Oklahoma business owners and residents are well aware of the extreme weather the area experiences. However, are you sure you’re doing everything you can to protect your business and prevent hail damage? Around 55% of buildings in Oklahoma are affected by hail damage, so without the proper protection, it’s likely your business could be next.
Hail storms can cause significant damage to your business, with repair costs potentially totaling upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. Even with insurance, your business’s hail damage may not be fully covered. Typically, insurance only covers damages that affect your building’s functionality. Because a damaged building isn’t a good look for any business, you may end up paying for cosmetic damage repairs out-of-pocket.
Extreme weather, including hail, is bound to happen, so it’s smart to be prepared in order to minimize or prevent damage. Learn how to protect against hail in Oklahoma and how shade structures can help below.
The Importance of Protecting Your Business Inventory in Oklahoma
As a business owner or manager, you already understand the importance of protecting your inventory and property. Damages can be costly and time-consuming. Severe damage may even require temporary closure, which can impact your business’s productivity and revenue.
Hail damage in Oklahoma is particularly common. In 2022, the National Weather Service reported 214 hail storms in the state of Oklahoma. As a result, Oklahoma ranks in the top 10 states affected by hail storms in 2022. Additionally, a 50-year study conducted by the National Weather Service identifies transitional weather months as the peak time for hail in Oklahoma.
This peak hail time runs from mid-April to mid-May, with another peak in November. The transition from cold to warm weather and the transition from warm weather back to cold increases the likelihood of hail forming. However, hail may strike at any time, so it’s best to stay vigilant in your storm protection efforts. Having the proper prevention methods and tools in place can protect your business from significant hail storm damage.
Examples of property that can be damaged due to hail or other severe weather include:
- Outdoor dining furniture
- Playground equipment
- Outdoor seating
How to Prevent Weather Damage to Your Business
Extreme weather is bound to happen, especially in Oklahoma. It’s important to prepare your business to handle these extreme weather events to avoid severe damage. Some of the best ways to prevent severe weather damage include regular building inspections, property inspections, impact-resistant windows and shade structures.
1. Building Inspections
Regular building inspections, especially for your business’s roof, can help identify any weaknesses or problem areas. Addressing these problem areas before extreme weather hits can minimize damage to your business. Particularly when it comes to hail storms, having a strong, sound roof is key in protecting your inventory, building and staff.
If you don’t address roof issues prior to a hail storm, leaking or blocked drains can occur, causing even more expensive and time-consuming damages. As you’re likely inspecting your building regularly anyway, inspecting your building for proper weather protection should be an easy implementation.
2. Property Inspections
While inspecting your building, don’t forget to check the other areas of your property or potential threats near your building. For example, tree branches can break off during severe weather and damage your building or property.
Removing debris and trimming any nearby trees are great additions to your exterior maintenance efforts. Routine inspections and maintenance will keep your property looking great and improve your building’s safety.
3. Impact-Resistant Windows
The force of a hail storm can shatter your business’s windows, causing a huge mess and exposing your inventory, property and staff to weather damage.
Impact-resistant windows aren’t invincible, but they’re much less likely to shatter or break. Severe hail storms may crack or chip an impact-resistant window, but minor window damage is preferred over injuries and severe damage caused by a shattered window letting in flying glass or debris.
Consider replacing your building’s windows with impact-resistant alternatives for further protection.
4. Shade Structures
Just as your roof protects everything inside your business’s building, a shade structure can protect your outdoor property. Outdoor seating, equipment or decorations all deserve the same protection the items inside your business’s building have.
This extra shelter will protect your outdoor property from hail and minor weather like rain. When you completely expose your property to the elements, you have to expect it to be damaged. Luckily, with shade structures, potential damage can be prevented or at least minimized. This added coverage may even make your space more functional, too.
Businesses That Benefit From Shade Structures
Various businesses benefit from shade structure additions. From schools and parks to government buildings and residential developers, there’s always a place for shade structures to add value and additional safety.
Schools and education centers should always have student safety at the forefront. Shade structures are a great way to protect students and expensive outdoor equipment. As already mentioned, shade structures can protect against hail and rain because they cover and shield specific areas.
However, even without the threat of hail, shade structures can also help protect students on a day-to-day basis by providing a safe area where they can be protected from harmful UV rays, sunstroke, heat exhaustion and other heat-related conditions.
