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How One Property Management Company Created Fair Parking for 20 Communities

HNN Associates is a privately held property management company in Washington state.

Too many cars, unhappy residents

HNN Associates is a privately held property management company in Washington state with a focus on multifamily, mixed-use, and affordable housing. Managing over 20 communities in Washington, the company focuses on providing outstanding customer service, value, and greatness in their operations.

But parking was a problem.

Phil Nored, president of HNN, understood  that a good deal of the frustration stemmed from some residents taking up more than their fair share of already limited parking—and there was ample proof that parking had to be improved.

Parking was the number-one complaint from residents portfolio-wide.

Generic parking permits didn’t work

HNN management called a team meeting to brainstorm parking solutions, but the only option that surfaced was to conduct a parking audit.

Managers tried rearview-mirror parking permits that were purchased online, but the reorder number was on the back of the permits. “Residents were buying permits online and selling them for $10 a pop,” said an HNN senior community manager.

Management then tested reflective hang tags and discovered residents were making color copies, leaving managers with no no accurate way to keep track of the number of permits residents had. Onsite teams worked overtime walking the lot and trying to manage the generic hang tags. “We didn’t have time for it,” said an HNN community manager. “It was ridiculous.”

Poor parking reviews stacked up

“The side effect of too many cars is towing. That can devastate a resident’s budget,” said Jennifer Staplin, former HNN director of organizational development. Yet managers were often forced to tow improperly parked vehicles without knowing who owned them.

Frustrated residents who’d been towed blamed the manager of the community and complained in online reviews, leaving the Resident Relations Team strained. Leadership knew that bad reviews can affect leasing and revenue.

  • A BrightLocal survey found that 85% of consumers “trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.”
  • NMHC & Kingsley found that 88% of surveyed renters look for secure resident parking as a community amenity. Of those renters, 71% won't sign a lease without it.

"The concept of poor reviews affecting the bottom line should be of concern to most multifamily operators,” said Phil.

For example, if a turnover costs $1,500 at a 200-unit community and turnover can be reduced by 5% a year, it means a potential savings of $15,000.

The Challenges

  • Residents had more vehicles than their lease agreement allowed
  • Managers tried various generic hang tags ordered online
  • Residents bought, copied, and sold fraudulent hang tags
  • Staff worked overtime to manage and track parking
  • HNN received bad reviews about parking across the portfolio
  • Residents complained about unfair parking
“We’ve been trying Parking Boss out and it made a huge difference.” — West Coast Security

A solution for multiple parking problems

HNN’s courtesy patrol team, West Coast Security, saw how difficult the parking situation was. They had seen firsthand the difference Parking Boss made for other communities they worked with and brought it to the manager at The District, one of HNN’s communities, who gathered information from Parking Boss and presented it at the next leadership meeting.

At The District, households with one bedroom were limited to one vehicle and households with multiple bedrooms were allowed no more than two. But many had three or even four vehicles, and the community already had a limited number of spaces available. Many residents felt it was unfair that some were taking up too many spaces. Other HNN communities were having similar parking problems.

“So many communities were struggling with parking challenges,” Jennifer said. “We had tried to brainstorm solutions for the different challenges at each community. It was such an Aha! moment to find a solution that worked across the portfolio and solved a wide range of parking management issues.”

Getting a bird’s-eye view of what a community’s parking looks like is easy because the Parking Boss system tracks current and past guest permits and resident decals, among other data. Managers can run customizable reports such as guest parking time used, violations, and assigned permits.

After trying it at The District, Phil decided to implement the program portfolio-wide.

HNN's new parking plan

Accurate resident tracking with Smart Decals

Because Smart Decals have a unique barcode and a number associated with a license plate, residents weren’t able to make copies. Managers and staff no longer had to worry that residents were selling passes or sneaking in extra vehicles.

They could finally enforce the number of vehicles allowed in the lease, creating fair parking for all residents.

“When I first heard about Parking Boss, I was like, ‘How is one little decal going to make that big of a difference? There’s no way,’” said The District manager. “But it really does. It’s a foolproof system.”

Fair guest parking with virtual permits and time limits

The number of guest parking spaces are limited at many HNN communities. When residents had more vehicles than their lease allowed, they often took up all of the guest parking.

Parking Boss co-founders Nathan and Joel consulted with each property manager to create plans for how to best assign and group their guest parking spaces.

With the online guest permit registration software, Parking Attendant, guests could register their own permits according to the community time limits. Managers could quickly see who was parking and for how long, making it easier to enforce the rules.

Transparent and consistent enforcement

With Parking Boss, managers could add courtesy patrol as Field Agent users in the software. Field Agents were able to record parking violations in the software, which allowed them to track repeat violators and inform management of their activity.

Reduced time and staff resources spent managing parking

Managers and staff were able to track resident and guest permits in the software and no longer had to track down fraudulent permits. And because associates are often promoted from within at HNN, staff could take their Parking Boss expertise with them when transitioning to another community.

“We can’t make more parking spaces, but we can make the ones we have more available to the residents of the community.” — The District Manager, HNN

How Parking Boss helped

  • Solved multiple parking challenges across portfolio
  • Reduced number of resident cars, creating fair parking for all residents
  • Eliminated permit copying while providing easy permit tracking
  • Reduced resident complaints and frustration with parking
  • Clear communication
  • Easy integration with courtesy patrol and visibility of their activity
  • Ability for admins to give staff members access to the software
  • Help documents provided by Parking Boss to help onboard residents
  • Fair and organized parking
  • Smart Decals to keep track of resident vehicles
  • 24-hour virtual guest registration with built-in time limits
  • Process for providing reasonable accommodation parking spaces
  • Clear parking signage
“Parking Boss tries to figure out solutions to everyday problems to enhance the lives of residents. And that’s exactly what HNN does. So Parking Boss and HNN go hand in hand.” — The District Manager, HNN

Happy residents

By implementing Parking Boss across their portfolio, HNN created fair parking for 7500+ households across 20 communities, and that means they now offer a better parking experience for residents and guests.

Happy staff

“It was so easy, I really didn’t have to do a lot,” said Jennifer of the implementation. Jennifer liked the service so much, she joined Parking Boss as the director of accounts in February 2018.

Bottom-line benefits

Phil said he wished they had known about Parking Boss earlier. If they had, he said, HNN could have minimized the cost and trouble of trying other, less-effective parking management systems.

With 24/7 virtual guest registration, clear parking signs, and Smart Decals for residents, HNN received fewer complaint calls and residents and guests had less anxiety about unfair towing, and community managers saved costs and resources spent managing parking.