This classification covers establishments primarily engaged in the temporary parking of automobiles, usually on an hourly, daily, or monthly contract or fee basis. Establishments primarily engaged in extended or dead storage of automobiles are classified in SIC 4226: Special Warehousing and Storage, Not Elsewhere Classified.
Parking Lots and Garages
According to International Parking Institute sources, the automobile parking industry was valued at $26 billion in 2006, with $13 billion coming from the private side and $13 billion coming from the public side. The financial success of the automobile parking industry is tied to commercial real estate growth—a boom in new office buildings (and high occupancy rates within them) requires more lots to house the cars of commuters, clients, and related service industries in the area. The International Parking Institute also reported that there were roughly 105.2 million parking spaces in 2006, with a 2 to 1 ratio of off-street to on-street parking, and up to five million metered spaces. Approximately half were owned by municipalities, and the rest were privately held.
The 4,900 establishments in this industry employed about 66,000 workers, the majority of which were parking lot attendants and cashiers. Other positions included enforcement officers, maintenance personnel, office personnel, and information managers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for these jobs looked excellent through the year 2008, with expected industry-wide growth of 24 percent.
Often, parking lot operators do not own the land on which their businesses sit. Arrangements with the real estate holder are primarily of the fixed-fee management contract type, which does not require an outlay of capital from the operator; the parking company simply contracts to run a parking lot on the land and then collects a percentage of the parking revenues. Fixed-fee management contracts usually run one to three years. In another, less common type of contract, known as a lease arrangement, contracts run three times longer but provide a greater profit potential. In leasing a lot, parking-lot operators are required to invest their own capital in the expansion or improvement...