High Tech Questions…


High Tech Questions…

The following blog asks at least 16 questions. Can you answer all of them? Or even one of them.

When you purchase technology for your parking operation, do you have any clue what that technology is going to do for you? Have you thought through your business needs? In fact do you really know what your business is doing and how this tech or any tech for that matter is going to help? Do you even know what business you are in?

I know this sounds impertinent, but…A few decades ago a major bank, one of the largest, had a problem. It was getting further and further behind in its daily clearings. IBM, who was the computer provider at that time, sent in a senior vice president to address the senior management of the company. He told them that his company could fix their problems, and through a fantastic powerpoint and multi media presentation showed the board just how they were going to do that.

When the IBM exec left, the CEO turned to his assembled management team and said, in essence, you have two years to solve our problems, and to get IBM out of here. He knew that by turning over his back shop to a tech company, he was admitting his company did not know how to run its business. He could not allow that to happen.

When you buy technology, are you basically turning your company over to the supplier? Do you have the personnel on board to properly use the tech and ensure that it is doing what you want, what you need? Do you actually KNOW what you need? Have you even thought about it?

After all, at the end of the month there is more money I the bank than there was at the beginning of the month. That’s a good thing, right? Something must be going OK.

Don’t feel bad. If one of the largest banks could have this problem with technology, why couldn’t you?

A solution? I wish I knew. The first might be to look at what your core business is. You are renting space to people to park their cars. What do you know about the rental business? Your inventory changes minute by minute. How do you know how many spaces you have and for how long. Do you make more money on hourly rentals, weekly rentals or monthly rentals? Would you be better off to charge different rates depending on when people agreed to rent the space? Someone once told me that auto rental companies have thousands of different rates for the same car depending on when and where the deal was made. Should you?

That last paragraph addresses only one aspect of your business. Once you have sorted through it, how do you decide that the tech you purchase will help you specifically in solving all those problems?

Think about it.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. As we all know, our industry just hit the “reset” button. From the angle of municipal parking, most authorities can’t survive on 2020 business practices. Rate increases, staff reductions, and project deferments are a fraction of the recovery required. This means the somewhat but necessary conversations with subjects like loading/delivery/TNC Zone monetization/management, dynamic pricing, creative off street contract pricing, and concession agreements get moved forward on 2021 discussion calendars.

    So what comes back first? On-street demand.
    Municipalities should be prepared for these conversations by understanding their curb space. Not just by proxies like citations and paid parking, but by AI camera analytics. You know the “big data” we were looking for several years back, ha. Well I found the technology.

    Take care!

  2. A Manager once asked me how to program his systems to charge less for people that stayed longer. He had an hourly rate for short term visitors to the office building in his garage, but he also wanted to compete with the surface lot across the street for jurors that parked all day. If you got in by 8am and stayed until court got out, you qualified for the reduced daily flat rate. He knew who his customers were. We figured it out, and he peeled off some new transient customers from that surface lot.

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