Guide to choosing a vehicle rental management software provider

Image of two screens, one to the right pictures a white label fleet vehicle rental platform and the left screen features a white label vehicle rental supplier platform.
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Selecting the right vehicle rental management software for your business is key to enhancing your company’s service delivery, improving customer satisfaction, and increasing efficiency across your operations.

Whether you're experienced in sourcing and implementing solutions or starting a new procurement project, this article is for you. Here, we talk through the basics of vehicle rental software, our specific implementation process and we give you green and red flags to look for in vehicle rental SaaS providers.

Our hope is to make sure you know best practices so you can ultimately choose the right provider for your business. So, let’s get started with the basics.

What is Vehicle Rental Management Software?

A Vehicle Rental Management System, or Software, is a specialised tool designed to allow fleet management and rental companies (the system operator) to offer tailored, end-to-end, vehicle rental management services directly to their customers.

A robust platform serves as the backbone for the provision of rental services and simplifies the entire process. The system should integrate key functionality such as vehicle reservations, vehicle and driver management, customer account management, policy management, authorisation controls, detailed management reporting, and centralised billing into a single solution.

That leads us to the question: how do you choose the right vehicle rental platform that will optimise your operations?

At Fleetondemand, we understand the critical role that tailored software solutions play in enhancing the success of implementing and operating rental businesses.

This guide walks you through the process of successfully implementing our GT Suite rental management platform within your organisation, detailing what you can expect at each stage.

The overall process of implementing GT Suite takes between 8 – 10 weeks from our initial discovery meeting to the GT Suite system going live.

Whether you’re evaluating our services or considering other options, we’ll provide the essential questions to ask software providers, ensuring you select a system that drives efficiency and fosters exponential growth for your business.

Step 1: Due Diligence

The initial due diligence phase shapes our collaborative process.

Here, we set the stage for a productive and successful partnership between our key implementation team and your own internal project team.  We gain an indepth understanding of your business strategy and objectives, along with key technical considerations.

This step is essential for deploying a Vehicle Rental Management Software (VRMS) that not only enhances your operational efficiency but also meets you and your customers’ specific requirements.

Discovery: Getting to Know Your Business

In the kick-off meeting, we'll thoroughly explore your company's structure, services, target customer base, and the core functions of your teams.

We involve key stakeholders from the leadership team, operations, finance, technical teams, account management, and rental management to help us gain a comprehensive understanding of your needs and day-to-day activities.

This detailed insight allows us to effectively configure the features of our GT Suite rental platform to align with your departmental requirements.

GT Suite offers hundreds of features that make vehicle rental run like clockwork. These can be turned on or off according to your customer’s individual business needs. Here are some of our most popular ones:

  • Booking authority: Requires managerial approval for reservations based on set criteria such as vehicle group, cost or purpose
  • Automated billing: Simplifies the billing process from supplier to customer, fully integrated with your accounting systems.
  • System notifications: Offers customisable notifications for your customers, including SMS alerts.
  • Card payments: Enables upfront payments for drivers making a reservation.
  • Pre-checks: Makes sure every reservation is pre-checked by your team, enhancing the customer experience.
  • Bespoke reservation journey: Allows the activation or deactivation of specific data capture points during the booking process.
  • Data analytics and reporting needs: We discuss the types of data your business captures to ensure our system fully supports your needs.

Identifying ‘System Centurions’

To facilitate a smooth transition and system adoption, we recommend appointing one or two 'System Centurions' within your team. These individuals will master our platform with our dedicated support, becoming the go-to experts to train and assist other users.

This strategy avoids common pitfalls such as underutilisation of the system due to a lack of understanding.

Evaluating Current Solutions

We will evaluate your experiences with current or past vehicle rental management systems to identify what has worked and what hasn’t.

Often, feedback highlights the need for better visibility of damages and fines, easier supplier onboarding, and more user-friendly reservation management.

