At nearly every rental industry event over the past couple of years, there’s a seminar or class or even maybe just a supplier, at their booth, trying to convince you: Go paperless!
But why should you go paperless? And even if you decide that now’s a great time to make some changes to the way you do business, what steps can you take?
There are a lot of reasons to go paperless, but they generally fall into one of a few buckets:
It’ll save you money over time.
Obvious costs of doing business using paper include not only the paper itself, but ink or toner, printer maintenance, time figuring out why the printer isn’t connecting or fighting out a workaround when the printer isn’t working at all.
But the ancillary costs exceed even those costs over time: Lost paperwork can make it difficult or impossible to locate lost items or to enforce contracts. Attempting to read poor handwriting can screw up reporting and billing. All in all, most people investigating rental software and other solutions cite savings as the main reason to go paperless.
It’ll help you generate money over time.
But going paperless doesn’t just save you money, it can make you money.
Things like condition photos, which are time- and geo-stamped and attached to contracts, make it easy to record item conditions when they’re delivered or collected. When there’s a dispute over damages, it becomes a lot easier to resolve any dispute when you have all the evidence on your side.
Replacing the contract process with digital contracts allows you to have paperwork completely filled out and signed before a customer gets to your store; your counter staff doesn’t have to worry about printing and filing while trying to provide customer service. It saves customers time, too, which makes them more inclined to return.
If you’re able to take your dispatching, routes, and stops paperless, you’re able to route with maximum efficiency and even take on additional routes at the drop of a hat – you can see where your drivers are in realtime, know what they have on their truck, and route them to take on an extra job. More jobs = more money.
It’ll make your employees happier.
The single biggest frustration employees have with any business, but especially in rental, is poor communication. Paper-based processes limit your ability to communicate; they can’t communicate real-time updates immediately. Only one person can see information at a time (or it depends on how many people can read over that person’s shoulders). Digitizing your processes, though, gives everyone in your organization access to the same information so they’re making informed decisions.
Whether they’re at the counter or out on a job site, an employee can pull up a customer’s record immediately, see their history with your company, ask relevant questions, and make it clear that you know your customers and care about them. If a customer wants to know what you have available to rent, they can see your entire inventory, along with what’s available and when.
One of people’s greatest fears is appearing incompetent; go paperless and they’ll have the information they need on them at all times to answer any question.
It’ll make you happier.
If making more money and your employees happier wasn’t enough…you’ll enjoy a few more things by taking your processes digital:
You’ll have access to more of your company’s data so you can make better, more informed decisions when determining the future of your business. You’ll have the ability to adjust contracts easily, rather than going back and forth with paperwork and sending it to the appropriate departments to get quantities changed.
It’s easier to train employees and get them to the point they’re useful in a new process because digital tools frequently have guardrails put in place to notice questionable entries or to ensure that only people with sufficient authority can complete certain tasks.
And finally, your company’s critical information is more secure: Physical documents are easy to lose, steal, or damage. Digital documents are easy to back up, encrypt, and score securely. This can help prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands and protect you from lawsuits or breaches.
“OK, let’s go paperless,” you might be thinking. “How?”
Within the rental industry, there are dozens of rental software solutions with varying abilities to help you go paperless. We’re a bit partial to Point of Rental’s, of course; we’ve spent 40+ years helping people digitize their processes and we’re constantly pushing the envelope to give our users more digital tools than any other rental software company.
If you just want to go paperless in your contract writing and signature process, our eSign product works independently of the rest of our software, enabling you to store signed contracts and easily find them in a searchable database.
If you have a more robust operation and you want to take the paper out of your office, your warehouse, your yard, maintenance bays, trucks, etc., we have mobile-friendly software solutions that will work for you no matter where you do business. Watch a webinar showcasing some of our solutions here (US | UK | AU) or fill out the form below to take the first step toward business go paperless.