3 Most Wanted Features in Equipment Rental Software

By: on November 19, 2019

The equipment rental industry is experiencing rapid growth. Revenue is projected to increase by 5.8% by the end of 2019, reaching $59.6 billion by 2021, according to the American Rental Association (ARA). As the industry continues to expand and competition tightens, equipment rental companies will need to adapt their marketing strategies to meet changing consumer preferences.

Every day, our advisor team at Software Advice speaks to a wide variety of businesses engaged in the search for the right rental management software. To understand the buyer landscape, we analyzed a randomized sample of 80 conversations from the past two years to identify the top three requested features.

Shayne Sherman

CEO of technology and IT company TechLoris

To go a step further and get deeper insight into customers’ needs, we also spoke with Shayne Sherman, CEO of technology and IT company TechLoris. His company often rents equipment and he took the time to let us know what he finds most useful in an equipment rental system.

Key Findings:


  • The ability to track inventory is a top request from equipment rental software buyers.
  • Having access to customer data emerged as the second most requested feature, revealing a need to capture, track, and understand customers.
  • Over a quarter of buyers requested the automation of processes, suggesting that efficiency is a priority.

Equipment rental software buyers want real-time inventory data

Businesses may have an idea or overview of the equipment they have or what is currently rented out. But many of those businesses may not have real-time information about their assets.

equipment rental software buyers track inventory

Over 80% say they need an up-to-date system to track incoming and outgoing equipment that gives a status of what’s ready, what’s rented, and when it’s scheduled to be returned.

What equipment rental software buyers are asking for, according to our advisors:

  • “He wants to be able to track his inventory, and see what tool is currently being rented, for how long, and be able to pull rental reports.”
  • “They need to track their inventory and have the ability to scan inventory and products through barcoding functions.”
  • “They need to coordinate inventory with their online store and their location.”
The importance of real-time inventory data

Having a reliable inventory tracking system is the backbone of an equipment rental system software, says Sherman.

“If you can’t track what you have available, your business isn’t going to be very successful,” he says. “It only takes one unhappy customer to give you a little bad press before people have written you off as unreliable.”

Equipment rental software buyers want a centralized customer management database

To provide a level of service that makes customers feel valued, equipment rental buyers must have an efficient system that manages customer information from a centralized database.

equipment rental software buyers customer data access

That was the overarching feature request for buyers—the ability to manage customer data (e.g., name, address, email addresses), as well as transaction and billing information (e.g., cost of what they rented and rental agreements).

What equipment rental software buyers are asking for, according to our advisors:

  • “They need the ability to capture their customers information, track proper rental dates, and return dates.”
  • “She wants to be able to save customer information because they get many repeat customers.”
  • “They also need to include customer management to ensure regular customers purchases are recorded and loyalty programs can be introduced.”
The importance of a centralized customer management database

A centralized database is necessary to perform other tasks within your equipment rental software. “You can use the information from rentals and transfer it quickly to invoices and to keep track of payments,” says Sherman. “This becomes a great tool because applications will often have different file types, making them inaccessible to other programs.”

Its usefulness doesn’t just end there. “There’s also the ability to update duplicate information or information being stored in different locations without worrying about which is the most recent file,” says Sherman. “All files are updated, meaning it doesn’t matter which is accessed.”

Equipment rental buyers want to automate processes for efficiency

Having an automated system means employees will be able to save valuable time to use for more profitable parts of the business.

equipment rental software buyers automate automation processes

Over a quarter of buyers desire ways of streamlining their rental operations. For example, once a piece of equipment is returned, it undergoes maintenance and inspection, then gets rented out again. That process involves multiple parties at different stages of the product’s rental lifecycle, from getting the work order generated and completed, to be ready for rental again.

Those series of steps can be streamlined with an equipment rental software that notifies the relevant parties when equipment returns, when it needs to be inspected, when maintenance is required, and when it’s ready to be rented again.

What equipment rental buyers are asking for, according to our advisors:

  • “They need a user-friendly and scalable system to automate the checkout process.”
  • “They need to automate the management of supply levels, schedule, and track rentals for 125 scooters, with room to grow to 150 additional scooters at their new location.”
  • “They need an automated checkout process that will log transactions and adjust inventory as items are sold.”
The importance of process automation

Besides the checkout and payment process, there are many other ways equipment rental software can help with eliminating manual processes. One example is through the email system. Every time a customer makes a reservation, they should receive a confirmation email.

“You can do this yourself for a while, but if your business gains any momentum, you’ll either have to hire another person to take it over or you’ll need to get automated,” says Sherman.

Conclusion: Rental software buyers need integration

Integrate technologies for efficiency: Based on buyer conversations with our advisors, one thing is clear—buyers recognize that streamlining operations and integrating systems will result in more efficiency in running their businesses. For example:

  • “He is looking for a system that can separate business segments into sub-categories. He wants a system that can integrate with SimplyAccounting.”
  • “[Looking for] an online store that will coordinate with the in-store physical inventory.”
  • “He needs the system to have ecommerce integration for online booking.”

Equipment rental companies that offer better value and user experience to customers will emerge the winners.

To compete with those companies, you will want to go the extra mile by providing added value through your equipment rental system, such as integrating your website with an online booking and scheduling system which gives customers the option to schedule booking ahead of time.

“Even if it’s only using Outlook, Google, or your phone’s calendar, you’d better have a means of tracking reservations,” says Sherman.


Methodology

Our advisor team speaks with thousands of buyers who contact Software Advice. For this report, we analyzed a randomly selected 80 phone interactions with small to midsize businesses between October 2017 and October 2019.

These findings exclusively represent those buyers who contacted Software Advice for guidance on equipment rental software selection, and may not be indicative of the market as a whole. Chart values are rounded down to the nearest whole number.

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