With the world's population set to exceed the 9 billion mark, parking is an issue businesses can no longer afford to ignore or take lightly.
Studies show that that’s because, despite growing trends to improve public transport and reduce carbon emissions, cars are still a major part of daily life. In fact, research from Statista shows that there are as many as 276 million vehicles on the road in the U.S alone.
And all of these vehicles require parking.
Insufficient parking space can cause a massive ripple effect that can impact everyone, including your customers, your employees, and pretty much anyone with a car. Whether they interact with your business or not, everything ultimately connects.
Whether you’re an owner or in a management position, the needs of your business should always be the first thing on your mind. Changing the way you think about something like parking capacity can have a major impact on getting the most out of your business.
Regardless of whether you’re a hotel, restaurant, office, or mall, (in fact, anything with a physical base) parking spaces are fundamental to your success. Getting it wrong can be far more catastrophic than you may think.
Insufficient Parking Capacity: 5 Negative Effects on Your Business
Insufficient parking is far more damaging to a business than you might assume. There’s a reason why there are so many different types of systems to help businesses manage their parking lots and get the most out of their parking spaces. Do it right and it can be incredibly rewarding while neglecting it can be incredibly damaging. These 5 negative effects explore just how damaging they can be.
1. Causes traffic congestion
Traffic is a nightmare every motorist is forced to deal with.
It’s a nuisance that almost immediately sours your shopping experience, especially if that traffic is caused by hundred-and-ten other drivers all looking for a spot to park.
The more access a business has to a dedicated and efficient parking lot, the happier their customers are going to be about interacting with them.
Peak hour shopping times usually correlate with peak traffic. Having customers come into your business angry, irritated, or grumpy can be a difficult obstacle for even the most silver-tongued salesmen.
Surprisingly, a lot of this can be avoided if you make use of various parking management techniques or systems that can make this a whole lot easier for your customers. Wayleadr parking software is a great example of a way businesses can easily modernize and maximize their parking lots.
Well-designed, smart parking systems reduce traffic because they make parking so much easier. Instead of taking forever, queuing behind people all trying to find parking, your customers are able to get off the road, park quickly and move on.
2. Inconveniences customer
Customer convenience is a cornerstone of great businesses.
Unfortunately, most businesses assume that that only starts from the minute they enter your door. The truth is, it starts long before.
It starts when they think about whether or not it'll be a hassle to find parking just to access your business.
When your customers think that visiting your location is going to be a struggle, there’s a good chance they’ll be tempted to go somewhere else. Or even shop online instead.
Customers need their experiences to be as frictionless and simple as possible. Driving around the same section of tarmac for hours on end is the exact opposite of this. Even if they do find a spot and engage with your business, there’s a good chance this experience results in them being highly unlikely to return.
Returning customers is the foundation of success in the long term. If customer convenience is something you value, it’s important that your parking is sufficient and effective enough to let your business speak for itself.
3. Ruins your brand's image
Parking lots that are disorganized, unprofessional, and seem unsafe can quickly become associated with your business.
Insufficient parking capacity is a poor reflection on your business and even though you may not think it’s important, your customers will feel otherwise. Insufficient parking is a sign of disorganization and even apathy. More often than not, it is something that can not only be seen, it can be felt.
The less organized a parking system is, the less secure it is. Some rough, faded lines on some tar don’t exactly encourage a lot of confidence when a customer is coming to engage your business. Nor do the absence of cameras, security, and other hallmarks of a quality parking lot.
Especially if it’s a business that engages with people late at night.
Restaurants, hotels, and even 24/7 stores need to have sufficient, safe, and effective parking if they want to be successful. Parking lots are often targets for theft and ones that have an insufficient capacity to meet their customers' needs more so.
4. Hurts employee satisfaction
Employee satisfaction is essential if you’re looking to have productive employees and ultimately, a successful business
In today's low unemployment, high competition employee market, employees that do not feel actively engaged and satisfied will soon move on. Keeping your employees happy can have a very noticeable effect on productivity.
Insufficient parking capacity can mean your employees struggle to find parking which can make them stressed, frustrated and tense before work even starts. If they have to park far away or fight for parking every morning, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have unhappy employees. Not to mention the hustle and bustle of leaving a parking lot at the end of the day.
Stress and frustration can majorly affect every aspect of your business. In fact, the knock-on effect of something like stressing about parking can even have a direct financial impact on your business's bottom line.
This is due to something called “presenteeism”.
Stress takes a heavy toll on both your employees and your business. Insufficient parking capacity is directly linked to increased employee stress.
Having sufficient parking capacity can be catastrophic for your employee morale and that can severely negatively affect your business.
5. Costs the business directly
If you own or manage a parking lot but aren't using it to its full capacity, you’re doing your business far more of a disservice than you realize.
Depending on the way you’re managing your parking spaces, either you or your customers are paying for the parking lot. That means it’s important that you use the parking lot effectively and to its best capabilities. Insufficient parking capacity can lead to more traffic than the lot can handle or people parking in areas they shouldn't.
You need to regularly maintain your parking lots. If you’re paying for something that’s not performing at its best, your business is definitely going to feel the financial drain that this can cause.
If your business isn’t receiving the full benefits of a well-managed, effective parking lot, your business is going to suffer twofold. One, in unnecessary and expensive maintenance costs, and two, by not achieving its full potential, customer-wise.
The world is getting more and more complicated and fast-paced every day. With more and more people, your business needs to be at the top of its game in every department if it wants to compete and thrive.
Having insufficient parking capacity can be incredibly harmful to that end. If your customers struggle to find parking, they’ll wind up going into any interaction with your business with not only a bad mindset, but they may not even bother after struggling for too long.
Good parking can be the first step of a customer acquisition process that will result in increased foot traffic, interaction, and potential sales.
Before your customers can discover your amazing products, your impeccable staff, and your value offers, they first have to get to you. Your parking situation is their first impression of you and your business. We all know how important a first impression is.
Efficient and sufficient parking capacity is essential to running and maintaining a good business. If you want your business to thrive and have a cutting edge, recognizing that fact is vital.
Good parking management can make sure that you get the most out of the parking spaces you have. That’s the first step to making sure your business gets to speak for itself, which is all you can really ask for.
Author Bio: Ryan Fick is a Cape Town-based, internationally raised, opinionated writer who is passionate about politics, and social justice and a firm believer in the link between "Amandla" and "Awethu". With a background in Journalism, Travel, and all-around Content Writing - as well as a burgeoning interest in all things SEO - he is a perpetual knowledge seeker who knows enough to know he doesn’t know it all.