Denision Parking’s CEO Mark Pratt has never been one to pull a punch. I asked him to give me a quote to be used in an article I’m writing for the October PT. He provided the following:
What is the number one thing a person should consider when hiring an operator?
The reputation and references pertaining to the character and integrity of the operator. The client needs to ask the operator to illustrate how many times in, say, the last 24 months, that a theft has occurred in the facilities or the administrative offices of the parking operator and listen carefully to the answers. First, if the operator tells them “none”, shoo them away, because they’re not telling the truth. One of the most critical parts of operator responsibility is theft detection. Unfortunately, the people in the booths, the managers and administrative staff continue to dream up new ways to steal. It’s a fact of life. We have had several thefts in the last eight years, all of which were detected. At Denison, we discover the theft, gather the facts, call the police and report the theft, then visit the client to clearly describe what transpired. We discuss the amount of the theft and clearly illustrate how it was perpetrated. We then discuss the damages to the clients bottom line, which will not exceed $2,500, the amount of the deductible for our theft policy. We keep this deductible low given the risk of theft in our industry.
If I were a client choosing a parking operator, I’d ask a very simple question, then listen to the answer very carefully. The question: “what is your policy on missing parking tickets from your parking facilities, what are your allowable tolerances and what was the ticket loss in your largest location last month?” Even with all of the automation introduced into our industry, the fact remains: if a ticket is dispensed, it must be returned and accounted for. If a parking company allows for ticket loss in excess of 1 or 2%, something is amiss. At Denison, our tolerance for ticket loss is 1% on any location that closes for the evening and raises the gates and .5% (one half of one percent) for any 24/7 location. This simple question will help ferret out those companies that are true parking operators and those that are superior salesmen. There’s a huge difference between the two. If the potential operator looks at you with a “deer in the headlights” expression…run the other way.
Here’s an operator with the courage of his convictions. There is a lot more good stuff in the October issue, going to the printer in a couple of weeks.