As we explain in our new book, Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals FOR DUMMIES, parking is often a contentious issue for chiropractic tenants. You will want sufficient space for you, your staff and your patients to leave vehicles while they are inside your practice.
Don’t take parking for granted. Depending on the time of day you visit a property, there may or may not be sufficient parking. The location of the parking and whether the parking stalls are designated are all part of the negotiating process. For many tenants, parking is free. But for some, monthly parking charges for their staff vehicles can range from $85.00/month to several hundred dollars per month and patients may face hourly charges. Even if you’re prepared to pay for parking, don’t assume that it will be available. When The Lease Coach negotiates on parking, there are three considerations: negotiating the number of parking stalls; the location of the stalls and the rental rate, if any.
Chiropractic tenants should also pay attention to parking rights. Landlords typically address parking rights in one of two ways. Their lease agreement either totally ignores parking altogether or lays out a very detailed parking plan and list of regulations. Parking rights are too important to leave to chance; parking can make, or break, your chiropractic business as your patients often require accessible parking more so than many other types of businesses.
One of the first things we look at when visiting a prospective site for our tenant clients is the customer parking. Most properties offer what is called rush parking mean first come, first serve. If you are a first-time chiropractic tenant or opening a practice in a successful property or densely populated area, realize that insufficient parking can cost a tenant tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue each year.
You and your staff need a place to park when you come to work. A larger, more global problem occurs when staff park in the prime patient stalls. Determine whether the landlord has a designated area for staff to park and whether there’s a parking policy that the property manager polices or regulates. Smart landlords require tenants and staff to provide their license plate numbers to the property manager for this exact purpose.
It’s nice to pull into the same parking spot each day or have the spaces right in front of your practice designated for your customers. Of course, people abuse these designated stalls and the landlord doesn’t want to be the one responsible for policing the tenant’s parking. Nonetheless, you don’t want to skim over this opportunity and find out that the neighboring tenants have parking rights and designated stalls but you don’t.
We’ve seen landlords convert free parking to paid parking lots. We have also seen landlords give away or designate parking stalls right in front of one business to another tenant, especially if that’s what it takes to sign up the other tenant on lease deal. Furthermore, we’ve also witnessed landlords using parking as an incentive to attract new tenants and unfairly divvying up the parking lot to suit their own needs. Negotiate early for plenty of parking and get the agreement in writing to avoid confusion down the road!
For a copy of our free CD, Leasing Do’s & Don’ts for Chiropractic Tenants, please e-mail your request to DaleWillerton@TheLeaseCoach.com.
Dale Willerton and Jeff Grandfield - The Lease Coach are Commercial Lease Consultants who work exclusively for tenants. Dale and Jeff are professional speakers and co-authors of Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals FOR DUMMIES (Wiley, 2013). Got a leasing question? Need help with your new lease or renewal? Call 1-800-738-9202, e-mail DaleWillerton@TheLeaseCoach.com or visit www.TheLeaseCoach.com.