Bringing technology to the parking industry

Like
+ Add to

My guest today has been in the parking industry for forty years. Instead of just doing the same thing–which was working–he decided to bring innovation and technology to what he calls a “grudge purchase.”

I want to find out how he did it.

Jerry Skillett is the founder of SPACES, a contactless parking payments platform.

The podcast is in all major apps, just search for Mixergy.
You can also use our RSS Feed RSS feed.

Jerry Skillett

Jerry Skillett

SPACES

Jerry Skillett is the founder of SPACES, a contactless parking payments platform.

roll-angle

Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey, they’re freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses for an audience of entrepreneurs.

We’re often building their businesses. We’ve talked about software as a service invading. I wouldn’t even call it invading, getting everywhere. One place that we hadn’t talked about, and I hadn’t seen it yet is in parking garages. Get this today’s guest, Jerry Scott recognize something that you and I recognize when you go park your car somewhere, where are you?

By the way, Jerry, are you in a hotel?

Jerry: Yeah.

Andrew: You are. Okay. All right. Um, thanks for doing this from there. When you get into, when you go out of a parking garage from the mall or from a hotel, You can end up waiting in a line of five, six cars. And if the person in front of you as kids who are screaming, it’s going to take longer.

If they forgot where their credit card was. Or if they’re like me, I lately haven’t been carrying my credit card because everything’s on apple pay except some random parking garage, then you’re going to wait even longer. And if you’re like so many of us who lived in San Francisco who have to go to the mall, you recognize on the way out that if you’re in line and you still hadn’t paid before your, before you get in line to get out, you have to back out, park your car, take your credit card out to one of the machines, pay, then get one of those tickets and get back in line and then hand the ticket to the machine in order to get out.

Think about how tough that is for everyone involved. Well, Jerry said, you know, there’s gotta be a better way. And he’s a guy who’s been in the, um, in the parking space business for decades. And he said, I think I know it. And he was wrong and he was wrong because he pursued it the way that you and I might’ve pursued it, but he’s persistent.

And so he evolved and evolved in, he created this great process. It’s called spaces. I invited him here to talk about how it works. I want to find out how he created it after iterating on it. I want to find out how he’s getting a parking lots to actually implement this when they already have a system that works.

And frankly, because he’s got this, uh, experience in the parking business, a business that I don’t know much about, but I’m fascinated by it. I’m hoping we’ll talk about that. And we could do it. Thanks to my sponsor. HostGator. If you’re hosting a website, go to hostgator.com/mixergy, but I’ll talk about that later first, Jerry.

Good to have you here.

Jerry: Hey, pleasure to be here, Andrew. I can’t wait to talk about it.

Andrew: Walk me through how a space is. Experience works. I talked to you about the bad part. Let’s talk about what.

Jerry: So what we created is that, uh, to utilize our product, all you need to do is you dial in numbers. It’s posted at the entrance of the parking facility. On the digital side, you dialed that telephone number that automatically accesses the gate. The gate opens. When you park, you receive a text message to set up your payment platform and our partner Stripe.

And so, uh, you immediately, you’re either hooked into apple pay, Google pay, or you put in a credit card. only ever have to do that one time. And then when you exit, when you get to the exit gate, you dial the number at the exit and you’re out. And it’s that simple.

Andrew: Because they now know who it is who’s going out because my phone number is connected to my credit card because they see that I’ve dialed it. And so they just will open up the gate and they know how long I’ve been in there. It’s just, I love the simplicity of it. I love that you’re doing stripes. I don’t even have to type in my credit card information.

It just works. And then who’s paying for this.

Jerry: So we charged the end-user, uh, the Parker, uh,

Andrew: Okay. Okay.

Jerry: And so, uh, there’s a transaction fee. That’s on top of their parking charge of And that’s it?

Andrew: And for a dollar you can, well, you also collect a credit, uh, you also pay credit card processing fees, right? I’m assuming you charged that to the, uh, you pass that onto the parking lot owner. You do. Okay. Got it. So the only difference that they see is $1 per car and they don’t even have to pay that.

Meanwhile, you, what you’re replacing is what, what’s the system like before financially.

Jerry: So the S the S yeah, the systems, uh, in a typical parking garage, that system costs a half a million dollars. it costs $50,000 a year to maintain, uh, and, uh, with our system, you only need a gate and your own phone. That’s.

Andrew: And do you, and do you pay for the gate or they pay for the gate.

Jerry: Yeah, well, we, we work with the current gates are in the, uh,

Andrew: Okay

Jerry: and if there aren’t any gates, we add gates, but there the most inexpensive part of a parking system. And, uh, you know, gate, gate technology has been the same for 40 years. So, I mean, it’s, you know, rock solid technology. You probably have experienced it.

Andrew: Yep

Jerry: times the gate does go

up and the date and then the

gate goes down.

Andrew: So that’s it. They just have their gate instead of paying for their current system. You just take the whole thing out and you replace it with a sign, with a phone number and that’s the whole thing. And how much revenue you producing so far.

Jerry: So we, uh, we’re at a

Andrew: Okay.

