More than any other industry, rental companies rely heavily on technology to help them manage their businesses. The rental business is just not as straightforward as a retail or distribution operation. After all, your customers aren’t just buying product; they are walking out the door with your assets – your inventory! You need to be sure that what went out is what comes back, not only in quantity but also in the same condition.
When a company starts to review rental software, they often create a document of requirements or a list of Pros vs. Cons. But there’s one point that we never see listed and it is one of the most significant factors: Time. Time that is being wasted on tedious tasks or unnecessary duplication of efforts. Time that you or your staff will gain with the use of the right software.
In a recent article entitled “Put Technology To Work For You” which appeared in the latest issue of Rental Product News and also on http://www.forconstructionpros.com, the writer, Dick Detmer, give an excellent, balanced viewpoint: “As with any investment in technology, don’t take the plunge without adequate research. Then again, don’t put off making the decision so long that you miss the extra profit that enhanced technology can produce. As you try to explain to your employees, it’s not totally about how much money your company takes in, it’s what is left after all of the expenses. So, take advantage of what technology has to offer and keep more of what you and your employees have worked so hard to bring in”. Certainly well said. So how would you go about evaluating the time that you’ll gain if you changed your current method of operations?
Key Questions to Ask Yourself:
Consider the following questions to determine the true value of your prospective rental software:
• How long does it take us to do month-end?
• Do we make any redundant entries because we are using different software packages for different aspects of the business? (You’d be surprised how many companies use one software package for rental, another for service, and a third for accounting.)
• How long does it take to create monthly invoices for long-term rentals?
• Are we still mailing out customer statements? If so, how long does it take us to prep them for mailing? Include the time it takes to print, fold, collate and stamp them (not to mention the expense of paper, ink and postage)?
• If a customer asks us for a signed proof-of-delivery, how long does it take to get that document? Can we access it with a couple of clicks and email it instantly? (Click here to see this as well as other time-saving functions demonstrated in a short video.)
• When we review our rental fleet, do we have up-to-the-minute profit or loss and utilization info? If not, how long does it take us to get this information? (If you’re using generic accounting software such as Quickbooks or Peachtree, this is typically a very manual process.) Don’t forget to include the time it takes to analyze total Repair & Maintenance dollars for each piece of equipment, because this is a significant factor in the profit & loss of each unit.
• Is our software totally integrated so that we can print up-to-the-moment financial statements at any time? Or, do we have to jump through hoops to see a mid-month Income Statement or Balance Sheet?
• Are we still hand-writing checks? (Hard to believe, but there are still companies out there that do this – and it is one of the quickest problems to solve. You can easily gain hours per week by eliminating this needless task.)
• Do we have a handle on our parts inventory? How long does it take us to figure out what we need to replenish? Does our current system offer the option to set up a suggested Purchase Order for us so that we don’t have to waste time typing every item in?
This is just the beginning. Click here for more time-saving features to consider. There are many other time-saving benefits that the right rental software can give you. The big question is: What are you going to do with all of this time you’ve saved? Only you can answer that.