If you drive even semi-regularly, it’s safe to say that you’ve probably parked in a parking facility at some point or another. And much the same as way we become used to things we do often, the experience probably doesn’t stand out as anything exciting or extraordinary.
But the experience of using a parking facility only seems uninteresting at a glance because it’s designed to be easy, efficient and effective. But if you look a little closer, you’ll see an intricately crafted and thoroughly planned system in place.
The parking industry is worth billions of dollars annually which means that your parking experience is also a carefully calculated business transaction. And for this reason, it’s important for parking facility owners to closely regulate, secure and control their revenue, making parking revenue control much more complex of a system than you might give notice to.
Here are 5 interesting aspects about parking revenue control systems you may have never realized.
The Design of a Parking Facility is Part of Its Revenue Control System
Next time you’re in a parking garage, check out your surroundings. If you look closely and with a business-minded approach, you may notice how calculated every aspect of it is.
Take, for example, the perimeter. Parking facilities are designed to prevent entries and exits other than through a controlled point. There are only a select few exits, and no alternative options. There are no gaps or breaks where cars can enter or exit undetected. The curbs are built high enough to ensure customers are discouraged from skipping them to exit without paying.
And even at designated entries and exits, there are barricades, traffic spikes and barrier gates as well as complex pay stations which calculate parking fees, accept and process credit cards, print and issue receipts and issue a paid exit ticket.
The entire facility is designed to ensure revenue is collected without exception.
Security Doesn’t Stop with Currency
Cash and coins aren’t the only thing that need to be protected. Even extra tickets and permits are valuable. It’s also imperative for parking facility owners to protect parking payment computers and software to ensure credit card numbers and payment information are safe from risk.
Even License Plate Recognition (LPR) and License Plate Inventory (LPI) technologies, which use cameras and technology to convert imagery into numeric text that can be inputted into a database, must be protected to ensure the privacy of parking facility users.
There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Choosing Parking Revenue Control Equipment
When it comes to picking the right parking revenue control equipment, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s a very specific process, tailored to each unique parking facility.
Parking revenue control systems are available in varying levels of functionality and complexity. From simple ticket validators which connect to encoding stations and utilize Magnetic Strip Readers to encode validations onto a parking ticket, to Car Park Management Systems (CPMS) which encompass things like parking guidance systems, occupancy tracking systems and meter revenue systems, there are a wide array of options available.
Picking the right option for your facility comes down to a combination of its layout, its location, space capacity, targeted customers and your enforcement methods.
Parking Revenue Control Systems Often Aren’t Used to Their Full Potential
A facility’s parking revenue control systems are only as good as the technology that controls them. Think of it this way. What good is a central cashier station or exit verifier if it doesn’t properly calculate and charge fees?
Believe it or not, parking venue control systems are often being underutilized and not maximized to their full potential. A major manufacturer of parking systems recently released the results of a study which indicated that only about 7% of the features in their systems are used regularly, which oftentimes leads to missing revenue.
For parking facility owners, it’s important to understand that purchasing the most recent technology is only effective if you’re utilizing it properly. If not, it could be costing you money.
Human Error is a Massive Threat to Parking Revenue Control
The unfortunate truth is that human error can often be a cause of lost revenue in parking facilities. While this can of course encompass theft, it’s not always an intentional act that causes problems. For parking facility owners, it’s important to ensure staff are trained on proper procedures and policies as well as on the functionality of the equipment at their disposal. Even things like the proper way to deal with a customer who claims to have no money need to be trained to avoid lost revenue.
In order to safeguard parking revenue control, facility owners should also focus on eliminating access to payment loopholes, such as the ability to put through transactions as zero rings, voided tickets or unreadable tickets. It’s also important to ensure revenue processing and handling are regulated by strict procedures and protocols.
A well-functioning parking facility will minimize the risk of human error by securing cash and valuables and ensuring staff are adequately trained.
Next time you pull into a parking lot and go to pay for your parking ticket, take a look around and see if you can spot these systems at work. It might just make your parking experience a little bit more interesting.
At Northern Specialty Supplies, we offer a wide array of high-quality products and solutions for all types of parking revenue control systems to help parking facility owners ensure their operations run smoothly.