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October 11, 2022
Online rentals require online signatures - but are they safe?
More than that, are they even legally binding? If you’re considering adding online rentals (and you should be if you haven’t already!) you’ll probably have questions about online lease signing for self storage online rentals.
In this blog post, we’ll explain how technology like SiteLink’s eSign™ works and how you can utilize it to drive rentals and improve capitalization rates!
Ok, they have to be legal, right? Otherwise, why would StoragePug be telling me I need to do it?
You’re right (though a black hat Storage Pug with a little raccoon mask would be adorable). All the way back in 2000, Congress passed the ESIGN Act - Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce
This made electronic signatures legally binding in the same way that physical signatures are. This includes a variety of “signatures,” including typing your name or even simply clicking “I Agree.”
This is also true in most industrialized countries, though you’ll want to check the specific statutes of the state or country you’re doing business in.
You’ll also be hiring a company to handle your electronic signatures, most likely - in fact, your PMS may offer it already! SiteLink does, as part of their online rental process. So, if you’re dealing with a reputable PMS or e-sign company, you don’t have to worry.
Electronic lease signatures are just as legally binding as physical signatures!
While they are legal, they’re not necessarily safe! You don’t want outside entities copying your tenants’ signatures, even if they aren’t legible. Even more, you want to be sure that the proper person is signing the documents!
The companies that provide electronic signature services (including SiteLink’s eSign™) all have security protocols in place to ensure that the information transmitted is safe.
These technologies use something called PKI, or Public Key Infrastructure, to ensure that only the intended person can sign documents. PKI protects the business and the signatory from fraud.
PKI works by issuing two separate codes for the transmission - one is public, and one is private. Both are issued and held by a Certificate Authority, which may be the entity providing your electronic signature service or may be a third party under contract to do so.
These keys are encrypted and ensure only the appropriate people can access the information being sent. If you’re interested in learning more about PKI, it’s fascinating stuff - plus you get to tell people you’re reading about asymmetric cryptography - but for most operators, “yes, it’s safe” will be all you need to know!
If electronic signatures have gotten a little less mystifying (or more mystifying to the point you don’t want to know anymore), how should you start implementing them?
Every self storage operator should be offering online rentals if at all possible.
Your customers expect to be able to make purchases online. Amazon, DoorDash, Netflix, Uber - people can buy almost anything from their phones. If you’re not offering that convenience and your competitors are, you’re going to be missing out.
To offer online rentals, you’ll need an electronic signature portal.
Luckily, these are usually packaged in with your online rental program! If you use SiteLink, and can integrate it with your website (like StoragePug can!), you’re pretty much ready to go.
For other Property Management Softwares, you’ll have to check with the vendor to see what steps you’ll have to take to get started renting units online.
If you want to strike out on your own and offer electronic signatures on your own, you can do that too! You’ll still have to find a vendor, such as DocuSign, to do the heavy technological lifting, but it is possible.
As with most everything else in self storage, automation is the way to go. With automatic self storage insurance sign-ups, automated reminders and collections emails, and even lead follow-ups, you can free yourself up to take care of the more hands-on part of the business.
Good automation makes life easier for you and for your customer. If your customer has a pleasant experience renting from you (which means a stress-free rental process), they’re more likely to recommend you to their friends and family, and they’re more likely to rent from you again!
The value of a happy customer quickly exceeds the cost of adding online lease signing for self storage online rentals.
Dive deeper into automating your facility with these helpful articles: