Starting Up Your Car Park Business: Despite being in constant use across the country 24/7, and despite the vast majority that use one on a day-to-day basis, car parks are a near-invisible business opportunity to entrepreneurs.
Private car parks are practically essential to inner-city driving and commutes, whether to accommodate the city’s working population or cater for an influx of visitors to a stadium concert, football game or other such attraction. UK councils alone have brought in more than £1.7 billion in annual profit from parking-related charges, making the prospect of starting up a private park all the more enticing for new investors. Of course, there are some things to take into consideration before launching full-bore into starting up a parking company – the basics of which we’ll run through below.
Create a Business Plan
Before you make any major investments, make sure you plan out the model and trajectory of your business comprehensively. Who is your car park catering for, and how much do you expect to make? Will you be building a multi-storey structure, or will you simply need a guard kiosk? Will you need staffing 24/7? Will you be using self-service pay-and-display, or utilising smartphone technology for payment and monitoring? In answering these questions, you’ll find your business structure, and be able to move ahead with confidence.
Find Your Location
You will already have a vague idea of where you would like your car park situated, based on details set out in your business plan including your target demographic. You will want to strike a fine balance between low up-front cost and proximity to amenities or transport; if you’re aiming to accommodate to office workers in newer developments, you may have an easier time finding cheaper land just outside of the city centre.
Registration, Permits and Licensing
Your company will need to be registered with HMRC before you begin trading – and, crucially, you will need permissions before you begin allowing cars to park on-site. If you are renting the land, you will need permission from the landowner to use it for parking, and whether you own or rent the land you will need a permit from your local council to trade as a car park.
Staffing and Equipment
With land, registration and permission in place, you can start to staff your business. You will also need to invest in the right equipment to enable your staff to run the site effectively, whether skeleton security or active parking assistants. Hi-viz vests are a must for your staff, to ensure high visibility in the dark, while torches can help with security and sightlines in the dark.
Promotion and Launch
Now that everything is in place, you can begin the launch of your car park. Set up a website, both to advertise your services and to provide a portal for bookings or even long-term parking space rental. Reaching out to local newspapers can help with getting the word out, as can emails to local businesses – especially with the offer of an exclusive discount.