A developer here in LA asked me to come and look at a garage he had purchased. He is going to fix it up, add some offices, and wants to be certain he is running it properly.
I arrived a bit early, parked on the roof, and decided to walk down the ramps to the first level. The garage is probably 75 years old and needs considerable work.
When the owner arrived I asked him how many spaces were there. He told me that the plans showed 600. My count was 380. He immediately told me he wanted to add equipment. The current cash control was the fist of a young woman that held a wad of $5 bills. No gates, no spitters, no counters, nothing.
However I detected a larger problem. about half or more of the florescent tubes in the place were out. It was very dark. He was a lawsuit waiting to happen. I suggested he get someone in there asap and get all the lights working. The garage was also painted white but hadn’t been pressure washed in decades. A quick washing would greatly increase the light level.
I also recommended that he hire an operations consultant to come in and look the place over before he started putting in equipment. He was charging a flat rate per day. The lot on one side charges a flat rate, on the other its hourly. He needs a rate survey and a recommendation on the "way" the garage should operate. I also recommended that he might look into a legitimate operator to run the place — the operator in there now is under indictment by the City of Los Angeles for tax evasion.
Remember, this fellow’s total exposure to the parking industry before buying this garage was parking in one.
Oh yes, as I walked across the floor I thought I detected different sounding footsteps. The floor seemed hollow in some places. Could have a spalling problem.
There are a lot of new folks like this one coming in to our business. They have great ideas, but need help with the basics. New blood is always welcome, but too often their philosophy is "Parking, how hard can it be." Often its very expensive to find out.