in overall parking revenue (after fees)
in net revenue from long-term parking
in short-term parking utilization
Coastal Ridge Real Estate is a real estate investment and property management firm that boasts a $5 billion portfolio of properties all across the United States. They specialize in developing and managing Class A, luxury apartment buildings.
One of their newer properties, The Aubrey, is the epitome of midwest urban living. This 109-unit luxury apartment complex is in the ideal location for students and young professionals alike. It’s positioned in the heart of downtown Columbus, Ohio, just a mile away from The Ohio State University, and centrally located near countless restaurants, bars, and parks.
However, this property came with a unique set of challenges when management was passed to Coastal Ridge from the previous management company. Unfortunately, the disorganized parking system that they inherited made it difficult to provide the luxury-grade experience that they typically delivered at their properties.
While The Aubrey had luxury parking amenities like secure, indoor parking and EV chargers, their difficulties managing parking undercut the experience their residents had with these amenities. With just 69 available parking spots for 109 units, they needed a simple, reliable solution to make the most of the spots they had.
However, when management was changed to Coastal Ridge’s hands, they uncovered a major inefficiency in the existing “system” for parking management: a physical piece of laminated paper.
Whenever a new spot was leased, the team stuck a new dot on this piece of paper. Because of this manual system of record, it was nearly impossible to know when the sheet had last been updated.
They quickly discovered the pain point this created in managing parking – they could never be sure which resident, definitively, had which spot at any given point in time.
“I think the biggest thing was that we weren't truly understanding who was assigned to what spot because the previous management company was not tracking it well,” said Brittany Neff, the regional manager.
“In one word, I would describe the parking situation as messy.”
Since there were fewer parking spots than there were units, it was crucial to make the most of every parking spot available.
They did have a few staff spots that they could use for short-term guest parking, but there was no system to manage this, so the spots went unused outside of business hours.
This manual system had a major impact on the amount of time their team needed to spend on managing parking, typically eating up several hours per week. Since their team never had confidence in the record of who was parking where, they dealt with a slew of problems in both assigning new parking and dealing with enforcement issues.
Often, they experienced delays in the process of getting a new resident a garage fob, because they had to take multiple steps to check which spots were available, on top of the delays they occasionally faced in waiting for new shipments of fobs.
“Parking is taking up way too much of my time, for how small this building is,” mentioned one on-site staff member.
They also struggled to keep up with and prevent unauthorized parking behavior. For example, there was one resident who always snuck in the garage behind her roommate. Since they didn’t have a reliable record of authorized parkers, it was easy for her to lie and say she had a spot, and very difficult and time-consuming to verify that she didn't.
The poor parking management was also tainting their residents’ living experience. On top of staff regularly having to deal with complaints from residents, these issues often made it onto The Aubrey’s online reviews. So not only were their residents’ chances of renewal at risk, but so was their ability to bring in new residents.
Here are some reviews that residents left online:
Still in the early days of managing this property, Coastal Ridge knew that they needed to find a way to get this problem under control. And luckily, Parkade seemed to fall right into their lap.
The owners previously managed The Aubrey themselves, and Parkade reached out to them in the months before Coastal Ridge took over. After management changed hands to Coastal Ridge, the owners wanted to look to them for guidance on how to run the property as smoothly as possible, so they forwarded Parkade’s email to see if it would be a good fit.
It turns out that this email couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Parkade came at the most opportune time when we were feeling very frustrated with parking,” mentioned Brittany Neff, the regional manager.
Already considering options for a more digitized method of managing their parking, the team was intrigued by the solutions that Parkade could provide.
They were excited about the prospect of having an always up-to-date system to keep track of assigned parking spots. Parkade’s ability to facilitate short-term parking to help them leverage their extra staff spots was another major plus.
Another selling point of Parkade was the fact that they didn’t require clients to sign a yearly contract, like many other prop-tech companies. Since it was a low-stakes opportunity to try it out without being locked into anything, this gave Coastal Ridge the last push they needed to give it a shot.
Above everything, the team needed a system that kept a reliable, up-to-date record of who has an agreement for a parking space. Parkade completely fulfilled this need.
“Parkade gave us access to the thing we needed most, which was an understanding of who had a parking agreement.”
Thanks to Parkade’s simple and user-friendly dashboard, they were freed from the laminated paper they were previously using and instead had easy access to digital parking records that they could rely on at any moment.
Consider the roommate who kept pulling into the garage that we mentioned earlier. Before, verifying whether she was telling the truth was extremely difficult, but now a team member can verify within seconds.
No more cross-referencing information with different team members or crossing their fingers that their records were updated recently.
They also immediately experienced more ease with gate access. Since their gate connected to the Parkade app, residents were able to enter the garage without a fob and the team was able to easily open the gate remotely from their desks for vendors and prospective residents.
When investing in new software, the recurring costs are often a major consideration. However, on revenue for short-term parking alone, Parkade more than covered the monthly fee.
Not only were they able to take advantage of the additional guest parking to optimize their parking utilization, but the revenue they were able to drive as a result also served as a self-sustaining revenue stream.
So essentially, it felt like they were solving their problems for free.
Since the garage was nearly at capacity when they started, there was minimal opportunity to increase long-term parking revenue, and they were hesitant to raise parking prices due to retention issues. However, providing a better parking experience for the residents can open the door to justifying price increases in the future when retention issues have declined.
In a 7 month period, The Aubrey was able to boost their parking revenue by over 22%, after Parkade fees, thanks to better record keeping, a more sophisticated pricing strategy, and better parking enforcement that ensured people couldn’t get by parking for free anymore.
Although the team was hesitant to let go of control at first, they ended up loving the reprieve from all of the manual tasks they were bogged down with before. They went from spending hours per week managing parking to just minutes.
“The team has gotten very used to being able to go in the Parkade dashboard and search for whatever they need. They love that the answers are always at their fingertips,” Brittany mentioned. They are able to work much more efficiently since they don’t have to spend a lot of time looking for an answer or waiting on a response from someone else.
Overall, Parkade ensured that there was a steady hand overseeing parking, helping them to avoid any complications even when they got a new manager just a few months after they signed on with Parkade. Since they were no longer relying on a physical piece of paper or the information in someone’s head, parking management remained smooth during the handoff.
On top of the reduced time needed to track down information, the burden of enforcement was also shifted away from their team. Residents are able to report unauthorized parkers directly through the Parkade app, and then the Parkade team handles the rest, whether it’s notifying a resident to move their car, issuing a fine, or calling a tow.
Parkade’s responsiveness also gave the team peace of mind that they wouldn’t be left waiting if they needed to get in touch.
We’ve had questions along the way, and they’ve been super helpful in answering those questions and getting us what we need,” says Brittany.
When it comes to resolving resident parking issues, timeliness matters, so the team at The Aubrey has appreciated the quick, knowledgeable, and helpful responses from the Parkade team.
See how Parkade can streamline your parking management and save your staff hours every week.
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