In the October 2022 issue of Rental Management magazine, the ARA recommended a number of features that equipment rental companies may either not realize they have in their rental management software or may not be using to their optimal advantage.
Here are their recommendations of rental management software features that equipment rental companies should be leveraging to optimize their business and what those features look like in Rental360, a complete solution for equipment rental companies built in the Acumatica cloud ERP platform.
All rental-specific software has the ability to create a quote/bid in the system and convert it to a reservation or rental contract, however the terminology may differ across various organizations.
This feature also allows users to set price sheets and rules based on various factors, like weekend rentals, kits, promotional rates and more. Contracts also can be modified at quote, reservation and order stages, creating a dynamic contract management process so that you do not have to delete a contract and build a new one every time an order is changed.
Analytics Dashboard and Business Metrics
While the types of key performance indicators (KPIs) can differ depending on your business and market, it is important to make sure a rental software enables you to report on metrics that are valuable and that you have an ability to customize reports or write your own so that you have easy access to the business metrics you need.
Rental360 includes tremendous flexibility in real-time reporting that doesn’t rely on IT people to create or customize reports. There are also role-based dashboards that help guide people across your organization through the areas on which they should focus throughout the day.
Credit Card Processing
Rental360 allows sales and counter staff to process credit cards directly through the rental ERP, in-person or by phone, email links or a website. In addition, payments processed within the rental software can be tokenized so that rental company can go back and charge the card for any damages or overages without storing the credit card data in the system, limiting liability and keeping the rental store compliant with the payment card industry data security standard (PCI DSS).
During the pandemic, contactless transactions went from convenience to necessity. Digital signatures allow companies to reduce the use of paper and take advantage of the efficiency of digital storage. With Rental360, signatures can be collected at the counter or via any mobile device in the field and added to the system without the need for additional data entry.
Many rental companies have used accounting software packages before deciding to install rental-specific software. As a result, most rental software solutions can have an accounting package built in or a business can continue to use whatever accounting package they have used before. Rental360 is built into the industry-leading Acumatica Cloud ERP platform which streamlines financial management across organizations.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM functionality within a rental software system should, at the very least, allow users to track tasks, log calls, and create touchpoints for customers to help remind sales teams to manage their relationships with customers. It can also enable users to see information relevant to that customer’s history with the business, including what they have on rent, outstanding accounts, rental history and more.
Rental360 with Acumatica CRM empowers your sales, service, and marketing teams with real-time visibility, seamless processes, and business insights at their fingertips—so they can wow customers and deliver results. It can also be seamlessly integrated with CRM-focused platforms such as Salesforce for additional functionality.
Export to Excel and Comma-Separated Values (CSV)
Outside contractors such as accountants, web developers and more, often prefer Excel or CSV file formats for their own work products because of the ease of data sharing and management. Rental360, built in Acumatica, makes exporting reports in Excel quick and easy. It also will save parameters for a report in a separate spreadsheet at the time of export so that you or anyone you are sharing the report with can understand and possibly adapt the parameters when necessary.
Employee Time Clock
This feature allows you to gather time-card information by having users clock in within the software. That way, you can manage and keep your team accountable and make it easier to handle accounting and payroll. Rental360 enables you to capture employee or crew time for projects, services, and payroll with mobile time entry and flexible approvals workflow.
GPS Delivery Routing
Rental software typically leverages other platforms to include the ability to receive status updates when drivers arrive and depart their delivery and pickup locations. A rental store can see where rented items are as well as where delivery trucks are within their routes to adapt to new information. In addition, this feature can enable sending route details to a GPS product in the delivery trucks that could give drivers turn-by-turn directions.
See how Rental360 handles all of these details with Mobile Trip Management:
Extra Shift Billing
Shift rates are common in certain markets and typically involve equipment that can run 24 hours a day, such as generators and light towers. Shift rates can include a standby rate, single shift, double shift and triple shift. Based on meter usage, the software will automatically shift the rate up or down. For long-term rentals, if you are not checking for meters throughout the rental period, the rental software should be able to recalculate the entire period of the rental at the shift rate.
