You might have heard that a first impression can make all the difference.
Your facility’s parking lot is your first impression for your clients and visitors, and if they pull into a broken-down, poorly maintained parking lot, they’re probably much less likely to want to do business with you.
And when it comes to maintaining your parking lot, there’s much more to it than just asphalt.
What is parking lot maintenance?
Parking lot maintenance is all the activities and processes involved to extend the life of the pavement and any other assets associated with a parking lot. The most common material used in parking lots across the United States is asphalt, which is susceptible to weather damage and can wear out over time.
Why should I bother maintaining the parking lot?
While it may seem like the parking lot is not something worth spending a lot of money on to maintain, the truth is that it’s an important part of your facility and is worth keeping in good working order. Your parking lot is the welcome mat for your facility, so when customers and visitors come to see your building, the parking lot is the first thing they see.
As a facility manager, if you ever have clients and customers come by your facility and the first thing they see is a pot-holed filled parking lot, that’s not a great first impression. Even something as simple as a well-maintained parking lot can show your customers that you pay attention to details and focus on every aspect of your facility.
The other consideration to keep in mind is that your parking lot is considered a part of your facility, so it directly contributes to the value of your facility. As part of tracking the costs across your organization, you should be including the total cost and total value of all your assets. Your facility, which includes the parking lot, is an asset that should be considered in those calculations.
Can you do preventive maintenance on a parking lot?
For almost any asset that requires regular maintenance, including parking lots, you can use preventive maintenance to keep costs down and extend their useful life. For parking lots there is a range of things that are part of a good preventive maintenance (PM) program:
- Seasonal inspections – one of the first and most important preventive maintenance tasks you can set up is regular inspections of your lot, particularly if you’re in an area with harsher climates. Regular inspections can alert you to potential issues you can fix before they become dangerous or costly problems
- Sweeping and cleaning – regularly cleaning away dirt and debris from the surface of your parking lot prevents it from falling into small cracks which over time can widen the cracks all the way through the surface
- Sealing – applying sealant to the surface of your parking lot every few years helps protect the pavement from the elements
- Striping – the painting on the surface of the lot to line the parking spots and direct the flow of traffic must be repainted on a regular basis to prevent traffic accidents and visitors parking in the wrong locations
- Filling cracks – as cracks and potholes begin to appear in the surface of the lot, they must be filled quickly or they will deepen below the surface layer and cause further, more expensive damage
- Asphalt overlay – asphalt is used on most of the parking lots across the country, but it does wear out over time. Stripping the top layer of asphalt off the pavement and replacing it every few years keeps the pavement in good shape and helps keep it visually appealing
- Repaving – unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and even parking lots have an end of their useful life. When the lot reaches its end of life, the only solution is to demolish and repave it
All of these actions are routine actions that can be scheduled in advance and prepared for properly with good inspections. With preventive maintenance software like ManagerPlus, you can create schedules for these tasks and automatically generate and assign work orders to maintenance staff which they can access from anywhere via mobile applications.
For some of the larger tasks that may require you to bring in outside contractors, you can use the same intuitive workflow system that you use for your internal teams to manage your vendor work. Generate and assign them a work order, then track the progress of the task from right within the software, and you can even have them close out, attach an invoice, and sign off on the job all in one place.
Some parking lots may have a few extra items that need to be maintained other than just the lot itself. If your facility has security gates and/or booths at the entrances, those are things that will also need to be inspected and maintained. If your security gate stops working, your visitors can’t get into the facility.
The best way to ensure the gates continue to operate when you need them is to set up regular preventive maintenance inspections of them. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for inspections and maintenance activities for your gates.
Security booths offer other assets and equipment that must be properly maintained. A broken-down booth could potentially be a safety hazard for security personnel and if you have payment processing equipment in the booth, that will need to be maintained as well.
Many times, parking lots can include plants or trees as added aesthetics which will also need to be maintained. If you have a grounds keeping team, you can partner with them to manage them, but if not, that’s something you’ll need to manage with your team or bring in contractors for the upkeep.
Lastly, with the increasing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), many facilities are starting to add EV charging stations to their parking lots. You can establish PM schedules for these as well or manage your contractor work Vendor Portal in ManagerPlus if you need to hire out those tasks.
Parking lot vs parking garage
Parking lots require a lot of maintenance, but parking garages bring a whole new set of assets, equipment, and things to keep track of, and it can all depend on the type of facility you have.
Some additional things you may need to keep track of in parking garages can include:
- Lights and sensors
- Maintenance requests
- Energy usage
- Safety equipment
Every facility has different needs, so you’ll need to make sure you’ve accounted for everything in your garage. For example, public parking garages are often not part of larger facility so there’s typically not an option for people to submit requests for issues they notice. However, if your garage is part of an office building, if a worker in the building notices some of the lights are out in the garage, you might want to have a way they can submit requests for your team.
Parking garage preventive maintenance
Much like with parking lots, the best way to properly maintain parking garages is with preventive maintenance. This is especially true considering all the extra assets and equipment you need to consider.
