The humble spreadsheet is undeniably one of the greatest pieces of software developed to date. Thanks to Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston, spreadsheets have been an invaluable asset to businesses around the world replacing paper-based systems since the early 80’s.
Like all software programs, spreadsheets have their limitations and when used in the wrong environment they can triple the workload of the business and greatly increase the opportunity for costly clerical errors.
Having replaced spreadsheets in countless small to medium rental business around the world, we have outlined the 5 reasons tracking rentals via spreadsheets will inevitably kill your business.
*note; Viberent HQ uses spreadsheets every day. Our Bulk Import Function uses a spreadsheet and saves our clients hours when making bulk updates to inventory. We do not have a personal hatred for spreadsheets – we just know their limitations……
Spreadsheets provide static information
A spreadsheet allows you to “track” your inventory but not “manage” it – Eg; my items are at this location for 6 weeks. This is adequate information when your business is just getting started but as you grow, there are flow on effects that your spreadsheet is not capable of handling. As an example, if you require the same item for a job starting in 7 weeks, there is no way for your spreadsheet to notify you that the item is available without you manually looking for it. And what if your customer doesn’t return the item in 6 weeks? Your spreadsheet will not notify you it’s due to be returned and you need to continue charging your customer. These are two very simple examples excluding the flow on effects to invoicing and servicing which will all need to be tracked manually……in another spreadsheet!
Software programs such as Viberent are made up of thousands of rules (known as code) that ensures your business is working with accurate information such as live inventory availability, upcoming rental reports, closing rental reports and item location lists just to name a few. Because this information is moving fluidly across your rental functions you do not need to double enter any data and invoicing is done with one click of a button!
Spreadsheets promote human error, they love it!
The integrity of the information in your spreadsheet is 100% reliant on whoever is inputting the data (and they will be required to enter the data multiple times on multiple different sheets). This is somewhat controllable when 1 person in the business is using the spreadsheet but caries significant risk when multiple employees are working from the same sheet and relying on the accuracy of its information.
One small typo can create a costly snowball resulting in reputational damage if you need to let your client down.
Lack of Accountability
Spreadsheets offer limited accountability. When multiple employees are working from the same sheet, often at the same time, it is impossible to know who was responsible for data changes. If you have no tracking on the information running your rental business it becomes challenging to manage your workflow and grow your business.
Viberent creates a log of all changes made by each employee ensuring that no one is left in the dark. Business owners can set permissions for each of their users providing access to information that is only relevant to their role!
Back office inefficiency
Spreadsheets offer no integration to other programs essential to managing your rental business. You are constantly duplicating information and losing valuable time each week. As your business starts to grow, back office inefficiencies create a bottleneck in your workflow limiting your ability to take on new opportunities and inevitably letting down your customers (or delighting them as you forget to charge them).
Viberent is one of the only hire and rental software’s in the world to integrate with all three major accounting packages XERO, MYOB and QBO. Users can manage their entire rental business within Viberent and post an invoice to their accounting package with one click….the data is only entered once!!
Spreadsheets are expensive!
Running your rental business on a spreadsheet is free when your business is in its infancy. At this point, there is no better solution to provide basic tracking as you are still testing the markets appetite for your product and service.
As your business shows promise and demand increases, you start to pay the true cost of running your rental business from a spreadsheet. Every moment you spend duplicating data and searching for accurate information is less time spent growing the business, talking to new customers and finding new opportunities. Your back-office inefficiency will stunt the businesses growth. As you get busier, business gets harder.
Viberent’s cloud based rental management system enables SME rental businesses to grow. With one system to manage your entire rental business you can work anywhere, anytime and on any device.
Rental software has traditionally been targeted to big businesses pricing SME rental companies out of the market. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee a day Viberent has saved rental companies 8-10hrs each week and increased utilisation by up to 30%. Life is too short for poor inventory control.