If you own a small business, the condition of your parking lot may not be at the top of your priority list. However, a parking lot is literally the gateway to your business, and a bad experience for clients and customers may leave them fuming before they even walk in the door. That's why it's important for business owners to ensure their parking lots are in top-notch condition and properly equipped. Below are a few things you can do to get your parking areas ready and kept in optimal condition:
Start out right
One of the worst mistakes a small business owner can make is trying to piecemeal a parking lot together from vacant space adjoining the building. Mowing grass and having gravel poured and spread is simply not enough to present your business to customers as a serious, substantial operation.
Instead, you will want your parking lot to be level and paved. It will take the skill of a professional civil engineer to help convert vacant land into a parking area that will last and provide reliable service. That's why you should always consult with a contractor that understands the value of making your parking area more than a temporary-appearing plot of land. Only a qualified paving company will be able to gauge soil conditions, drainage and other aspects involved with making a parking lot, so don't attempt to go "cheap" by using inexperienced workers or others who don't appreciate the details. Yes, it will cost more to get it done correctly, but you will find that your bargain was no bargain at all as your inexpensive parking lot starts filling with potholes and floods during every rainstorm.
Keep it clean
Once you have a parking lot in place, it's going to need regular maintenance to keep it in optimal condition. Parking areas accumulate not only soil, but they also contain oil, gasoline, engine coolants, brake fluid, rubber from tires, embedded glass and metal fragments and a number of other substances. All of these things can either breakdown an asphalt coating over time or become hazardous to your customers. Loose items such as nails and screws can cause flat tires and angry clients.
While you may think cleaning your parking lot is a job you can do yourself, there are reasons why it should be outsourced to a professional sweeping company like USA Services of Florida. These individuals are experts at knowing how to:
- Remove difficult stains and deposits with the appropriate chemicals and equipment
- Avoid damaging parking areas by using the correct procedures
- Dispose of accumulated debris that might not be otherwise suitable for disposal in regular trash
- Spot possible problems such as sinking spots, pavement cracking and other concerns that will require repair
Details are important
A customer-friendly parking lot is more than a paved slab; instead, it includes several amenities and thoughtful details. Below are some of these that you should incorporate into your business' parking area:
- Clear entry and exits - be sure that your entrances and exits are clearly marked so there is no confusion about how to get in and out of your lot. Also, use reflective paint to prevent drivers from accidentally crossing curbs.
- Provide ample illumination - lighting your parking lot is important even if you aren't going be open at night. Customers may unexpectedly stay late or arrive early, and you don't want to provide an intimidating environment for them.
- Keep your stripes painted - dimly painted stripes are frustrating for customers if they have trouble telling where to park. In addition, poorly painted parking lots are a sign of disinterest in your business upon your part; customers won't care about it if you don't.
- Have a covered loading and unloading area - if possible, construct a covered drive where customers can unload and load passengers or items. This speaks to your concern for their well-being and sends a positive message that they matter to your business.