Over the past few days I have spoken to the heads of a number of the largest parking equipment manufacturers in the US. They have told me that 2005 is ending up being one of the best years for business ever. They are having difficulty meeting their orders. Its a happy problem.
As I predicted in January this year has been a solidifying period after the unsettled times after 911. Confidence is back, stocks are up, and business is ready to do business.
Much of the new activity comes from the public sector, with on street and airport projects leading the way. I think this is due, in large part to increased revenues in the state and local sectors. Low unemployment and healthy wages mean more money in state and local coffers. And if nothing else, politicians love to spend money.
Parking has also become a major revenue generator at the local level. With parking taxes on the increase and revenue generated by the parking sector not only paying for itself but also adding to the general fund "bottom line", parking has become a major discussion factor at city councils and planning commissions nationwide.
We are not talking just about major cities, but in small towns. Suppliers have been focusing on smaller communities where decisions can be made quickly, the need is great, and the numbers impressive.
Consider this: With more than 3500 cities in the US with a population of more than 10,000 people, the market is large. If each one of them were to purchase 100 p and d machines or 2 small revenue control systems, that 350,000 P and d Units and 30,000 gates, 10,000 POFs, 20,000 dispensers…well you get the idea. Most of our suppliers find that market very interesting.
But its not going to stop — 2006 is going to be even bigger. If the "potential order" lists in the suppliers marketing departments are any indicator, they had better be gearing up manufacturing now.