Jerry: Uh, it grows, it’s been growing, uh, you know, 20% month over month and that’s even during COVID. Uh, you know, which, you know, which has impacted the parking business, uh, you know, um, uh, quite a bit. And, um, so it’s really been, you know, it’s just been amazing because we started off, uh, just in commercial buildings.

Now we’re in hospitals, uh, airports, hotels, um, you know, uh, you know, event venues, uh, and you know, the use cases, you know, change

Andrew: You told the producer the realization about the importance of technology struck you when you were driving with someone, I guess this was in Atlanta and you saw the person do what,

Jerry: Yes. So, uh, I bought a company called linear

Andrew: what is linear parking?

Jerry: Linear parking is a parking operator, uh, in, and I, uh, I built the second largest parking company in the United States in the last decade I sold, I sold that in 2018 to

Andrew: To, uh, to accompany, to like a parking company owned by, by SoftBank. Right? And so if I understand the way that this works is someone will have a building, the landlord doesn’t want to manage the parking lot, and then they turn it over to you. And what you do is you install the machinery that makes the arm go up and down the credit cards and everything else.

And then you pay, how does it work? You pay them rent or you pay them a percentage of sales or, or a combination.

Jerry: Um, usually, usually most of the contracts are the it’s like a property management type contract. owner of the garage pays the

Andrew: Okay

Jerry: a management fee. To manage, uh, the cleaning, the maintenance of the

Andrew: Got it

Jerry: employees, you know, the day-to-day operations that. And so linear parking, which a fantastic, uh, uh, you know, company that I own, um, when I bought the company, I wanted to see some of my locations.

So they were based in Atlanta, that was their headquarters. And I wanted to see some of the locations. And so I, I went out with, um, the general manager, uh, and he had plotted on his phone, all of the locations on Google maps. And so we went from location to location and navigated, you know, to the locations.

And maybe I’m a little old school. Um, I’m still one of those guys that gee, you know, I understand geography. I know north and south and east and west. You know, if you tell me an address, I can go find it. Well, the new generation, they don’t do that. They just put their addresses in Google and that’s how they find it.

So I asked him, could you find your locations without Google maps? And he said, I don’t think so. And I really was struck by that. And I started that. I started paying attention to see how many people use Google maps. How many people use ways, how many people use apple maps, but what, what was, what were they really doing when they were navigating around a city?

And I was stunned to see that almost everyone, even if they took the same route to work every day, They were using navigation to find out what the traffic was, if they needed a change. And I just, you know, I was, I was really shocked by that. Um, so that kind of, that got me thinking about mobile technology and parking start, you know, in my mind it started at, in navigation it ended up, you know, also with access,

Andrew: first thought seemed to have been to say, if everyone’s using this to navigate to their location, then once they get to their location, they’re hunting for parking just by looking around and hoping that they find it. Maybe there’s a better way. Right?

Jerry: Yeah. Because the, so there was a great study that was done, uh, pre COVID, um, by a company called INRIX, uh, in Seattle, they, they, uh, Accumulate a lot of traffic data. And they came out with this study that said 30% of the, of the trips inside a downtown core or generated by looking for parking. So, so they’re driving around, driving around and what we found in ways in Google maps that, you know, uh, Andrew, you and I, we would navigate to a building address, but that’s not necessarily the parking address.

So you would go to Madison square garden, you navigate to Madison square garden, and then you start looking for parking. So I asked a bigger question. This was in oh 18. Oh 19. What would happen if inside of Google maps in ways if I actually asked Andrew if he wanted to park at Madison square garden, and if you said, yes, I gave him a map of locations that he could change the navigation specifically to the garage entrance.

And would that be more efficient? Would people actually do that? So I funded a, a, uh, half a million dollar study that was matched by ways for nine months in 300 facilities. And, you know, we had an in-app experience in ways that would

Andrew: the would work I said going to the apple store. As soon as Wei said, as soon as ways knew that that was a store and had a, uh, a parking lot next to it, it would say, do you want to go into the apple store? Are you trying to get to the parking garage? If I say parking, then it me over to one of your spots and you wanted to see how many people would say yes to that.

And then also, how, how valuable was that to you? Is that right? Okay.

Jerry: Right. Yup. And so in, in the world of big data, You know, so we knew how many navigations, how many organic navigations we’re already going to those places, then how many

Andrew: Yup

Jerry: they increase? Right. So what we found is in a nine month period, we generated 165,000 more, um, navigation specifically to those facilities.

Uh, and that, and it increased by 40% over the organic navigation. So customers and people really found that valuable because it’s saved a

Andrew: I can believe that

I see

that. I don’t know why it still doesn’t exist though. I, and I didn’t realize this because I’ve lived in big cities. My whole life. We were in San Francisco for about eight years. You basically asking for directions to the store, to the storage front door, you’re walking, they’re biking, they’re taking an Uber there.

You don’t need the parking lot. I’m in Austin right now. And sure enough, this is becoming a big problem for me, probably partially because it’s a new, it’s a new city, but the other part is I don’t need to go directly to the front door of the mall. If the apple store is really, sometimes it could be about a mile away.

And I had no idea. This is like big city kid. Um, all right. And so why isn’t this now in ways and in Google maps and, and every other map.

