12 Oct Parking Pandemonium

When a friend wants to meet for dinner at a new restaurant in the city, my first question is, “how’s the parking?” I’d love to try that artisanal cheese café that everyone is raving about, but not if I’ll have to circle the block twelve times and eventually park on a side street with two signs right next to each other somehow telling me I both absolutely can, yet definitely cannot, park there. My blood pressure went up just thinking about it.

So, when given the choice, I opt to stay in for the night rather than deal with parking pandemonium. Though the best hotspot in town may not suffer from the loss of customers like me, many urban businesses are missing out on potential revenue and growth by not investing in parking.

On a fundamental level, a parking lot offers your costumers an incredibly valuable resource. Convenience. People are willing to pay more for convenience and it often serves as a differentiating factor between you and your competitors. The more accessible your business is, for both city dwellers and suburban commuters, the more customers you will attract. Offering parking near your business reflects accessibility and convenience. Drivers have a secure, close location to park their cars without the worry of being ticketed, booted, or towed. Even customers using ride-sharing apps can benefit as a parking lot provides a safe area for cars to pick up riders without impeding traffic.

A parking option isn’t just a useful amenity for customers. You can also use parking to engage prospective talent. If your staff relies on ride-sharing or public transportation because of daily garage fees, offering a free parking option can attract and maintain a focused, more productive team. This is especially true for commuters coming from areas without public transit. A long commute already has an impact on a person’s mental wellbeing, so ensuring an easy option for parking can be a deciding factor for great “out of town” talent.

Of course, building or acquiring a parking lot costs money, so determining your objective is key. You’ll need to decide where your parking lot will be located in relation to your business, how many spaces will be available, and if parking will be free for all customers or available for a fee. Perhaps you want to offer parking but there is already a lot or garage nearby. You can consider sharing the space with other businesses and even offer parking validation for your customers. Once you have a detailed plan addressing these factors, you can begin developing the parking option that is right for your business.

Whether your customers just enjoy driving into the city or arriving by personal vehicle is their only option, having accessible parking available at your business can make all the difference in their experience. From building your own lot to coordinating with local lots and garages, there are many ways to provide this valuable resource to your customers and team members. In turn, you may find your business generating greater appeal with the local community and beyond.

Bruce Freides