Parking Wisdom – When a Vendor Becomes a Partner, Success is Sure to Follow


Parking Wisdom – When a Vendor Becomes a Partner, Success is Sure to Follow


John Oglesby


Partners and partnerships are integral parts of succeeding in the parking world (as in business in general), and the trend is accelerating. A very good friend of mine said, “I know when the tech guys are lying. Their lips are moving.” I am certain he meant that tongue in cheek, but there are a great deal of startups restarts, post-acquisition and mergers that are having an impact on our industry and the pressure is mounting. 


Parking operators are learning the value of partnering with vendors, not just hiring them, or purchasing products and services. Whom do you trust, especially when one of “your people” changes jobs, or the company changes around them? This is a very real situation occurring almost daily. 


Partnerships provide key elements of today’s chasing parking contracts for a variety of factors. As is usually the case in this column, let’s look at both “sides” of this phenomenon. These partnerships, when created correctly and with transparency, can be an invaluable advantage to win the elusive new business by creating a win-win. It also can bridge the credibility gap. 


Parking operators win in several ways by “partnering” with vendors. A partnership provides a comfort level to prospective clients that the operator and vendor are both “all in” and will prevent or significantly reduce hiccups (glitches) and miscues, especially around integrations and implementation.


Operators also benefit internally with preferred pricing, speedy delivery, potential revenue shares, and usually dedicated support staff that can be invaluable. Operators minimize their costs for training, support, and implementation, as well as ongoing operations and reporting. 


Clients benefit from a single source of contact (and accountability). An operator is all-in, and typically, the vendor has, or is pursuing, a regional or national relationship, further cementing the relationship and providing benefits to the client. 


Clients and prospective clients can win by having one contact for virtually every aspect of their parking asset, which is a welcome relief. The client should also benefit from sharing the cost savings, smooth transition, and implementation benefits mentioned above. 


The genuinely successful operator or their vendors (regardless of size) thrives through a series of partnerships on various levels that will flow through to the relationship and to the client. These partnerships and vendor relationships create great value that provides a continual return on the investment. Many vendors (distributors) are categorized as Value added Resellers (VARs), reflecting what they should bring to the relationships, ongoing, and continually improving value.


Similar to software upgrades, rich with new features, the operator is responsible for harvesting the new benefits for each client. The dedicated or shared on-site project manager is responsible for recognizing new values and options (and any shortcomings) to fully vetted opportunities at their location and for their client. 


The partnerships benefit all involved.. The owner of the first parking company I worked for loved to say something I find to be very accurate: “Friends hire Friends, and Friends don’t fire Friends,” he would say regularly, usually after talking about us losing a location or salvaging a relationship. Thanks, Monroe. 


If we are business friends, everyone wins, profits flow, and drivers and clients are happy. But just like the 90’s sitcom FRIENDS, friendships hit a few bumps (potholes, if you will) along the road. If the foundation has been poured and maintained properly, the partnership can withstand the challenges and stay on the road to success. 


Assuming the operator and their vendor have maintained an open and transparent relationship, they have communicated issues, no surprises, and a plan to resolve or correct the issue(s), the partnership model should resolve the issue by providing a reasonable solution for the client, the operator, and the vendor. Crises avoided; case closed. 


In 2023, vendors and operators face tough challenges. The supply chain still hasn’t caught up, and in many cases, what took days now takes weeks; weeks become months. 


What if the partnership fails under the stress, fraying with limited (if any) documentation? In making the best of a worse-case scenario, everyone pays their “share “and the partnership goes forward, bruised but intact.


If the partnership fractures, the vendor fails or is acquired or files bankruptcy, everything defaults to contracts, warranties, MOU, or the lawyers. And we know who wins there. 


Be vigilant, trusting while verifying everything. President Ronald Reagan had a plaque on his desk: Trust but Verify.

Article contributed by:
John Oglesby, The Parking Whisperer
Only show results from:

Recent Articles

Send message to

    We use cookies to monitor our website and support our customers. View our Privacy Policy