasing is an increasingly sought-after feature since the COVID-19 pandemic. Self-storage renters want the ease, convenience, and safety of being able to sign leases virtually. Plus, given that electronic signatures (or eSignatures) reduce document turnaround by about 80%, it makes sense on your end to implement this time-saving feature too. 

Financial Reporting 

This feature isn’t offered by all software companies, but those that do offer it make their users’ lives substantially easier. When financial reporting is integrated into the software platform you already use to collect rent, you no longer need to set up and pay for a separate, general accounting solution, like QuickBooks. 

Storage-Specific Features 

Some self-storage management software companies offer features specific to the storage industry. For instance, your software could include an interactive map of your facility. If you require your customers to purchase self-storage unit insurance, your software platform may also allow you to offer plans for purchase directly on the platform. Additionally, if your storage facility has a mobile- or gate-access control system, you might be interested in a software platform that integrates with your setup and offers security and access control. This feature can help you monitor who enters and exits your facility entirely remotely. You also won’t need to be physically present for move ins, as the software can generate individual access codes for new tenants, who can then move in on their own.  

Pricing 

Now that you have an idea of what you should be looking for in terms of reviews, functionality, and features, you can consider pricing. Since you’re likely trying to save costs by using software to manage your property, ideally you will choose a platform that won’t be a strain on your wallet. Property management software platforms have a variety of pricing structures, including unit-based pricing, monthly subscriptions, or feature-based pricing. Your total monthly cost for software will be much lower than what you’d pay a self-storage management company, but it will likely cost around $30 to $100 per month

How Innago Can Help You Manage Your Storage Units 

Innago is a general cloud-based property management software platform, but our versatile features and exceptional customer support staff can help you manage your storage units with ease. We’re rated as a top software company for self-storage on Capterra, and we tick all the boxes for features. With your Innago account, you have access to online rent collection, tenant screening, custom rental applications, digital lease signing, listing syndication, maintenance management, renters’ insurance, tenant communication, and more.  

The best part: we’re free. That’s right – access to Innago software is 100% free for landlords, so you can use the most cutting-edge tools of the industry without breaking the bank to do so. 

Conclusion 

Choosing to manage your self-storage facility with software is a decision that will save you endless time, money, and energy. As a self-storage investor, you’re ambitious enough to understand that you should be out to work smarter, not harder, and that’s what Innago—and self-storage management software more generally—can help you accomplish. 

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