Generally, E-Commerce functionality allows you to conduct business online anytime by giving customers the ability to check pricing and availability, make a deposit, schedule a rental, identify pickup and delivery locations, sign contracts and pay online. Some e-commerce solutions include a customer portal, giving customers the ability to access their own account history, see their open rentals, call items off rent, and more.
Rental360 and Acumatica include native integrations with several leading e-commerce solutions to enable customer self-service for rental companies.
This feature should allow you to create and send invoices via email, fax, or printing and statements as well as collect payments. In Rental360, Cycle Billing can be automated based on the customer requirements so that you do not have to manually create invoices for customers with long-term rentals.
See billing and payment options in Rental360:
Inventory Management is a fundamental building block of rental software so that you know where your inventory is located. The software allows you to track items as they arrive, go out on rent, when it’s being fixed or prepped, and when it is ready to rent as well as transfer items between locations, determine the value of your inventory, track parts and more.
See the inventory management capabilities in Rental360:
Hour Meter Tracking and Billing
Using equipment wears it down, so tracking its use is important for maintenance scheduling, billing and determining when to sell an item.
Rental software can track what the meter was when a piece of equipment went out on rent and when it was returned. This information can also typically be updated via the work order system and GPS telematics integrations most rental software packages offer.
Rental360 enables meter readings to be entered by delivery drivers in the mobile app when a piece of equipment is dropped off and/or picked up, leverages meter readings that are updated by telematics or other means for maintenance and service tracking and billing, and also helps to determine equipment life-cycle management.
Rental software digitizes equipment inspection processes. You can store checklists for each item in the software in advance so that staff can go through the checklist, report discrepancies, and attach photos. If there’s a checklist item that indicates an item can’t be rented, the software can pull up a service work order and takes it out of your available inventory list. The history of inspections is then stored in the system against serialized items for recordkeeping and future audits.
Inventory Management with Kit Ability
The ability to kit items, especially non-serialized items, can help your staff create rental orders more quickly without needing to select the individual parts.
Kitting can enable you to build exact pull lists for even the least experienced warehouse worker, provide customized pricing, and track the smallest components without needing to confuse the client by showing them all the parts and pieces.
With suggested items, you also can offer tools and package items, helping customers choose which attachments they should rent alongside larger pieces of equipment. Rental360 covers all of these capabilities.
Because most of the data about profitability of your contract or project is available, a job-costing module in rental software can simplify the task of determining if a project price or long-term rental is cost-effective.
Attaching a job-costing project to a rental order is quickly managed with a single click in Rental360.
Rental software helps you track maintenance, whether it is through things like schedules, parts ordering and tracking, billing or hours tracking for labor charges.
This feature should handle internal and external work orders, generate warranty invoices, and track preventive maintenance that allows for multiple triggers.
In Rental360, you can easily track all work orders related to piece of equipment, whether they be for repair service or preventative maintenance. You can also store manufacturer maintenance information and manuals, prompting regular service and getting the most out of your equipment.
Late Fee Calculation
Calculate late fees and allow special finance charge rates when required by contract. You also can exempt clients from finance charges and show them on a statement. Rental360 can be set up to handle late returns in the way that best fits your business processes.
Parts Inventory Management
Rental software systems should track parts, allowing them and their costs to be included on maintenance, service and repair tickets. For reordering purposes, the software can manage your minimum and maximum inventory numbers for each part, set re-order points and notify you when you hit those re-order points.
Just as asset/inventory management is a strength of Rental360, parts inventory management is also covered by Rental360s capabilities.
Rental software should enable a store manager building a quote to see not only what they have on-hand at their store, but what’s available at a company’s other locations nearby to be able to serve customers. This functionality also allows for inter-store transfers and gives customers the flexibility to pick up an item at one of your locations and return it at another.
