Blog  02/14/2018

These Business Models, They Are A-Changin’

I was listening to Internet Radio the other night while making dinner. Much to my kids’ dismay, I tuned into a classic station. Bob Dylan’s “These Times, They Are a-Changin” came on. As I was listening to it, it got me thinking. I started to draw comparisons to the parking industry. Now, you’re probably wondering what in the world does Bob Dylan’s classic song have in common with the parking industry? Well, a couple things really. First, like the title suggests, the parking industry is going through massive changes. The entire foundation of the industry is shifting to keep up with ever-changing customer demands. The industry of today looks barely recognizable to what it did just 5 years ago. And second, much of the business models, equipment, and processes in the industry are still hold-overs from not much more recent times than when Bob Dylan recorded his song in 1964.

One of the key ways a company or even an entire industry not only survives, but thrives, in a time of transformation is by constantly adapting to new business and technological environments. The adage, “adapt or die” has never been truer than in today’s business landscape. Companies that anticipate the changing climate and have the business and technical flexibility to adapt are much more apt to find continued success.

Many parking industry professionals choose to partner with FlashParking because we enable for clients a future-ready approach to parking that dramatically differs from the traditional model that operators have been stuck with for so long. FlashParking is challenging the long-held notion that inefficient, outdated, and sub-optimal processes and technology is the way it must be. We’re just not satisfied with that, and you shouldn’t be either. There is a better way.

An interesting occurrence happens quite regularly in our sales engagements that really hammers home this “old way vs. new way” transformational struggle in the industry. Very often, industry professionals challenge us to offer up a “local guy” to have on speed dial, after installation, for when things break down on site. Because after all, that is what has always been the case. There has always been the need to have a “local guy” on speed dial because traditional solutions have always required one. This is for two reasons:

1. System complexity – Looking inside the equipment of one of our competitors, the systems are extremely complex, with dozens of components and moving parts that can break down. It’s a simple concept. The more parts there are, especially moving parts, the greater the opportunity for something to break. And when one or more of those parts fail, or an onsite server goes down, your local guy must come out and fix it. Sometimes the same day, sometimes it may take multiple days to resolve the issue. You know very well how every minute down results in lost revenue.

FlashParking takes a different approach. We believe less is more in terms of equipment. Essentially, we have designed our solutions with simplicity and efficiency as the driving tenets. Our equipment houses only 12 components, all low voltage and connected by a simple USB port and a few screws. This may sound silly, but again, the “norm” of dozens of parts, doesn’t need to be the case. We supply every customer with a FlashCare maintenance kit containing replacements of those 12 components. Should any of them fail, you can easily open the kiosk, remove the failed part and insert the replacement part in literally a couple minutes, as easily as connecting a mouse to a computer. Just like Apple’s plug-and-play technology, we follow the same philosophy. Why would you need a local guy to come out when you can save time and money by handling these easy maintenance issues yourself? We are happy to provide numerous reference customers that were as skeptical as you until proven our way is better.

2. Revenue model based on replacement equipment and on-going service/support billing – Service and support billing can be an extremely profitable revenue stream for businesses, and often makes up a high percentage of vendors’ revenue. But, the way to maintain high gross margins from professional services is through volume. So, vendors must drive as much ongoing revenue as possible post-sale, through service and support. Exploiting this through the complex system design, and the consistent re-enforcement that a self-service model is just not feasible has become the “norm.” We have neither the business model nor the desire to continue to derive revenue from you on replacement equipment and support. That model that has driven the industry for so long is quickly becoming obsolete. Fortunately, customers are now seeing with the right solution, frequent support and service call fees are not necessary.

Our goal is to do away with the ongoing service and maintenance costs. Our simplified and proven architecture means you don’t need the local guy anymore. You save money by embracing a self-service model, replacing parts yourself, and contacting our support line to troubleshoot remotely.
Still Not Convinced?

We designed our system to be simple, efficient, and reliable enough that your own team can now become the “local guy.” However, if you are still not comfortable with having one of your employees open the kiosk and repair it with your FlashCare kit you can call our 24/7 support line and, for a fee, and we will dispatch a local service person to do it for you. We do employ an extensive network of highly vetted, independent repair technicians. It is the best of both worlds for all your needs.

FlashParking is shifting the paradigm in the industry. True innovative companies have always challenged the established norms and look for ways to do it better. That is exactly what we are doing to the parking industry. Because after all, “These Times They Are a-Changin.” Don’t be left behind.

Byline: Jordan Weiss, Sr. Director Of Marketing, jordan.weiss@flashparking.com

About FlashParking (www.flashparking.com): The FlashParking mission is simple: to perfect the parking experience. Too long has the parking industry been dominated by complicated, unreliable technology and processes. Your guests deserve more. Whether you have a garage, parking lot, or valet operations, FlashParking provides a simple, innovative approach to managing parking. Our touch-screen, smart stations, coupled with a subscription-based, cloud-run software platform, enable parking operators and asset owners to increase revenue while giving guests a better parking experience. Customer experience and innovation shouldn’t end at the garage entrance. With FlashParking, you’ll take control of your operations, and your guest will love you for it.

Media Contact: Karin Maake, 512-750-0123, Karin.maake@flashparking.com

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NPA Annual Convention & Expo

Where: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
What: FlashParking is showcasing our full suite of FlashParking solutions and products. At the show we will demo our frictionless access option via bluetooth beacon technology, new digital rate signs, and more.

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