By Sheldon Stewart
In real estate, the state of a home’s exterior can make or break the sale. But what if the building isn’t a private residence – and what if it isn’t for sale?
Savvy business owners know that curb appeal is every bit as important for commercial properties as it it for private homes. Perception is everything. And when the people you’re looking to impress are the same people that support your business year in and year out, investing in the upkeep of your exterior spaces is no doubt worthwhile.
Spring is the perfect time to assess your property and address any cosmetic issues before the busy summer season arrives. From quick ﬁxes to more multi-faceted projects, here are 10 ways you can start improving your commercial curb appeal today.
1. Start with clean slate
From spills and chewing gum on the sidewalk to dirt, mildew and lichen on the building itself, a professional power wash can make a property look like new. Even tough jobs can be done using environmentally-safe cleaners, with either low pressure or a hot water, high pressure wash – depending on the work that needs to be done.
2. Get ready to repair
Wind, snow, rain and our salty air can all be tough on building exteriors. Signs of wear – such as rotting wood, mold or mildew – will only get worse in time, and painting over it only masks the problem. New paint will probably be in order, but ﬁrst, have a licensed carpenter do the necessary repairs.
3. Pay attention to paint
First, check the exterior surfaces for any peeling or bubbled paint, unsightly marks, dings or other signs of wear – and touch them up. Perhaps you’re not in need of a full exterior paint job this year, but some fresh paint – even in a few selected areas like the front door and/or the trim – is never a bad idea.
4. Paint inside the lines
Look beyond the building itself and see what else could beneﬁt from a fresh coat of paint. Perhaps painting new lines in your parking lot? Even if your business is well established, new paint lines in a parking area will help your business look updated and professional.
5. Make an entrance
Even with a small budget, a little can go a long way with some simple landscaping –and your main entrance is a great area to put some focus. Consider lining the path to your front door with potted plants or small trees, or use window boxes if you have a more “house-like” storefront. Adding some new pavers, slabs or stones that lead to your building will also make visitors feel more welcome.
6. Get a bird’s eye view on landscaping
Managing the entirety of your outdoor areas may seem overwhelming, but minimal maintenance can still make a big impact. Regular mowing and weeding is a must. If time and budget allow, some seasonal plantings will show your clients and customers that you care about the details.
7. Keep it light
In addition to its functional purpose, lighting has an emotional aspect, too. –illuminating certain areas of your property can double as decor. Use lamps to line a pathway, or use a spotlight to show oﬀ a particularly nice landscaping feature. Make sure to use LED or solar lights whenever possible to save on energy costs.
8. Hardware is easy
Installing new hardware is another area where you can get a big bang for your buck. Invest in new numbers for the building, handles for the doors, mailbox(es) if you have them. Polished, clean exterior hardware translates to good taste and good business.
9. Big picture clean
Once you’ve taken care of any necessary repairs and updates, don’t forget to look at the big picture from a customer’s point of view. Is there debris lying around? Are the trash receptacles overﬂowing? Are accent items like planters or benches neat and inviting – or are they sort of strewn around? Regardless of the state of aﬀairs inside the building, a passerby can’t help but wonder if any outside sloppiness reﬂects the business in general.
10. Mind the maintenance
The best way to keep it easy on yourself is to keep up with the ongoing maintenance each year. Many professional painting, landscaping and carpentry companies oﬀer facility maintenance plans. It’s just like getting regular exercise –get in the habit, and those extra pounds won’t sneak up on you.
The truth is, your business will be judged by its outward appearance. And it may be a clichéd statement, but you really don’t get a second chance to make a ﬁrst impression. Fortunately, you’re in control of creating the impression you want to leave.
Sheldon Stewart is President of Stewart Painting, Inc. in Hyannis. He can be reached at (508) 362-8023 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was published in the April 2017 issue of Cape & Plymouth Business.