Industry insights and news
The 3 ways to making money from parking systems that Owners Corporations are oblivious to
By now you know that all parking systems require maintenance after installation - depending on the product, some more than others. The maintenance of your product, be it car stackers, semi or automatic parking systems should upkeep and preserve your systems to ensure they work like intended. It makes sense right? You hire people to ensure your system works and users can utilise it continuously. So why is it that everyday Aussies are forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars to upkeep parking systems, when they’ve hired people to do it in the first place? If you are an Owners Corporation (OC), chances are you might be someone else’s cash cow.
1. Contract vs Report vs Checklist?
Depending on the level of care that you have chosen for the parking system, you will have certain maintenance procedures performed on the system during the year. But, does the report you receive actually reflect the level of care that the system receives?
By definition to maintain means “to keep in an appropriate condition, operation, or force;” (Dictionary.com, 2021).
We would then assume that the maintenance you receive on the system would render the system in an appropriate condition, right? Then why is it that after OCs pay for maintenance for the year, they still endure constant call-outs, requiring additional money? What goes wrong between maintenance and continuous call-outs?
What our consultant has seen from a forensics analyst perspective is that OCs are mostly provided checklists rather than reports. A checklist is simply that - a list of items checked off. A report on the other hand is a detailed document highlighting any items that need to be repaired or replaced, items that have been completed as per contract and any other items that are important to be considered. If you take your glitchy, broken-down computer, for example, to a technician you would assume they tell you what is the actual problem. They run diagnostics and do what most of us aren’t capable of doing. You would be given some sort of documentation outlining the problems and the cost to fix. The example is similar to a parking system.
Dear OCs, assess the level of care that your system should be receiving based on your contract and reflect that to your report. If you are simply getting a checklist of items and a system reset, then you should consider you may be paying for services that you are not receiving.
This brings us to point no.2...
2. Know exactly what you are paying for
Did you know that there are OC’s that have to budget additional funds - thousands of dollars as such - on top of yearly maintenance fees to secure the car stacker in functioning properly?
It looks something like this:
Maintenance fee for the year = $x,xxx.xx
Additional call-outs during the year = $x,xxx.xx
Actually, call-outs during the year can look more like this: $xxxxx.xx (yes, more like 5 figures)
So the question here is, what does maintenance pay for, when call-outs are continuous and charges still required throughout the year?
It is a sad reality to think that OC’s need to budget additional funds on top of their maintenance.
Not to say that call-outs aren’t necessary or do not occur. It is normal to assume that people make mistakes. But for an OC managing a site, there has to be a time that the question is asked “what is the maintenance provider actually maintaining if all they do is charge (OC’s & users) but still leave them with a faulty car stacker after each call-out?”
It could be time to re-evaluate your maintenance contract and look into a provider that is not only knowledgeable and holds a good record in the maintenance of all parking systems, but in one that prioritises their users’ needs above profits.
3. The knowledge of the maintenance provider
What OCs really need to know is that not many maintenance providers in Australia have the experience in designing, installing and maintaining parking systems. Why is this important? Because to maintain a car stacker, to actually maintain, you need a combination of mechanical, electrical and automation experience. If a maintenance provider has never installed or has the knowledge of what makes a system function properly, how then, can they be expected to maintain it to function properly? This is the reason why so much money is invested from OC’s and users to maintenance companies - because the maintenance company has no real expertise in the field.
It is not enough to choose a ‘cheap’ maintenance company, thinking you will save money. It is even not enough to choose the more expensive option hoping they can do more. The only option not be taken advantage of is to choose a company with the experience in repair and maintenance.
If not, the scenario is the same. Users are charged whether it be user error or system error, every call-out is invoiced and most of the time what is being done is turning the car stacker on and off. This is not maintenance, this is simply a delay of more serious problems appearing down the track to the system - and users are paying the price, dearly.
What is at stake?
- Users are not given a clear understanding of problems with their parking system.
- OCs and users are greatly inconvenienced by their parking systems constantly breaking down and needing to spend time and money on call-outs.
- OCs experience problems which maintenance providers promised would not happen.
- OCs and users charged for what is a system fault and not a user fault.
- Maintenance providers may not have access to parts if needed.
Getting a Defective Parking System Report (DPSR) will sometimes reveal problematic and specific areas where OCs and users are taken advantage of. The report will present OCs with the real problems with their parking system (and not a watered down checklist) it will determine whether the problems are a user or system fault and outline specific steps moving forward to modernise the parking system. This will provide the OC with pathways that others have used to terminate their maintenance contract and change their maintenance provider.
The DPSR is black and white and is a real maintenance report broken down into the following categories:
- Mechanical system
- Electrical system
- Programming system
- Prior reports from maintenance provider
- Maintenance provider’s prior processes. i.e. user inductions
Aussies deserve to know where their money is going to and whether it is for services that actually matter. It’s time to put an end to hidden costs associated with parking systems and maintenance contracts that OCs should not have to deal with.