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Green Ops, Q3 2012

Parking Garages

I love selling parking garage and warehouse retrofit projects! 

Why chase school or office retrofits while there are still garages and warehouses out there?  Truth be told, all business is good business, but if you are looking to break into retrofit project work, parking garages are an excellent place to start. KISS….Keep it Simple.  Unlike responding to an RFP and bidding against many other people on a much more complicated project, why not create your own opportunity?

Parking garage audits are a lot less complex than a school or office.  Many times there is just one fixture type to count and change.  A 175W Metal Halide or 150W HPS lamp is the standard.  Maybe a 250W lamp now and then.  So typing in the spreadsheet is a snap!  The hours of operation are often long…..24X7 is not uncommon.  And rebates abound further reducing project costs in many markets.  The result is good ROI with a payback of 2 years or less.

When we create the opportunity, we control the sale.  I like to buy a mailing list of parking garages in an area and have a salesperson get to work.  The selling cycle is not subject to an RFP, so both the salesperson and the manager can gauge whether the salesperson is having success or needs to modify the selling method or strategy, based on the results they see over a month or two of calling.  We usually start with a letter and some references, and then follow this with a phone call.

So what about technology?  Well fluorescent is still the technology to beat.  Take a look at the two attached proposals for a basic garage with 250 fixtures.  Even using the new Cooper LED Garage fixture the economics still favor the fluorescent. Project cost after rebate goes from $53,000 with fluorescent to over $125,000 for LED and the payback increases from just under 11 months to 1.76 years.  Life of the XL fluorescent lamps is comparable to LED, except that when it comes time to relamp, it is a lot cheaper to change the fluorescent tubes!

Some people have asked about the sales approach and the marketing materials used.  I have saved the following files on the public server in the following folder. You must be accessing it from inside the FSG Citrix network.
You will find the following:
  • 2) Spreadsheets for the fluorescent and LED options.  These contain our complete proposal
  • Cut sheets on the products used
  • Parking Garage Case Studies
  • A PDF of the proposal to the customer
  • An article on the 179D EPACT deduction for garages
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