Always offering something extra is the secret of success
"WE ARE a one-stop shop for all your car parking needs."
So says Essy Eslamian, the managing director of Total Car Parks, who started the business in 2008.
Despite the difficult economic times, Total Car Parks in Colchester has grown and thrived over the last four years.
They provide a full range of car parking services to their customers. They cater for everyone from the land owner who wants to set up a temporary car park to make some cash, to existing owners of large car parks who want to increase revenue or improve customer service.
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The company can help with security measures and barriers, install new payment methods, or deal with problems, permits and illegal parking.
They have also embraced new technology and customers can now pay by mobile or online at many of the car parks they manage. "You no longer need to remember to bring money with you – you can book online at any of our car parks," Essy said.
Many of the outdoor ticket machines managed by Total Car Parks are now solar-powered, making them as environmentally friendly as possible.
They have also invested in car registration recognition technology to stop people trying to sneak out without paying, and they can supply electric car charging equipment for any customer that requires it.
"This is all part of expanding our business so we can continually offer something extra to customers," Essy explained. "This is the secret of our success. The biggest key to growth today is to diversify, especially in this difficult market."
Total Car Parks handles large-scale projects for many of its customers, and takes on all aspects of the work they need doing , with the help of their excellent contacts in the industry.
"When a customer has a large car parking project, they might be faced with dealing with four or five different companies," Essy said. "But we take on the whole project and they deal solely with us. We handle all of the suppliers and manage the work, making it simpler and easier for them."
Another reason for the company's success is its flexible approach to customers. "Sometimes people come to us with a difficult situation but we always go away and find a solution for them," Essy said. "This is really important to us and it's another key reason why we have grown."
But not everything done at Total Car Parks is to further the business. The caring staff also take time out to do charity work in the community.
For the last three years, the staff have provided free stewarding and car parking help at events for St Helena Hospice in Colchester. All of the staff muck in and they are delighted help with the fundraising efforts.
Essy has also just started working with The Prince's Trust where he hopes to be an inspiration to local young people who are trying to get started in the business world.
Essy will be available to offer guidance and advice on how to make their business a success.
"I am really passionate about this project," Essy said. "If I can help just one young person then that will be a life achievement for me."
Total Car Parks has entered three categories in the Essex Business Excellence Awards this year. They were finalists last year and enjoyed taking part in the event. This year they have entered Essex Enterprising Business, Best Growing Business and Customer Care and Service.
"We see ourselves as a small business and one of the most important things is to show our staff how much we appreciate them," Essy said. "Even to be shortlisted for an award shows we are on the right track and we can all be proud of what we do.
"We also mention our awards and achievements when we write to clients because it is prestigious and helps us to win better contracts.
"If we were lucky enough to win a Business Award it would give us that competitive edge over the other people in the market."