10 Steps to Strong Revenue Control
An NPA Certified Parking Professional (CPP) Core CompetencyThe National Parking Association (NPA) is providing this page of information for Parking Today readers. Editor
Practicing solid revenue control procedures is crucial to the success of parking professionals, which is why a significant portion of the NPA’s Certified Parking Professional examination is dedicated to this topic.
Parking facility owners and professionals with the CPP designation are recognized as having gained the education and skills required to effectively manage the parking facilities entrusted to their care.
Says Chuck Cullen, Senior Associate for Integrity Parking and Chairman of the NPA’s Parking Consultants Council: “When it comes to revenue control, the facility manager must realize that it’s not the revenue that needs to controlled – it’s the people around the revenue who must be controlled!”
Industry experts such as Cullen and Bob Baer, Director of Parking & Transportation at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and the CPP Study Guide recommend the following operational tools to ensure tighter controls:
1. Develop a Revenue Control Plan: Detail in writing how revenue will be collected, deposited and documented. Keep it current and train employees accordingly.
2. Separate Collection and Access Control: Separate revenue collection from access control for monthly sales. For example, the office employee who signs up a new monthly parker must not also have the ability to program permits. Likewise, the permit programmer must not be involved in selling monthly permits.
3. Reconcile and Verify: Regularly compare number of permits billed to the number of active permits in the system. Or compare the number of tickets issued with the number of transactions completed.
4. Document All Transactions: This seems obvious, but it’s especially necessary for those unusual circumstances such as a customer claiming to have no money and being allowed to exit at no charge.
5. Minimize and Manage Exceptions: Minimize loopholes, especially when exceptions occur. Focus on transactions that have been put through by the cashier as zero rings, voided tickets, unreadable tickets and any validated tickets.
6. Secure Your Perimeter and Your Cash: Look for gaps and breaks where cars can enter and exit undetected. Are your curbs high enough to discourage customers from driving over them? Lock your gate boxes and make sure your bollards are installed effectively. In addition to securing your cash, secure valuable extra tickets and permits. Also, restrict access to gates, fee computers and ticket devices.
7. Select Your Equipment Carefully: Purchase equipment that fits the needs of your facility and your target customers. And remember, the effectiveness of your equipment is only as good as the quality of the systems it supports.
8. Maintain Your Parking Equipment: Revenue control equipment and software are worthless if they are not properly deployed, maintained and monitored.
9. Train Your Employees: Train your employees repeatedly about the procedures you have developed to control revenue. Eliminate opportunities for theft, and apply policies and disciplinary action consistently for all employees.
10. Conduct Audits: Perform audits often or at least annually. Audits should be unannounced and conducted by someone who does not have a working relationship with the manager.
All 10 of these approaches are covered in depth in the NPA’s CPP Study Guide.
The NPA’s Certified Parking Professional program is a practical, comprehensive curriculum designed to assist managers in performing their duties in an effective and professional manner. This program sets performance and service standards at the point where the parking industry and the customer meet. The CPP credential is the standard against which excellence and professionalism are judged.
For those of you who have your CPP but could use a refresher, the NPA is offering a webinar in April 2012 to learn more about these control techniques. In “Revenue Control and Auditing: What Every Manager Should Know,” industry experts will demonstrate ways that parking professionals can decrease churn, create an integrated billing system, minimize service cost, and align organizational design with business processes.
Looking forward to a new year filled with opportunities to advance your career, consider earning your Certified Parking Professional credential or encourage your team members to do so. NPA members and non-members are welcome to apply. For more information, go to Career Center at NPApark.org.