It is a truth universally (un)acknowledged that successful businesses often have terrible parking. Great businesses have lots of employees, attract plenty of customers and clients, and unfortunately, most of those people need car parking. Often, parking scarcity is a daily hassle for these businesses and their customers and employees.
But it does not have to be this way, and the solution doesn't have to be constructing a new parking building or forcing nocturnal ‘flexible’ working policies on your staff. Instead, you can try a smart parking management system.
Parkable has been solving these problems for businesses in Auckland for two years. Parkable is an app that dynamically matches your parking real estate and public parking near you with the real-time needs of your employees and customers. Parks that are assigned to senior staff can be made available to others when they're away from the office; staff know in advance whether there is an office park available for them, making it easy to organise alternative transport if need be; and soon, car pooling between staff will be facilitated as well.
Parkable client companies very quickly see significant increases in the ‘optimisation’ of their car parking, but more importantly, they are reporting that what was once a source of employee irritation becomes easy and stress-free. Being able to book a space a few days in advance, allows employees with, for example, family school run commitments to be sure that they can balance home and work.
Parkable also facilitates ride share which is an often-cited but rarely achieved ambition of companies. Parkable’s ride share feature works a bit like Uber, with employees who have been assigned a space made visible to those who have not, who can then request a lift. Ride-sharing is much more likely to occur between employees of the same firm than amongst strangers, and clients are already reporting increased morale from these ‘random’ commuting interactions. Ride sharing can also be incentivised by businesses, for those who want to take a lead on reducing car use in the corporate world.
Often it is the removal of some of the resentments around ‘fairness’ that clients are citing as the most immediate benefit. “It was quite hard to try and drive a ‘One Company’ philosophy in a business where people were often forced to park streets away and then walked into our building past empty assigned parking bays.”
“To be fair, it was our CEO who was most uncomfortable with this as her name used to be on the space and when that space was empty, it was like a form of personal branding on the unfairness of the system. At the very least it seemed dated.”
“She has become the biggest and most vocal advocate of the Parkable solution and whilst she still gets a spot when she needs one, she can also now much more convincingly stand in front of staff and talk about our fairness and flexible working policies.”
“A lot of those flexible working policies have been made feasible by Parkable. For example, giving female staff the opportunity of working out-of-hours, but in the office is one thing, but then making them park off-site and walk dark streets completely negates that. Through the Parkable app we can prioritise for parking spaces certain types of worker at certain times.”
“Even when people now don’t get the spot they want at the time they want, they understand that there is a fairness and a system behind that and they are much more likely to manage their disappointment and find ‘work-arounds’ themselves.”
Parkable also helps client companies to manage and encourage use of scooters, bikes, and e-bikes by incentivising people to use these alternative methods and free up their parking space.
“These sorts of features make a big impression with staff that we are trying to be smart for them, their families and our communities and they really appreciate the efforts we have made.”
Some Parkable clients with facilities in suburban areas have also appreciated that the app can accommodate public parking spaces in the adjoining streets. Many of a business' residential neighbours will have parking spaces they may want to rent to client employees, and this realestate can be quickly brought onto the system so that more employees can be parked close to work.
Similarly some Parkable for Business clients, especially those in busy cities, make considerable sums renting out their own parking spaces to the public during evenings and weekends. This ‘sweating’ of a realestate asset can currently be shown on the P&L, but accounting practice changes will soon allow it to be shown on the balance sheet, which could be very attractive for some CFOs.
Some businesses run ‘valet’ style parking operations in their businesses for staff and clients and sometimes this personal service is part of the company brand or customer offer. Parkable’s system optimizes this manual approach and makes it much more efficient which means you can retrieve your car at the push of button and the valet can find it quickly via an interface that tends to be more reliable than a whiteboard and marker pen.
And finally, your front office staff that often take the brunt of parking frustration can be freed up to do what you really pay them to do, which is look after customers and clients rather than act as in-house traffic wardens.