Rent Manager vs Park Sidekick

Aight fells and ladies, which is better? To add some context, I have 60 spaces and will need to do submeter billing in the future. Does one application have far better features than the other? Park Sidekick appears dated software-wise but I don’t care about that. I also don’t care about the online/cloud aspect so that is not a good comparison point for me. How about cost and value?

After a lengthy due diligence process, we selected Rent Manager several years ago. We operate 101 parks with it. We think it is the superior system, but both are fine. Yardi is a third option, but it is very expensive and, we think, probably overkill.

Thanks Frank.

We manage rent accounting using spreadsheets and a bookkeeper using QuickBooks (~100 spaces).-jl-

I use park sidekick. One time buy so not monthly fees, it can be set up for remote access and it tracks rents, home payments etc… 

Jim,Do you need to upgrade (buy a new version) of park sidekick every year?

No- it is a one time fee and that is it. 

Jim, now we are talking. I like cheap! It must be run by some dude in his mom’s basement.

no- they are quite professional. They owned another rental software management company and sold it, but kept the right for mini storage and mobile home parks. They offer a fair product at a fair price. They also now support home payments. 

Good deal, Jim. I could not help making that joke. That definitely looks like the economical solution for me.

One of my previous professions was being a ‘Computer Software Quality Assurance Analyst’ (which means finding ‘bugs’ in computer software) for two, large Computer Software Companies.Personally, I prefer to use only major computer software.  Thus, I am with Jefferson who uses Spreadsheets and Quick Books.  Currently, we use Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word (mail merges for envelopes, bills and letters).  I am sure Quick Books would be great also (we just have not gotten there yet).NO computer software will ever be without ‘bugs’ (as it is created by humans and we all are imperfect).  For cloud based computer software you will pay a monthly or yearly fee and they hold your data (unless you have the ability to export the data out of their system).  Once you stop paying them (or they go out of business) you no longer have access to your past data.Usually, a one time buy means that you will install the software (and hold the data) on your desktop/laptop (which is a good thing…it is just that the latest craze is to be cloud based…good for the computer software company…but has pros and cons for the end user).We wish you the very best!

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Part of the decision will also involve how- or if- you delegate. My managers can view the tenants, see if they paid, print late lists, print invoices and late statements. If you use excel and quickbooks, the only person that can do that is your home office- unless your going to use a networked version of quickbooks and give your manager a set of keys. Which I would never do.The program we use allows us to dial up or down the managers ability to see or modify data depending on the managers role. Every time the program is logged out of- it creates a system wide backup file. Thus- we are only our last users log out from restored data. We also use quickbooks and excel- but to track the big picture items. We do not try to make the programs work, when there are great solutions for managing properties and tenants which the other programs were not designed. For me it is like writing this in the forum. I use a computer and keyboard. Not my tablet that has no keyboard, and not my phone with the tiny keys. I use the right tool for the right job. Just my 2 cents- keep the change.

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Dave often looks back fondly on the time when we were not on Rent Manager, but simply on Quick Books and Excel. In my old portfolio, we used Quick Books and Excel until we got to about 1,000 lots (which worked great), and then changed to Yardi (which was awful). So I guess the answer is that you have to go with what you are comfortable with and, if you like Quick Books and Excel, there’s no real reason why you can’t use that. The accounting on parks is pretty easy (this is not that complicated a business) and you can do well on really any accounting format you use as long as you know what you’re doing. Don’t change to something else because you feel like that’s what everyone else does. As long as you can produce accurate, timely computerized financial statements, you’re probably fine. But using a pencil and abacus is out.

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Great responses, all. Thanks fellas.

I currently use QuickBooks but, it is not integrated with Word (2013 versions).  I have explored going to Rent Manager and been favorably impressed. I’m curious as to why “Dave often looks back fondly on the time when we were not on Rent Manager, but simply on Quick Books and Excel.”?

We have over 180 employees, counting park managers. There is a big learning curve when you change over to something new. Initially, it’s a royal pain, and it makes you question whether the effort is worth it. We have been doing fine with Rent Manager. But there were times, when we were first converting over, that it seemed like sticking with the old Quick Books and Excel might have been smarter. In addition, there actually are some reports that are easier to put together on Excel than on Rent Manager (or so I’m told). But overall, we’re happy – but that does not mean we can’t be nostalgic!

Thanks for your answer and thanks for Mobile Home University. 

I have a question for you all using rent manager, which version are you using?

FYI - If you use a multi-user version of Quickbooks, the administrator can turn on and off whatever features, access or data manipulation they want per user.  If you are using Quickbooks, you can use this admin feature to allow your managers to see certain areas of the software to retrieve, view or print customer information, etc. per your specifications.As with all software back up often and always…

I worked for corporate America companies as an accountant for over 10+ years, used lots of accounting softwares (Yardi was a big pain-I agree).  Currently, owing my own business (not a park owner yet), and I use Excel & QuickBook online vision.  The reason I chose QB online version was I can access the data from anywhere, don’t need to worry about update the software, and don’t need to back up the data all the time!  I paid $147 per year in advance and no monthly billings (to save some $$).  But I outsourced the payroll part to the third party ( Payroll Maxx ).  I use Excel a lot to create lots of reports, so I can see big pictures.  Overall, I am very happy with it.