Pesky Outstanding Fines – The Headache for Parking Managers.
On a quest for information I allocated some time over the past year and talked to various people who manage parking. What I stumbled across was a common challenge which is highly talked about;
How do I collect outstanding revenues from tickets and what are others doing to collect these revenues?
When managing parking there is a common goal, to make sure there is enough space available and to avoid congestion. To reach that goal parking managers must bring in enforcement to issue citations for people who don’t follow the indicated rules and cause the well-oiled machine of parking management to stop. If those infractions aren’t paid, a large amount of revenues end up creating a receivable nightmare for organizations. And the truth is no one wants to write off a large amount of uncollected revenues.
So I dug in and did some research to help find some possible solutions to this pesky problem.
A number of compounded factors can cause outstanding ticket revenues to sit uncollected but the most prominent cause is convenience and absence of incentives. If you incorporate those to your business model you most likely will see a decrease in uncollected revenues.
In today’s world the biggest incentive is convenience. The easier it is for someone, the more likely the process will occur. This is why utilizing a cloud based software system which allows an online payment option is key. If you don’t have one in place, it may be time to invest in one that can offer ease of use to pay for those infractions online easily at their convenience without needing your administration.
Now, what if you already have a cloud based permit and enforcement system in place, what are your options? There are a few incentive strategies that some operations have put in place that have had some positive results in collecting outstanding fines when compared to previous years.
One strategy is offering a discount for early payment to the person with an infraction. The parking office would have their normal fine listed, but would add an additional early payment option that would give the driver a slight discount for that offence if paid early within the time frame listed, normally within 1-2 days of receiving the ticket. After that time period the normal ticket fee would apply.
Another option is incorporating a ticket amnesty arrangement. This would allow certain outstanding tickets written within a certain time frame be paid at the original fine without the late penalty fees added. Majority of the amnesty arrangements have start and end dates associated with them for a time frame that the tickets were written. This could offer an increase in outstanding fee collection after implementation when compared to previous years.
Another option that some police services has implemented is extreme discounts for outstanding violations. If you do carry a high revenue of outstanding fines then offering this type of incentive might be an option within a certain time period for tickets that are over a certain amount. These have seen positive results when compared to fines brought in from previous years.
The most recent is an implemented diversion program where students can choose to participate in an educational program to reduce or eliminate their citation fee. You can only participate once in an academic year with the idea being that by offering education on campus policies and procedures, you create better campus citizens.
As we all know collections is really a last resort since what you get back is very little, so if I can offer some alternatives and solutions on some incentives that could position our clients with a positive result, that is time well spent!
Keep in mind that by enforcing parking rules you could see a 26% increase in revenues according to NRMA’s 2015 Parking Report so don’t be scared to hand out those tickets!