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Parking Lot Business Idea

Learning how to start a parking lot business and becoming the owner of a profitable enterprise is an enviable goal. Once you purchase or build your parking lot, ongoing costs are generally minimal. Parking is at a premium in many locations . Placed in the right market, a parking lot business can reap great rewards.

There are over 136 million registered cars in the United States. That number does not include trucks and non-registered vehicles. Parking areas near business districts, apartment complexes, hospitals, libraries, and entertainment venues are usually limited. Providing short or long term parking options in areas without adequate services can result in rapid growth.

How to Start a Parking Lot Business

Determining how to start a parking lot business includes choosing the type of parking services to provide, deciding whether to purchase an existing facility or building new, and conducting research into optimum locations. You may choose to open a parking lot near a busy shopping or business district. Locating near apartment complexes or condominiums provides opportunities to obtain long-term parking contracts. Base your decision on the availability of parking property and the location that gives you the greatest advantage.

Primary services of a parking lot business include:

  • Providing parking spaces or valet services for drivers
  • Receiving payment from customers who park in your lot
  • Communicating daily with those who patronize you
  • Keeping your parking properties clean and safe

Other common activities you’ll be involved with are:

  • Preparing and enforcing contracts, if you offer long-term parking services
  • Administrative duties such as paying bills, contacting clients, and payment collection
  • Parking lot maintenance
  • Hiring and supervising employees
  • Ensuring state and local code compliance

Getting Started in a Parking Lot Business

Your investigation into how to start a parking lot business includes learning about and meeting all legal requirements. Local and state laws regulate parking lots. Parking lots also fall under federal jurisdiction which requires compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA requires that parking lots provide a specific number of accessible spaces, defines the width of accessible spaces, and designates the location of ADA compliant parking spots. Following ADA guidelines is required and, in some cases, tax credits or deductions for compliance are granted.

A parking lot business requires the following equipment, at a minimum:

  • Attendant booth
  • Cash register
  • Ticket machine
  • Lot lights
  • Opening and closing gates
  • Security cameras
  • Snow removal equipment, if appropriate
  • Striping and painting equipment
  • Power washers

Effective signage will draw people to your lot. Signs should inform customers of parking rates and hours of operation. If your parking lot is located in the business district, posting fliers and sending press releases to individual businesses is an inexpensive and practical way to find customers. Form partnerships with nearby businesses that agree to validate parking for their clients in exchange for a reduced rate.

Keys to Running a Successful Parking Lot Business

If your parking lot is located in an area that lacks adequate parking, it’s likely that success will find you. That doesn’t mean you can just sit back and do nothing, however. Serving customers well is what business is all about. Keep the following keys for success in mind:

  • Make your parking lot the best in the area. Whether it’s better pricing, stronger security, longer hours of operation, or creative discounts, offer something extra so that drivers choose your parking lot first. Building a solid reputation ensures that customers stay with you, even when new parking lots open.
  • Utilize security measures. No matter how desperate the need for parking, customers will not use your lot if parked cars are vandalized or riffraff is loitering around.
  • Hire capable, trustworthy employees. Your employees are the face of your business. They deal with customers on a daily basis. Make friendly service an employee requirement. In addition to working directly with customers, employees handle money. Conduct background checks before hiring anyone.
  • Be flexible. Economical changes will have an impact on your parking lot business. High gasoline prices may result in more people taking public transportation and fewer people parking cars. Nearby businesses can close down. New parking lots may open. Be aware of changes in the local economy and business environment. Be open to changes in pricing and services when necessary.

Parking Lot Business Expansion Ideas

Learning how to start a parking lot business and, in turn, becoming profitable after you open can be the beginning of continued success. Once you’ve been in business for a while and are thinking about expanding, some growth ideas to consider include:

  • Purchasing additional parking lots
  • Building a parking garage
  • Expanding to nearby communities
  • Entirely automating ticketing and cash collections
  • Offer contract valet services
  • Providing parking and traffic control services for sporting or music events

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