The exact number of companies that offer equipment and event rental-specific software changes as companies enter and exit the market, but today there are more than 30 companies to choose from.
To help readers navigate through the variety of options when it comes to equipment and event rental-specific software, Rental Management this month launches the Rental Software Series, which will provide profiles of software suppliers on a regular basis.
This month, we profile two of the leading rental-specific software suppliers, Alert Rental Software, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Point of Rental Software, Fort Worth, Texas.
Alert Rental Software
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Founders: Bill and Ruth Veneris.
Current software products: Rental Software enterprise resource planning (ERP).
Additional services: Website Development Services and Virtual Bookkeeping Services. Both are agnostic of whatever rental software program a rental company uses.
Target customers: Any independent rental operator that rents equipment as well as people who rent anything from barges, lifts, trailers and portable restrooms to other niche rental items.
Number of clients: An estimated 300 companies.
What are the key reasons equipment and event rental companies should be using rental-specific software? “Rental is a complex industry with specific operational requirements. It takes companies like Alert, with decades of experience, to be able to support companies in the rental industry. Further, that experience helps differentiate the unique requirements for each market type, such as event, equipment, construction or specific industry segments. Rental software is not a one-size-fits-all product,” says Mary Crosslin, co-president and chief operating officer, who also serves as an American Rental Association (ARA) associate member director.
“While there are lots of software packages that can generate invoices, equipment and event rental companies need software that not only calculates rates in all their permutations but also can manage their inventory to help prevent overbookings and handle things like subrentals and repairs,” Crosslin says.
“In addition, a true rental software ERP will inherently integrate to other products that support rental and business applications such as website integration, global positioning system (GPS) and telematics information, accounting packages, credit card processing, computer-assisted design (CAD), analytics and business intelligence, parts ordering and more,” she says.
What is the most used new feature available with your software package? The Rover mobile app, a product that has been in development for nearly a year.
How does your product make a rental store more efficient? “In a world where labor is scarce and small businesses are trying to do more with fewer staff, Alert reduces touch costs, eliminates rate errors, automates invoicing and reporting, and helps your clients self-serve via our web services integrations,” says Kara Longmire, co-president and CEO.
What pain point(s) are you solving for your customers? “Most recently, we have added two new lines of services, not only for our existing Alert clients, but also any rental store using any rental software: website development/integration services and virtual bookkeeping services. We know from talking to our client base that these are two areas where stores are struggling to find proven, reliable talent. We have the experience, know the industry and can take things off an owner’s plate to allow them to focus on what they do best: run their rental operation,” Longmire says.
Why should a rental store choose your product? “Our people. We have decades of experience, with a staff that has a combined 300-plus years of rental industry experience. We are a small enough company that you will know our support staff and they will know you. We are consistently rated outstanding on our support surveys and keeping our clients happy is our No. 1 priority. In addition, Alert has the longest-running users’ group in the industry that meets annually for three days of roundtable discussions, market-specific brainstorming, classes, networking and voting on new features. We truly believe it’s the secret to our software’s development,” Crosslin says.
Point of Rental Software
Fort Worth, Texas
Employees: 320 worldwide
Founders: Bob Shaffer, Steve Husbands and Byron White.
Current software products: Elite, Essentials.
Other products: PartyCAD design software for event planning, Rental eSign for electronic signatures and Syrinx available only outside of North America.
Number of users: About 5,000 globally.
Target customers: Equipment and event rental companies. “We also have customers in tangential areas like construction that use our software as well as some specialty rental situations. For example, REI, a retail and outdoor recreation services company, uses our software to rent tents and equipment. Construction customers use the software internally to keep track of where their owned equipment is and reserve it for a job site and to help with job costing,” says Wayne Harris, CEO.
How can software make a rental store more efficient? “It is all about the customer workflows that go into the software. For 40 years, Point of Rental has honed workflows to the way people standardly do business. The system can tell you ahead of time if you don’t have the needed equipment available and if you need to order or sell items. You know if items are in repair or in service and when they need to be picked up or delivered because it shows up on the list. If something is broken, a service call is added to the mechanic’s list and with GPS, the mechanic can go directly to where the equipment is on the job site to save time and money. One of these things by itself might not make a difference, but when you add it all together, your rental business is a well-oiled machine and rental software keeps things running smoothly,” Harris says.
What new problems is your software able to resolve for rental companies? “During the pandemic, the use of technology and software accelerated. Before, about 80 percent of a rental store’s transactions were done face-to-face. Then it flip-flopped. Rental stores had to have an online presence, e-commerce, mobile notifications, web payments and other contactless processes in place. Consumers now expect this sort of experience. Before, you could start a rental store without those technology bells and whistles. Now, those are the table stakes to get in the game,” Harris says.
Why should a rental company choose Point of Rental as their software provider? “Buying software is hard to do. Point of Rental started in 1982 and over the past 40 years, we have become better and better in our processes. We have one of the largest development teams in the world for rental management software and no one is spending more on development than we do because we believe if you are not innovating, you are dying. We have customers who have been with us for decades, but the software they were using back in the 1980s has nowhere near the capabilities, integrations and functionality that Point of Rental has today,” Harris says.
What do you think is next for the evolution of equipment and event rental software? “Continued development with mobile capabilities, e-commerce, and the ability of a rental store’s customer to self-serve, update their own contracts, ask for service, extend contracts, change reservations, make payments and get specific reporting. When you think of software, you might only be thinking about the counter operation and writing contracts, but everything needs to be available through a mobile device so that people can do their job on the phone wherever they are,” Harris says.