Over the past five years, the marketplace has been flooded with a number of exciting parking App solutions. These Apps provide a wide range of services, from allowing a customer to identify available parking spaces, reserve a space prior to parking, pay for parking and to notifying a facility when you are ready to leave so your vehicle can be retrieved and waiting for you as part of a valet service. These products offer customers greater convenience and access to parking spaces and can significantly reduce the costs involved in equipping previously manual parking facility operations.
So is there a downside to these innovations? There can be, if Apps are not evaluated and implemented with revenue control in mind. Below are three ways to ensure these solutions have the proper controls in place and that revenue is secure.
Redemption Code Standards
Establishing redemption codes with revenue control features in mind will greatly reduce opportunities for these programs to be abused by customers or employees. Consider requiring the following controls from the App provider:
- Each redemption code must be unique;
- Whether the code is presented via a bar code, QR code, paper voucher or other means, it must include a sequential number and all codes issued from the program must be issued using this sequential numbering series;
- If the cards are produced as part of a promotion or other situation where they are generated in large quantities (25 or more), an expiration date that you specify after the date they are created must be indetified and communicated to customers; and
- Bar code and QR code items must include a unique, viewable number that a cashier can record on the parking transaction ticket.
Apps involving the collection of a fee from the customer require the customer to pay the App provider directly in most cases, so the revenue you collect for these transactions is from the App supplier. You will want to negotiate payment terms with each App vendor that your company is comfortable with, which could range from 15 to 45 days from the date of the transaction.
Provider Reporting Requirements
The App provider should make reports available that itemize sales by day or shift. This reporting should include a breakdown of redeemed codes by transaction including the unique transaction sequence number and rate paid. Having this information available will allow your auditing team to reconcile redeemed codes/transactions to these reports for each cashier, terminal or location.