In response, we have designed the GT Suite to address these industry pain points effectively:

  • Customer service: Our Service Delivery Centre (SDC) offers robust support via phone, live chat, email and SMS.
  • Technical support: Continuous post-onboarding assistance is available through an account manager, quality manager, and technical support tickets.
  • Damages and fines visibility: GT Suite features a comprehensive dashboard to monitor and report on open cases and damages, supported by a dedicated team.
  • Allocation rules and authorisations: Correctly setting up and maintaining cost centres, profiles and allocation rules ensures effective vehicle booking management.

By the conclusion of the discovery phase, we will have a thorough understanding of your business requirements, ready to customise the GT Suite to fit your operational needs perfectly.

Step 2: System Requirements Gathering

Now we have all the initial information we need from you; we get to planning. Here, we ensure that the GT Suite perfectly aligns with your operational needs.

This stage is where we define the precise features and technical configurations needed to optimise your business operations.

Feature Requirements

Drawing from insights gained during our initial discussions, we compile a list of essential features tailored to meet specific challenges within your operations.

These might include advanced damage tracking capabilities for real-time updates and historical data analysis, or tariff management systems designed to automate and simplify pricing adjustments based on variables such as rental duration or vehicle type.

Key features often include:

  • Custom reporting tools: For quick access to operational data and insights.
  • Integrated payment solutions: Streamlining financial transactions for rentals.
  • Fleet utilisation metrics: Optimising the usage of your rental vehicle fleet.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools: Maintaining detailed records of customer interactions and preferences.

These features are designed to enhance the functionality of your VRMS, making it a powerful tool for effectively managing your rental business.

Technical Requirements

In this phase, our technical team assess your current systems to determine the necessary specifications for a smooth integration.

Key considerations include:

  • Infrastructure compatibility: Ensuring that GT Suite works in harmony with your existing IT infrastructure.
  • Data security and compliance: Implementing security measures that comply with industry standards and regulatory requirements.
  • API integrations: Creating interfaces for the GT Suite that automatically interact with other software applications you use, such as accounting systems or customer databases.
  • Scalability: Planning for future growth so the system can handle increasing amounts of data and transactions without performance degradation.

Step 3: System Customisation and Setup

Our approach in the set-up stage focuses not on creating a new platform each time but rather fine-tuning our feature-rich platform to perfectly match your business operations.

System Setup

During the customisation phase, we harness insights from the discovery meeting and the system requirements gathering to tailor the GT Suite to your unique business demands.

This involves activating or deactivating certain features to boost your operational efficiency and meet specific user needs.

For instance, while some clients may require advanced data analytics for fleet management, others may focus on customer relationship management tools to enhance service quality.

Our customisation process is designed for flexibility, enabling us to adapt our platform quickly and effectively across a broad spectrum of business models and operational sizes, from small local operators to large international corporations.

Feature Management

Following the customisation specifications, our technical team initiates the setup. This phase includes configuring the software environment, integrating it with your existing IT infrastructure, and ensuring that all selected features are operational.

Our objective is to prepare the system for a smooth transition to your operational environment, minimising disruption and maximising functionality from the outset.

Case Examples

To demonstrate the versatility and adaptability of our system, here are examples of how the GT Suite platform has been tailored and deployed for various high-profile clients within top vehicle rental and FN50 companies.

As we work within a highly competitive industry, maintaining the confidentiality of our clients’ commercial interests is paramount.

In each instance, we have delivered a white-label solution that seamlessly integrates with the client's brand, offering a personalised platform that is branded as their own.

  • Top international leasing company: Platform allows seamless management of both fleet and rental vehicles, enhancing operational efficiency across multiple regions.
  • Leading fleet management provider: Provided a platform used by 100+ of their fleet customers to easily book and manage their rental vehicles.
  • International rental company: Created a white-label platform that enabled business customers to book corporate rentals efficiently using the client's own fleet of vehicles.

These examples underline our capability to meet the precise needs of diverse clients without extensive customisation for each deployment.

Whether managing a vast fleet for a leasing giant or providing a streamlined booking system for a rental company, the GT Suite can be adapted to a huge range of business requirements.

Step 4: User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a vital part of our deployment process. It ensures the GT Suite not only meets, but also exceeds your expectations before going live.

This stage aims to fully reassure you of the system's functionality and the effectiveness of our customisation.

