Earlier I wrote about the value of car parking spaces.
Q.: "So, if I add more and more parking spaces I can increase the turnover?"
A.: "Well, yes up to a point."
Once you reach the optimal number of parking spaces adding more would not increase your turnover and not your profit. Too many would reduce your initial profit.
But, what are the optimal number of car parking spaces?
The proper answer to this question will fill a whole page and a half of the handbook and you should look there for the full story.
Here I just want to raise a few points to consider:
Firstly in designing a car park that is easy to clean. Every curb stops the cleaner or the machine from driving around. Every curb also stops and collects rubbish. In some parts that is good - in others not. Curbs need to be there to protect walkways, green areas and to stop traffic going wildly across the car park.
The answer will probably depend on who you ask.
But if you ask some experts the answers might be surprising. A developer might like to maximise the number of car parking spaces to maximise turnover and improve rents. Green areas will reduce this ambition and their maintenance cost money.
.... could be another excuse for bad parking.
Good car parking design often has two lanes running around the car parking with one directional traffic. One extra wide (5-6m) lane or two lanes are there to allow traffic to flow easily when cars are turning left or right into the drives between the rows of parking bays. These two lanes also allow trucks (delivery, maintenance) and emergency vehicles (fire-brigade trucks) easy access to the car park and the centre.
But to some customers they are just there to allow easy parking right by the front door - typical excuse include:
- 'The road is wide enough.'
- 'I am here only for a minute.'
- 'The double lane allows cars to zoom around too fast. If I park here I am slowing down the traffic in the car park and make the place safer.'
- ..... - (I am sure there are more)
... so, 'I might just use them. And in any case, I will just be a minute or two.'
Some may go as far as, 'well Am I stupid or what - it's a free space as far as I care and there are no tickets, no wheel clamps and no removal trucks around in this retail car park.'
What do you think - what would you do. If you park in a special needs space on a public road you would pay upwards of €50 in most countries plus you are more likely to be towed away than in other places.
.... or do they.
Sometimes you see notes like: "The highway code applies in our Car Park." (the "StVO" in Germany).
But, do they? When you look at many SEC car parks you will see people parking all over the place with no regard to the official signs.
Customers often don't care as they expect that no one will give them a ticket. The Centre Management (CM) in turn will not want to alienate customers and bringing in the police or ticket wardens would just do that.
Some CM will attach (friendly) advisory notes to cars left in special needs parking spaces without displaying the required official permit to use these places.
Does it matter whether a car park is managed and regulated with some enforcement of the rules?
May be not to you. But what do your customers think? Would they prefer a organised car park? Would they support you in keeping special needs spaces free for those with the official permit?
.... your customers will prefer to park without the restriction they experience in most towns and cities these days. Your customers are coming to your shopping centre because it is easy to reach and easy to park - for free, of course.
True or false?
The quality of a car park will tell customers a lot about how well your centre - well, their centre, is managed. It is for many customers the first point of making physical contact with a retail mall. It is the place where they leave one of their more valued possessions. A well kept car park will tell a customer how you, the owner and the CM (Centre Management), value their visit and how you are running things.
Let's make this a week of blogging about Car Parking in and around Shopping Centres.
Why? Because car parking space have a huge value.
A few years ago we were working on roughly US$150,000 per car parking space. What, yes - this is the turnover value. Let's add a bit for inflation over say 3 years and we get about US$ 160,000.
I have been told to keep my blog entries shorter.
Lets try - I went back to double check - and yes, staff in this particular shopping centre does use the prime car parking space close to the entrances - La Cañada.
The prime car parking area was full well before the official opening time at 10.00.
Why is this bad? Well staff are using car parking spaces for the whole time of their shift and are not generating any turnover.
A customer car parking space is used serveral times a day by different visitors:
Average visiting time around 2-3 hours (+/-) during 12 hours of opening = 4-6 uses. If we now multiply this with the average shopping ticket we get the daily turnover value of the parking space.
Yesterday I went to one of the biggest Shopping Centres of Spain in the South, Andalusia, Malaga Province - by the name of La Cañada.
It was 9.45 and a little too early for the 10.00 opening. But the car park looked pretty full encouraging me to continue to find a parking space and looking forward to having a coffee in the food court. I thought this is a sensible thing to open the food court a little early. Trucks and vans were still leaving, racing away from the front entrances after delivering and I made my way through a mixture of slow starters and formula 1 hopefuls - but none using their rear mirrors - a bid odd to allow this I thought when customers are arriving.