Established in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) changed how businesses operated and gave access to places that millions could not reach before. If you have a building with public access, you must provide methods for anyone, regardless of the ability to safely enter your establishment to meet requirements for ADA compliance.
While many requirements did not pose a problem for large corporations, small businesses face different hurdles. If you have a small business, you must do everything possible – within reason – to make your building accessible. Tackle the top four hurdles in order to ensure compliance without breaking the budget.
To make your small business accessible, first, you need to think about how people get into the building. If you have stairs in front of your entrance, you will need an ADA-compliant ramp to allow those with mobility devices to enter. Should you not have the ability to install a permanent ramp outside your small business, the ADA does allow for a portable ramp that you put out as needed. However, the portable option must still meet ADA requirements such as having a non-skid surface and handles on the sides.
Small businesses with parking lots must also have wheelchair accessible parking spots. For every 25 parking spots, you must have at least one accessible spot. Out of every six accessible spots, one must be for a van. Even businesses with fewer than four parking spots must have at least one accessible spot, but you do not have to label the parking spot. Accessible spots will have an access aisle beside them measuring at least five feet wide.
Services or Goods Access
Regardless of your business, you need to ensure that people have access to your employees and any goods sold. You may need to adjust aisle width or counter heights to ensure that someone in a wheelchair can easily move through your building.
If you have restrooms available for other customers, you should include an accessible stall or restroom. Make sure that someone with a mobility device can access at least one restroom stall.
Other Accessible Sites
Any other public facilities in your building, such as public phones, drinking fountains, or service areas where you could otherwise have an employee help are good places to round out your compliance fulfillment but not places to start.
Make ADA Compliance a Priority for Your Small Business
The priorities you take for making your business ADA compliant depend on your building and budget. However, as a small business, you must do everything to ensure that you make all feasibly possible upgrades for accessibility. Though the priorities above only serve as recommendations, they should help to guide you in improving your business’s compliance.