Seems so simple, right? After all, who has not Googled something? Google, the most popular search engine in the world, is a robust mechanism for quickly finding what you need on the web. Unfortunately, a standard Google search of “parking lot for sale” will currently return around 14.6 million results that are all but worthless to you. Words like “sale” and “parking lot” come up in a million different searches and you will never find a parking lot by trying to wade through 100 pages of mediocre results. So, put Google to work for you by mastering Google’s phrase search and terms you want to exclude. Searching for [“parking lot for sale” – “parking lot sale”] will only search the exact phrase, “parking lot for sale”, and will exclude the pesky “parking lot sale”, which we have no desire to attend. Instead of the 14.6 million search results, you now have a more digestible 262 results. Search techniques like this will allow you to quickly and effectively drill down to exactly what you are looking for (even locations) without ever signing up for a commercial listing service, or contacting a time-wasting broker. Finding commercial listings may be the easiest research to conduct, but it will give you the weakest results because some of these properties are listed by a broker – which is what you want to avoid at all costs.
Automate your search
Once you have brainstormed ideas where you and Sealcoating others pay to park, you can once again put Google to work for you by using Google Alerts. Enter your key words with the correct phrasing and exclusions, and set up when you would like to receive the information. You can even place location keywords to search only those geographic areas where you are most interested. Entering “new courthouse proposed in X County” will alert you to any new information with those keywords. Alerts will also email you your desired results as often as you like. I have found outstanding deals waiting for me in my inbox on many occasions, all automated from Google alerts.
“Visit” the area
Once you have found your million dollar idea by searching areas where you would pay to park (e.g., land across the street from a university that is doubling their campus buildings and parking is already scarce), you can visit the area from the comforts of your own home using Google Maps (Are you seeing a theme here?). This will show you all you need to know about the area. For example, using Google maps, I was able to visit a potential lot 1,500 miles away. I wanted to look at it because it fit my parameters (i.e., I knew it desperately needed parking from news articles and upcoming construction that I researched with the tips above). I knew a piece of land was vacant from a quick Google Maps search and clicking on the view satellite tab, but I did not know what it really looked like-as it would if I were there. Using Google Maps Street View, I was able to see that indeed the lot was empty, and the surrounding lots were packed full of cars, in-you guessed it-paid parking lots!