How can this possibly be?


How can this possibly be?

I had lunch the other day with an auditor and we were laughing about an incident that happened in the Parking Today world about a decade ago.  I had in this space made a statement that I knew an auditor and he told me that in virtually any garage, on any given day, he could do an audit and find a minimum of 10% of the monies missing, and in fact he couldn’t remember when it was less than 25%.  He added that of course there were exceptions and were some very well run garages but he likened that to hen’s teeth.

I was inundated with complaints from operators calling me every name in the book and threatening my existence. I took up the gauntlet and offered a free audit on any two garages that the operators ran. If we didn’t find any issues, we would pay for the audit, if we did, they would. Of course any result would be published in PT. The result — crickets.

A decade had past and millions if not billions of dollars of technology has been brought to bear on the parking industry. I asked my auditor friend if it made any difference.

“Sure,” he said. “In some garages the managers and their supervisors use the technology and track every transaction. But then. Some of them did 15 years ago. As far as operations go, very little has changed.”

He admitted that the pervasive use of credit cards had lowered the amount of cash in play and that in itself had made a difference, but he also talked about the attention paid to contracts with monthly parkers and if cost of living increases had been made. Were there side deals with the valet companies across the street to park cars in the garage, and then he laughed and asked if there was a health club nearby.

He said that although we have the technology to lock garages down tight, do we really do it.

He reminded me of my drive through bank. I drive up to the window, make my deposit, and then drive through the lot to the exit lane where the cashier uses an access card to open the gate and let me out when I waved my bank receipt at her.

The garage had a very high tech system, but a hole you could drive a ….

In the end, it goes back to management and supervision, technology be damned.




Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. . Years ago after buying a parking company we did a complete audit of a large garage and found that many of the access cards were “on” without a corresponding monthly customer. After repording the findings to the client they advised we owed them several hundred thousand dollars in uncollected revenue by multiplying the “on” access cards times the rate times how many years the system was in place. We had locations with this national client in other locations across the country and were advised we would not be doing business with them if we didn’t pay! After negotiations we settled on a smaller but substantial sum. The moral of the story is that we should have done the audit prior to purchase and that clients will hold you liable for uncollected revenues.

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