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What will the FTC Non-compete Ban Mean for the Parking Industry?


The parking industry has been called many things over the years: niche, nuanced, specialized, and even quirky. But few words define it better than "tight-knit."

Everyone knows everyone.

Parking is a highly specialized industry. It's not a subject taught in college. Parking professionals learn parking through experience. That means, once someone has some parking experience, they stay in parking.

It is quite common in parking for a parking manager to have a smattering of similar parking operations employments spanning a decade; a salesperson at a parking technology company likely worked their way up another one a few years before.

It’s makes sense that parking professionals’ skills are transferable and attractive to competitors, particularly in an industry so specialized and complex. However, a great deal of contractual obligations prevents professionals from industry wide mobility.

On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted to ban non-compete agreements. Nationwide, this ban is expected to free up 30 million US workers from non-compete clauses, allowing them to change jobs within their industry or break out in to entrepreneurship on their own. The ban exempts senior executives. Non-competes will stay in effect for workers who make $151,164 or more per year and who are in policymaking positions. 


Non-competes 101

Non-compete agreements, often included in employment contracts, restrict employees from working for competing companies or starting their own ventures in the same industry for a specified period after leaving their current employer. These agreements typically aim to protect a company's trade secrets, client relationships, and competitive advantage by preventing employees from sharing proprietary information or joining rival firms.


Why the ban?

The FTC's ban on non-compete agreements stems from growing concerns about their potential negative impact on labor market competition, innovation, and economic mobility. Critics argue that non-competes can stifle employee mobility, limit job opportunities, and suppress wages by trapping workers in their current positions. Furthermore, non-compete agreements have been criticized for their disproportionately negative effects on low-wage workers and their potential to hinder entrepreneurship and innovation.

How will this impact the parking industry?

The parking industry, characterized by its small and niche market, faces both challenges and opportunities in light of the FTC ban on non-competes:

  1. Talent Pool and Competition: Given its specialized nature, the parking industry relies heavily on skilled employees with specific expertise in areas such as parking management, facility operations, and niche technologies. With the ban on non-competes, parking companies may experience increased competition for talent as employees gain greater freedom to explore job opportunities across the industry. This heightened competition could drive up recruitment costs and necessitate innovative strategies for attracting and retaining top talent.

  2. Innovation and Industry Disruption: The removal of non-compete agreements could spur innovation within the parking industry. Freed from contractual constraints, employees may feel empowered to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors, develop new technologies, or explore alternative business models. This increased dynamism and competition could drive improvements in service quality, operational efficiency, and customer experience, ultimately benefiting consumers and driving industry growth.

  3. Focus on Employee Retention and Engagement: With non-compete agreements no longer serving as a barrier to employee mobility, parking companies must prioritize employee retention and engagement to maintain a skilled workforce. This may involve investing in professional development programs, offering competitive compensation and benefits packages, and fostering a positive work culture that promotes loyalty and commitment among employees. By creating an environment where employees feel valued and supported, parking companies can mitigate the risk of talent turnover and ensure continuity in service delivery.

  4. Compliance and Legal Considerations: As the parking industry adapts to the FTC ban on non-competes, companies must review their existing employment contracts and policies to ensure compliance with the new regulations. This includes revising or eliminating non-compete clauses and implementing alternative measures, such as non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) or non-solicitation agreements, to protect proprietary information and client relationships. Moreover, parking companies must stay abreast of any additional guidance or enforcement actions from regulatory authorities to avoid potential legal challenges or penalties.

The future of non-competes remains hazy.

With all that being considered, there's a possibility that the ban might not materialize. The truth is, this ruling is likely to encounter significant legal hurdles before implementation, with many experts viewing it as an overstep by the FTC. But, if it goes into effect it will have a huge impact on parking sales and management professionals across the US.

When in doubt, plan it out.

The FTC ban on non-compete agreements presents both challenges and opportunities for niche industries like parking. While the removal of non-competes may lead to increased competition for talent and necessitate strategic adjustments in recruitment and retention practices, it also opens doors for innovation, industry disruption, and growth. By proactively addressing compliance requirements, fostering a supportive workplace culture, and embracing strategic partnerships, parking companies can navigate the evolving landscape and position themselves for success in a more dynamic and competitive market environment.


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