Throughout the past decade, automation played a pivotal role in readjusting businesses for the changing times and newly erupting consumer demands. It paved a way for businesses to increase productivity and decrease operational costs. There are also numerous approaches to automation, chiefly relying on your business type and size.
In the globally expanding equipment rental industry, it is the software technology that is bringing fruitful automation on the table. It is working as a catalyst to fulfill the various automation demands of equipment rental business owners while preserving the traditional offline channels. However, there are some areas that will benefit more from automation than others. Let’s try to cover as many as possible.
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Areas for Automation
The most crucial operation that requires automation in the equipment rental industry is order tracking. With varying rental periods and existing orders, it becomes exhausting for the business owners to keep track of each and every order, including the return date, rental period extensions, late cancellations and more. Doing so the manual way also leaves a scope for human error.
By lining up their order tracking through a modern rental software, equipment rental businesses can accept more orders and track them more efficiently. As equipment rental software comes with an alerts and reminder system, equipment rental businesses can send timely reminders to customers regarding approaching return dates. This immensely helps in preventing late returns.
For instance, let’s assume that there is a late return and it may hinder the equipment rental business’ capacity to fulfill the next order, adversely affecting the order fulfillment rate. Many rental software provide the functionality to collect late return charges that allow the business owner to collect compensation. Along with late returns, late cancellations also cause losses to equipment rental businesses in terms of order processing costs. With features like tiered late cancellation charges, rental software assists businesses on that front as well.
Rental Security Management
How exactly are these late return and late cancellation charges deducted? The best we know any defaulter himself won’t agree to pay these charges. The only solution that comes to mind is collecting a rental security deposit at the time of order placement.
This is exactly what Yo!Rent rental software does. “Yo!Rent rental software allows business owners to collect and manage rental security and use this security to deduct late return charges, late cancellation charges and even reimbursement for product damages. The same can also be used in case of policy violations,” team Yo!Rent.
Bulk Volume Discounts
In complex equipment rental orders, there’s also a lot of price negotiation. Automation in pricing is again helpful for rental businesses who can set and follow a fixed discount rate for all customers. These discounts can be provided based on order volume and rental duration. There can also be some situations where big ticket clients might want to approach the equipment rental business to place a huge order. In such a scenario, providing custom quotes is the only option.
With rental software, equipment rental businesses can keep a record of all provided quotes and negotiate pricing directly on the platform. They can also enable the client to place counter offers and send their terms and conditions.
Benefits for Customers
These were just some benefits of automation for rental business owners, but there’s also a lot in business automation for customers. From the user-experience point of view, automating an equipment rental store can be equally helpful for visitors and customers. For example, the automated invoicing through the booking calendar is not only simplifying the business owner’s job but is ensuring an easy booking experience for the customer. Moreover, indecisiveness is a big challenge on online stores but automated product comparisons, business owners can assist customers in making fully informed decisions.
Another thing that customers highly appreciate is if they can find rental products and complementary products on the same store and don’t have to search all over the web. Let’s assume LED flashlights are the complementary products that a construction equipment rental customer requires. With a rental software, the rental business owner can provide the flashlight as a rental add-on. Furthermore, he can also provide rental services such as on-site monthly maintenance or equipment operator.
Types of Rental Software
There can also be several other benefits of automation but it is the selected software technology as well that affects the overall behavior of the automated store. Not all rental software are the same and can vary vastly in functionality.
To begin with, a rental business software needs a primary functionality to accept and collect rental orders. This is what we call a booking calendar that takes rental date inputs from customers, helps in invoicing and prevents double booking. The inputs taken by the booking calendar are then used in secondary features such as to levy late return/cancellation charges and sending notifications and reminders.
However, just the booking calendar alone cannot help much in automating processes. As the business owner, one will need to handpick a software or opt for customizations to get the aforementioned benefits. The rental industry is dominated by two types of software which are SaaS solutions and Self-Hosted software.
SaaS vs. Self-Hosted
The name ‘SaaS’ refers to ‘Software as a Service’ and is self explanatory. For SaaS software, rental business owners need to select a package and pay for business hosting on a monthly recurring basis. Upgrading to a bigger SaaS package is also necessary many times due to the limited number of listings, transactions or user profiles, which creates scalability problems for the business owner.
Self-Hosted software, on the other hand, is off-the-shelf software purchased only once. An equipment rental business owner can host the self-hosted rental software on any server. Unlike SaaS, self-hosted rental software do not have any transaction, listing or user limitations.
In our eyes, some reputable rental software irrespective of their hosting type are Yo!Rent and ShareTribe. Both bring an impressive offering to business owners with the former being the most feature-packed rental software in the market. You can also check out Yo!Rent’s latest Online Rental Industry Report (2022-2027) that covers diverse rental markets along with the business scope, key challenges and competitive landscape.