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Parking at commercial locations that experience high volumes of traffic, or are crowded at certain times of the day, can be a challenge. Here are some best practices for dealing with these issues, with regard to parking, car towing, and signage.

Make sure parking lot signs are easy to read
It’s important that signs are simple and easy to read from at least three feet away. Words should be short and to-the-point and the signs should be professionally done so they are legible and understandable.

The general rule-of-thumb for the number of words on a sign is no more than seven words. If there are any more than seven words, it’s difficult for the typical South Florida driver to be able to read as they drive by.

In addition to using as few words as possible, it’s best to use images that people generally know. Consider the parking sign that has a blue circle with the large “P” at the center; that’s a universal sign that almost everyone (in the U.S.) knows signifies a parking area.

Signs are part of business/commercial branding
Proper parking lot signage is also important for building tenants because it’s part of protecting their brand and brand recognition. For this reason, all signs should be in good condition and the colors, fonts, and wording should work within the business’ brand guidelines.

This brand consistency also needs to be maintained across various different properties – so there’s name and brand recognition.

Be considerate of commercial property neighbors
Because parking spaces are based on the zoning for each specific property, there are no hard-and-fast rules about the number of parking spaces available in any location. Parking (and towing) signage needs to be clear because there are no universal rules.

In many cases, it’s important to be a “good neighbor” when it comes to commercial property. This is especially true for commercial properties that have professional offices, such as medical practices, where there are “high traffic” times of the day. The biggest concern at these types of properties is inadequate parking.

Often, patients will become frustrated with limited parking availability and will park at a next-door or nearby location and walk to their destination. Since there are sometimes other commercial tenants at the location (where the patients parked), this limits their parking – so it can be challenging for them, too.

As a courtesy, and for safety reasons, it’s important for every commercial location, including medical practices, to tell their customers and patients where it’s best for them to park. This pro-active approach is in the best interest of all concerned, especially when it comes to driver safety.

Towing as a last resort
It’s never a good experience for anyone when towing is necessary. Wording on signs about parking violations and towing should also be as positive as possible, rather than negative. When signs indicate there may be negative consequences for parking, such as towing, there are additional requirements necessary; if a vehicle can be towed, signage must include the name of the towing company, their phone number, and their contact information, so people can get their cars afterwards.

On the whole, it’s a good rule of thumb to keep everyone’s best interests in mind: building owners, tenants, and customers, when dealing with parking lots and signage at commercial properties.