Jerry: Well there, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re attempting to really help, you know, make that happen. Um, and part of, part of what we discovered is that here, Andrew, you have your mobile device in your car, you we’ve navigated you to that garage entrance. And then you had to go into this whole other ecosystem of entering parking, paying and exiting in a site.

Well, we’ll, we’ll wait time. I, you know, look, we should be able to stay into the mobile platform. And that ecosystem to do everything. Why are we asking a

Andrew: it You’re

Jerry: that

Andrew: why are we so smart that we’re able get them away from to their destination faster. So smart. We’re able to understand that they want a parking spot and then navigate them to the parking spot. But as soon as we get them to where they’re going, we go back to old dumb technology where somebody has to go with a credit card to some kind of kiosk in order to pay before they leave or wait in line.

All right. So before we close out the previous business linear my pronouncing. Right. But. You were able to do this with Google? Why, why didn’t Google expand this widen ways expanded beyond your lots. Are they still doing this? Is it still growing?

Jerry: So

they, um, they’re attempting to, uh, the, the, the challenge for them is that, um, you know, uh, anything that Google does is advertising. Um, supported. So if you’re going to do that, you have to pay for that. And, uh, an individual garage, for instance, it’s very difficult for a garage owner to really set up a marketing program for one site on Google maps on ways the costs are very high and in parking, you know, um, you know, 95% of the cars that go there really pick it because it’s a geocentric business on close to a meeting or something like that.

So for the garage owner, it’s a pretty complicated process. Uh, what we brought to the table in what we’re doing is, is that, um, we offer. Uh, that is part of our service that we provide the garage owner. So, and, and so, you know, and we can buy that advertising. We can buy all of that on a bulk basis and make it worthwhile.

And we do all the heavy, we do all the heavy lifting, you know, we have a direct relationship on how to do it. know how to do it, we perfected

Andrew: Google

couldn’t expand for all parking lots, because most parking lots just don’t have the energy, the effort, and then the payoff for doing this for one-off. But you at spaces have now rolled this into your offering. So in addition to making it easier for, for consumers to pay for their parking spot, you’re also making it easier for consumers to find these parking spots because you’re buying those spots from Google in bulk.

Okay. Um,

Jerry: Yeah. Yeah, And we just, and we think it’s important because at the end of the day, Um, we just want people to have a better experience. We want people to save time and effort. Uh, and you know, I think that, you know, part of me also been in the business a long time, if I can reduce the traffic on the street, uh, then you know, there’s environmental aspects of that that are really, really beneficial, less, less pollution, less smog, less the wasting of time, less gas being burned and everything.

And you know, it all adds up. And I just think that it’s the right, it’s just the right thing to do. The technology

Andrew: So once you this is the idea, is that when you decided to sell linear or was it afterwards that you said, I think I’ve got this new idea.

Jerry: No, I,

Andrew: Okay

Jerry: I, sold, I sold linear before the idea, um, the, the idea was definitely was birthed, you know, by watching what, you know, I had a, uh, 1200 parking facilities around the United States. Um, I had 300 in New York, um, you know, and so I had a very, very close view of, you know, what my own company was doing, what consumers were doing, what the trends were, uh, and, you know, I found and, you know, I’m a leader in the industry.

Um, uh, but I just find that,

Andrew: Yep

Jerry: it from a technology basis. There’s

Andrew: Yeah

Jerry: that just don’t change very quickly.

Andrew: truthfully what

you’re offering is a solution that provides a lot of value to the consumer, but marginal small increase to the garage owner at first, the first version. Anyway, in fact, let’s take a, let’s talk about how you did this. So you sold the business. Do you take some time out for yourself to do something fun?

Jerry: Uh you know, um, uh, you know, this is my, I I’ve started eight companies in 40 years. Right. And so I’m just one of those guys that I did take a year off once after selling one of my companies, the first three months were, you know, I got some good rest. Then the next three months I wore out all my friends because they had to work and I went to play golf.

And then I found that, you know, I really was kind of bored and ready to really focus on what the next thing was going to be. And since then, I just love what I do. So with this has not worked for me It’s just not

Andrew: Okay. And frankly, from what I know about you, even when you are not working, um, yes, you play golf, but apparently you’re like a real die hard, um, athlete. you climbed how many mountains.

Jerry: So I climbed for the seven summits uh the tallest mountains in the world. Uh, I was in the, I, uh, I actually made it to the iron man world championship and in Hawaii and, and participated, you know, in that and finished and you know, all of that. It’s amazing. Um, I’m a surfer. Yeah. I mean, you know, I’m an active active guy

Andrew: I want to do an iron man. I did a half iron man race. I’ve done a bunch of marathons. It’s just, it seems like it’s such a time commitment. I think most people are intimidated by the swim. I think a two hour, a two mile swim will take me two hours or so if you know, is that a long time? How long did it take you?

Jerry: Uh well I think the on the on the um uh on the world championship uh it was 58 minutes for me to do

Andrew: Whoa.

Okay

Jerry: and so, um, so I became, you know, I grew up in a small town in Kansas, uh, and you know, swimming in ponds. Uh, doesn’t really prepare you to swim an Ironman

Andrew: Because you’re swimming in open water, right?

