Striping season is here! That means lots of properties are going to be requesting bids or acting on bids they’ve already requested to get their parking areas in tip-top shape. If your property needs a parking lot face lift, read on for the smartest things you can do to ensure a job well done.
SMART MOVE #1: GET CLEANED UP
Almost every striping company will send their crew with a broom and a blower to remove debris and dirt from the areas to be painted. A broom and blower, however, are no match for a power washer. On the day prior to any area being striped, it is extremely important to have the area power washed. Power washing will make sure there is no built up silt or sand and will make sure that all chipping and flaking paint is removed. If those things are not removed, the new paint will not last. And it has nothing to do with the quality of the paint. Painting over sand or chipping paint is like painting at the beach. When the sand or paint chips eventually blow or washes away, the new paint job blows away with it.
SMART MOVE #2: WARN, WARN, WARN
Painting a parking lot is unlike other jobs in that it requires a large percentage of your residents to perform a certain behavior all on the same day. Namely, they must move their cars. Getting 1/3 or ½ of your residents to move their vehicles to another section or side of the property is tough, but there are smart ways to improve compliance.
Most properties will send out email blasts or put out notices. This is an essential first step. But great properties don’t stop there. The people that are parked in a specific area at 9:00am on a Tuesday are probably going to be the same people parked in that area at 9:00am on Wednesday. If you’re painting that area at 9:00am on Wednesday, then warnings need to be placed ON VEHICLES at 9:00am on Tuesday. I cannot stress how important the timing is. Putting our warnings at 3:00pm on Tuesday is not going to get the same result. You want to put vehicles right on people’s windshields exactly 24 hours before the re-stripe. It’s the most effective method we’ve seen.
In addition to timing, the “on-vehicle” part is the key. If you’re putting the warning on the vehicle, the compliance rate is at least 3 times higher than other types of notices. People don’t like seeing things on their cars and they will take it off and read it. Bonus: If the notice specifically threatens something like “all cars left in the area will be towed at the owner’s expense with no further notice”, people really pay attention. You may or may not intend to really do that, but using weaker language usually results in people ignoring your request.
SMART MOVE #3: LOOK FOR DUSTY CARS
At least five days prior to any painting or parking lot work, be sure to walk the area. Look closely at the vehicles parked there. Do any of those vehicles look like they haven’t been moved in awhile? Are the vehicles dusty or covered in pollen? Do they have a lot of leaves collected on them or are the brake rotors exceptionally rusty? And, most importantly, are the tires flat?
Does this car look like it can be moved? Make sure you walk the property and put warnings or notices on any cars that appear abandoned or inoperable.
If you spot any vehicles like that, find out who owns the vehicle right away AND place a big, bright warning sticker or notice on it. Any vehicle that has been sitting for awhile is not likely to be moved on the day of striping. Residents often forget about their extra car that may be parked where you need to paint. If the vehicle has flat tires or doesn’t run, the resident may need a couple of days’ time to figure out how to get the car running and moved. You want to give them this time to ensure the best compliance possible.
SMART MOVE #4: GET THERE EARLY
I cannot speak for other striping companies, but our guys show up on a property to paint around 8:30 in the morning. If your office typically opens at 9 or 10, you’ll want to be there early. Ideally, you’ll want to be there when the painting company arrives. There are likely to be issues with any big job like this and you’ll want to be present to help the painting company handle them in a way that honors your property and its residents.
SMART MOVE #5: KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK
It is inevitable that when you show up on striping day there will still be cars in the area. If relocations have not been approved in advance and signage for that has not been put in place, there is no choice except to knock on doors or tow vehicles away. And for the sake of not getting screamed at in your office for the rest of the day, knocking on doors definitely wins out. No, people do not like to disturbed and they may not all answer their doors, but no one wants their car to disappear either.
Warning: Do not try to avoid knocking on doors or push it off until the last day of striping. Most striping companies paint parking lots in blocks or sections. If they’ve already painted a section and couldn’t paint a handful spaces because of obstructions, there is no guarantee that they will go back and paint it on a different day. These jobs are very time sensitive and there is rarely time to go back and try to paint stripes in sections that were supposed to be done on a previous day. The objective of each striping day should be to get every stripe painted in that section on that day.