As a business consultant, I have been called upon by many companies that are considering locations for their offices or a new store. One constant issue that I come across is that small business owners do not pay enough attention to the parking lots of the locations that they are looking at. The parking lot of your small business can help you, or potentially kill your business. These are tips that should be followed in consideration of the parking lot of a potential location for your small business.
It Must Fit Everyone
Most of the small business owners that I have worked with over the years consider the number of customers that they might have at any given time when looking over the parking lot of a potential location. The issue is that if the parking lot is in front of a strip mall, or office building, it will need to fit the customers and workers of all of the businesses. If you expect that your customers and workers will take up five spots in a plaza with four locations and ten spots, it might be best to move on.
Easy In Easy Out
Many business locations are built on sites that do not have the best access from the road. They might require a tight turn, a long wait as traffic clears, or some other hazard that might hamper someone from going into the location. Often, these locations are offered at a discounted rate.
If your small business is going to be an office with few visitors, these types of parking lots might be fine for you. If you are going to have regular traffic in your parking lot with customers, it is usually better to pass. How many times have you heard people say that they avoid certain businesses because the parking lot is too hard to get in and out of?
There are a number of parking lots that I have seen that are slightly slanted towards the building so that water can drain down. To me, this is one of the worst design ideas in the world. I have seen many clients have floods when the snow melts. I have also had instances when I have seen cars go into the front window of a business because the drive could not compensate for the slant.
If it Ain’t Fixed Now…
If you are looking at a location for your small business and the parking lot is a mess, pass. If there are multiple potholes, patches, or unmarked spots in the parking lot now, expect it to be like that for a long time. The owners of strop plazas usually do not like spending money. Often, they will keep these parking lots in disrepair until the city forces them to take action. Do not believe people if they say that the parking lot will be fixed soon. Tell them that you will come back and check when the work is done.