Testing Environment Setup

After completing the initial setup and customisation, we provide a comprehensive UAT environment. This setup mirrors the final production system, allowing your team to engage with all features and functionalities under controlled conditions.

The UAT simulates real-world usage to ensure the system performs flawlessly upon full deployment.

We stagger the testing to methodically examine different system elements. At first, your rental team might want to explore the reservations and booking flows in depth. Then, we can shift focus to other essential areas like billing and invoicing processes.

Feedback Integration

Feedback integration is a key element of the UAT phase. As your team evaluates each system segment, their detailed feedback informs the final adjustments required pre-launch.

Our aim is to address any issues, implement necessary changes, and confirm that the system perfectly aligns with your operational needs.

  • System review and refinement: After each test session, we'll quickly integrate the feedback given to refine the system. This iterative process makes sure that all custom features and functionalities meet your requirements.
  • Final approval: After detailed testing and feedback integration, we seek your final approval. This step confirms your satisfaction with the system's operation and readiness for live deployment.

UAT is more than a technical check - it’s a collaborative effort to verify that GT Suite functions at peak performance and meets your expectations.

By the end of this phase, we aim for a system that’s not just functional but perfectly tailored to your business, ensuring you move into production with full confidence.

Step 5: Training and Education

Training and education are key parts of our implementation process. They make sure your team is ready to use the GT Suite effectively right from the start.

Once the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is complete and the system is set up, we move into a dedicated training period.

This phase is designed to equip your staff, especially the 'System Centurions' identified earlier, with the necessary knowledge and skills to efficiently operate the system.

Training Schedule

We organise three structured training days, usually held one week before the system goes live. This timing helps ensure the training is fresh in your team's minds as they start using the system in a live setting.

Each day focuses on different aspects of the GT Suite, covering all functionalities from both a general and role-specific perspective:

  • General overview: The first day provides a full overview of the GT Suite. We show you how to navigate the user interface, understand the system architecture, and get to know the daily functionalities.
  • Rental operations focus: The second day is tailored for those involved in rental operations. It covers how to place reservations, manage bookings, check damages and fines, and respond to customer queries. This training is essential for your rental team to manage workflows effectively and boost customer satisfaction.
  • Billing processes focus: The final day centres on the financial aspects of the system, particularly billing. Topics include handling invoice exports and imports, managing billing cycles, and ensuring accurate financial reporting. This session helps your finance team to streamline billing processes and minimise errors.

Role-Specific Training

Within the scheduled training days, we also cover role-specific training to ensure that key users, particularly the 'System Centurions', can manage their specific functions effectively:

  • System centurions: These key users receive dedicated training on advanced functionalities, problem-solving and troubleshooting to support their teams efficiently.
  • Operational staff: Focus on daily system use, including managing bookings, updating vehicle statuses, and interacting with customers on the system.
  • Finance and billing staff: Concentrate on financial modules such as billing setup and cost management.

Each implementation includes the three free on-site training days. This direct engagement in your work environment addresses specific team questions and scenarios, ensuring a smoother transition to using the GT Suite.

Step 6: Go-Live Preparation

This stage focuses on ensuring a smooth and successful launch. By carefully planning the Go-Live, we aim to minimise disruptions and seamlessly integrate the new system into your daily operations.

Final Preparations

Before selecting a Go-Live date, we conduct thorough checks to confirm that every system component functions correctly, and the configuration meets your business needs. These final preparations include:

  • System validation: We check that all elements of the system operate as expected under full operational loads
  • User readiness: We ensure that all users are confident and proficient in their understanding of the system, following the completion of training.
  • Support setup: We link you up to our support channels and procedures to address any questions or issues that may arise during and after the Go-Live.

Our objective is to have a fully operational and bug-free system by the Go-Live date. This proactive approach helps mitigate any potential issues that could impact business operations once the system is live.

Choosing the Right Day to Go-Live

Choosing the right date to go live is paramount. We generally recommend a Wednesday for the launch day.

This timing is strategic as it allows your team to become accustomed to the system during a typically busy period without the added pressure of a Monday start.

