Shopping around for rental software for your business isn’t as easy as shopping for new rental stock, or even where you’re going to establish your store. This is because rental software has to perform a rich variety of functions for your business and it can be difficult to fully anticipate everything you’ll need it to do. This problem is compounded by rental software companies when they use confusingly technical language to describe their software features, making it hard to figure out whether specific features really apply to your business.
That’s where Rentrax comes in. Sure, we have plenty of software experts here, but we started off as a bike rental business, and we made our own software because we couldn’t find a software service that met all of our practical needs. This means that we aren’t purely sat at our computers, developing software; we are running our bike rental business, which also doubles as a ski rental shop in the winter.
We decided it might be useful for anyone considering getting new rental software to write a brief guide to the kinds of useful features you will actually need for your bike or ski rental business. And if you need any further clarification, or you would like a free demo of our rental software, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Open-Ended and Closed Rental Duration
This could apply to skis too, but it usually just refers to bike rentals. Sometimes, customers will want to rent their bike over a flexible duration, bringing it back when they’re done with it as opposed to returning it on a fixed date. This kind of rental model depends on inventory and demand, but it can be a nice additional selling point to set yourself apart from competitors. The trouble is that most rental software is too rigid to allow for open-ended rentals on their system. Even if you don’t plan to add this feature straightaway, make sure your software offers it so that you have the option to include it later.
The Ability to Add Items Without Scanning Them
There are many expensive individual items within the bike and ski rental industry. Bikes, e-bikes, and skis can all be extremely expensive, depending on the model. Rental businesses are always adding new, exciting stock, and they don’t always have time to add each item to the inventory (SKU tracking). To help you keep track of these more expensive models, your rental software should be able to track or log an item’s return without having to scan it every time.
Rental Software that Handles More than Just Bikes
Depending on where you are in the world, your bike rental business may be seasonal; this is why it’s often ideal to offer a different, more winter-friendly rental product to help generate revenue in your low season. As we’re based in Canada, our bike rental business doubles as a ski rental business in winter, but there may be other options for you, depending on where you’re based. Make sure that your rental software is nuanced and flexible enough to facilitate this second niche; the last thing you want is the added cost and time sink associated with getting a second rental software system!
Changing Rental Items on an Existing Order
No two days are exactly the same in the rental industry; there are just so many different variables to consider. Your rental software should allow you to change things out on the fly, as and when you need them to. For example, sometimes the rental item doesn’t work properly or gets damaged and your renters need to change the item with another without placing a new order. Your software should give you the power to do this. Software should empower you, not limit you!
You Need to Have a Native Waiver
This really is a game-changer. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a good waiver system with your rental software. A native waiver has a lot more advantages over third-party waivers integrated into your rental software, and it is one of our clients’ favorite aspects of Rentrax. The native waiver system should be able to handle multiple renters in one order and also sign on behalf of a minor renter. Ultimately, the native waiver system saves you and your employees time, but it also saves customers time, giving them a smoother, easier experience with your company.
Facilitating a Pick-up and Drop-off Service
Even if your business doesn’t offer a pick-up and drop-off service right now, it’s a good idea to keep this option open by choosing a rental software with this functionality, allowing you to add the service later on if it makes sense for your business. The rental software should allow you to easily add an additional charge based on the delivery zone or distance. Without this function, it’s almost impossible to integrate a delivery service into your business, and it’s surprising how many rental software companies skip this particular option!
Demand Ultra-flexible Functionality from your Rental Software
This last point isn’t arguing for one particular software feature for any specific type of bike or ski rental business; it’s arguing for as much flexibility as possible. Your rental software needs to help in the day-to-day running of your business, and there are so many parts to this that can be a little easier with the right software features. Here are a few useful things to look out for:
- Driver license scanning (saves a lot of time)
- Security deposit management (saves time and eliminates errors)
- Automatic charges for late returns (saves time and eliminates errors)
- Allowing early pick-ups and late drop-offs (offers customers a more pleasant, more flexible service)
There are so many other great software features that are helpful when running a bike or ski-rental business that you might not have considered. Rentrax’s bike and scooter rental software and our snowboard and ski rental software offer all of the features discussed in this guide and you can schedule a free demo if you’d like one of our experts to explain how the software works over a video call. Even if you don’t choose Rentrax as your rental software provider, we hope this guide helped you out!