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By Nigel Hilton

The chances are you haven’t spent much time thinking about your business’ parking lot. It’s just there; an area for customers to park, so what exactly is there to think about?

A surprising amount, actually. For many customers, their first direct experience with your business will be the parking lot. Given that we all know how important first impressions can be, ensuring that your lot is up to standard is an important aspect of controlling the way that customers perceive your business. If you want to be sure to dazzle them right from the start, then you’re going to need to ensure you have all five of the measures below installed…

#1 – Clear instructions

If you have restrictions on your parking lot — such as a maximum stay or who is allowed to park there — then these need to be clearly signposted. No customer wants to wonder if they are really allowed to use the lot, and you also want to dissuade non-customers from using the lot for other means. A clear sign that reads something along the lines of: “PARKING RESERVED FOR CUSTOMERS OF [your business]”, then this should suffice.

#2 – Security cameras

The ubiquitous “vehicles are left at the owner’s risk” signage might legally remove any liability you have for customer vehicles, but you’re going to want to do a little more than that. Your customers are using the parking lot because they are visiting your business; if something happens in that parking lot, they’re going to expect your business to want to help rectify the issue. You might not have any legal reason to do so, but you have a very strong customer service-based reason to do so. Installing a good security system is the best way of protecting your customers and, ultimately, your relationship with them; has some good advice on good security systems you might want to use.

#3 – A smooth surface

Many parking lots are in terrible condition, left that way because they’re small areas that aren’t driven over at speed, so the odd bump or dent isn’t seen as that big of a problem. While these issues might not be horrific, a poorly-maintained surface isn’t exactly the kind of message you want to send to your customers. It’ll be interpreted as either “this business hasn’t actually noticed the state of their parking lot” or, worse, “they’ve noticed and not done anything about it”. It’s fair to say you don’t want your customers thinking either of those things in relation to your business, so research the likes of for more information on repairing the surface once and for all.

#4 – Management of non-customers

It is a simple fact of life that people who are not your customers will seek to use your parking lot. This is incredibly frustrating, and can be incredibly hard to fix without great expense. You may find that the best option is to install a ticketing system, whereby everyone has to pay to use the lot, and you reimburse your customers. This system acts as a deterrent to unwanted parking, but even if a non-customer does use your lot, you still earn a little cash as a result.

By implementing the above, you can be 100% confident your business parking lot is in the best imaginable shape.

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