Everyone at one time or another has found themselves in a tight spot: specifically, in a parking spot that is too small. The vehicle is perfectly straight and centered, yet there still isn’t enough room to comfortably enter and exit. This is why it pays to think of parking lot layouts as customer ambassadors for commercial premises and to work only with the best concrete contractors.
Parking lots are either a welcoming and accommodating space or they’re the first negative in a customer review. A visitor’s experience starts before they enter your store, with their good or bad mood poised to impact many aspects of a business. Our guide will spotlight how concrete and customers go hand in hand and which planning steps create the ideal commercial parking lot.
The Effects of Parking Lot Layouts
It is not an exaggeration to say that parking lot design has psychological dimensions, and only the smartest commercial spaces factor this into their layout. Parking lots are static spaces with a dynamic influence on the attitudes of customers and staff and the level of service provided.
The right or wrong parking lot layout can put several events in motion that affect people, premises, and profits. Whether that’s for better or worse is up to every commercial manager who chooses to embrace or ignore some mission-critical facts:
1. Parking Lots Affect Customer Conversion
Customers who had a stress-free parking experience will be in a better mood when they enter a store. This equates to consumers who are more likely to buy not just what they came to find but anything else that may catch their eye. The psychological effects of customer mood on purchasing habits are well-documented, with in-store behavior influenced by experiences earlier in the day.
2. Parking Lot Layouts Impact Working Environment
Happy customers and happy businesses are codependent. This delicate balance affects employees at all stations, and particularly those in customer service. This is a difficult job where representatives have to constantly deal with unsatisfied customers every day, and they don’t need poor parking lot layout adding to their list of frustrations.
3. Parking Lot Layouts Can Streamline Operations
Did you know that Americans spend an average of 17 hours annually looking for decent parking? That represents not only a lot of lost time for the customer but also for the business they’re visiting. Delayed shoppers have less time in your store to be enticed by your merchandise.
4. Intelligent Design Boosts Customer Safety
Vehicles packed too closely together can scrape or dent each other. Customers laden with shopping, young children, or other baggage can suffer serious difficulty or injury as everyone on the lot struggles for sufficient maneuvering space. A couple of feet on either side of a line can make all the difference in preventing such negative outcomes.
These considerations apply equally across every commercial lot. Each represents a valuable tool that every site manager should use to create a professional and profitable parking lot layout template. Professionals can help with the proper layout and the actual construction to ensure project success.
How to Design a Parking Lot Layout
Layout designs for parking lots start to become more complex when varying commercial capacities are considered. A clothing store must plan differently than a bank, while offices and fitness facilities have their own designated rules. Several other important factors inform the perfect plan, ranging from the kind of customer a lot expects to attract to local regulations or environmental factors. These include:
1. Make Precise Measurements
Surveying a parking lot is a job for professional contractors. The available space can involve assessing precise distances and tricky angles before firm boundary lines can be effectively (and legally) established. Every lot is unique and will require site-specific foresight on matters such as entry and exit positions, code requirements, and environmental conditions.
2. Know How Much Room Is Sufficient for Each Space
This may change from store to store based on the rate of traffic the site receives and the size of the parking property they have at their disposal. The ideal parking spot has enough space to fit the average car while providing enough bodily entry and exit room. A minimum of 9 feet in width and 18 feet in length would allow sufficient space for most vehicles and their drivers.
3. Decide the Number of Available Spaces for Your Site
Knowing the size of a parking space and the dimensions of your lot are only two parts of a three-tiered approach. Commercial premises differ in nature, and here in Frederick County this means the actual number of parking spaces is decided according to service sector. Retail stores, for example, require one parking space per 150 feet of floor area, while hotels and motels require one parking spot per sleeping room and one for each two employees.