Rental360 gives equipment rental companies visibility to all of their equipment across all locations. You can see equipment available for rent in the Equipment List or while building a rental order contract.
Online Account Management
This feature often is considered part of an e-commerce package or referred to as a customer portal since it allows a rental store customer to have a secure login on the rental store’s website and see their current outstanding balance and view, print or pay invoices as well as view orders that are currently on rent or upcoming orders. This helps customers get answers to their common questions any time, anywhere.
This is standard Customer Portal functionality available in Rental360 as covered above.
These codes can be used in several ways, such as taking clients to a website. They can be printed on contracts or stickers placed on machines, providing clients with access to a how-to video on your website or a YouTube channel. In addition, they can be used to automatically update inventory by scanning the code and entering the appropriate quantity for that specific item.
Rental360 is expanding its QR Code and Barcoding capability in 2023.
Rental software should be able to handle a rental company’s account customers by providing auto-continuation billing. Recurring rentals can be billed for contracts opened for a defined period of time with the ability to bill them on a cyclical basis. In addition, the software should be able to bill both in arrears and in advance.
Rental360 manages recurring rentals through multi-cycle billing vs. single-cycle billing with the system automatically selecting the best billing rate. For example, if a customer is cycle-billed for 28 days but the equipment is returned on day 30, the system will determine whether a day rate or week rate is better for the additional days the item is on-rent.
Most rental solutions allow businesses to charge different rates for an hour rental, a two-hour rental, a four-hour rental, a day rental, a weekend rental, weekly, monthly or whatever you can imagine. The system also can be programmed to automatically calculate any discounts or rate increases, copy rates between locations, provide customer-specific pricing and more.
Rental360 enables users to keep a historical record of rate changes as well as set a date for an upcoming rate change to happen automatically. If multiple customers share rates, Rental360 users can set up a Price Class and assign the class to the customers instead of setting up rates for each customer individually. You can also override a rate in the Rental Details portion of the Rental Order.
Rental software can be set up to help upsell a customer either in an e-commerce shopping cart or at the counter of a rental store by suggesting items that should enhance a customer’s renting experience.
Whether it is an additional item to rent or a sales item, it can automatically pop up as a suggestion.
Rental software can show how much a customer has spent renting an item and allow a rental store owner to determine what percentage of the rental income they have received can be applied toward the asset’s sales price.
See all of the relevant information about a piece of equipment in one screen in Rental360 to assess when it is the right time to sell a piece of equipment:
Additional After-Hours Support
Always ask about how you can reach support assistance quickly after-hours because rental isn’t a typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. operation.
Rental360 is built into the Acumatica platform which is supported globally with 24/7 direct access.
Rental software allows you to define the daily work schedules of your employees while giving them the freedom to view, print, email and import their schedules into third-party calendar apps. Some rental software has a dispatch center or dashboard that allows for drag- and-drop scheduling of routes, drivers and riders. It should include mapping, GPS interfaces, email capabilities to the driver and visibility to the non-dispatch staff with security to not allow unauthorized changes.
Rental360 has Crew Dispatch capabilities that gives complete control over how their time is managed, whether or not clients are billed for the crews, and work order generation and fulfillment all within the same system. With complete mobile access to Rental360 in an easily accessible app, crews stay connected to customer information, real-time changes, and location information from the field.
Equipment is getting smarter and rental software can help you manage it. Either through a telematics solution integration or using Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) standard information, rental software can leverage data generated by your equipment that is in use. This allows your maintenance due and service information to be up to date, for you to bill for excessive use, for you to service equipment before it breaks down and to overall better manage your fleet to ensure it has as much uptime as possible.
Rental360 has pre-built integrations with some of the major telematics solutions. We are working to strengthen those relationships and enhance our capabilities around preventative maintenance based on telematics information in 2023.