Whether you’re fresh out of school or the premier expert in your industry, you should continue to learn and grow as both a person and a professional. In the parking management industry, this truth is no different. While hiring practices and expectations likely vary from one company to another, we tend to favor hiring individuals with an outgoing and positive demeanor rather than innate parking skills or knowledge. Our philosophy is simple and proven thanks to decades of testing: we can teach you the fundamental skills and knowledge of parking and the ever-evolving art of parking management, but it is generally more difficult to teach an individual to be upbeat and confident.
That said, a helpful nudge into the parking industry is always welcomed. Let’s take a look at what our parking professionals learned along the way as well as what they wish they knew from day one.
From Day One
More than anything, to succeed in the parking management industry, you need to have a positive, outgoing, and flexible personality. While you might initially expect parking to be solely about cars, it’s truly a people-focused industry that relies on your ability to actively interact with customers, clients, owners, vendors, employees, managers, etc.
You should also begin your parking journey with the knowledge that nothing will stay the same—parking continues to evolve with automation of new interactive PARC systems and eParking platforms, for example. Every day will bring a different experience to the day-to-day tasks you accomplish and a different set of challenges to overcome, whether they’re people-oriented or operational-related.
Learn As You Go
You should be comfortable with the skills mentioned above before you begin your first parking job. But as you gain industry experience, you will continue to learn the art of flexibility—like we said, every day is different in parking management. You will also continue to learn negotiation skills (especially during challenging customer interactions) as well as how to sell and market yourself to the variety of people you interact with daily. The idea of selling yourself may sound foreign in this context, but it’s a great skill to develop as your career advances and you need to present yourself to different types of people (e.g., building owners, city residents, and so forth).
What I Wish I Knew
This brings us to the proverbial million-dollar question: what do industry experts wish they knew from day one?
On the more technical side, having the knowledge of parking jargon is something we all wish we had when we first entered the parking industry. For example, having a masterlist of technical terms to consult is very helpful to expedite an inexperienced managers’ learning curve in the industry.
In terms of customer service and people-related skills, our experts wished they were better at knowing how to actively listen and show more empathy. Regardless of the specific context, the chief desire among parking professionals seems to revolve entirely around improving people skills—how to successfully interact with people.
Continuing to Learn
Even though we reach a certain level of comfort in our position after years of experience in parking management, we (sometimes unknowingly) continue to develop skills as the days pass. While it isn’t exhaustive, the following list was compiled by our industry experts who noted that they are still refining their ability to:
- Be up-to-date on the latest parking and parking-related terminology (though we have personally created a 12+ page manual for all new hires to close this gap).
- Market and present themselves.
- Adapt to different people’s needs.
- Actively listen and empathize with people.
- Be flexible.
All in all, parking skills are rooted in self-confidence. If you can show us and other parking management organizations that you have the personality for the job, you’re already off to a great start.
Contact us today for more information on developing your best parking industry self.