Starting a Parking Lot Business

By Eric Hammer

The parking lot business is one that seems to attract a lot of entrepreneurs. After all, how hard could it be to start up a parking lot? Just find yourself an empty lot, buy it, get the zoning permits and voila – you’re in business. Well, it’s not quite that simple. You also need to have just the right location – a place without a lot of street parking where people actually do want to go regularly for example.

You also need to have a space that’s big enough to build your parking lot or you’ll have to spend serious money to invest in building underground parking and or purchasing stackable parking structures, commonly used in New York City. In addition to all that, you will also need to hire parking attendants (unless you plan on running a self service lot – these are easier to run, but also make less money).

Finally, no matter what you do, even if you find a lot which is ready to be used as a parking lot, you’ll need to find out about zoning laws in your area. There may very well be a reason why that that lot has never been turned into a parking lot until now.

Of course, another option which you may want to consider is working on leasing space temporarily for special events. For example, empty lots in the South Bronx within a few blocks from Yankees Stadium are often rented out temporarily when there is a game while the space remains empty and unused the rest of the year.

How Much Can You Make?

Working as a parking lot attendant (i.e. doing the parking lot business for someone else) typically means earning a salary in the range of between $15,000 to $25,000 per year. However, the amount you can make from owning a parking lot really is a matter of where your parking lot is located and how much time you are willing to spend working at building your business each day.

Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities | Tips

The thing to remember when you are working in the parking lot business is that you are in a service business. The better your service and the cleaner your parking lot is, the better you’ll do at making a living in your new business.

Other possibilities for earning extra money from this kind of business include things like supplying parking lots with the equipment they need (for example, the stackable parking slots mentioned earlier). You can also expect to earn money from tips if you offer a full service parking lot where people wait for their car to be brought around.

Finally, you could also consider running a valet service. In this case, you work at a restaurant or an event hall and park cars for people coming in, then go and fetch them later.

Qualifications / Requirements

The only requirement for running a parking lot is that you have a driver’s license and even that is not necessary if you hire attendants to work with you or you have a self service parking lot. You will also need to make sure that the area you are working in is zoned for a parking lot.

First Steps

Start by scouting out good locations for your new parking lot business. Consider working for a time as an attendant for someone else as well so that you can learn more about the business and what it involves.


Business.Gov: Starting a Parking Lot Business – A web site from the United States Government with some good information on starting a parking lot business.

National Parking Association – The official trade representative for parking lot attendants and owners in the United States.

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Every Way to Make Money | Starting a Parking Lot Business