When running a business or managing properties, it is easy to overlook parking lot maintenance. However, the quality and condition of your parking lot can have a significant impact on how customers perceive your company and if they choose to patronize your business. For real estate developers, the condition of your parking lots can impact whether companies want to rent retail or office space in your properties. For companies and properties in cities or near busy roadways, a well-maintained parking lot can also be a valuable asset as an alternative to crowded street parking.
Regular parking lot maintenance can keep your parking facilities in the best condition by protecting your lot from damage and increasing its longevity. Proper upkeep can also reduce your parking lot maintenance costs. A well-maintained parking lot can create happier customers and safer facilities and even expand your customer base. Here are six reasons parking lot maintenance should be a priority for your business.
1. Improves Curb Appeal
Most business and property owners understand the value of curb appeal — they invest in professional landscaping and carefully design signage that captures the spirit of their business. However, one often-overlooked aspect of business curb appeal is parking lot maintenance.
Parking lots are more than just a place for your customers to park while they enjoy a meal at your restaurant or shop for your products. Your parking lot can influence potential customers’ perceptions of your business, and may even be a determining factor in whether they choose your business or head elsewhere. If you are leasing commercial space for offices or stores, the quality of your parking lot may sway potential clients to sign a contract.
If you fail to maintain your parking lot properly, it may gather dirt and debris. Leaves will accumulate in autumn and puddles will form during a rainy spring. Constant exposure to the elements may also cause the parking lot lines to fade and create unattractive potholes and cracks. This poor appearance may cause customers to perceive your business as unprofessional or sloppy. They may assume the manager or owner does not care to maintain their property well, and this perception may carry over to their opinion of your business itself.
A well-maintained parking lot, on the other hand, shows you take good care of your business to keep it in top condition. Customers may perceive your business as more reliable and better-managed. Your customers will enjoy a smooth and clean parking lot and will have a positive perception of your company before they ever step through the front door. Your business may even attract more first-time customers thanks to the excellent curb appeal of your store.
Here are a few ways parking lot maintenance can improve the curb appeal of your business and attract more customers.
- Restores bright color: A parking lot that has been resealed and restriped will have a like-new appearance. Fresh sealcoating will restore the pavement to jet black, and the newly painted stripes will shine in bright white and yellow.
- Creates a smooth surface: Repairing potholes and sealing cracks in your parking lot will create a smooth surface that is more visually appealing and more enjoyable for customers to drive on.
- Eliminates trash and debris: Regular sweeping of your parking lot keeps it free of unsightly dirt and debris. Customers will appreciate the clean appearance and will perceive your business as well-maintained.
- Highlights landscaping features: A poorly maintained parking lot may have weeds, potholes and debris that distract from your landscaping features. An attractive and clean parking lot will highlight your parking lot islands, trees, lampposts and other features that boost your business’s curb appeal.
2. Increases Safety
Parking lot maintenance affects more than just appearance — it can play a significant role in improving the safety of your parking lot for drivers and pedestrians. A parking lot that has not been maintained will develop cracks and potholes over time and accumulate gravel and other debris. Potholes and cracks can cause flat tires, and sharp debris in your parking lot could also damage your customers’ tires or scratch their vehicle.
Fractures or holes in your parking lot also put your customers at risk of falling and injuring themselves. Falls are the leading cause of preventable nonfatal injuries in the United States, and the third leading cause of fatal preventable injuries. If customers are injured or their vehicles are damaged on your property, they may not be likely to return in the future.
Another safety hazard of poor parking lot maintenance is puddles or areas of pooling water. If your parking lot’s drainage system is not working correctly, you may end up with deep pools that are dangerous for customers to drive through. Puddles can also be slippery for pedestrians and may lead to injuries. Puddles and pooling also cause stress to your parking lot and can lead to more serious structural damage. Proper parking lot maintenance will ensure your drains remain clear and keep your parking lot drier and safer.
With constant exposure to sun and rain, parking lot lines, crosswalks, lane markers, stop lines and other painted features will fade over time. Faded pavement markers can make lane lines and parking spots unclear, and drivers may also miss stop signs or other safety signs when they are not reinforced by painted markings. That can cause backed-up traffic and even accidents on your property.
Accidents frequently occur in parking lots, with about one in five motor vehicle accidents happening in a parking lot. These accidents result in about 60,000 injuries and more than 500 fatalities each year. Motor vehicle accidents are particularly fatal for pedestrians — according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 6,000 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents in 2016.
Clear parking lot lines and crosswalks ensure customers can navigate your parking lot safely and reduce the risk of accidents. When drivers and pedestrians can easily traverse your parking lot, they can also spend more time enjoying your business and less time in a traffic jam.
Here are some examples of how parking lot maintenance keeps your customers safe.
- Safer crosswalks: With clearly defined crosswalks, vehicles know to yield for pedestrians and customers know exactly where to cross the road safely.
- Easier parking: Clear pavement markings and parking spots will help customers find a parking spot more quickly without causing traffic jams.
- Fewer ground hazards: Clean parking lots are free of dirt, debris and puddles that can cause damage to customers’ vehicles or injure pedestrians.
3. Maximizes Your Parking Lot Space
As your business grows or company acquires more employees, your parking lot should be able to accommodate this growth. Without parking lot maintenance, however, your lot is likely to become crowded and disorganized. If parking spot lines are faded, customers may not park most efficiently and might impede traffic flow or prevent other customers from being able to park in adjacent spots. Potholes or cracks may also cause customers to avoid parking near these hazards and take up more than one parking space for a single vehicle. If your parking lot has large debris or trash, this can also block parking spots as well as create a poor impression of your business.