Jerry: Yeah,

Andrew: no. I mean, some Ironman are done in lakes. I feel like that’s, that’s a pleasurable, uh, swim compared to what you’re doing. So you’re swimming with waves. Not only that I’ve read stories about people getting hit in the face while they’re swimming, which is so jarring.

Right. Um, and then you don’t know what the temperature is going to be that day. So how long did it take you to train to do that? It’s for people who don’t know it’s about two miles swim it’s, um, a little over a hundred mile bike ride. What is it? 110 miles,

Jerry: 114

miles.

Andrew: miles And then you get the marathon length run 26.2.

So the problem for me is I could do this swim apparently at twice. The time it takes you, I could do the run probably a much longer than it takes you, but the bike ride it’s, it’s a long time to train, to do a hundred miles. It takes hours, right?

Jerry: Yeah.

So that you know that bike ride, you know in my age division um you know it was a seven hour bike

Andrew: Yeah So where do you have

the time

So when people say it must be great to have the time to play golf, you must go golf does nothing. Golf is like a short afternoon to go train, to do a hundred mile bike ride. And so how, tell me about the training to get yourself from zero to Ironman, and then we’ll get back into, into the parking business. How’d

you do it

Jerry: you know um um to to to actually qualify for the world championship, it took me 12 years and, uh, doing races and getting better and you kind of build up, right? So you’ve done a half. So you start with the sprints and then you go move up to the Olympic distances halfs, and you go to the full ones.

So part of, you know, that takes a few years of, you know, endurance training. And then when you finally get to that level, uh, I would, I would train, um, you know, anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours morning And then on the weekends I would either do a I would do a Saturday big run and a Sunday I mean a Saturday a big bike ride in a Sunday a big room And then you just keep building up like you do in marathon training you know you just keep adding miles and miles and miles And so you never really going up to the race Uh you know you’re not doing an iron man every weekend or something

Andrew: But you’re doing a marathon every weekend. It seems like for awhile.

No

Jerry: you’re probably 18 mile runs you know uh, 16 mile runs 50 mile bike rides Seventy-five mile bike

Andrew: What does say about you, Jerry, that you’re willing to do this invest over a decade of your life in order to do the iron man that you’re willing to climb, uh, four of the top What is it about you

Jerry: Well w what I enjoy um what I really enjoy about it it’s very much like starting a business and all of the things that you have to be able to overcome to finish And but it’s if it’s in its own way to compress timeframes so a business might be three to five years or more um and you know a mountain climb you might be three weeks uh you know to climb a mountain of those th that magnitude maybe a month but it’s the same thing you know it’s all about overcoming So you know I have a famous saying it’s like and I would have friends go with me And about 10 days into these trips they would say you know I’m going back to the United States because Jay because Jerry this trip doesn’t look like the brochure

Andrew: that’s the part that you like, you like that you train to do something and it’s clear, there’s a clear goal here and you plan and then something goes wrong. What’s gone wrong. What’s one of the toughest things to have gone wrong

Like what

Jerry: goes wrong So Well so uh on a mountain climb uh the food is bad You probably you know get diarrhea you get sick the weather’s bad you have equipment failures Um the trail gets washed out Um you know uh you get uh you know the weather turns bad You stay in the tent for

Andrew: Yeah

Jerry: day I mean you know everything that you could think of go wrong it always goes wrong And so what happens to people Andrew is that they actually lose sight of why they’re doing it and they lose sight of what it’s going to feel like on the summit That actually the journey of all of this is is really can be enjoyable if you inside go like well I expected things to go wrong I can overcome that I can overcome that And and I think that businesses the same you have a lot of people that They think about Hey I just want to make a bunch of money They run into resistance and it’s a lot harder than they thought they lose sight of

Andrew: And

you, you get sick, food is bad. You’re missing something that you should have had with. And you think where other people say this is a disaster to go, well, you think this is part of the process I expected and it’s going to feel so good when I hit the summit after all of this, because I struggled.

And then why does it feel so good at the end? Why does that such a big, meaningful goal for you

Jerry: Yeah because I think that you know first of all you accomplished it but I think the second thing is is that if if you if you really or joyful in the process right And saying like you know when I’d have it equipment failures be like well of course that was going to happen And it would feed the energy in me and go like well now this

Andrew: Uh

Jerry: because this because of looking at everything I had to overcome

Andrew: Yeah

Jerry: right

Andrew: That this is going to be, I’m getting a bigger reward because I’ve overcome these bigger obstacles.

Jerry: Uh it’s you got it And so and once you have trained yourself in that manner and in business and sports and all those things um people just don’t understand It’s like w you know even now when someone comes to me with a big business problem in one of my companies I think they they you know they can tell you a hundred percent of the time I hope that problem is massive I’ll it up I’m gonna like yeah Ride on This is going to be fantastic because now I know the other side of that Is going to be a massive reward

Andrew: Okay So

what you had a big idea let’s improve this process that millions of people are going to experience you, then what do you start with? You start creating the product first, or do you go out to a few, lots and say, will you, will you install whatever I create?

