In the United Kingdom, there were around 31.7 million cars licensed at the end of March 2020. Considering this, parking a car can be a very big problem, especially in commercial areas, since private car parks can be pricey. While on the other hand, there isn’t enough space in the public ones.
If you reside in an area that requires a car park, establishing one can be a superb source of income. It will not only help people save a lot of money, but will also ensure you a loyal clientele by making their visits easy. As long as you lead your car park with values and make them user friendly, you will be providing a highly valued service for the community and surrounding businesses.
Written below is some of the key information on how to create a car park in the UK.
1. Find an Appropriate Space
First and foremost, you will require a space where you can create a car park. Locate and purchase a suitable piece of land or plot. Make sure it is large enough to keep multiple cars at a time. Take into consideration the access points, potential for security and most importantly, the location. In order to ensure your car park is serving enough local businesses and strategically located.
These are some of the key things to look for in a local area that could be a sign of a prime location:
- Shopping – any car park located to shops will have a consistent footfall
- Tourist attractions – with tourism shifting more and more to domestic tourism, any tourist destination will be far for frequented by people driving.
- Offices – a car park that is centrally located to multiple office developments that don’t have parking spaces could have potential.
- Entertainment – nearby theatres, attractions, and restaurants offers opportunity to provide parking whilst people are visiting.
- Hospitals – If your local hospital has very limited spaces, having a partnership could provide an opportunity for a lot of traffic
The key with all of the locations above is to then establish a partnership agreement with the surrounding destination/venues. This will ensure that you can both cross-promote each other’s services.
2. Request the Necessary Permission
Once you have located land for your car park, you will be required to take permission from the local government for a parking permit. There are many factors that can affect and prolong planning permission, such as surrounding GreenSpaces or other things to take into consideration. It can take between a few weeks to a couple of months to get parking permission depending upon the location. Anyone looking for new requests post-covid will have to take into consideration an even longer wait time as all government services are having a backlog of requests to action.
In order to get approved, you must take into consideration the following key points:
- The car park doesn’t damage the local environment
- The car park doesn’t add to congestion and create additional traffic
- The property will meet all car park regulations in the UK
- The car park must meet all the points laid out by The Department for Regional Development in Transport Plans
- All construction must meet the strict guidelines set by the Government’s “Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015)”, found here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/cdm/2015/responsibilities.htm
Once you obtain the permission, you will have to make the land suitable to build a perfect spot for people to park their vehicles considering the UK Car Park Specifications. Also, there are certain government standards that include measurements for car lanes, motorcycles, and other vehicles to set a car park. We always recommend working with a BPA Accredited Professional when designing the car park. This is not only because of their legal understanding, but their expertise in understanding traffic flow through your space.
3. Resurface the Land
The next step is to resurface the land. No matter the type of land you have bought, you will have to resurface it. Gone are the days where you open up a field and have one guard on the door with £1 tickets. You cannot let your customers park cars on grass. It is imperative that you ensure a leveled and safe surface for parking.
The British Parking association releases up to date guides on the industry standards for markings and bay sizes. You can find the latest guide here: Parking Bay Sizes
The amount, type and design of any parking is critical, with different parking functions requiring a different set of dimensions and layouts. This is something to consider after resurfacing the land. We highly recommend working with an approved and licensed line marking company that will help mark out the required spaces according to regulations.
4. Install Cameras and Security Equipment
To build trust with your customers, you will have to make your car park very secure. Installing cameras to cover all angles of your car park will instill a sense of trust from your customers and avoid any liability from opportunist thieves looking to smash & grab from unsuspecting cars.
We highly recommend installing ANPR cameras at the same time, which stands for Automatic Number Plate Recognition. ANPR is a fully automated and effective solution to monitor and enforce your car park, taking photos of number plates as the cars enter your car park, and linking to your digital ticket systems.
In order to maintain the security and smooth operation of your car park, you will need to install car park barriers, swing gates, automatic barriers, parking blocks, etc.Find out more about ANPR Systems
5. High-Speed Internet and Power Source
The equipment in your car park will require high-speed internet and a reliable power source. Connect the equipment to a lighting circuit or distribution board to ensure data quality and a stable connection. Your service provider will also have to plan the details on the groundwork – this will include camera columns and bollards. Apart from that, make sure to conduct regular inspections to ensure there is no fault in the connection and system. Regular downtime and faults will not only impact you, but also the parking experience for your customers.
6. Install a Ticketing System
To make money, car parks rely on a ticketing system. The outdated option is to have someone stand by the entrance on a ticket booth throughout the day. This is by no means hi-tech, and creates complications with consistency, makes a requirement for an additional paper trail, and relies heavily on manning. The other option is to install a ticket machine which is a more sophisticated way to collect money. Pay & Display machines are the standard for all car parks for a reason. With a Pay & Display system, your car park will not require barriers or excessive manning. Pay & Display systems are low-maintenance and ideal for a variety of applications.
7. Hire Staff
Once all the required equipment is installed, you may need to hire staff to take care of the equipment and ensure your car park is running smoothly. Hire people to take care of ticket inspection to check people are paying for their tickets and also displaying them, as well as being a customer service point on-property.
We like to consider our patrol managers as the friendly face of our car parks, ensuring everyone understands the signage and lending a hand where needed, whilst ensuring everyone is following the rules accordingly.
No matter where you go, there are various parking problems since the number of vehicles people own are increasing day by day. Due to the same reason, people find it difficult to park their cars and waste up to twenty minutes of their precious time trying to find a place in the morning when reaching the office or when arriving at a popular retail destination.
Setting up a car park isn’t as difficult as it may seem, provided you have a location in mind along with enough capital to start this investment. After that, you will only need permission from the authorities and install all the essential equipment considering car park requirements in the UK. It is a stable source of revenue since as the number of cars continues to increase, so will the need for parking. Another reason that it is one of the best areas to invest in is minimal maintenance. Many companies, such as Gemini Parking Solutions can even help mitigate the starting cost and provide a full plan for equipment to be installed on consigment or at a discounted rate. To find out more, contact one of our team.
For the ultimate guide on car park management, download our 7 Step Guide to Parking Management below.