Your business’ curb appeal sends a vital message to customers. Current and potential customers form an opinion about your business based on how it appears from outside. That may be a conscious or subconscious impression, and it may be good or bad. It all depends on how you present your commercial face.
Façade is often used to describe a building’s front. The term derives from the French word for face. Just as we judge a person based on the face they present, storefront curb appeal says a lot about your business. Like the old cliché that books are judged by their cover, people’s first impressions are formed by the image that’s presented to them from the street. This impression solidifies as they approach the front door.
Customers can form these positive or negative first impressions instantaneously. Seeds are certainly planted by the time they’re in the parking lot, and they’re beginning to sprout when they’re making an entrance. How you sow those valuable image seeds that grow into sales is a matter of making some small changes that materialize into an impressive impact. Taking steps to enhance your business’ curb appeal will bring a tremendous return on investment.
Another cliché is there’s no second chance to make a first impression. That’s true. The better your business appear s to customers who see it for the first time, the more they’ll remember how they felt. Emotions form lasting memories. If you improve store curb appeal, you’ll give customers as well as employees an emotional lift. They’ll remember how they felt. If it’s positive, they’ll be happy. They’ll also be back.
The benefits of business curb appeal can’t be over emphasized. It’s all about image and impression. First impressions are lasting impressions, and your professional presence has to be consistently positive from outside to in.
Raising your curb appeal doesn’t have to be an enormously expensive project. Often, some small, inexpensive adjustments, additions or improvements can pay back enormously.
Easy Ways to Improve Curb Appeal
The first step to improving your business’ curb appeal is easy. It involves putting yourself in your customer’s shoes or perhaps in their car. Step outside and look around. See your business from the curb the same way a potential or returning customer would see it. Take the time to detach yourself and look at how your façade appears to others. Ask yourself what others would think.
Chances are you’ve been in your location for some time and are comfortable with day-to-day operations. Sometimes you might be so busy that little things slip by, such as letting routine maintenance lapse or forgetting to make seasonal modifications. Your landscaping may need a makeover, but you simply haven’t had time to make it a priority. You may overlook it, but you can be sure a customer won’t.
Start from the street and take those easy steps up your walk to the front door. See your business through another set of eyes. You’ll notice a few things, but you’re not likely to catch them all. This is where second opinions are helpful, especially if they come from a professional such as a landscape design and maintenance expert. You could say they’re in the curb appeal business.
Professional landscapers see many different façades during their careers. They view businesses differently than the owners do. No one is more aware of the importance of business curb appeal than a professional landscaper is. And no one is in a better position to pick up excellent ideas and suggestions on how to improve curb appeal than a landscape maintainer. Here are eight easy ways to enhance curb appeal that landscapers suggest.
Start With Signage
Perhaps the most visible image of your business is your sign. It has to be visible from the street, parking lot and sidewalk. Signs have to be readable to passing motorists as well as strolling pedestrians. Your sign also has to be easily visible to someone intentionally looking for your business. It has to be clear and leave no doubt about what your business is. Your sign is your primary business representative and calls the loudest attention to your curb appeal.
A tired and tattered sign is an instant turn-off to most people. It’s going to leave a poor first impression. A bad sign will discourage traffic and likely dissuade anyone from stopping to investigate what you have to offer. A good sign will be eye-catching and say you’re a professional worth dealing with.
Good signs should stand out from surroundings but also blend in with your overall theme. Your signage should be consistent with your corporate strategy including your brand logo and colors. Bigger is not necessarily better in signage. They have to be large enough to be quickly and easily readable. But signs shouldn’t be overwhelming, or they’ll take away from the rest of your landscape features.
Replacing old or outdated signs is well worth the investment. Like anything else, you get what you pay for in signs. Make sure your signage is professionally designed and constructed with quality materials that are attractive yet simple. Signs also bear the weather’s brunt, so they have to be durable. Cheap signs won’t stand up and are not worth the investment.
Signage includes more than your main business image that stands before the public. They’re a whole package that includes informational signs like parking directions and business hours. Sandwich boards are excellent additions for curb appeal, and so are periodic signs advertising sales and discounts. All your signs should be consistent and give a confirming message that your entire business is properly run.
Plan Your Parking
Properly presented parking facilities play a huge role in presenting professional curb appeal. You likely have little input into the number of parking stalls you have or where the street access is but you have complete control over how your parking lot appears. Parking lot safety and security are important issues, and they need to be addressed. But they’re not what your customer is going to consider when they’re pulling in the lot and putting it in park.
First impressions will form from the overall look. That includes the lot’s surface condition, marking lines and lighting. These things are easy to address. You can achieve the appearance of fresh pavement with an inexpensive asphalt treatment. You have new lines painted for a clean, organized appearance. Fill any potholes or cracks with a sealer and make sure all drains run freely. Make sure your lot is adequately lit with a tasteful touch.
Above all, keep your parking area clean. Remove any loose stones or gravel and regularly sweep up. If it’s a large lot, you can contract a commercial sweeper as part of your grounds keeping program. Smaller spaces can be quickly swept up, especially if it’s ongoing maintenance. Pick up debris as soon as it’s deposited and ensure that garbage is never exposed. Keep waste receptacles out of sight and out of mind.
