What is Self Storage Management Software
Which self-storage software do companies in Germany use?
Why search results are misleading
If you search Google for self-storage software, you will find many English-language sites and software from the USA - the reason is simple, in the USA self-storage is a big topic, in Europe it is still relatively new.
But management programs for self-storage from the USA, such as sitelink or storEDGE, are not in use in the DACH region. To blame are differences in accounting, payment standards and the strict GDPR, which deter many providers. Companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland need different solutions.
In this article you can read which programs self-storage entrepreneurs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland really use, what you should pay attention to when choosing, and what has worked best for our customers.
When do I need new software?
At some point the time has come: business is up and running, the tenants are coming, and the self-made tenant management in the spreadsheet does more work than it saves.
The typical signs that a change to a new administration program would make sense:
- Mistakes creep in: The table for managing tenants has grown and is often edited - errors in editing are not noticed immediately, sometimes never.
- Schooling is difficult: You managed to manage everything, but the combination of accounting and access programs, tables and paper forms is difficult to explain to a newcomer.
- Employees do not have all the data: Each location has its own table, the accounting is separate. When a tenant is at the door, you never know whether he has paid or not.
- Double work: Tenants are listed separately at each location, and sometimes twice. They are recorded again in the accounting department. Administration takes too much time and is prone to errors.
Does all of this sound too familiar to you? Then you already know: new software is needed. Sometimes you know a programmer - and he likes to suggest developing something after all. Should you do it? No, we say - from long experience. You can read our reasons in the next section:
Avoid software development!
If you look around the market, the large selection of self storage software quickly becomes confusing. Especially those who aim at innovative concepts such as smart self-storage without staff on site quickly ask themselves whether one should not develop their own software after all.
But here you quickly fall into a cost trap: Those who develop themselves initially invest around € 100,000 or more, and then have software that has to be improved and kept up-to-date for more than € 10,000 each year. And those are still small sums, because the big providers have dozens of employees and invest millions to expand their product. Do you want that?
If you want to develop software, you should have good reasons and have checked all other options beforehand. We think: Most of the time it is not necessary - there are enough ready-made programs that keep getting better.
In 2015 we started to develop the first fully automated self-storage systems for our customers. Back then there was no way around software development. Today, five years later, the market has made great strides. Anyone who wants to build a modern solution no longer has to dig deep into their pockets.
In the meantime, however, there is more and more software and hardware that runs entirely on the Internet, without software installation on the PC - this has created the basis for innovative business modelswith which an online booking and an immediate move-in are possible.
The interesting selection of new, web-based self storage software often eliminates the need to develop your own software. Read in the next chapter what you should pay attention to when choosing self storage software.
Our recommendation: Avoid developing your own self-storage software! First check carefully what is available on the market. In most cases you will be able to cover your needs and save large investments.
Administrative programs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
If you search Google for self-storage software, programs such as SiteLink or storEDGE are right at the top of the results. But what you don't know: You are not active in the German-speaking area - other accounting standards and requirements such as DATEV or the GDPR make entering the market for the large providers from the USA difficult and not worthwhile in view of local competition.
These programs are in use in Germany, Austria and Switzerland:
In addition, there are programs that are used in other EU countries and would therefore potentially be of interest for the German-speaking area:
After all, a few large providers have developed their own systems that they do not market heavily, but also license to third parties if interested:
We are constantly getting to know new operators and systems and are adding to our list accordingly.
How do I choose the right software?
We work with self-storage providers from all countries and of all sizes - and we know many users of the above programs. Somewhat surprisingly, it is the same with every self-storage software: some users love you, some just want to get away. As the?
Self-storage software has to fit the company. Every company has its own processes and peculiarities. While one provider only wants to operate its software in the cloud, the other prefers to play it safe and install the program on-site even if the internet fails.
Check carefully what you are buying. Systematically compare the providers and choose software that will also suit your company in the long term.
When we test software for our customers, we create checklists and then compare the current status of each software with the needs of our customers. The result is an assessment that makes it clear which candidate is the best fit. These points are always on our checklist - and should also be on your:
- Online booking: Do you want customers to book online with you and be able to move in immediately? Do you want to develop your own website or should the software contain a shop that the tenant can already book?
- accounting: Are receipts transferred to your accounting system? Does the software support your accounting program such as DATEV or BMD? Which payment methods do you want to offer? Do you already use payment providers that you would like to stay with? ..
- Hosting: Should the software be hosted on site, or should it rather run in the browser? This question has a lot to do with how you want to work and whether you trust the manufacturer to be able to provide the application reliably in the long term.
- GDPR: If your software does not support the GDPR, you face penalties. Check the contracts - or ask us about our unbeatably cheap GDPR check, which we offer in cooperation with a data protection officer.
- Smart locks: Which Smart Locks are supported? How should my customers enter the self-storage - with a chip or card, PIN code, mobile phone? Should the Smart-Lock-System also enable locks for each box?
- Support: Is there a German-speaking support, or is English enough? What availability do you expect? Would you like on-site training or would you prefer software that doesn't need any?
Often it is enough to pick out the few points, but to treat them in depth. Think about topics such as payment, access and administrative processes. Talk to your team, list everything, and try to systematically capture all of the criteria. Sometimes important points only come up while testing the applications - stay open to adding to your list and that testing can take a while.
No matter how you do it: take the time to test your software! Every mistake you avoid now pays you back tenfold. The tedious work pays off: With a thorough check you buy software only once and save yourself a lot of chaos and trouble for later operation.
What worked for Karibu's customers?
We regularly get the question: "In Karibu's opinion, which software is the best?" As consultants, of course, we have to decline and say: All of this is a bit more complicated and needs an examination. True, of course, but what if the reader doesn't have the time or money to take an exam?
Let's let our customers answer: In the last few months we have evaluated software for a handful of operators according to their criteria and presented three options to choose from. For Selfando, ExtraPlatz and Berger Storage, the choice ultimately fell on Storeganise. Why? We explain this with three main characteristics of self-storage management:
- Online booking included: Most self-storage applications can "somehow" be connected to the Internet, but do not include online booking. That means: For most applications you have to have a shop programmed yourself for around € 40,000 - € 50,000, through which you can then rent out the boxes. Affordable for large providers. The webshop is included with Storeganise.
- GDPR fulfilled: Providers based outside the EU in particular resist signing EU standard data protection contracts. As an entrepreneur, you expose yourself to the risk of high fines. Storeganise is one of the providers that complies with the GDPR and voluntarily fulfills strict data protection requirements.
- Fair price: Ultimately, the monthly price is a strong argument. In particular, operators of self-storage for individual systems and in regions with smaller rents do not have the budget to pay € 900 per month for self-storage software. Storeganise is far below that with its price.
Newbies can't go wrong with choosing the right self-storage software - choose one that fits the budget and roughly meets the most important criteria.
Anyone who already operates several locations or would like the new administration program to interact with their IT should put more effort into the test:
If more is at stake, then carefully examine the candidates and carefully plan the switch. Create a checklist and compare your favorites. The time invested is worth it: The right software saves your employees time, reduces errors in data maintenance and is ultimately the basis for better margins and good growth.
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