Jerry: Yeah So um I I’ve started software companies before technology companies before And my process is is that I quick fail things So I don’t over-engineer something I want to get it in testing as soon as I possibly can at the at the lowest level of uh production I can Cause I know I’m going to fail you know three at least three times And uh And so since I’ve been in the business I have access to the garage owners the operators yeah I can set up test sites And so once I had a a product that would work then I immediately you know get it into test facilities and I filmed you know thousands of customers using it Um you know what went wrong What didn’t work you know we you know of course we started off on an app system because we kinda thought that’s what we should do But what we what we really discovered which was beautiful was that we didn’t actually that was an impediment It made it more difficult And we we had to step back and go like well what’s something that I always do with my mobile device while I make telephone calls And in fact I I have been using a phone since I’ve been seven years old I know how to do it without any training And I thought well I wonder if we if we can actually leverage that to create a payment platform and access and just by being more curious

Andrew: was an

app. You create it, you put it in a lot and watch people use it and stumble to download, get frustrated. You personally are watching this happen. And this thing that you built is thinking, and you’re not frustrated. This is kind of exciting for you. And so you say, what can we solve?

And you come up with this idea that we talked about, actually, what was the process to get to? That was the first version text base was the first version calling up and having somebody enter information. What was it?

Jerry: The first version you downloaded

Andrew: mean,

Jerry: and it access

Andrew: Yeah. And, and, uh, I think talked about the problem with Bluetooth. It’s not consistent, frankly, just downloading the app. You lost me at because for every little thing that I do, I don’t want to download another app. It takes forever to do it. It slows me down when I’m looking for that, is this thing worth doing or not?

So you then switch to text messaging or phone calls. What was the first version of that? Because that’s not an obvious solution, the way that you came up with it, where people call and then there’s texts, then there’s call and that’s like, it’s elegant, but had you iterate to that

Jerry: well I started I thought so then I actually received a um uh um I can’t remember the company but I received a text message Right Uh and I thought well I wonder if you could text you could text to actually open a gate Would that would that work Uh and uh I tested that and I watched customers do that And people are not that when you do a dual code text right A text this number text this

Andrew: no, I don’t know why that bothers me too, for some And I’ll see people say just texts, it’s four numbers or five numbers that you text to and you start text the word park or whatever it is for some reason a pain. Okay. And so you tried that and then you said, whoa, let’s do phone call.

Jerry: So I tried that so then so then I go like okay well I’m getting closer Right I’m getting closer because the text you don’t have to download anything So I knew that was And so then I then I said well wait a minute I wonder if we actually what

Andrew: Um

Jerry: was the original purpose of a mobile phone to dial a mobile now Y what let’s take it down to It’s the very core of what it was used built for And that’s when magic happened it was magical and we saw we saw people actually have an emotional impact to it because it was like you could see in faces like

Andrew: Uh, yeah, such a good

when you someone

do

that

even as a consumer to have that experience feel so good. All right. You know, I’ve got to pause here. One of the things that I’ve discovered in these interviews is that great ideas do start with a problem and you experienced a problem, or you noticed a problem that consumers are frustrated taking out credit cards, waiting in line.

That whole thing. The other thing I noticed is if the person who’s paying has the problem, they will pay for the solution. If the person who’s paying doesn’t have the problem, but their customers do, they may or may not. And they definitely don’t feel a sense of urgency. So how did you, how did you know that they would be willing to pay for this or that they would be willing to suffer, to try some new technology, just to benefit some consumers really have no affinity for the parking lot in the first place and whatever problem they have maybe seems insignificant to the parking lot owner.

Jerry: yeah I think that well first of all um uh it’s a real problem for the parking lot owner because what happens is is that if the if the systems are not working well or you talked about getting trapped in the lane and not being able to pay and all those kinds of things well that disruption Creates a real business problem in the facility. And so, the gates are getting broken you know maybe you call security they raise the gate to let the customer out You know there’s there’s a lot of disruption that happens uh uh in the facility And so um, what I wanted to do though, and I tested this in, in New York city, uh, uh, I really wanted to see if consumers would be willing to pay, uh, pay an extra charge.

Right? And so in our test facilities in New York, we, we did as many as 17,000 transactions a day, uh, at a dollar. And we did this for months and months and months, I got four four complaints

Andrew: so I’ve got to say Jerry that’s New I remember occasionally I drive from Queens into Manhattan park in Manhattan, pay 40 50 bucks for just a few hours of parking and think I should’ve just called the taxi. There are dollars insignificant did how’d you know, then the people outside of New York would be as forgiving of expect.

Jerry: Well here’s the thing Um you know I I live in New York right now Right And so the the thing you’re right about the pricing but what I do find that one of the reasons I love New York is that you know are vocal here and so and they will tell you the truth Uh and so if they don’t like something they’re going to they will absolutely tell you regardless of the price or anything else So I really felt like I put it in and put that concept to test in maybe one of the most vocal markets in the world that you could have So then when I then so I knew I could do it When my next facilities were in Indianapolis and Austin Texas and places like that Right And the experience was the same even though the price of the parking was a little bit less it didn’t matter Um and so you know that’s just never been an issue for us at

Andrew: All right. Let me talk about my first sponsor. And then we’ll come back into the story and I’d like to hear about pre spaces part of your career. My sponsors, HostGator for anyone out there who needs a website for your business, all you have to do is go to hostgator.com/mixergy. When you do, they’ll give you a discount on their already low price.