Look After Lighting
Lighting is vitally important in your parking area and beyond. Properly designed and appointed lighting has a significant effect on curb appeal as well as contributing to safety and reducing liability issues. It’s not just nighttime and off-business hours when great lighting shines. Decorative lampposts and hanging fixtures are noticeable in the daytime too.
The type of illumination matters for curb appeal. LED and sodium-filled lights have soothing glows. Metal halide lights are bright and economical. Solar-powered lights suggest an environmental consciousness that impresses people from the moment they arrive. A blend of lamp types works well for street appeal. It can also relieve the electrical bill.
Consider special feature lighting to enhance your business’ curb appeal. Backlighting under roof eaves and overhangs has an inviting effect. So do low walkway accent lights that guide customers to the door. And a dedicated display light that directs attention to a single focus point like a sculpture or landscape anchor is a cost-effective addition that can’t be overlooked.
Freshen up Paint
There’s probably no better payback than paint. Dollar-for-dollar, a little paint goes a long way in freshening up your look. New paint speaks volumes about the way a business takes care of itself and shows pride in its appearance. It subtly suggests that you’ll also take care of your customers.
Entirely repainting a building is a big, expensive job. It’s likely unnecessary. Your money is best spent in accent painting. That could be window trims, stair railings or even the front door, which has a marked effect on first impressions. Ensure that anything you do paint is painted properly. A messy paint job gives a horrible impression and is often worse than no paint at all.
New paint also gives you a chance to create impressions with color. Don’t be afraid to get bold and experiment with opposites on the color wheel. Accent paints should be contrasting for a smart effect. You may also want to experiment with incorporating your company’s brand colors in with your building’s presentation. Branding is not just a marketing phrase. It’s about stating who you are and what you stand for. Think about helping sell your brand by improving your curb appeal with a bit of fresh paint.
Wash Your Windows
This curb appeal tip costs practically nothing. It’s surprising how often business owners forget about windows when maintaining their façade. You can be sure customers are noticing them. This is an easy fix. Most commercial building windows can be easily accessed with basic equipment, although you may need professional window washing on large or high-rise buildings.
Clean windows give a bright and caring look to a business. Natural light is a highly important factor that affects human psychology and behavior. The simple act of keeping business windows clear and reflective sends a powerful message and adds one more persuasive piece to the entire impression you’re sending.
Most maintenance schedules put window washing as a low priority. This easy task may not seem as important as ensuring major projects like landscape maintenance gets done. But it takes little time and adds plenty of value. You can clean windows seasonally, but it depends on location and environmental factors like location and, of course, birds.
Create Some Interest
Make your customers’ experience interesting. Start with their immediate arrival and carry their interest on as they get closer to your business transactions. People tend to deal with other people they like and find interesting. You can raise your chances of that by making their experience at your location inviting.
Window displays are a great opportunity to generate interest. You can also create interest with outdoor displays that are visible from the street. That might be sidewalk events featuring hot deals or even complimentary refreshments combined with entertainment. You might want to feature a focal point of artwork like a sculpture or impressive planting.
Outdoor comforts such as seating and resting places appear interesting and inviting from the curb. Benches and picnic tables are easy to install and maintain. They look great when accented with colorful umbrellas or seasonal plants with bright blooms and trailing flowers. Don’t forget about bike racks. These appeal to the fitness crowd who wheel by and can be persuaded to stop, provided you have a protected place to park their bikes.
Invest in Plantings
Plantings have a large return on investment. For a small price, you can get a big impact from plants placed in strategic locations that catch the eye, but don’t block the view. There’s no limit to creativity when you work with adding plants to enhance your curb appeal. It’s wide open to your imagination, while still respecting your budget restraints.
Think of plantings in three groups. There are anchor plants that are mainstays placed in permanent locations. That includes big trees, hedges and vines. Another group responds seasonally. That could be perennial garden plants or deciduous shrubs. The third group is annual flowers. Bedding plants, hanging baskets and window boxes are marvelous additions that build curb appeal at little cost.
Container gardening is a particularly popular curb appeal device. Here’s a place where bigger is better. Investing in large patio or walkway containers is well worth the price when it comes to producing impact. Oversized containers are much easier to see from the street. Make sure you protect your investment by stuffing your planters with bright plantings that fill, spill and thrill.
Protect Your Investment
Even if you make these easy curb appeal improvements that cost little but return much, make sure you protect your investment with proper maintenance. Grounds maintenance is the single most important step you can take in improving curb appeal. Proper maintenance of lawns, pruned trees, kept hedges and carefully attended plantings say a great deal about the pride your business holds and how you’ll take care of your customers.
Protecting your curb appeal should include investing in professional landscape maintenance. A professional landscape company like Complete Landscape Service has the knowledge, experience and equipment to look after all your curb appeal needs. We also have the skilled staff who will relieve you of maintenance time so you can do more time doing what you do best.
Contact Complete Landscaping Service to Improve Curb Appeal Today
Complete Landscape Service has served the Washington, DC metro region for three decades. That includes Maryland and Northern Virginia. Since 1979, we’ve created great first impressions for commercial businesses that care about their outside appearance. Contact us for a free quote on your commercial landscape needs.