By Erik Eloe
Jeff manages the parking facilities for a large corporate campus in a downtown area. He oversees four garages and a shuttle that transports employees and visitors around the campus and to a nearby train station. Because he works for a major corporation, the standards for all the facilities are high. Jeff has to ensure that the garages and shuttle operate properly and represent his company well.
The first thing he looks for when he pulls into the parking garage is that the gate kiosks are clean and working properly. He knows the chaos that a ticket spitter or gate arm malfunction can cause, so he’s pleased to see that preventive maintenance is keeping them working effectively. His company outsources parking and other services to a facility services provider, and it’s good to see that their attention to detail is as high as promised.
Before he enters the building, he does a quick walkthrough of the garage. There is no litter on the ground and all trash cans are empty. He sees that all signage is clean and easily visible, which will help visitors navigate easily through the garage. In a high-traffic garage like this, it doesn’t take long for exhaust fumes, de-icing salt, and dust to build up. His facility services vendor provides janitorial services in addition to parking, so the cleaning and parking staff work together to keep the garage clean of debris, grime, and anything that could obstruct the view of signage.
At the building entrance, he sees the shuttle dropping off passengers who have come from other buildings on the campus or the nearby train station. He notices that the shuttle driver smiles and tells each passenger to have a good day. Some ask the shuttle driver questions, and she provides them with directions and information on the shuttle schedule. Even though she works for the facility services provider, she represents Jeff’s company, and she’s the first person that passengers interact with. Jeff is glad to know that passengers are getting a positive first impression of the business.
Throughout the day, he visits the other garages he oversees, and those are being maintained at the same quality as the one he parks in. It’s one of the benefits of having parking management outsourced — the on-site parking supervisor ensures service consistency at every location. And with the janitorial, parking, and other facility services staff working together, the garages don’t just look good — they’re less likely to need major repairs in the long run.
At the end of the day, Jeff rests easily, knowing his facility services provider understands the challenges of managing numerous garages and a shuttle. And employees and visitors appreciate having a smooth experience every time they use his company’s parking facilities or shuttle service.
The key is having a facility services provider that understands what it takes to keep parking facilities in their best shape. With their expertise, facility executives can be confident of safe, clean, and welcoming facilities that present the desired image to employees and visitors.
Six Ways To Improve Your Parking Program
Well-maintained revenue control equipment: Ticket spitters and any machinery components that collect money get dirty easily. Regular cleaning — daily or weekly, depending on volume — keeps them operating smoothly. To maintain compliance for credit card transactions, the software must be kept up to date. These simple steps keep gate kiosks functioning properly, which improves both cash management and the customer experience.
Preventive maintenance: Potholes and built-up grime don’t just make your parking facility look bad; they can quickly become the cause of costly repairs. For asphalt surfaces, yearly sealcoating prevents potholes and extends the lifespan of the surface. At the end of winter, salt should be cleaned from all surfaces, preserving concrete, asphalt, and tension wires. Drains need to be flushed with water to prevent leaks and maintain the black pipe. These flushes also allow you to check for debris and clogs before they become major issues.
Qualified, customer-oriented employees: Whether they’re shuttle drivers or working the parking booth, the staff in your parking facility are often the first or last impression people get of your business. These employees need to be prepared to provide directions, assist with ticket spitters, and help with dead batteries and flat tires. It starts with the hiring process; finding friendly staff that can meet the challenges that come with the job is the first step to ensuring customers receive high quality service. Initial and ongoing training are also crucial to ensuring that parking staff are up to date on the technologies and protocols used in your facility.
Integrate parking with other services: One of the benefits of outsourcing is that it offers an opportunity to integrate multiple services with one vendor. When parking management is bundled with other facility services, it’s easier to take a holistic approach to maintenance. Janitorial staff help with keeping garages clean. Engineering services support long-term maintenance of the structure. Electricians keep lighting well maintained.
Safe, energy efficient lighting: Poor lighting can be costly for you and unsafe for your customers. Innovations in lighting allow you to solve two problems with one solution. LED lighting and automation technology (such as motion-activated sensors) brighten a facility and can reduce energy costs. Upfront costs may be a challenge, but there are financing options available. A good electrical and lighting provider will have the expertise to install the new lighting and help navigate financing options.
Electric vehicle charging stations: As more drivers turn to hybrids and electric vehicles, they’re looking for parking facilities that meet their needs. Partnering with a parking provider with expertise installing EV charging stations is more likely to make your facility stand out. Plus, they help support sustainability goals.
Whether you operate multiple parking facilities like Jeff, or just have one, it’s important that it’s maintained well. By taking a holistic approach to maintenance, you can improve cash management and preserve the long-term health of your lot or garage. A facility services provider with knowledge of revenue control equipment, surface maintenance, customer service, and sustainability can help to reach your goals and ease the burden of managing your facility.
Eloe is a business development manager at ABM. Through its Parking & Transportation Services, ABM provides parking facility management, shuttle services, and valet parking.