After resigning your post at the airport, what was the next step?
The first objective was to continue giving support to the systems of the airport and we did. Then we looked for opportunities in the market: shopping malls, fairs, etc. In 2008 we began with Aeropuertos del Peru. They have 12 airports in concession and so far we have implemented three of these. This year we will continue moving forward.
Did your letter of introduction with Jorge Chavez airport help in finding new customers?
When I began, I thought it would be easier. I thought we have a good product that would sell itself. But our first setback was that the prices we were working with were standardized to the American market and we never closed any contracts because the costs were too high. We had to ask the factory to structure a special price list for the Peruvian market. And we decided to sacrifice margin in order to sell the solution.
What was the next challenge?
We have a restraint, which is the market itself. A priori, the owners of the parking lots deny the possibility to automate because they believe it is very expensive. In small segments, with areas from 30 to 100 spaces, whose owners are individuals or small companies, the decision is on the issue of cost. On the other hand, larger companies decide based on service. They evaluated the cost of customer service, collection rates and margin of error. They have more reasons to automate and we help them achieve this.
How do you convince medium or small businesses?
With the idea of control. This year there is a new law which makes the owners of parking spaces responsible for vehicle or accessory thefts and any crashes or accidents produced on their property. Therefore it is advisable to automate it all, to place security cameras and control systems. For example, the entry ticket system may be associated with the vehicles’ license plate and photos taken when it entered the parking lot. This avoids claims for collisions that did not happen inside the parking space.
First airports, then what?
We also aimed for shopping malls and large and public parking lots. The system uses all its advantages in these platforms because it allows for particular customers payments (use of parking spaces by the hour) and subscribers (monthly payment). In the second half of this year, we will participate in the automation project of the Jockey Plaza, together with Central Parking System Peru. There were three years of bargaining.
Three years…that long?
When it comes to medium projects, we reach an agreement after four months, approximately, but the larger ones may take up to over a year. It took this long with Jockey Plaza because they reengineered their parking and commercial areas.
How do you guarantee technical support?
We have two lines of profit: projects and post-sales. In the second case, we have procedures for any incidents, manufacturers help us with manual specifications. We pass that on to our technicians so they know how to respond and how to train the workers of our customers. For example, a real estate trade group knew nothing about parking lots but did not want to give theirs in concession either. So we helped them define the rates, procedures and training staff for collections and incidents.
Are your main customers concentrated in San Isidro and Miraflores?
We also work with Megaplaza. We are not charging there yet but they use our services to count vehicles and place advertisement at the entrance. We also plan to enter other regions; we are also at the Trujillo airport.