Their hosting will just fricking work and you’ll be able to forget about it and start focusing on your business. I know I did. I switched to them. Nothing happened, everything was great, except my price was lower. And frankly, I don’t even know their phone number or contact information or how they just, they they’re invisible because they work hostgator.com/mixer to get that short URL.

And when you do, you’ll get a great price and frankly, I’ll also get credit for sending you over. So I appreciate you for doing that. Alright. Um, how, what’s your process for signing up, um, for signing up parking lots that maybe already have a system in place maybe are already coming.

Jerry: Yeah so you know we we look for uh there there are over 40,000 Uh gated parking facilities in the urban cores

Andrew: that includes

the, that are building where they’re not charging, but people in a residential building just want to get in and out of their place. Okay.

Jerry: Yeah And so um uh and at least half of those have have parking equipment that’s over a decade old old And uh and what’s interesting is is that you know when I started my career in the early eighties the parking equipment was less sophisticated but it lasted longer The more computer-based it’s gotten the the the life of the systems uh have drastically gone down because they’re more sophisticated electronically but technology changes so quickly that you know they become obsolete in about five years So there’s a whole bunch of legacy old systems there that um they still work They’re not working well And and you know particularly now in the we’re post COVID now right Um but in this environment the real estate industry has been hit hard There’s not um a lot of cap ex dollars available know to make improvements over the next two or three years And so they’re kind of trying to keep these systems you know working a little bit longer And meanwhile and while come along we have a system that works a gate That’s the very stable part of the parking and it costs the owner nothing to do it and it solves a problem for them Um so you know we

Andrew: And that’s because

you’re saying this thing, that’s costing you a lot of money and going to continue to cost you even more money because it’s getting older and older at a time when you don’t have money to spend on it, we’ll eliminate all that expense and make it work better for your customers and get them out the garage faster.

That’s the sales pitch. Oh, I can’t, can’t believe it costs $50,000 to maintain it. Where does the money go to maintain what?

Jerry: You know S you know the it’s a software

Andrew: Oh, they’re also paying software as a service fees year. Okay.

Jerry: Absolutely And so in any time you want to make a change in the system you know it’s $25,000 and you know there there’s a lot of costs Now look I’m not I understand that that’s their business That’s how they make money Um but you know what what’s happened Uh the new technologies of the world Andrew are the fact

Andrew: Yeah

Jerry: into the cloud And that you own your own hardware And so I you know I that’s why we leveraged the mobile device

Andrew: yeah yeah Yeah

Jerry: own that Right And I don’t have to buy it You already own it So how can I utilize that to actually run the business And again it’s just more efficient the costs and you know I don’t have to tell apple or Android to increase

to

Andrew: add apple pay and they easier. adding my credit cards into the phone as soon as I set a brand new phone. And so they’re doing your work for you. All right. I get how you are right now. Let’s go back to how you got started. How’d you get started in this business.

Jerry: Well look every good every good story

Andrew: The

best ones. Yes.

Jerry: So so so I started uh graduated from Kansas university Um my girlfriend at the time uh was going to grad school at at um, K U med center in Kansas city. So, um, we’re dating, I love her. I’m going to go over there and, and, you know, find a job in Kansas city.

And so I started my career as a valet parking manager at the Hyatt Regency in Kansas city. And so that’s how I got started in the business. Um, and I grew up on, you know, in a small town. I was a cowboy on a ranch for five years and, you know, I never paid for

Andrew: And I

Jerry: didn’t even

I

Andrew: extra so that

they not only parked, but also have somebody parked their car for them.

Jerry: and I loved it I loved it I loved it I loved it And so um I became super curious about the business The company that that I started with there they were called central parking and it was a relatively small regional company at the time Uh but the owner had a

Andrew: By managing

that already existing Okay

Jerry: Uh yeah And uh I was there 14 years Uh I moved to eight different cities during that period of time and became of the top four people in the company And um it was

Andrew: about it

The acquisition.

Jerry: it I really loved it Yeah You know you know it um I like uh I you know I like hard work Um And the thing is is that path it’s one of those careers that if you worked harder and really applied yourself you had a lot more opportunities And when I was a a cowboy I used to raise cattle and I’ll never forget One year I had I always had a hundred calves I took them to market and, um, the Mar the beef market was really down.

And by the time I paid my feed bill, you know, uh, all, all my expenses that year, I had $75 leftover, and my car insurance was 65 bucks. So I had $10 left. And I remember going, like, you know, I worked hard for this. And, and the market controlled what I was going to make or not make nothing, had nothing to do with my hard work.

So I go, this isn’t for me, I’m going to do something that if I work hard, that I can actually make a difference Right And the parking industry really is that it’s a lot of hardworking people you can make a difference.

Andrew: And so you also said, in addition to that, that you started a few businesses. I tried to look them up. I don’t know what they are. What are they?

