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not at corporate as it had been done in the last century.There is no additional expense since the garage staff is there anyway, and doing the maintenance a little at a time is not time-consuming or difficult. Garage managers are expected to keep the data up to date and correct. The computers at the location send out e-mails and often mailings from the local garage; we even now have e-postage available at the garage-level PC. Senior supervi- sors don’t have a clue whether or not the data are correct. Some ask what recourse you have

if you find a bit of a disaster when a new company takes over. The old one is gone – change like this causes prob- lems. When you send them a list of missing items or other issues, how do you collect? Often the answer is “so sueme.” I recommend that two things hap-

pen. First, that you have an agreed inventory audit and ensure it happens annually. Be certain that everything is there, and if not, settle up while you are in a positive relationship. Second, have the operator place somemoney in escrow to cover inventory losses. This can be done as a minimal “hold back” monthly up to an agreed amount. That way, if it all falls apart, you have recourse. It’s just like a security deposit on an apartment. If you leave it as you found it, you get it back. Oh yes, and just because you have

a new operator, don’t assume that any problems

discovered in the

changeover are going away instantly. Give them a few months to bring things up to snuff and then do a “day one” audit to ensure that they are start- ing froman agreed clean sheet. Clean- ing up data files and “adjusting” spe- cial deals that were done off the books can take amonth or two. In one garage, the new operator

found a number ofmonthly cards “on” that had no name or account attached to them; they turned them “off.” The next day, a group of irate parkers was in the manager’s office. That took a while to sort out. Are all changeovers like this? Of

course not. Operators change for a lot of reasons, and often leave pristine locations. But it does happen, and you should be ready for it. On another matter: What is the

acceptable number of uncollected tickets – you know, the ticket was issued but never collected (or was, and the ticket and money were on


vacation)? At garages that I have snooped around in, a 0.4% (0.004) is written into the agreement. That’s four tickets in 1,000 issued. These are garages that are open 24 hours. There frankly should be no lost tickets. OK, a client may lose a ticket, but then a lost ticket formwith all the trimmings needs to be in its place (that’s not counted as “lost”).A lost ticket is one that is unac- counted for. Don’t think it’s possible to run a garage with fewer than four lost tickets

in every 1,000 issued?You are wrong. It is possible. I see it every month, and the bigger and busier the garage is often run below 0.2%(0.002) on uncollected tick- ets; now that’s a good count on the dol- lar!Andmy operators knowthey have to meet that standard or pay full daily rate on every ticket over that number that goesAWOL.

Woof!! PT

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