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Which Type Of Parking Enforcement Is Best For Your Community: Free, Self, or Paid?

Compare 3 types of parking enforcement services to determine which one best suits your community’s needs.

We’ve all read our community’s poor parking reviews… But here’s the good news: there is a simple solution to your parking woes! Whether you’re a small neighborhood or an expansive community, you can establish parking enforcement procedures that enhance resident life and streamline guest parking. Here are the three types of parking enforcement services and how to determine which one best suits your community’s needs.

Parking Enforcement

What is enforcement?

Parking enforcement is checking the vehicles on your property for parking credentials or to ensure that they’re parked in an authorized manner. When a vehicle is unauthorized, it is first documented by enforcement agents, then it is issued a warning, given a fine, revoked of it’s parking privileges, immobilized, or impounded (depending on the law).

Why is parking enforcement necessary?

Do you know that one road in town where everyone drives ten miles over the speed limit because it’s never patrolled by police? Of course, everyone inches up their speedometer since they’re unlikely to be caught. However, we all know the other road in town where the cops like to sit with their radar guns. If driving the speed limit on that road was a game of darts, you’d be throwing bullseyes. Your residents have the same mentality about community parking! If they know you patrol the parking lots, they’re more likely to follow the rules.

Why does my community need parking enforcement?

What happens on the road without cops? Drivers keep speeding. What happens when your parking procedures are poorly enforced? Guests and residents don’t abide by your rules. Which results in double-parked cars, temporary parking in the grass, vehicles in the fire lanes, lack of guest spots, and maybe even parking spaces that are converted into gardens or storage bins or pop-up coffee shops (unlikely, but that would be pretty neat).

Free Parking Enforcement Services

Who provides free parking enforcement services?

Usually towing, booting, immobilizing, and ticketing vendors offer free parking enforcement services. They legally collect fees and fines from the vehicle’s owner for improper parking.

What are the benefits of free parking enforcement services?

  1. Free. It’s free parking enforcement which means zero cost to your community.
  2. Basic service. This provides basic parking enforcement services, which is better than no enforcement.
  3. Potential profit. Your community may be able to share revenue from immobilization, although HOA’s are not typically able to profit from parking. However, the proceeds could be used to offset the costs of parking software or permits. Be sure to check your local laws and regulations before doing so.

What are disadvantages of free parking enforcement services?

  1. Lack of control. Managers do not have control of the service schedule for parking enforcement.
  2. Different motivations. Vendors want to ticket, tow, or boot as many vehicles as possible, while you are aiming for parking compliance. Although laws vary by state, all predatory towing laws are enacted to protect the public.
  3. Service reduction. Once drivers begin to comply with the parking rules, the free enforcement provider will earn less revenue, and therefore may stop prioritizing your community.

Are free parking enforcement services right for my community?

Tight budget? Free parking enforcement services can be an excellent option, but keep these things in mind:

  1. Own and manage your community’s parking program.
  2. Clearly state and document your expectations to the service provider.
  3. Establish an alternating service schedule. (For example: 10am-2pm week 1, 8pm-12am week 2, 3pm-7pm week 3, 1pm-4pm week 4, etc.)
  4. Have a contingency plan in place in case service falters.
  5. Gather a small team to supplement any shortcomings of the free service.
  6. Plan weekly and monthly time to review the vendor


Who conducts self-enforcement parking services?
Self-enforcement parking services are performed by your staff, management, HOA, BOD, or Parking Committee.

What are the benefits of self-enforcement parking services?

  1. Control. With this method, your team has complete control of your parking program.
  2. Cost. Since you enforce your community parking, expenses are low.
  3. Accountability. When you can’t blame the parking problems on vendors, you can look within for a faster solution.

What are the disadvantages of self-enforcement parking services?

  1. Time. This type of parking enforcement requires hours from your labor, staff, and maintenance team.
  2. Management. Your leadership team has to spend time managing on-site staff for parking enforcement.
  3. Accountability. There is full accountability and transparency when your in-house staff are enforcing parking rules.

Are self-enforcement parking services right for my community?

Are you a small community with a tight budget or limited parking areas? Do you also have ample staff and onsite team members? Then this may be the right type of parking enforcement for your community! Here’s how:

  1. Create a team and communication platform dedicated to parking management.
  2. Teach a standardized training so everyone is operating on the same page.
  3. Set up a separate line of communication for vehicle owners to contact you with parking disputes.
  4. Rotate parking enforcement duties to avoid burnout, since it can be stressful and often occurs after work hours.
  5. Stay consistent and ask for help when needed.

Paid Services

Who provides paid parking enforcement services?
Patrol businesses, security companies, and parking monitoring services are the main providers of paid parking enforcement.

What are the benefits of paid parking enforcement services?

  1. Tasks. These contractors are obligated to do the specific tasks that you request.
  2. Schedule. These providers are also required to maintain a regular service schedule.
  3. Incentives. Many times these companies are incentivized for greater compliance rather than the number of vehicles ticketed, immobilized, or towed.

What are disadvantages of paid parking enforcement services?

  1. Cost. Your community must budget for a paid parking enforcement service.
  2. Not parking experts. Depending on the contractor, parking may not be their primary expertise. In this case, they need to supplement with software, which may require an added cost.
  3. Onboarding process. The bidding and proposal process can be lengthy and inconvenient for your management team.

Are paid parking enforcement services right for my community?

  1. If you have the budget to consider a paid parking enforcement service, here is how we recommend finding the best provider for your needs.
  2. Ask for referrals from colleagues or current vendors. (Looking for an enforcement vendor who is trained with Parking Boss? Contact our team for a recommendation!)
  3. Decide expectations for what you want patrolled, how frequently, and when. (For example: 1 visit, 7 nights per week, between 10pm and 3am, for at least 1 hour.)
  4. Request quotes from two or three services.
  5. Need a landing page for the enforcement video- gatedOnce you have found a good fit, establish a routine to quickly oversee their work. Consider parking software or emailed reports.
  6. Communicate regularly with the patrol team.
  7. Revisit the schedule every 6-12 months and adjust as necessary.
  8. If parking improves, then try scaling back the service to every other day. Or if parking compliance decreases, try adding more hours to the service schedule.

Which parking enforcement service is right for you?

What happens when the police patrol a road where most people drive ten miles above the speed limit? The drivers eventually notice (or receive a speeding ticket). Gradually drivers ease their speeds and abide by the posted speed limit. The same method can prove true for your community parking!

No matter which service you select, each of them can be successfully managed with a good parking enforcement strategy. Need help determining which one is best for your community? Contact us for a demo of how Parking Boss can improve your parking compliance, boost your community ratings, and even increase revenue.