Poorly maintained car parks, rutted roads, whatever or however you choose to describe them, potholes are not just an issue solely related to the main road network, avenues and lanes outside of your business.
They are an issue that can affect your business directly, from the car park to the approach road to and from your business.
- You may not give these depressions and holes too much thought but you may be risking your business.
- In fact, these potholes may be sending a clear message to your customers and your trade partners.
- If you’re unsure of the effect of potholes and poorly maintained land around your business, you need to know what these impressions these indents are giving.
Why potholes form
Potholes are indents in a road or surface, usually measuring 400mm or more. However, engineers agree that this definition is a technicality. Should the road surface be weak, it will cause a depression that will become a nuisance to vehicles driving over it. Usually, where there is one pothole, there will be many. They form for several reasons;
- Rain water - As rainwater runs-off, it can take the top layer of road surface with it but, on a poorly maintained road, track, car park etc. this water will seep beneath the top layer and run-off just below the surface, taking important sub-layers of material with it. Dislodging this material means the top layer is weakened; with use and more weather beating down on it, the pothole begins to form. With the increase in incidences of wet winters, the need to keep your roadways, lanes and car parks in tip-top condition has never been more important.
- Weight of vehicles and increase – from one or two vehicles, to heavy goods vehicles to customer cars and more, potholes form when the weight the road has to carry becomes too much for it. Likewise, heavy vehicles such as lorries, tractors, forklifts etc. all have the capability to cause indents, which will eventually become potholes.
- Poor maintenance and repair work – the cost of really repairing a road can run into thousands of pounds and this is why the ‘patch, mend and make do’ approach is one that many businesses fall back on. Filling a pothole with gravel; or simply laying a fresh topping of tarmac will not deal with the structural issues that are undermining the strength of the road so that within months, sometimes weeks, potholes carry on appearing across the surface.
What do potholes really say about your business?
First impressions are everything. People are said to form an impression within seven seconds of meeting someone, seeing a house or entering your business. Imagine standing as a customer or potential client at the end of your road or approach way to your business - your building may be impressive and modern looking but, does the roadway match this impression?
Damage, as well as frustration!
Potholes, even ‘small’ ones, are not only a nuisance but they can damage vehicles too. Potholes that are especially deep can cause considerable damage to a vehicle. You may be unaware of this, but although many compensation claims relate to potholes on public highways, the potential for a customer or delivery firm to take legal action to cover damages or to recuperate their costs are in the background. This is especially true if the lane or car park etc. is littered with damage.
Although having potholes means spending money to rectify them, it doesn’t mean throwing money at the problem and hoping for the best.
It has already been alluded to that superficial repairs have no long-term positive impact on dealing with potholes.
As a business, you need to be investing in the driveway, road or car park and this means spending a larger amount of money in order to reap the benefits longer term.
Taking heed and repairing potholes properly will have a significant impact on your business;
- Resilient road surface
Frankly, a poorly maintained road, approach or car park of a business speaks volumes. It does not create the impression you want. It can be off putting, as well as degrades the overall appearance of your business.
In addition, it is not uncommon in severe potholed tracks and lanes for delivery companies to refuse to drive to a business premises.
In summary: Budget, Proper Repair and ongoing Maintenance
It will take a chunk of the budget, but repairing the driveway or car park at your business is simply essential.
Scraping back the top layers, adding levels, layers and foundations is key, along with effective drainage.
Using the right layers of materials, including the all-important top layer is essential; some materials are able to cope better with a higher volumes of traffic, as well as heavier vehicles.
But, the investment should not stop there.
Regular and planned maintenance is a cheaper way to keep your business looking good than reactive maintenance when a pot hole starts to emerge.