Are We Diluting the Parking Business


Are We Diluting the Parking Business

When Lee Iacocca said “I’m in the car business” he was focused like a laser beam on his core business and on saving Chrysler from extinction. He wasn’t in the airplane business, the motorcycle business, the business of building buses or trains, he was in the car business. And he saved Chrysler by featuring winning vehicles. Remember the mini-vans and the “K” car.

Those of you who own and run garages, surface lots, parking on street, off airport operations, and the parking facilities that support hospitals, hotels, sports complexes, shopping centers and the like, are in the parking business. You park cars and in most cases collect a fee from each driver for the privilege of storing his or her vehicle in your facility for a certain period of time.

I wonder if we don’t dilute our focus on parking with concerns about turning our facilities into charging stations, dealing with micro mobility, a discussion on trains, buses, and other types of mass transit and a focus on technology and ‘smart’ phones and cities. Don’t get me wrong, these are important, but are we letting them enter into our discussion and forgetting that we are in the business of parking cars.

Do we forget who our customers are? You know, those people that drive into our facilities and park their cars and give us money. We seem to spend our time discussing how to provide electrons for less than 10% of the vehicles that enter, often at the expense of the other 90%. Do we enter into discussions as to how to make parking easier for our customers or do we talk about ways to remove staff from the garages and inundate our customers with technology to make our lives easier.

I had dinner with a friend in the business the other day and the discussion got around to some technology he was promoting that ran on a smart phone and took cash out of the garage. Not once in his half our pitch did he mention the customer and how this would affect them. Now I had no idea how it should affect them, or if it did, but I though that maybe it should enter into the conversation.

Say what you want about Lee Iacocca but he knew what business paid his bills. And he succeeded by focusing on that business. Can we say the same thing about our business? Or are we jumping on the next bandwagon that rolls by? I wonder.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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