4. Prioritize Accessible Parking
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that accessible parking spaces must be 8 feet wide for standard vehicles and 11 feet wide for vans. Each of these two designations must have an access aisle that is at least 5 feet wide. The ADA provides further information regarding other important factors such as clearing heights, requirements based on the nature of commercial operation, and whether it’s an existing or new site.
5. Predict the Kind of Traffic You’ll Receive
Knowing whether standard vehicles, vans, or bigger rigs will be using your lot makes a significant difference in factors such as spacing, angling, and curbing. Some commercial operations may incorporate loading docks, which will need to be incorporated into any parking lot layout template from the outset.
6. Make Parking Easy, Quick, and Safe
Parking angles are an essential consideration for commercial spaces, with parallel and 90-degree angles being the least likely to make customers happy. Spaces set at 45 or 60 degrees keep traffic flowing, while clear signage and plenty of lighting give customers a sense of security. Remember that your final choice of angles will influence the dimensions of your driving aisles.
7. Make It Attractive
Parking lots don’t have to be drab gray areas built purely for function. Modern commercial extruded paving methods allow concrete to be laid in colors and shapes that are both functional and visually engaging. Color and other aesthetic touches can lift a customer’s mood while providing unique solutions to suit site-specific needs.
8. Consider the Environment
Does your parking lot layout include shaded spaces for hot days and good drainage for downpours? Factor in how the elements might cause your lot problems in the future, and be proactive with your design, because this will protect the lot and every person and vehicle using it. Reflecting on how your lot affects the surrounding community is also key to a well-received build, so consider adding some design elements to accommodate this.
9. Don’t Forget Foot Traffic
Parking lots are also for walking. A responsible layout allows safe passage for drivers to and from their cars via walkways and access points that are separated from parking aisles. Try to situate lots and their pedestrian access points as close to store entrances as possible – customers drove there, after all, because they didn’t want to walk too much.
Consulting with parking layout professionals is the best approach for designing a well-spaced, customer-centric parking lot template. It’s also vital to keep it expertly maintained for long-lasting positive results.
Common Pitfalls of Poor Parking Lot Layout
Not every commercial operation makes professional parking lot design and maintenance part of their budget. Such sites may be willing to cut corners with cheap construction services or letting existing lots fall into disrepair. There is no substitute for hiring experienced professionals, because that’s an expense that can protect commercial lots from several more costly outcomes, such as:
- Shoddy parking striping leads to unclear lane markings. Commercial sites that don’t lay lines correctly from the start are open to considerable consequences later.
- Lawyers know that poorly designed or maintained parking lots can cause accidents. Commercial managers need to remember that attorneys are ready and willing to make a case against them.
- These accidents don’t always just affect people. The parking lot itself can suffer from agitated or misguided drivers who might damage the space.
- A dull or neglected parking layout sends commercial visitors a strong message about the business it’s attached to. How much money will you lose when customers drive by and decide your premises look lazy or underfunded?
- Perpendicular parking layouts can save on space, but they also create blind spots that endanger drivers and the lot’s structure. Poor signage and insufficient lighting further contribute to the likelihood of irate customers getting lost, becoming involved in accidents, or falling victim to crime.
- Some commercial sites don’t add concrete wheel stops or proper perimeter curbing into their parking lot layout template. Neglecting these sturdy barriers means ill-defined spaces and inferior protection.
A parking lot layout is an easy task to get right when you work with experts from the beginning. Even existing lots can benefit greatly from qualified advice on how to upgrade the site to minimize customer frustration and maximize return on investment.
Contact the Experts With Any Questions
Parking lots are an essential part of the commercial service-scape and can make or break customer relationships. Limitless Paving & Concrete delivers professional design and construction that enables your commercial lot to function smoothly and safely for everyone and be an attractive extension of your brand’s attitude.
Our expert team is committed to providing top-quality work and the best customer care, as we have been doing for the community for years. We can walk you through the parking lot design and construction process from start to finish, so contact Limitless Paving & Concrete for all your concrete paving, repair, and maintenance needs.