If your garage is part of a high-traffic facility such as a retail store or hospital, you’ll need to inspect the garage, including things like the elevators and stairwells more frequently. Every parking garage in the United States is required to have at least one working elevator and stairwells should be well-lit and clear of trash and debris.
It’s also important to pay attention to things like the signage both for traffic flow and safety precautions. All exits must be clearly marked and well-lit, so those all need to be a part of your regular maintenance schedule. Improper or unreadable signage can lead to traffic accidents which could be quite damaging to your organization.
Use preventive maintenance software to maintain your parking facility
Preventive maintenance software is one of the most valuable tools you can implement to help you maintain your parking structure efficiently and cost-effectively. This software helps you accomplish a range of tasks like:
- Manage maintenance schedules
- Automate work orders
- Track inspections
- Streamline maintenance workflows
- Analyze data to keep costs down
Let’s look at how these can help you efficiently maintain your parking facility.
Manage maintenance schedules
Depending on the size of your facility and your team, you may have quite a few schedules to keep track of. EAM software helps you manage all of these by letting you set times in the calendar when inspections need to take place. The drag-and-drop functionality in ManagerPlus lets you easily rearrange your team’s schedule when someone gets sick, or a more experienced tech is needed for an important task.
This also means that you can schedule your technicians according to the upcoming work you have scheduled. If you have a job that will need multiple people or that more experienced technician, you can make sure everything is planned ahead of time so there aren’t any surprises.
Automate work orders
With all the PM inspections you’ll need to perform for your parking lot or garage, one of the most challenging parts can be simply managing them all to ensure they get performed correctly and on time. If you’re using paper or spreadsheets to generate, assign, and track your work orders, you’re adding a lot of extra time into your team’s workday that keeps them from being productive.
EAM software helps you streamline your workflows by automating the entire work order process. You can set up inspection schedules and when it’s time for an inspection, the program will automatically generate a work order and assign it to the technician who’s most available, according to your maintenance team’s work schedule.
You can also customize your work orders to create templates with inspection checklists or any other information the technician might need to perform the inspection properly.
The best software solutions will offer mobile applications for your team that let everyone access the software from any connected smartphone or tablet. ManagerPlus also lets you create QR codes for each asset and item you need to maintain, everything from the security gate to the signs, and your techs can quickly scan the code from their device to instantly access all the information they need.
When maintenance is needed, the person inspecting the asset can quickly submit a maintenance request that can be handled in a matter of hours.
Keeping track of your inspections and maintenance history is an important component of any preventive maintenance program. Many facilities are required to produce inspection reports for regulatory audits and having digital copies of all your records helps you ensure you always have what you need right when you need it. Instead of having to dig through mountains of paperwork on your desk or rifling through filing cabinets, you can instantly pull up all your relevant inspection information to prove you’re in compliance.
Not only that but keeping track of your inspection and maintenance work helps you keep your costs down. If you’re using outdated methods to keep track of your inspections, what happens if you lose the inspection report? Now you’ve got no way to know for sure when the last inspection was performed so you either have to spend more time inspecting it again, or hoping the asset doesn’t fail before you get to it.
Streamline maintenance workflows
One of the most critical aspects of any preventive maintenance program is your maintenance workflows. Without efficient workflows in place, you won’t be able to keep up with your preventive maintenance program.
With preventive maintenance software, everything is more efficient because all your information, work orders, schedules, inventory, etc., lives in the cloud where it’s all instantly accessible from any device. Instead of dealing with paperwork and having to track down technicians the keep things moving, everyone has access to everything they need wherever they are.
The moment you create and assign a work order, the tech can access it on their device, scan the QR code on the asset to access the relevant information, then perform the task and close out the work order all while staying out in the field.
In short, almost every workflow you have for your maintenance operations can be done more efficiently with work order management software as part of your preventive maintenance solution.
Keep costs under control
One of the most important goals of any maintenance department is to keep costs down. When it comes to maintaining your parking facility, the best way to keep your costs down is to gather data on your operations to spot areas where you are spending more than you should.
Use your preventive maintenance software to analyze data from across your organization and generate detailed business intelligence reports to see where your costs are going. Then decide when it makes the most sense to perform some more expensive repairs.
The best way to get started improving your parking lot maintenance is by implementing preventive maintenance software. And the best way to do that is by talking with the experts. Schedule a personal, one-on-one chat with our team and they’ll walk you through our ManagerPlus solution and show you firsthand how you can streamline your maintenance workflows and keep your costs under control.
Your parking lot is the “welcome mat” of your facility. It’s the first thing customers and visitors see when they pull into your facility and it’s important to make a good first impression. Aside from keeping the asphalt and pavement clean and free of cracks and potholes, you also need to consider things like the security gates, plants or trees, and even EV charging stations. If you have a parking garage, there’s even more to consider such as elevators, lights, and signage.
Maintaining your parking lot properly and efficiently doesn’t have to cost you a lot. With a robust preventive maintenance system managed with a preventive maintenance software solution, you can cut costs, make employees more efficient, and make more informed data-driven decisions.
About the author
Jason is a storyteller at heart with a career spanning everything from film and TV to iPhones. Just don't expect much before his first cup of coffee.