How does your free parking make you money?

Giving something away for free when you are trying to make money sounds, at least on the surface, counterintuitive.

Many businesses utilise paid parking to access additional revenue streams. But what if your parking is free? How do you still protect your site and leverage the promise of free parking to help you make money?

Double arrows on the road of a multi-storey car park
Double arrows on the road of a multi-storey car park

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Drive footfall and halo spending

When motorists and potential customers are looking for somewhere to park their car, they’re likely to look for parking that’s at least affordable, if not free.

Free parking is a fantastic way to attract motorists to your site, especially if other car parks in the vicinity are charging for parking. It can help you draw in more visitors, lifting the amount of footfall around your business.

This increase in people equates to more opportunities to generate sales, not just for your business. An example of this would be if your car park were surrounded by other stores, cafes etc. Your free parking might help lift footfall and sales for them too. This can completely revitalise an area, especially where foot traffic has dwindled during the pandemic.

Increase time-on-site

Free parking eases pressure on customers. Traditionally someone arrives at a car park, pays for a set amount of time to park then has a time limit on their shopping trip. As a result, there’s less time for browsing, impulse purchases, stopping to get lunch, etc.

However, free parking with no time limit could leave a site open to rampant abuse.

Your free parking should be for a reasonable period of time, allowing customers to browse, get something to eat and not shop in a hurry. Not putting a major restriction on the length of stay can help lift the amount of time a customer spends on-site, which can help increase the likelihood of generating additional sales.


Free doesn’t mean a soft touch

Your parking being free doesn’t mean that the rules on your car park should be taken lightly.

ANPR allows you to monitor the amount of time people have spent on-site and issue PCNs to those who have stayed beyond the free period. Using ANPR cameras helps prevent your car park from becoming overly congested and maintains a steady flow of traffic through your site.

Your car park is also likely to have specific spaces that you need to protect, from blue badge bays to those for recharging electric vehicles. While you can offer free parking, some elements of your parking will require payment, such as using EV charging points on your site.

Electric charging is a fantastic way to generate additional revenue, but for your investment in EV to deliver on its potential, you need to make sure those dedicated bays are only being used for their intended purpose.

Proper Bay Enforcement, in conjunction with EV charging, can help you offer charging facilities to visitors to your site while ensuring that non-EV drivers do not abuse those spaces.

Helping you to transform your parking

Free parking is an attractive prospect for businesses, drawing in customers and giving them a stress-free parking solution. This only works if you have the right rules and management solutions in place, ensuring that your free parking isn’t abused and works efficiently.

Get in touch today to see how we can help you get the most of your car park

At Parkingeye, we work with hundreds of businesses across thousands of sites, including major retailers, supermarkets, and retail parks. We provide access to solutions that allow car parks to thrive and become a valuable asset for businesses, improving their customer experience and helping to drive increased footfall to a site.