EZRentOut’s new feature enables you to determine whether customers have overused rented equipment and charge them for it. For example, suppose a customer rents out a forklift for a day. That does not mean they will use the machine for an exact 24 hours. Instead, that means they will use the machine for around eight hours or so, depending on what your business defines as “within fair usage”.
However, how do you check what the actual usage of a machine is once the customer returns it?
This is where the Usage Tracking feature in EZRentOut comes in. You can define what a day means in your system. Note that this definition does not affect the calculation of the rental or billing duration. Depending on what the rental duration of each order is, the fair usage will be calculated by multiplying the days in each order with the fair usage duration defined for a day. In short, you will be able to view the total number of hours that the machine should be in use for each order.
You can then easily calculate the difference between actual usage and the fair usage to check if the forklift was used over and above the agreed-upon terms. If the actual usage is greater than the fair usage, then the difference is multiplied with the Rate for Extra Usage. This multiplication returns the value of the extra charges for over-usage.
Let’s dive deeper to further understand how the feature works.
Note: This feature is only available in the New UI. If you enable this feature, you cannot convert back to the Old UI anymore.
Enable Tracking Usage for Assets
First, you have to enable the Track Usage for Assets add on by going to Settings → Add Ons → Track Usage for Assets → Enabled. This enables you to track the usage of your items and calculate any overage charges if applicable.
Note: If a Meter Type is already associated with an item for usage tracking, then before editing the Meter Type, you will have to dissociate it from all those items.
Click on ‘Create New Meter Type’ and the following overlay appears, where you can name the meter type:
Enable Tracking Overage for Assets
Once these settings are updated, you can choose to enable another setting that lets you track and charge customers for the overage. Follow the same path to Settings → Add Ons → Track Overage for Assets → Enabled.
Specify Allowed Usage for Assets
a) Specify Usage when creating or editing an Asset
You can now set an allowed usage policy for each Asset. Go to Items → Assets → Create a new Asset or edit an existing one. Then scroll down to the Usage Tracking section. By default, the Usage Meter dropdown is set to ‘Do not prompt’, which means that the system will not track the item’s usage.
To start tracking usage, choose a Usage Meter type from the dropdown. These types are the same as the ones you previously added when enabling the setting.
Let’s choose ‘Miles’ as the Usage Meter type for this example. Additional fields appear where you can enter the initial meter reading and define the allowed usage per hour, day, week, and month. If the customer goes beyond the allowed usage, you can charge them with an Overage Charge, as shown below:
Once you update the changes in the Asset, you will see all the Usage Tracking information right on the Asset Details page:
b) Specify Usage when importing from Excel
You can also specify the Allowed Usage policy while importing items from Excel, either to create new Assets or update existing ones.
Note: The unit for the Usage Meter type should be the same as the unit for the Overage Charge Rate.
Here are the other fields related to Usage Tracking, excluding the ones displayed above:
- Meter Initial Reading
- Overage Charge Rate
Note: You need to map the Meter Type field first in order to enable the other related fields.
Usage Tracking from the Order Details page
Now that we have defined the allowed usage policy and overage charges, let us add this forklift to an order. If you scroll down, you can edit the columns to show information that help you track usage.
Here are all the fields related to Usage and Overage that you can add by adding a new column:
One column to talk about in particular is the Expected Usage column:
As the tooltip mentions, the Expected Usage is calculated based on the allowed usage criteria you previously defined as well as the billing duration mentioned above on the Order Details page.
Learn More: Calculate Billing Duration in EZRentOut
When you rent out the Order, you will have to fill out the Meter Start field that asks for the current usage the Asset is displaying before it is rented out.
Similarly, when you return the Order, you will have to fill out the Meter End Reading field.
The system then calculates the difference between the start and end reading. This difference gives us the Actual Usage of the item. The overage is then calculated by taking the difference between the Actual Usage and Expected Usage. If there is any overage, the system calculates and shows you the Overage Charge above. You can also view the Overage Charge on the Order Details page:
Note: In the case of recurring orders, the actual usage will be calculated in the last recurrence of the order.
Track Usage history
From the Asset Details page, you can also display the Usage history by clicking on History as highlighted below:
This opens up the following overlay, displaying the entire usage history of the Asset:
Usage Tracking and Overage Reports
a) Usage Meter History Report
From the Asset Details page, you can click on the Current Meter Reading, which is 15000 Miles in this case, and this generates a report displaying usage meter history.
Here’s what the report looks like:
You can also generate this report by going to More → Reports → Asset Reports → Usage Meter History.
b) Assets Overage Report
Go to More → Reports → Asset Reports → Assets Overage Report. This report shows you how much revenue you have earned from overage charges of Assets against different Orders. You can further filter the report to display results only certain Assets or Orders.
c) Custom Report
Go to More → Reports → Create Custom Report. You will find new columns related to Usage and Overage Tracking in Step 2:
Usage Tracking Alerts
Go to –> My alerts –> Items –> “Usage Meter Threshold Alert“. You can set alerts for the rental meter threshold reached.
Let’s say the meter start reading for the forklift was 1000 Miles before it is rented out. When the Order was returned, the meter end reading was 1100 Miles. In this case, you will receive an email with the current meter reading and a 100-mile threshold alert.
Note: For every 100 Miles or more reached, you will receive the same email alert with changed current meter reading.
You can also specify a usage threshold to receive an alert when that threshold is reached. Go to –> Items –> Assets –> Checkmark the setting given on the Asset details page as shown below:
When you click on this setting, you will receive alerts when the specified usage meter threshold is reached. In the case above, the usage meter threshold is set to 250 Miles. If the meter end reached 250 Miles or more on return of an Order, you will receive an email with the current meter reading and a 250-mile threshold alert.
Usage Tracking in Printout Templates
To make it easier for you to track usage and any overage charges, we have introduced new Usage and Overage Tracking related fields in printout templates. Go to More → Printout Templates → Order tab and edit an existing template or create a new one.
In the template, scroll down to the Order line items section and click on ‘Add’. This opens up the following overlay, where you can add more placeholders related to Usage and Overage Tracking:
Here are all the other placeholders you can add, excluding the ones shown above:
- Expected Usage
- Meter End
- Meter Start
- Meter Type
- Overage Charge Rate
We are a cloud based rental solution that offers businesses seamless rental management. It also comes with a host of other features like asset tracking, maintenance management, a customized webstore, and much more. Try us out today!