The more value you can offer to your customers, the larger your customer base is likely to grow. With nearly 500,000 plug-in electric cars on the road in the United States as of June 2016, that's a rapidly growing customer base you can't afford to overlook. If you want to offer a plug-in charging station in your parking lot, you should talk with a commercial electrician from a company like Craftsman Electric Inc right away. Here are a few things that you should know about deciding to install a system like this.

How Much Power Do You Need To Offer?

One of the first things you need to consider is how much power you need to offer for your customers. The level of power your charging stations offer will depend on how long customers stay in your parking lot.

If you have a large lot with plenty of space, consider investing in an affordable station that provides sufficient power to charge a battery in about 2 hours. This gives customers time for leisurely shopping or to take full advantage of the services you offer. However, if your lot is smaller or you need faster turnover in your parking area, you may need to invest in a more expensive system that charges car batteries within 20-30 minutes.

Do You Need A Payment System?

You also need to determine whether or not you'll have customers pay to charge their cars. In most cases, the electricity charge per car is insignificant enough that you can't justify charging for the service. However, if you're investing in rapid chargers or networked charging systems, you'll want to think about instituting a pay-to-charge system or even a monthly subscription service for local customers to charge their cars in your lot on a regular basis. Even if you do charge, you may want to consider offering the first hour for free to encourage more customers to visit your location.

Where Should You Install The Stations?

Have your electrician evaluate your parking area and the electrical infrastructure of the property to help you determine the best places to install charging stations. You don't want to put them closest to the building and have customers with gasoline-driven cars wonder why all of the best spots are catered to electric-car drivers. However, you don't want to place them too far away to be convenient to use. Instead, have your electrician route wiring to an area near the center of the lot to install your charging pedestals. This provides the best of both worlds for your entire customer base.