The car park industry has been slowly moving towards embracing tech and innovation in recent years, and the pandemic has only served to speed this up. Covid-19 has forced businesses across the country to adapt their processes overnight. Technology and new innovations may have been a ‘nice to have’ at the start of the year, but now they’re necessary to help businesses continue to succeed in these times.

There has never been a more crucial time for car park companies to embrace tech, as they look to cut costs, improve operations now that staff are working more remotely and ensure any new Covid-19 related measures are implemented.

The traditional challenges of the car park industry 

Car park companies have sites all over the UK, and abroad in some cases. This makes it difficult to keep track of everything, taking into account that with each site, there are also a number of assets – CCTV, payment machines and so on. Keeping track of these assets when they are dispersed across the country is no easy task, and can quickly become costly and time consuming. 

Nevertheless, it’s essential that car parks regularly check their sites and assets in order to maintain them and provide a good customer experience. It’s also important for car park companies to collect accurate data on the amount of traffic their sites are getting. Often the only way to do this is by counting the number of occupied bays. Again, this is a time-consuming and manual task but is essential for measuring the profitability of each car park and assessing whether it is being overstretched.

“Shepper has allowed us to get greater visibility on the car parks we operate in across the UK. This has been especially valuable as we’ve continued to grow. Not only has it helped us to maintain our sites more effectively and efficiently but it’s also given our internal support functions a powerful resource to use when supporting clients and customers.”

Nick Donnelly, Project Manager, JustPark

The traditional solution to this problem is to send field executives or other employees to check sites. This is usually effective and for a long time was the only real solution. However this comes with a few downsides, one being that it can be expensive when you take into account fuel, accommodation and travel costs. Sending someone from London to Scotland to check a few sites will cost hundreds of pounds.

Covid-19 has added a few extra things for car park companies to think about. New health and safety regulations, social distancing measures, special parking needed for vulnerable people and free parking to NHS staff, car park companies now have additional things to check. Due to the incredibly sensitive nature of Covid-19 measures, it’s important that businesses make sure they are following the latest guidelines and that their car parks are safe throughout the pandemic.

How tech can help the car park industry

Technology and a fresh approach to car park operations can help effectively solve these common challenges. Shepper’s solution is perfectly designed for businesses to quickly check sites and assets all across the country. 

Using a crowd-sourced network of local people we call Shepherds, Shepper can check car parks faster than other solutions. We find Shepherds near the sites, they pick up the job and complete it using just their smartphone. We’ll then send you the report, giving you access to real-time data, photos and media, fast. 

Our solution can help support the car park industry’s model with our network acting as an extended workforce to assist your field team when needed. You’ll also be able to prioritise your workforce more efficiently, giving the simple but essential checking tasks to us, and leaving the other, skill-focused jobs to your employees. With regular Shepper checks, you’ll also be able to reduce the amount of trips you need your field managers to make and help to avoid wasted trips.

We also work closely with you to determine what needs to be checked and where. Our tailored approach means that you decide what you want a task list to look like, and it can be modified whenever you need it to be. 

Perhaps the biggest benefit of Shepper’s car park checking service is the fact that it generates a huge cost saving. Sourcing local people means that we can keep your costs low. You’ll pay for the service alone and not extra costs for travel, accommodation or insurance.

Our centralised and aggregate data has helped a number of car parks accurately assess whether sites are profitable or not. Our clients are able to quickly see an overview of profitable and non-profitable sites right from their desktop, acting on the data and putting plans in place to keep customers happy and increase revenue.

“Prior to working with Shepper the only way for us to check our sites was by sending one of our team out to visit. This meant lots of travel and expenses and was very inefficient as it took them away from the office. Shepper gives us a custom, flexible solution to this problem, meeting our specific needs and making us an average 85% saving for each site visit.”

Charles Cridland, Chief Information Officer, Your Parking Space

The BPA’s emphasis on embracing innovation 

The British Parking Association encouraged the car park industry to embrace innovation when it comes to operations and problem solving. At the AOS conference earlier this year, the BPA presented a case study from their work with us at Shepper. We worked with the BPA as part of their ‘Mystery Shopper’ programme, checking sites at a reduced price when compared to Area Managers. The BPA stated that while Area Manager day costs are around £333, the cost for us to send a Shepherd would only be around £20 per visit.

Our checks are available whenever you need them. Whether you need a last minute, one-off report from a site in Manchester, or monthly recurring checks on car parks all across the country, we can help.