If customers cannot find a parking spot due to unclear pavement markings, ground hazards or trash, they may park illegally or become so frustrated that they take their business elsewhere. If you operate a particularly busy store or restaurant, the efficiency of your parking lot is even more critical. A customer who wants to stop by your restaurant on their lunch break may pick a different place to grab lunch if they know your parking lot is often too crowded to find a spot. A busy mom running errands may choose a store where she knows she will be able to find a parking spot more easily.
Parking lot maintenance can ensure parking spots are clearly defined to fit the maximum number of vehicles in your parking lot, and can make navigating your parking lot more manageable. By reorganizing your parking lot striping, you may even be able to add dozens of extra parking spots or better direct traffic flow for a more pleasant parking experience for your employees and customers.
Here are a few ways good parking lot maintenance can increase the available parking space in your lot.
- Clearly defines parking spots: When customers know exactly where to park, they will not accidentally occupy more than one parking spot.
- Keeps all parking spots open: A clean parking lot will not have any trash, debris or puddles obstructing parking spaces, so customers can occupy all your parking spots.
- Can increase the number of parking spots: Restriping your parking lot may allow you to create a more efficient layout that increases the number of available parking spots.
4. Reduces Liability
Creating a safer parking lot is crucial for protecting your customers and their vehicles, but it also reduces your risk of a lawsuit or liability issues. If potholes or cracks cause a customer to fall and injure themselves, your business may be legally liable. The risk of injury is even higher when customers are pushing shopping carts or carrying bulky products from your store. Puddles or patches of ice can also cause customers to fall and hurt themselves.
By repairing cracks and potholes regularly, you can prevent injuries on your property and protect your business from liability issues. Clearing debris and any potential hazards can also reduce your risk of a lawsuit.
5. Complies With Regulations
Parking lot maintenance can also help business owners and property managers ensure their property complies with the law. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards regulate several parking lot features that impact its accessibility — including the number and location of handicapped parking spots, accessible routes to your business, passenger loading zones and location and slope and size of ramps and curbs. Your parking lot must also include an adequate number of van-accessible parking spaces with access aisles of the correct size.
Navigating these regulations may be challenging for a business owner or property manager who has plenty of other responsibilities, especially if your business has many locations across the country. However, working with a commercial property management partner makes it easy to meet these regulations to ensure your company complies. By restriping your parking lot, clearly labeling access routes and adjusting ramps and curbs, your parking lot can comply with ADA standards and be safer for all of your customers.
6. Increases Longevity
While it may be tempting to disregard parking lot maintenance as an unnecessary expense, annual parking lot maintenance can save your business from an expensive parking lot replacement or significant repair in the future. Repairing potholes and cracks regularly prevents larger cracks or holes from forming and protects the foundation of your parking lot. Not only does this keep maintenance and repair costs low, but it also extends the lifespan of your parking lot.
The constant pressure of vehicles driving over your parking lot can lead to cracks and erosion, and if certain areas of your lot consistently receive the most traffic, they will wear down more quickly. New parking lot striping can reduce the stress on these areas to improve the overall strength of your parking lot.
Parking lots continuously get exposed to the elements and stress of changing seasons, including blazing heat in the summer and freezing ice in the winter. Cold and wet winters can cause water to seep below the surface of your parking lot and expand, creating potholes. Sun and rain also deteriorate asphalt over time. When a property owner doesn’t regularly repair and maintain a parking lot, small cracks can expand and spread quickly, leading to more severe damage. What was once an easy repair may then require more extensive — and more costly — filling and sealing. A poorly maintained parking lot may last less than a decade before significant cracks and potholes call for a complete replacement.
A well-maintained parking lot, on the other hand, may last several decades before it needs replacing. By fixing small grooves and cracks regularly, applying sealcoating every few years and following asphalt parking lot maintenance guidelines, you can protect your parking lot from the wear and tear of heavy vehicle traffic and weathering. Maintaining your parking lot can reduce costs and help your parking lot reach its maximum lifespan.
Here are some ways parking lot maintenance can increase the longevity of your parking lot.
- Restriping creates even wear: Repainting the lines on your parking lot or changing the traffic patterns creates more even wear across your parking lot. It can prevent cracks and potholes from forming by reducing the stress on high-traffic areas of your lot.
- Asphalt repair prevents more extensive damage: Performing small repairs can prevent cracks in the asphalt from spreading or creating more severe potholes.
- Sealcoating protects against the elements: Fresh sealcoating protects your parking lot from erosion and deterioration for improved strength and longevity.
Parking Lot Maintenance With Strategic Grounds Management
Parking lot maintenance can significantly improve the appearance, safety and overall quality of your parking lot. By keeping your parking lot clean and smooth, your business will have better curb appeal and attract more customers. As your business grows, restriping and cleaning your parking lot will ensure these new customers and employees always have a place to park. As customers come and go from your business, a well-maintained parking lot helps keep them safe and protects your business against liability and compliance issues. By taking good care of your commercial parking lot, you can save on maintenance costs and have a clean and beautiful parking lot for years to come.
At Strategic Grounds Management, we provide all the services your business needs to keep your parking lot in top condition. From simple sweeping and debris removal to complete sealcoating, restriping and asphalt repair, we offer comprehensive parking lot maintenance for companies of every size. Because we offer nationwide service, Strategic Grounds Management can provide parking lot maintenance for all your properties and businesses, no matter where they are. Contact us for more information about parking lot maintenance services from Strategic Grounds Management.