Jerry: Well so so um gosh several uh one is uh um uh uh Amazon advertising And so uh this one became really quite famous because uh you know what

Andrew: Yeah we yeah

Jerry: right So uh I can claim that I’m I founded binge-watch And so I had this great idea Uh have you ever seen the Highlander uh movies or Highlander

Andrew: I

though

Jerry: So it was a Saifai movies and it became a television series And at one time it was the second most watched show around the world Um number one was

Andrew: Okay

On

Jerry: and yeah and so but they had a European version and the European version had more blood and more skin and things And so I had this idea that um what if we packaged a season the European versions and uh which they were 14 episodes and what if we sold those as a package to people so that they could you know buy them and watch three three episodes Right. And this is actually in the VHS So I tested it Um there’s a famous uh uh production company called Davis pans or productions that did the movies And the TV show And I came up with this idea for Peter Davis, the producer. And so we sold this, we, we sold the sets for $150, believe it or not. And we sold millions of them.

And so then if you bought season one, you would want season two, then you’d want season three you would want season

Andrew: where’d you

at

blockbuster

Jerry: No we sold them on a week We ran television commercials during the

Andrew: Uh, got it for people

who to the

box set of Oh wow. We

Jerry: and and they would call and we would get thousands and thousands and thousands of calls So So that was M one advertising Um uh we did that for you know for years

Andrew: like a ten-year run. I’m looking all this stuff up talking in Pasadena.

Jerry: Yep yep It was it was great We we did um I had um a company called smart sound which was a soundtrack creation tool for a movie producers and video producers Uh that company just did phenomenally well um uh several patents with that uh DVC direct which was we we we packaged the first video clips uh that people could So for instance if you you know you see uh uh a Titan rocket takeoff you see the space shuttle takeoff you see earth from space you all these classic clips right Well what I did is I uh license the JPL NASA library and digital digitized it So you could put it in movies and and television things like

Andrew: And how did you sell that? Was online sales experience or,

Jerry: they were they were yeah they were they were uh online sales then at the time they were on the files are big, so there’ll be on DVDs. And so then when the internet really started taking off, we started a company called 24 7 digital that we had a process of now downloading you know downloading all of that licensing that the advertising agencies and things Um and so you know um I owned a company called stop pain which was a a a bought that out of bankruptcy It was a Topical analgesic a company It still exists today. It’s in

Andrew: every How do you even come up with the, it seems like maybe you got into the advertising business and then from there you’re looking for something to sell for yourself.

And then from there you said, these people want content. Is that where

Jerry: Yeah, no, it is. And I think that what, uh, and it’s really benefited me, you know, in business. Um, I like challenges. And so if I came across and, uh, and I, I, you know, you’d probably go like, well, how does that all fit? It was always following a passion, right? If it was, if it was an opportunity and I would feel a passion.

For, you know, for that, I would dive into it. And, and I really just wanted to frankly, train myself, not to be afraid that if even, because I’d never done it before, when I did my first television commercial, uh, uh, and, and Peter Davis said, well, Jerry, this is a great idea. Have you ever done a television commercial before?

And I said, absolutely not but I know I can And we actually won awards on our TV commercials So um I just wanted to not be

Andrew: What’s your, uh, I’m sorry to interrupt, but what is your methodology? What is your methodology for being afraid, getting past it, and then finding a way to be productive. It feels like for some people it’s, I’m going to find the person who does it the best, and I’ll talk to that person and then hire her and then work with her for other people.

It’s insane research. What is Jerry’s system?

Jerry: Well I would definitely talk to people that had And I would seek out um knowledge right And then uh really I would just uh, I would just at that point in time want to experience some of that on my own so I really liked the feeling of having that little nod in your stomach going like wow I’m really over my skis here

Andrew: Okay

Jerry: you know what That’s when that’s when um uh uh revelation happens and you have to position yourself to be in that spot and that’s and you know God delivers it. He will tell you what to do And that’s what but you have to put yourself in that position You don’t get the answer any other way

Andrew: By putting yourself in that position, you mean it has to be something that’s big enough to matter and a problem painful enough that God would give his attention to

Jerry: Yep

Andrew: that

Jerry: and and you have to put yourself you have to you have to put yourself into position of of the fact that um that it’s basically impossible for you to do

Andrew: Because

Jerry: because that’s when that’s when answer comes

Andrew: because

Jerry: know, is beyond your

Andrew: meaning that that no supernatural, no God is going to want to go. I shouldn’t say I, I want to find out how I can say this. Well here, um, talk religion. Well, you’re saying God is not going to want to turn his attention to, how can I help someone with a small problem? He’s got bigger things to do, but if you’ve got this big problem, now it’s on him.

Just like you’re not dealing with the small issues at work. It’s the big ones that you’re brought in for is that it is that the thinking?

Jerry: Well, it may not be the size of the problem. The are, are, you know, a small problem. You get a small result, a a big result, but the way that God rewards you by the fact that you took the risk and you did something far above your own knowledge and ability, and that’s always in a hundred percent of the time he shows up.

So, uh, but most people one, and people will stand on the sideline and say, well, give me the answer and I’ll go do it. But God doesn’t work that way. God says, go do it. And I’ll give you the.

Andrew: and then what do you do in between these big moments in your life to keep your relationship with God going strong enough and meaningful enough that you’re not just a taker when you need something?

