March 27, 2017
Douglas Parking LLC was founded in 1930 in Oakland by Sanford Douglas and is now owned by David Douglas, his brother Steven, and father, Leland. Douglas Parking currently has offices in 8 states with 140 locations and 400 employees serving their customers. They manage, lease, or own parking facilities and offer valet parking, shuttle transportation, and consulting services. Consulting services include providing operational plans, projections of income and expenses, recommendations concerning traffic flow and revenue control equipment, customized marketing strategies, and address security issues. They have decades of experience in every type of parking operation, from fully automated self-parking facilities to staffed valet parking and stack-parking operations. Family lore is that the business started when they owned a gas station and someone offered them a nickel to be able to leave their vehicle at the station for the day.
This is a true family business and not just because it is run by family members. Employees are made to feel like family. David and the partners are proud of the fact that many of their employees have been with them for many years, some as long as 25 or more. He believes because of Douglas Parking’s reputation as being honest, fair, and transparent that they have achieved a culture of caring and longevity. They are hands-on owners who have an in-depth institutional knowledge of the parking business that they employ to help their clients succeed and increase their bottom lines.
One of David’s goals is to continue efforts to train and inspire their young management team to provide services of quality and value. There tag line is “We serve people, not customers.” Douglas Parking’s business model and philosophy has been based on building and sustaining relationships. David’s other goal is to continue to grow the company in growth markets such as San Francisco, Denver and Las Vegas. Some of the challenges the company faces is competing with the large public national companies as they have deeper pockets, as well as competing with driverless vehicles, ride sharing services, and employees working from home.
One of their competitive advantages over the competition is that they are privately owned and don’t have to wait for approvals from boards or stockholders. They can make decisions and react to opportunities very quickly and can respond to their customers promptly because they have personal relationships with the people they do business with.
One thing I feel that RINA does is look at our company and put themselves in our shoes and think, ‘what can we do to help the Douglas family to increase their profitability and minimize the amount of taxes we pay?’ We turn to RINA not just for tax purposes but to evaluate business opportunities.