Mid-week launches offer several advantages:

  • Reduced pressure: Launching on a Wednesday gives you two lower-pressure days to address any immediate post-launch issues before the weekend.
  • Operational continuity: It ensures minimal disruption to operations, smoothing out any initial teething problems before the busier end of the week.

Step 7: System Goes Live (Launch Day!)

One week after the conclusion of the training days, we will consult with you to finalise the Go-Live date. During this consultation, we'll discuss the system's readiness and your team's preparedness, ensuring everyone is confident and ready.

Our team will be on high alert during the Go-Live, ready to assist with any queries and ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.

This support continues to ensure that any potential issues are promptly and efficiently resolved, allowing your business to enjoy the benefits of the new GT Suite without interruption.

What to Expect After GT Suite is Live

After the GT Suite vehicle rental platform goes live, our dedicated support team continues to make sure the implementation is a success.

We want to ensure your team transitions smoothly to using the new system in their daily operations and that any potential issues are swiftly addressed.

Our support structure is tailored to provide both immediate and ongoing assistance, making sure that your system operates optimally and evolves alongside your business needs.

Immediate Support

In the initial weeks after going live, dedicated support is essential to help your team adjust to the new system and quickly resolve any teething problems.

For the first four months post-live, our Support Manager will be readily available to assist with any technical issues.

Their role is to ensure a stable and smooth transition by offering hands-on support, addressing any operational questions or technical challenges promptly and minimising disruptions to your business.

Ongoing Support and Maintenance

Here's how we continue to support you as your operations stabilise with the new GT Suite vehicle rental management system:

  • Account management: After the system goes live, one of our experienced Client Relationship Directors come on board. They act as your main point of contact for any strategic support or further system enhancements.
  • Knowledge hub: All clients have access to our comprehensive Knowledge Hub, updated regularly with FAQs, tutorials, and detailed guides.
  • Chat function: For real-time assistance during business hours.
  • Online support requests: This is where you can raise tickets for more complex issues. Our technical team closely monitors these, allocates a priority level, and updates you accordingly until the ticket is resolved and closed.
  • Updates and upgrades: We continually enhance our software with new features and enhancements. Informed by client, operator, supplier and industry feedback and trends, GTSuite not only meets but anticipates the changing needs of your business.

Commitment to Service Excellence

Our post-go-live support framework is designed to ensure you always have the resources and expert help you need.

We are committed to a partnership approach, working alongside you to maximise the value of your investment in the GT Suite and ensure your operational success over the long term.

Checklist of Questions to Ask Software Providers

Now that you're familiar with the onboarding process for GT Suite, you might still be weighing our platform up against other Vehicle Rental Management Software providers.

If so, make sure you ask the right questions to ensure any alternative solution aligns perfectly with your business needs.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Customisation options: What customisation options are available? Can features be switched on or off depending on specific requirements? 
  • Data security and privacy: How do you manage data security and privacy? What measures are in place to protect sensitive customer and business data? 
  • Implementation timeline: What is the typical implementation timeline? How long does it typically take from signing the contract to going live?
  • Support and maintenance services: Can you provide details on your support and maintenance services? What does the immediate and long-term support look like? Are there dedicated relationship managers or a support team?
  • Software updates: How often do you release updates and how are they managed? Are updates automatic, and how are they communicated to clients? 
  • System integration: Can the system integrate with existing software and hardware? What has been your experience with similar integrations in the past?
  • Training and education: What training and education services do you offer? Is training included in the price, and how is it delivered? 

Asking these questions will help you ensure that the vehicle rental management software you choose can meet your operational requirements and support your business’s growth.

Potential Pitfalls During Implementation and Solutions

Implementing a new vehicle rental SaaS system can introduce several challenges so it’s important to address these issues before implementation.

Below are some common pitfalls along with our practical recommendations to help ensure a smooth transition:

1) Underestimating the need for training

Pitfall: Companies may be so busy that they don’t allocate sufficient time or resources for training (which is an understandable predicament!). While this seems like a time-saver at first, it causes more time to be lost in the long run due to mistakes from human error.

