We Find the Money or the Audit is Free
February, 2003Well, we have something a little different this issue.
Over the past few months I have received a number of requests for help in auditing garages. So many that I have had to turn down a number of jobs simply due to time constraints. After discussing the problem with my editor, we have come up with the following idea: Why not turn contacts over to other professionals in the business and let them proceed with the work?
I know that there are many garages out there that need the services of an auditor, and at the risk of starting an argument with an operator, I can say that I have virtually never audited a garage that I have not returned many times my fee in real hard found cash.
It's like this: when I do an audit, I find money. It can be errors in rate structures, problems with contract parkers, contracts with tenants that are being enforced improperly, tickets being misrated, validations improperly applied, charges from an operator that were not agreed in the contract, or dare I say it, from time to time the odd sticky finger or two.
How about a specific? In garage A the deal with one of the tenants says that their parking fees can be increased at the rate of inflation as set by the Labor board. The only problem is that I could find no place where the fee for the 100 parking permits had been raised for the past five years. Figuring an average rate of inflation of 4 percent over the five years and starting with a monthly rate of $50 ($5,000 per month) the money lost by not increasing the rate was just a tad over $10,000. That was money that could be, at the owner's option, back billed to the tenant.
Or how about this one? It is the custom at this garage for a tenant who forgets their card to simply sign the ticket and apply the card number. One particular tenant, a doctor with a large practice, does this every day. Upon audit, I find that all of the good doctor's cards are "in" at the time the ticket is signed. That means someone on the doctor's staff is cheating. Rather than buy a permit, or use a validation, they are stealing parking. The ticket is always maxed out. The daily rate is $10. The discounted validation costs the doctor $8. Permit is $175.
So at best, the doctor owes $2,100 for the permit; at worst $1,920 for validations. (That's over one year.) Stopping this procedure (I found it happening about five times a day with different tenants in this garage) would generate right at $10,000.
By the way, it turned out that the doctor's wife came in everyday to have lunch with him or friends in the neighborhood.
Want a third? In one particular garage, the tenant was allowed and paid for 20 parking spaces, however they were to be invoiced at the normal rate for any vehicle in the garage over 20. Now this is not easy for the operator. There is software that can track this, but to do it by hand is difficult and time consuming. I took a few days' worth of tickets (yes, you do have to look at the tickets) and put them on a spreadsheet. It turns out that this tenant was averaging 45 vehicles in the garage. At an average of $10 per vehicle. that was $450 a day, or $9,000 a month or $108,000 a year that wasn't being collected. It goes on and on.
So I have asked PT to make this offer to you -- If you contract with any of the auditors recommended and the net result of the audit doesn't find at least twice the cost of the audit, you will only pay the auditors out of pocket expenses (travel, hotel, meals, etc).
My colleagues that we will recommend to you have agreed to these terms.
Now you may elect not to collect the money for business reasons and start making the changes from this point forward, that's your decision. But it will be there, or no fee.
Such a deal -- a guaranteed audit.
Just contact PT editor John Van Horn at
email@example.com. He will provide a couple of referrals and you can discuss the details with them. Who knows, work may lighten up and one of the auditors could be this old dog. You'll never know.