5-Step Guide to Creating a Foolproof Parking Lot Plan

Why Your Parking Lot Plan Matters 

If you build it, they will park.

If only launching a new parking lot were that simple. But it isn’t–to actually succeed with your new parking operation, you need to prepare for success from the beginning. And that means making a parking lot plan.

To maximize your revenue, optimize your customers’ experience, and streamline your operations, follow these five steps to build your parking lot plan. 

Step 1— Determine Your Goals

Start with why you’re building a parking lot. Do you want to accommodate overflow from events? Are you serving the residents of an apartment complex? Are you meeting future parking needs in a growing city center?

Once you’ve identified your why, it’s time to think about your who. Different drivers have different needs, and you need to anticipate and meet those needs. A shopping center parking lot may need devoted spaces and charging stations for electric vehicles. At a highway truck stop, you’ll need spots for drivers to store their 18-wheelers.

Defining your objective and your audience early is essential because they’ll guide subsequent decisions you make.

Step 2— Be Intentional With the Design 

With clear goals to guide you, it’s time to shape the parking lot itself. As you map out your project, consider:

  • The size of the lot
  • The number of spaces. Make sure you account for local regulations and codes. 
  • The size of the spaces
  • The angle of the parking spaces. In lots with high turnover you’ll need spaces angled at 45 to 60 degrees to ease ingress and egress. If you’ll primarily serve overnight parkers or employees, consider space-saving 90-degree angles.
  • Pavement thickness. If you need to accommodate 18-wheelers or electric vehicles, you may need thicker pavement to support their extra weight. The soil beneath your parking lot matters, too–if your pavement is thicker than the ground can support, it will need more regular maintenance and repair.
  • Number of handicap spaces
  • Traffic signage in and around the parking lot 
  • Location and number of concrete parking barriers
  • Location and number of ramps 
  • Landscaping. There’s a reason “parking” starts with “park”— with smart use of trees, bushes, and other greenspace, your parking lot can offer respite. Landscaping also helps mitigate environmental impacts.

Step 3— Implement Proper Safety Precautions 

A sound business plan and thoughtful design won’t matter if customers don’t feel safe in your parking lot. Give your parkers peace of mind with a safety and security plan that includes:

  • Security cameras. Place cameras strategically to cover your entire parking lot and mitigate crime.
  • Powerful, comprehensive lighting. Use high capacity lighting, and position your light sources to ensure maximum coverage. That will also improve safety by increasing visibility for drivers. 
  • Access control. Studies show that open-access parking facilities have higher crime rates. An access-control system limits exposure to unauthorized users. It’s also an opportunity for integration with your parking management system, which can give you real-time data on operations and transactions.
  • On-site security. Hiring a security guard isn’t cheap. But if an emergency occurs, rapid, expert response is crucial.

Step 4— Utilize Cutting-Edge Technology 

Your parking operation is a system, and your parking lot is just one (very significant) part of it. But the success of the lot depends on the technologies you adopt on and around it. Your parking technology plan should include:

  • Mobile payment solution: Your parking customers expect the same seamless payment experience they get in a grocery story. Give it to them with a fast, secure, user-friendly payment solution.
  • Contactless payment solution: Make payment even simpler with a trusted, PCI-compliant contactless payment system.
  • Business intelligence solution: You’ll need to measure inventory, utilization, personnel, transactions, throughput, and revenue. Implement a comprehensive business intelligence solution that tracks all those metrics and gives you actionable reporting on them. 
  • Parking pass solution: Tailor parking options for tenants and repeat customers with a flexible parking pass solution. Monthly passes and manual payments are relics; with a modern parking pass system, customers will get the smooth, custom experience they expect, and you’ll get the reporting and revenue you need.

Step 5— Elicit Customer and Employee Feedback 

Creating and implementing your new parking lot are essential steps–but they’re not the final ones. 

To meet ever-changing customer demands and organizational needs, continuously elicit and act on feedback from your users and employees. There are many ways of doing this, from short customer surveys to regular employee conversations. 

Respond to feedback with incremental improvements, and you’ll create a competitive advantage. Over time, the energy you invest will reap new revenue.

Speak to a Parking Expert 

It may seem daunting to make and execute a plan that covers everything from objectives, design, safety, technology, and customer satisfaction. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Contact an experienced parking specialist today.