If you’ve ever had to shell out cash for parking at a shopping area, a central business district, a sports arena, downtown, or anywhere else, you may have thought to yourself that running a parking lot or a parking garage must be a pretty lucrative business. In fact, it can be extremely profitable for the business owner that starts and runs their business wisely. Like any professional undertaking, there are several things you’ll need to consider if you want to realize success. For starters, you’ll need a business plan and a loan. But before you get your business off the ground there are a few things you should probably consider. Here are some dos and don’ts that will help you to launch your parking business and make it a success.
- DO: Find a good location. The number one consideration when starting a parking lot business is location. If you don’t find the right one you’re not going to survive. The first thing you need to think about is the amount of people coming through that will require parking, which is why it pays to select a location that is near a busy area. However, you also need to address the issue of cost. While you certainly stand to make a killing by purchasing property in a busy urban center with plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options (but little street parking), you’re going to pay premium rates for such land. And you’ll have to have proper permits in place before you can create a lot or build a parking structure. With the right location, however, you could make a tidy profit.
- DON’T: Fail to consider customers. It’s important to think about who your customers might be when you build your parking lot. You might go into business with the idea of catering to the public with hourly rates for parking, but you could be neglecting the prospect of renting out spots for monthly leases to nearby apartment buildings or businesses. While the monthly income may end up being less than the potential earnings for hourly spots, it never hurts to have the financial security provided by long-term contracts.
- DO: Get insurance. As a business owner you’re responsible for the safety of any people or valuables on your property, including drivers and their cars. So you need to make sure that you have appropriate liability and other types of insurance before anyone sets foot on your lot.
- DON’T: Forget security. You might think that because you have insurance you don’t need security, but it’s in your best interest to at least install surveillance cameras and some kind of gate or fencing system. And having hired guards on duty is even better, especially if you have long-term customers that park expensive vehicles in your lot or parking structure.
- DO: Practice proper maintenance. In order to keep business coming in, your lot needs to be in good condition, and this requires ongoing maintenance. So before starting a parking lot business you might want to price out annual inspections and anticipated maintenance and repairs. A company like Brite Line Asphalt Maintenance Inc. should be able to provide you with quotes and the service you need to keep your parking lot up and running.