Schools of all levels can benefit from shade structures, including:
- Daycare or early childhood centers
- Elementary schools
- Middle schools
- High schools
- Colleges or universities
- Commercial or trade schools
With shade structures, schools can provide students with sheltered outdoor areas such as dining areas, school pickup or drop-off areas, courtyards and playgrounds.
2. Government Buildings, Facilities or Bases
Military bases and government buildings tend to have a lot of valuable equipment that requires proper protection. That’s why USA SHADE is proud to serve the United States military and government entities with high-quality shade structures ideal for protecting people and equipment.
Military shade structures can be used in a variety of base locations, including:
- Recreation areas
- Security entryways
- Training centers
- Outdoor seating areas
- Shooting ranges
USA SHADE is a General Services Administration-approved vendor. Additionally, all of our military shade structures meet the requirements set by the Division of the State Architect. So, whether you’re looking to create an enjoyable outdoor space for employees or you need a safe spot to store equipment, shade structures can help.
3. Residential Property Developers and Property Management Groups
Residential property developers take pride in designing beautiful and inviting neighborhoods with various community amenities. But what about protecting these amenities? Shade structures can help protect these areas while remaining stylish and cohesive with the property developer’s vision.
Custom shade structures are extremely beneficial for condos, apartment complexes and residential neighborhoods. With custom options, you can get the look you love with the protection you need. Use shade structures to protect:
- Basketball and tennis courts
- Community center patios
- Swimming pools
- Grilling areas
Great amenities like these deserve proper protection so residents can continue to use and enjoy them even after a hail storm. Shade structures can also make these areas more enjoyable, as they offer a cool place to relax away from the heat and sun.
4. Parks and Recreation
Parks and recreation areas tend to have a lot of equipment or furniture in place to provide relaxing and enjoyable outdoor gathering spaces for the surrounding community. From playgrounds to picnic areas, parks and recreation areas are great for getting people outside and enjoying nature. However, with nature comes unpredictable weather.
Shade structures are extremely helpful in protecting parks and recreation areas and increasing the longevity of playground equipment and outdoor dining areas. Unprotected equipment is more likely to need frequent maintenance and repairs compared to covered furniture and equipment.
Advantages of Investing in Shade Structures
Shade structures offer businesses a variety of benefits. From hail damage prevention and increased guest comfort to greater visual appeal and product versatility, there are plenty of reasons to consider the addition of shade structures around your business.
1. Weather Protection
With the prominence of hail in the Oklahoma area, businesses within any industry need to protect their properties. Just as a roof protects inventory and equipment inside your business’s building, a shade structure protects your outdoor equipment and property.
For businesses or industries that rely on people using their outdoor products or services, such as parks and recreation, shade structures keep people around even during unfavorable weather. When a quick rain shower hits, families don’t need to head home for the day — they can comfortably and safely let the rain pass while they wait under the provided shade structure.
Fabric shade structures from USA SHADE successfully block 60-70% of precipitation. By installing one or more of our shade structures on your property, your business can provide reliable protection during most kinds of weather.
Shade structures aren’t designed for just one specific industry or for one specific purpose. Shade structures can be used in a variety of ways and areas. Some of the best areas to include a shade structure are:
- Open spaces: On a bright, sunny day, a wide open space with little to no natural shade may be unappealing. However, the addition of a shade structure can make this space more attractive and functional. Kids can play in the sun while parents or guardians watch from the shade. When it’s time for a break, kids can get away from the heat and join their families under the cooling shade structure.
- Parking lots: Protect employee and guest cars with protective shade structures in the parking lot. A shade structure can keep cars cool on a hot day or protect them from rain, snow or hail storms that pass through. Providing a safe space for visitors to park can give off a great impression of your business before visitors even exit their cars.
- Picnic and eating areas: Whether it’s an extremely hot day or rain showers appear unexpectedly, a shade structure covering eating areas will allow visitors to enjoy their meals regardless. Visitors may even come to expect eating areas to be covered, and if they’re not, they may be disappointed in your establishment.
- Playgrounds: Playgrounds that include one or more shade structures allow parents and caregivers to comfortably watch children play. Additionally, shade structures offer vital cool-down areas for kids to reset and stay safe while playing.
- Poolsides: Whether installed by a pool or lake, shade structures offer guests a comfortable space to enjoy the water without having to sit in the sun all day.