Jerry: Well, look, I think that, you know, look, um, uh, I spend quiet time, you know, anywhere from an hour to two hours morning, you know, very quietly thinking about, you know, what, how can I put myself in a more uncomfortable position? What, how does he see this circumstance? How does he, how does he, you know, how does he think about this?

Right? And, um, I spend my time really compelling myself, you know, really daily to, to move in that direction, to take that risk, to make that phone call to, you know, to do that. it’s quite exciting. It’s, uh, it’s a very exciting to live. Uh huh Uh, I think that most people don’t do that because they really are, are frozen in fear.

Uh, and I think that a lot of people go like, please take this problem away from me. Right. Pray, please take this problem away from me. And, and I think the opposite, I’m like, oh, you delivered this problem for me because I’m going to, I get a gift from this problem, actually. And so what’s the gift. going to be an acceleration.

It’s going to be an upgrade. It’s going to be profitable or there’s provision involved. And so when you really know that, why wouldn’t you, why wouldn’t you want to tackle every problem that you can because it’s really, it’s a, it’s a joyous experience. It

Andrew: Meaning

that if you hadn’t seen people stumble with their phones, trying to install an app, trying to, uh, get the spaces, experience to work version one, you wouldn’t have discovered a much better system that doesn’t even involve updating an app all the time and the app store. And it’s just a phone call and everything works beautifully.

Got it. That’s what you’re, that’s what you’re talking about. And you needed that problem in order to get to this elegant solution. And that’s the way you think a great solution is going to come

there’s a big problem

Jerry: there’s a big problem. And so, and I think people shy away from the problem, but don’t do that. Uh, actually don’t be, you know, the failure part of each part of it, um, uh, is, is such a key important of this as part of the journey. So I’m not afraid of that. I mean, look, I’ll screw up. I’ll make a mistake. That means I’m one step closer to really having this solved. And if I, if I make a really big mistake, then I know the outcome is going to be amazingly

Andrew: think, or maybe beginning, were naive when you’re going through this. Like, here’s a person who doesn’t see the real problem. They’re going to get us in real trouble. Maybe early employees, family members, they did.

Jerry: Well it’s sure. I mean, I think that I’m old enough now people, you know, family members, my own family, people, you know, know to trust that, um, my process, you know, I ended up staying, you know, I ended up

Andrew: Yep

Jerry: feet. Right. And so I think that, you know, people get comfortable with that. Um, uh, you know, first time employees, um, this is a great place to work.

Well, why will look, um, uh, I’m an to. I’m a, you know, I’m an adventure and I’m going to stretch. I’m going to stretch you and you’re going to learn. And so it’s a good atmosphere, right? And I think people, you know, you, you have such a great, you have a great impact on people and you don’t have them. They’re not part of your company forever, but you get to see them go and do other things and learn from that experience.

And so it’s, that’s, know, years later I’ve had thousands and thousands of employees. And I love the fact when people come up to me and go like, Hey, remember 1981, you know, you promoted me. You, you mentored me and look what happened to my life. And thank you for that.

Andrew: happens when you don’t have it, have you ever gotten to a place where you just don’t feel it anymore, where you feel down depressed, unable to work up the energy to believe.

Jerry: Well, I think everybody does. I mean, I think that, um, I’ve learned, I’ve learned now that if I feel that way, then I’ve got, uh, you know, there’s a big breakthrough coming. And so, you know, if I’m starting to have anxiety and stress something, then I’m like, wow, okay, well, look, to be amazing.

Right. And so, um, but I think that, you know, everything has

a

to it. So, and when I say that one of the, or one of the seasons of every company, I like, I like starting them. I like building them, but I usually sell them because once it becomes administrative, right, it doesn’t need me. And that’s not my thing.

So why not pass that on? Uh, let somebody else nurture that in a different season and I’ll go and, you know, figure out what the next thing is. And so, you know, if I don’t feel passionate about it anymore or I’m ready to move on for sure.

Andrew: Jerry. I’m so psyched about your. I get the sense of possibility when I hear you talk this way, I wish you, I wish you did have some way for me to tap back into that energy. I guess that’s why a lot of people like working for you. But boy, I wish that there was a way to tap into that energy beyond just working for you, because I, I get excited about the way you think about the world, the way you think about problems, the way you trust and allow something bigger than yourself to bring a solution, but also believe enough in yourself that if you put yourself in a tough situation, something good could come out of it.

Um, um, if you ever want to do a podcast dairy, let me know,

like

the weekly Jerry Skullet podcast, I, I will help

initiate keep it

All right.

Jerry: well, look I think you know look your you know your show is amazing I you know I just want to I very grateful for the opportunity to

Andrew: Thank you

Thanks being here. All right. For everyone who wants to go sign up for this number one, you have to go and get yourself a parking lot. Number two, you need no, this is not like a direct to consumer sale. We’re letting you know spaces exist. Look for it. And the next time you go through a lot that has it go.

I remember the guy, Jerry who talked about this, and next time you go through one that doesn’t maybe let donors know that they should upgrade a little bit and save themselves some money. Jerry. Thanks so much for doing this. Thanks.

Who should we feature on Mixergy? Let us know who you think would make a great interviewee.

x