Your parking lot has more power to attract or repel customers than you may realize. When your parking lot is in good repair, it will simply blend into the background of a customer’s experience. When your parking lot looks like this, customers will glide through and park without a second thought.
However, if your parking lot looks terrible – if it’s full of pot holes, cracked asphalt, and faded paint – people will notice. Even if they don’t say anything, you can bet they’re secretly hoping you’ll fix the problems. If you don’t fix the problems or you allow them to worsen over time, your customers’ perception of your business will start to diminish. When your customers no longer see you in a positive light, they might choose to do business elsewhere.
Potholes, cracks, and holes make your business appear ‘cheap’
Presentation is everything; your parking lot aesthetics matter. You won’t find torn up asphalt anywhere near a Versace or Louis Vuitton store. If there’s so much as a crack in the sidewalk near one of these stores, it’s because the store owner couldn’t convince the land owner to handle the problem.
A parking lot full of potholes, cracks, or holes tells your customers that your business is cheap. With each day that goes by, they’ll wonder why you don’t fix the asphalt. It’s not hard to call a repair service just like you’d call someone to repair a busted pipe. Granted, asphalt repair tends to be a little more expensive than a plumber’s service call fee, but it’s part of the cost of doing business.
A hazardous parking lot can tank your reputation
Technically, if you don’t repair broken asphalt, it could cost you in legal fees if it causes an injury. Parking lot injuries occur every day and many people sue the business for failing to maintain the property. It won’t matter if you had a giant sign, orange cones, or a roped-off area to warn people of potential danger. If a customer or passerby is injured on your property, you are legally responsible for their injuries.
When someone gets injured at no fault of their own, you can bet they’ll run to social media to talk about their experience. This could be the beginning of the end. Your reputation could suffer immensely.
Your reputation could be destroyed through word of mouth because of on one accident in your parking lot. It won’t matter what the truth is; the way an injured customer tells the story is how it will be solidified in people’s minds. Even if the customer was acting recklessly, like trying to do cartwheels over a pothole, the story they tell could deter customers from shopping with you.
An unattractive, worn out parking lot will repel foot traffic
The other thing to think about is foot traffic. If your business is located on a busy street or in a busy plaza where people walk around to all the local shops, a worn out or broken parking lot can be a major deterrent.
When people are walking around, looking for shops to visit, they’re less likely to be attracted to a building with a dilapidated parking lot. If you don’t rely on foot traffic for your revenue, that may not be a problem. However, it will still create an experience in people’s minds that will cause them to associate disintegration with your business.
Perhaps some passersby wouldn’t buy from you in the moment, but they might need your services later. You want to leave a good impression on everyone who views your business, even just for a moment.
Don’t own the property? Request repairs – it’s worth the effort
If your parking lot is in disrepair and you don’t own the land or have the authority to make repairs, it’s worth requesting a repair from the land owner. They might be hesitant at first, but you can remind them of their legal liability if the problem becomes a safety hazard. Potholes get bigger over time and if they don’t fix the problem now, it will only grow with time.
If for some reason the land owner isn’t willing to make repairs, see if you can afford to help financially. Technically, if it’s not your responsibility, you don’t have to offer. However, if the land owner won’t budge, it could be good move for your business.
To generate and maintain good relationships with your customers, aim to give people the best experience possible both inside and outside of your store.