3. Increased Comfort
Shade structures increase employee and visitor comfort. Whether guests are looking for sun protection and a place to cool off or a comfortable place to wait for rain or unpleasant weather to pass, your business’s shade structure will provide guests with the most enjoyable experience regardless of the weather.
Keep in mind shade is critical for certain guests, such as children and older adults. Without proper shade structures in place, some people may not be able to visit your business, or they may be forced to leave sooner than they’d prefer due to heat exhaustion or other heat-related conditions. If guests know they can remain safe and comfortable at your business, they’re more likely to choose you over your competitors.
4. High Return on Investment
Integrating shade structures into your business is a big investment. However, in the long run, shade structures can save you money. Because shade structures offer extra protection to your business during hail storms, you can avoid paying costly expenses every time it hails.
Shade structures are also more cost-efficient and easier to install compared to a full remodel or renovation. Shade structures work with your current setup to enhance your business’s design and functionality. The addition of a shade structure, or several, allows your business to get a modern upgrade without requiring a full renovation.
Additionally, sun shades can enhance your business, bringing in more customers and increasing your revenue. The increased functionality of your space makes your business more appealing, especially for guests who plan to stay a while.
Plus, shade structures even offer opportunities for extra cash flow. Consider renting out shaded areas for birthday parties and other events. While you can make some extra money by charging a rental fee for shade areas, these events may also pique the interest of other guests, inspiring them to host their next event at your business.
5. Various Design Options
Improving your business’s functionality is important, but you also have to keep design in mind. Luckily, shade structures come in a variety of design styles, so you can add comfort and safety to your business in style.
USA SHADE offers a variety of shade structure styles, including:
- Squares and rectangles: These shade structures are great for adding a simple and modern design to outdoor areas. Square and rectangular shade structures are perfect additions to outdoor seating areas, pools, automotive detail areas and more.
- Multi-sided: For large or unusually shaped areas, you’ll want to use multi-sided shade structures. Shade structures in this design category also add a unique look to your space that’s sure to grab visitors’ attention.
- Cantilever: Cantilever shade structures offer the same benefits as other structures, but cantilever structures limit the use of columns or poles. This keeps your shaded area open and clear of any obstructions. This setup is ideal for bleachers, pool areas, covered parking and auto dealerships.
- Sails: If you need a unique and adjustable shade structure, opt for our 3-Point, 4-Point or 5-Point sail shade structures. With these shade structures, each column can be a different height, which can create unique and fun shapes perfect for playgrounds and outdoor school areas.
- Single post: Even areas with limited space need added protection from the sun, hail or other weather. With single post shade structures, you can bring shade to any sized area, as these structures only need space for one column. Keep your single post shade structure design simple and choose a sail or disc shape, or get creative and incorporate a Pegasus or Aurora structure into your outdoor space.
- Specialty: Add innovative architectural designs to your business’s outdoor space with specialty shade structures. These structures go beyond the classic designs and shapes to create stylish shade solutions.
While these various shade structure options cover a vast amount of design needs and styles, if you have a specific design in mind, you can choose to customize your shade structure instead. Shade structures can be custom-made to fit certain design preferences or unique size and shape requirements.
At USA SHADE, in-house design and engineering experts can assist you throughout the customization process by offering expert advice and guidance to find the perfect shade solution for your business.
6. Stand out Among Competitors
With unique or custom-designed shade structures, your business will stand out among the competition. Community members will notice and recognize your unique shade structures, especially if they align with your brand colors. Shade structures will stand out in guests’ minds, reminding them to come back and enjoy spending time at your business.
Additionally, shade structures may be a deciding factor for guests when they choose to visit your business over your competitors. With provided shade structures, your guests will know they can enjoy a full day outside at your business thanks to the comfortable shade and precipitation protection these structures provide.
Request a Quote From USA SHADE
As an Oklahoma business owner, you need to be prepared for anything, including hail storms. Installing shade structures is a great way to protect your outdoor property while also enjoying a variety of other benefits. At USA SHADE, we’re ready to help you find the best shade structure for your business.
Choose from our wide range of innovative and high-quality shade structures, or work with our team to create custom shade structures unique to you and your business. We pride ourselves on offering uncompromising quality and endless possibilities. With the help of our in-house designers and engineering experts, we’re ready to make your dream a reality.
Get started by requesting a free quote today!