Solution: Make sure your Vehicle Rental Software Provider includes FOC comprehensive training sessions in their implementation plan. Consider any ongoing training opportunities to keep improving user proficiency and system adoption.

2) Data migration issues

Pitfall: Transferring data from old systems can be intricate and susceptible to errors.

Solution: Collaborate with the SaaS provider to develop and execute a data migration strategy. This should include data clean-up and validation processes to minimise any disruption or data integrity issues.

3) Resistance to change

Pitfall: Employees may be reluctant to adopt new technology.

Solution: Involve employees early in the decision-making process. Clearly communicate the benefits of the new system and actively involve them in training and feedback sessions to foster acceptance and ease the transition.

4) Insufficient customisation

Pitfall: The system may not fully address the specific needs of the business.

Solution: Thoroughly explore and discuss the system’s customisation capabilities before choosing a provider. Make sure that there is flexibility for adjustments as your business needs evolve or new requirements emerge.

These strategies can help mitigate risks associated with SaaS implementation, enhancing the chances of successful adoption, and maximising the benefits of the new system.

Red Flags for Vehicle Rental Software Providers

When evaluating potential Vehicle Rental Software Providers, it's important to be aware of certain red flags that could signal potential problems:

1) Lack of transparency in pricing

Red flag: Providers that are not upfront about costs can lead to unexpected expenses.

Solution: Ensure you request detailed pricing structures and inquire about any potential additional costs to avoid surprises.

2) Poor customer support

Red flag: Inadequate support can severely disrupt your business operations if issues arise.

Solution: Choose a SaaS provider with a well-documented support policy and responsive customer service. Check whether they offer multiple channels for communication so you can easily get in touch when needed.

3) Limited integration capabilities

Red flag: A system that cannot integrate with your existing platforms or does not provide adequate visibility for your suppliers can significantly impact operational efficiency. This is particularly important when it comes to managing aspects like damages and fines, where lacking the ability to easily view details on open cases can complicate resolution processes.

Solution: Verify the system's integration capabilities during the selection phase. Ensure it allows for comprehensive visibility of supplier activities and can seamlessly integrate with your current infrastructure. Ask providers specifically about how their system handles data related to damages and fines, and how this information is presented and accessed within the platform.

4) No clear update policy

Red flag: Providers that do not regularly update their software could leave your system vulnerable to security risks and operational inefficiencies.

Solution: Ask about the frequency of software updates and how they are implemented within their InfoSec policies to make sure your system remains secure and functional.

5) Slow, confusing or complicated vehicle reservation flow

Red flag: If the reservation process is slow or confusing, and even the sales team appears puzzled during a demo on how to book a vehicle, it's a significant concern.

Solution: Actively engage during the demo. Ask the provider to walk you through various booking scenarios, such as one-way rentals, selecting different vehicle groups, and choosing various pick-up or drop-off locations. Additionally, request a demonstration on how tariffs are applied and adjusted according to different criteria. This will help you gauge the system’s intuitiveness and flexibility in real-time operations.

Final Thoughts on Selecting Your Vehicle Rental Software Provider

Selecting the right vehicle rental SaaS provider is vital for optimising your business operations.

By asking the right questions, preparing for potential pitfalls, and being aware of red flags, you can choose a system that not only meets your current needs but also supports your business growth over time.

Remember, successful implementation relies not just on the software itself but on a strong partnership between your business and the provider.

With careful planning and consideration, your investment in a vehicle rental management system will yield significant returns in efficiency and customer satisfaction.

If you're looking for a system that seamlessly integrates with your operations and offers comprehensive support, consider booking a demo with us.

In addition to the software itself, you can choose to utilise our established rental supplier network, which is fully integrated within GT Suite. This includes more than 396,000 cars, LCVs and specialist vehicles available from over 1,460 rental locations throughout the UK.

We can also integrate your own network of preferred suppliers into the platform, and upload details for your own company fleet vehicles, all managed centrally in one place.

Experience first-hand how our GT Suite vehicle rental platform can simplify your rental processes and help you manage your fleet more effectively.

Book a demo with us today and take the first step towards transforming your vehicle rental business.