Last Updated: October 2023
Managing parking lot properties can be an exciting and lucrative endeavor. Whether you’re looking to directly own a parking lot or passively invest in one through a third party, understanding some of the key fundamentals behind parking lot property management is key to a positive return on investment and smooth operation of the rental property. Below we take a deep dive into everything you need to know about managing parking lot properties.
Parking Property Management Definition
Parking property management is a specialized type of real estate management that deals with the comprehensive oversight of parking-related properties such as surface lots and parking garages.
Parking Properties Explained
As a unique type of rental real estate, parking properties offer investors the potential for steady income streams and capital appreciation. Successful management of these properties involves optimizing operations, maintaining safety, and ensuring customer satisfaction, all crucial elements in driving revenue and enhancing investment value.
Types of Parking Properties to Manage
The complexity of property management and daily oversight will depend on the type of parking property it is. Parking properties can generally be divided into 2 different categories.
4 Important Parking Property Management Topics
Successfully managing a parking lot requires a comprehensive understanding of several key topics, each of which plays a crucial role in optimizing operations, revenue, and customer satisfaction. Below are the 4 main areas to focus on for successful parking lot management:
Facility Operations and Maintenance
The efficient operation and maintenance of a parking facility are key. This involves everyday tasks such as cleaning, repairs, snow removal, lighting, and signage, as well as more extensive tasks like structural inspections and resurfacing. The goal is to ensure the facility is safe, functional, and well-maintained, which not only prolongs the life of the facility but also improves user experience and satisfaction.
Security and Safety
Ensuring the safety and security of both vehicles and people using the facility is paramount. This involves measures like installing CCTV cameras throughout the property, providing adequate lighting, implementing access control systems, and hiring security personnel. It can also include measures like clear signage, well-marked pedestrian walkways, and well-maintained surfaces to prevent accidents.
Customer Service and User Experience
Providing a positive user experience can differentiate a parking facility in a competitive market. This involves clear signage, easy payment methods, good lighting, cleanliness, and the availability of assistance when needed. In a more advanced setting, this could involve offering value-added services like electric vehicle charging stations, car wash services, or shuttle services. Good customer service can increase user satisfaction and loyalty, enhancing the facility’s reputation and revenue in the long run.
This topic involves setting and managing rates, collecting payments, and optimizing revenue. The property manager must balance the goal of maximizing revenue with maintaining competitive rates and ensuring high occupancy. This also includes managing different pricing strategies for peak and off-peak times, monthly passes, special event pricing, and more. The implementation of technology like automated payment systems, mobile payments, and reservation platforms can also fall under this category.
20 Common Parking Property Management Services
While each parking facility is different, you’ll need a management team that can handle the unique circumstances of your lot. For instance, a gated facility near a local sports arena will have radically different needs than a beachside parking lot with self payment digital parking meters. Below we take a look at some of the most common services provided by property management companies who specialize in parking lots:
- Layout and Design Consulting: Optimizing the layout and design of the parking facility to maximize capacity and ease of use.
- Operational Oversight: Managing day-to-day operations to ensure smooth functioning of the parking facility.
- Maintenance and Repairs: Overseeing regular cleaning, painting, and repairing damages.
- Security Management: Ensuring safety with adequate lighting, surveillance cameras, and possibly security personnel.
- Payment Systems Management: Implementing and managing payment systems, from traditional pay stations to automated and mobile payment options.
- Customer Service: Providing excellent customer service, resolving customer complaints, and ensuring clear communication of parking rules and prices.
- Technology Integration: Incorporating technology like real-time parking space availability updates, automated entry/exit systems, etc.
- Financial Management: Ensuring profitable operations through cost control and competitive pricing.
- Legal Compliance: Ensuring the property is in compliance with local laws and regulations, including those related to accessibility.
- Marketing and Promotion: Advertising the property to attract customers, which can include online marketing, local signage, or partnerships with local businesses.
- Emergency Response: Managing emergency situations such as accidents, vehicle breakdowns, or security incidents.
- Safety and Risk Management: Identifying potential risks and implementing strategies to mitigate them, including insurance coverage.
- Sustainability Initiatives: Implementing eco-friendly practices like electric vehicle charging stations or stormwater management.
- Valet Services: In some upscale facilities or events, providing valet services might be a part of the offering.
- Capacity Management: Managing peak times and ensuring effective use of available spaces.
- Contract Negotiation: If the facility is used by businesses or institutions, negotiating and managing contracts for reserved spaces.
- Staff Training and Management: Training staff to provide excellent service and managing staffing levels to meet demand.
- Reporting and Analysis: Providing regular operational and financial reports on usage, revenues, costs, and other key performance indicators.
- Signage Management: Ensuring clear, visible, and accurate signage throughout the facility.
- Parking Rule Enforcement & Towing: Arranging for towing services when needed, such as for illegally parked vehicles.
Parking Property Management Fees
The average fee to manage a parking lot typically ranges between 5% and 15% of the gross revenue, depending on the complexity of the lot (i.e. unattended surface lot vs automated parking garage). Additionally, there could be other fees such as setup fees, marketing/advertising fees, or maintenance fees. Contracts to manage parking properties can be a variation of fixed fee, or a percentage of rent where the property management company is paid a percentage of revenues collected.
Parking Property Management Software
Parking property management software helps owners, managers, and customers handle various aspects of administration such as payment collection, customer management, and maintenance. The recent push for parking facilities to integrate more technology into their operations has led to substantial gains in both profitability and efficiency.
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Parking Property Management FAQ
What are Good Security Measures for Parking Facilities?
Good security measures for parking facilities help to ensure the safety of both vehicles and individuals using the space. These measures can deter crime, reduce liability, and enhance user confidence and satisfaction.
- Surveillance cameras
- Security lighting
- Fencing or barriers
- Security personnel or patrols
- Access control systems (gate, card, or ticket-based)
- Alarm systems
- Emergency call boxes or intercoms
- Clear and visible signage
- Regular patrols
- Well-maintained landscaping to eliminate hiding places
- Mirrors at blind spots
- Security escort services
What Maintenance is Typically Required for Parking Lots?
Property maintenance for managing parking lots typically involves regular cleaning to remove debris and trash, which can improve safety and aesthetics. Resurfacing or resealing may also be required periodically to address wear and tear, prevent damage from elements, and ensure clear visibility of parking lines and signage. Additionally, lighting systems need to be checked frequently to provide secure and safe parking environments, and in colder climates, snow and ice removal is an essential maintenance task during winter seasons.
How Does Parking Garage Maintenance Differ from Surface Lot Maintenance?
While both parking garages and surface lots require regular cleaning and upkeep, parking garages often have additional maintenance considerations due to their enclosed, multi-level structure. These can include the need for more intensive structural inspections to assess and maintain the integrity of columns, decks, and ramps, as well as ensuring proper ventilation to disperse vehicle emissions. Furthermore, lighting systems in garages are typically more complex and require more frequent checks and updates to ensure safety and visibility throughout the structure.