Starting A Parking Lot Business? Here’s Everything You Need To Be Successful
Parking lots are always full to the brim with cars looking for a parking spot. And, they aren’t cheap. Okay, a space for the day never breaks the bank, maybe a couple of bucks or more. But, that adds up to a substantial amount when you think of the hundreds of cars that use the lot. The perceptive readers among you will see an opportunity here to break into the market and make a killing. After all, the demand for parking in towns and cities is enormous. Unlike most businesses, it isn’t hard to get off the ground and rival the competition.
Before you get to that point, you need to understand the basics. Success doesn’t just come to you with open arms. You need to work for it before you can make a living out this type of business. To be honest, that is true of any business. Below you will find the essentials that you need to create a successful parking lot business. Good luck!
Create A Business Plan
The demand might be high, but you can only exploit it if you have a plan. Indeed, a plan is essential for the business as it takes care of every area. A good plan will take a look at the strengths and the weaknesses of your business, and how they can be improved and maintained. It will also try and foresee the threats and opportunities so that you can take advantage/avoid them in the long-term. All of this allows you to highlight the details of how you are going to make money. With this information, you shouldn’t struggle to get your plan off the paper and into reality. That is how you get your business on track.
Although it is a basic business opportunity, a parking lot business still costs lots money to create. You will have to take care of everything from licenses to securing the premises. These are only two costs, but they are already very expensive. What you need to do is find a commercial loan that will cover the cost of the loan until you start making money. Then, you can finance the new startup as long as you pay the money back. To understand the amount you need, you have to research the costs. You also have to figure out what price you will charge for your spaces. The charges directly affect your ability to make a profit, which affects your ability to pay back the loan. When you have a rough idea, go to a credit union or a bank and get a quote. Always read the fine print, and never sign it until your lawyer takes a look.
Secure The Perfect Location
Like in all real estate, the location of your premises is essential. You want a building that is cheap enough to buy, but close enough to the action. If you parking lot is miles out of town, on one will use it because it is an inconvenience. But, if it is in the center of town, you will appeal to a range of customers. The only problem is that central locations are more expensive. You have to decide whether it is worth taking the hit on the price for a good location. Or, you can opt for a smaller building and expand as you get bigger. Whatever you decide, you will need a realtor. They will find you a variety of options, and then you have to choose. Note that a realtor with commercial experience is the best option.
Do You Need A License?
Most commercial properties do need a license from the local authorities to say they are legitimate. Most authorities just charge you for the sake of it to make some money. If they don’t, you will need a trade license like all other businesses in the area. Other than that, you could need lots, and you could need a few. There is only one way to check: research. Go online and check your local authority’s website for more information. Face to face is always a good option because you can ask questions that they might not cover on the site. Whatever you do, make sure you have the right licenses in place before you open for business. Those that don’t will get a huge fine and the possibility of closure.
Your research doesn’t stop at the licenses. For starters, you will need to research your customers to judge the demand. Although you assume that the demand is high, you need proof before you continue. Otherwise, all of the above is pointless. Market research is the best option because it is simple and effective. All you have to do is ask a sample of people in the area whether they need a new, cheap car park. If they say yes, you have your green light. Also, it is imperative that you research your competitors. When you know their prices, for example, you can set yours accordingly. If you are trying to undercut them, it is important that you research their price range. A clever business person will also research their processes to see if there is anything they can apply to their startup. It isn’t copying as long as you modify it into a new version.
How are you going to layout your parking lot? It is a simple question, yet it is one that lots of owners tend to omit. You need to maximize space as much as possible to maximize your profit margins. But, you also need to leave space for cars to pass one another and make their way to the higher levels. And, you also need to leave space for people to get out of their cars. It all sounds trivial, but it is as important as any of the above. If you get the layout wrong, you could lose a lot of money. You could also lose potential customers too. Talk to an architect or a surveyor and pick their brains for more info.
One thing that isn’t insignificant is the process of running a lot on a daily basis. There might be hundreds of cars, and you need to process them all. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry with Park Assist. Just go to http://www.parkassist.com and check out their services. They are professionals that with everything from free spaces to security. Services like this make your life a hell of alot easier. All you have to do is leave it to them and liaise with them afterward. These services do cost money, but it is peanuts compared to how much they will make you in the long run. Also, you have to think about your rivals. If they use this technology, you will have to invest so that you aren’t left behind. Better that than failing in your first year, right?
Dealing with a couple of hundred of cars is a dangerous prospect. They might only be driving at slow speeds, but an accident can still happen. When an accident does occur, your business might be liable. Hopefully, that isn’t the case as it is traumatic. But, you can’t rule it out, which is why you need insurance. If they do claim compensation, the insurance company will pick up the tab. Just make sure you have comprehensive cover for every possibility. You can find out more about comprehensive cover at http://www.forbes.com. Otherwise, you will have to pay them out of your pocket.
As you can see, starting one of these businesses is difficult and time-consuming work. But, it is also lucrative when you get it right.