Finding The Best Self-Storage Unit Software: 5 Must-Have Features

February 29, 2024
5 minutes

Finding the best self-storage unit software for your facility is critical to building an effective operation that meets tenant needs and exceeds their expectations. As facility operators embrace more automation platforms and AI-powered tools, tenants are receiving lightning-fast service delivery, with seamless booking and effortless access to storage units. These efficiencies are only set to improve.

  • Struggling to manage your self-storage business efficiently?
  • Tired of juggling multiple software systems for different tasks?
  • Concerned about the security of your data and the reliability of your software?
  • Looking for ways to streamline operations and improve tenant experiences?

As experts in developing AI-powered solutions for self-storage operations, we understand the complexities and challenges that storage facility owners face in managing their operations effectively and delivering on tenant expectations. With our industry knowledge, we have identified the essential features necessary in self-storage unit software to optimize business processes and enhance overall efficiency.

This article is for:

  • Storage facility owners and managers seeking to streamline operations and improve efficiency.
  • Entrepreneurs planning to start a self-storage business and in need of reliable software solutions.
  • Individuals interested in the latest advancements in self-storage management technology.

With numerous tasks demanding your attention at any given time, running a facility is often overwhelming. Whether you're an experienced facility operator or just starting, finding the perfect software solution is a common challenge shared by all. Picking the wrong solution for your facility could create avoidable bottlenecks and stifle growth, which is why it’s essential to take a considered approach.

We will delve into:

  • What self-storage unit software is.
  • How operations are using software to drive tenant satisfaction.
  • Why software is key to driving operational efficiency.
  • How data dashboards can drive informed decision-making.
  • Why operators are turning to swivl for automating tenant conversations.

What is Self-Storage Unit Software?

Self-storage unit software can encompass a broad range of features. Fundamentally, it’s designed to help facility operators run their businesses more efficiently and deliver stronger tenant experiences. In many cases, unit management software can provide tools to oversee everything from online unit reservations and customer payments to automated rent collection, detailed reporting, and security monitoring.

The best self-storage software streamlines daily operations, improves communication with tenants, and provides valuable data insights to guide decision-making. Essentially, it's the digital backbone that supports and empowers every aspect of a modern self-storage business.

5 Essential Features for Self-Storage Unit Management Software

1 - User-Friendly Interface

A well-designed user interface is the first step toward operational efficiency and satisfied tenants. Here are just a few key reasons why a user-friendly interface matters:

Staff Efficiency

Intuitive navigation means less time spent figuring out how the software works and more time dedicated to serving customers or completing other important tasks. A cluttered or confusing layout leads to frustration and lost productivity. Even the most non-technical facility team members should have the confidence to use your chosen self-storage unit software with ease and take a full range of actions inside the software.

Training Costs

User-friendly software often has a shorter learning curve, which minimizes the need for extensive training and reduces overall training costs. The best self-storage unit management software will enable you to hit the ground running and quickly begin unlocking key benefits. Developers are aware of the daily pressures facing facility operators, which is why many have built plug-and-play solutions.

Tenant Satisfaction

As prospective tenants browse through the many facilities available for unit bookings online, they expect an easy-to-navigate, hassle-free booking process. A convoluted unit booking system is only going to result in frustration for prospective tenants and will inevitably result in many looking elsewhere. A modern interface allows them to self-serve in booking units, making payments, and updating their information.

2 - Online Reservation & Payment System

When it comes to managing bookings and accessing the facilities, tenants expect the flexibility to take a range of actions at any time of day or night. An effective self-storage unit management solution will come with a tenant-facing online reservation and payment system that neatly integrates with your website. Once it’s firing on all cylinders, here's how an online reservation and payment system sets you apart:

24/7 Accessibility

You can allow prospective tenants to browse your available units, compare sizes, and secure reservations instantly, right from their laptops or smartphones, without the need to speak with facility team members. This means you can expand your reach to those who cannot contact your facility or during normal business hours. An online system eliminates the need for team members to manually make bookings.

Reduced Walk-Ins

While some tenants may still prefer in-person interaction, a robust online system reduces unnecessary walk-ins. This frees up your staff's time for more complex requests or building relationships with potential tenants. When team members are consumed with sales and administrative tasks daily, this distracts from needle-moving activities that support business development and create growth opportunities.

Payment Gateway Integration

Facility teams should look for software that seamlessly connects with trusted payment gateways like Stripe or PayPal. This ensures secure transactions, reduces manual errors, and gives tenants a choice in payment methods.

Accounting Integration

When your payment system links directly to your self-storage software, financial data flows automatically, streamlining your bookkeeping and saving you valuable time on manual data entry.

3 - Automated Task Management

You should allow unit management software to take on the burden of routine administrative work while you focus on needle-moving tasks. Here's how automation makes a real difference:

Rent Collection & Reminders

Unit management software can automate rent collection, late payment notices, and the generation of invoices. This improves payment consistency and ensures timely communication with tenants. Some management platforms will enable you to create customizable reminder templates that offer a personal touch, even within automated processes.

Tenant Communication

In some cases, you can leverage unit management software to schedule automated text or email campaigns for promotions, company updates, changes to policies, or even seasonal reminders. This will enhance tenant engagement and help increase the likelihood of repeat bookings at your facility. Teams are using swivl to automate conversations at scale with tenants and tenants-to-be.

4 - Comprehensive Reporting & Analytics

Effective facility operators do not rely on gut feelings to run their businesses. They use in-depth reporting and analytics to give their teams a powerful X-ray view of their self-storage operations, revealing insights that drive informed decisions. From operational inefficiencies to opportunities for tenant engagement, teams can leverage data in a variety of ways to achieve desired business outcomes for their facilities.

Occupancy Rates

With a storage unit management platform, you can track occupied and empty units in real-time, spot trends across different times of year, and proactively adjust unit pricing to maximize revenue. A well-designed revenue-management platform can make these adjustments for you based on real-time data, with no human intervention.

Revenue Reports

A data-packed dashboard can enable you to break down income sources, analyze revenue streams across unit types, and identify areas to improve profitability.

5 - Security Features

As an operator, security is paramount for your peace of mind. For tenants, security is essential to the trust they place in your facility. Here's why strong security features are vital:

Access Control

The best self-storage software goes beyond simply opening the gate. It integrates with your existing security system to track all entrances and exits, timestamps movements, and can even restrict certain units if needed. This data is essential in investigating any potential incidents.

Data Security & Backups

Storing tenant data, like credit card information and addresses, demands top-tier protection. You should look for software that prioritizes encryption, secure servers managed by experts, and automated, frequent backups to protect against data breaches or server failures.

Building An Unmanned Facility with Unit Management Solutions

swivl has produced a blueprint for building an unmanned facility by leveraging an effective technology stack. This is an all-in-one resource of all the tools accessible to an operator to run their business more efficiently. You can download the PDF today.

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