Should you give your staff parking permits? And, if so, what type should they get?

In our office we get a lot of requests for 10-15 “VIP” permits so that management can distribute one to each staff member working on the property. We always question giving away that many specialized parking permits and here’s why:

“VIP” is not the same as “employee”. I understand that employees are “very important people”, but the parking permit is not the best place to recognize that.

“VIP” really means “free pass to park anywhere and everywhere without consequence”. For our purposes, any vehicle bearing our “VIP” permit is free to park anywhere on the property and the vehicle will not be towed. This includes handicap spaces, fire lanes, resident’s reserved spaces or even up on the sidewalk between buildings (and, yes, we’ve seen it done). When setting up towing for private property, its common to require permits to limit how many people are using the lot, but its important to only use that VIP permit in rare cases.

What the “VIP” permit is for is vehicles that are likely to NEED to park close to a unit, especially after hours, in order to get some work or task done. If the on-call maintenance person needs to back a truck with equipment in as close to a unit as possible, he/she may need to be in a resident’s assigned space or a handicap space while the work gets done.

What the VIP permit is NOT for is any employee on a private property who wants to park on property. If you have employees who need to park on property, I imagine that they would be expected to follow your general parking rules. Certainly, if you are not allowing your residents to park in fire lanes or in hashed areas, then you would not want your employees doing it either. Therefore, if you give your employees just a regular parking pass for your property, they will have the proper permission to park in any regular resident space and not run into problems with being towed. VIP permits are not necessary for these types of employees as they are not likely to have a need to park contrary to the rules and promoting that type of behavior is never recommended.