You’ve been driving around for what feels like hours. Where are all of the parking spaces? Why are they so expensive? What can you do to find something local, private, affordable and not in another galaxy? If you’re tired of always wasting time while looking for parking spots, here are just four tips for shortening the process.

1. Look Before You Leap

Don’t use your smartphone to look up nearby parking garages when you’re already on the road. Do it from home before you set off for the evening. Not only will you be able to view bigger, better maps when you aren’t peering at a tiny screen, but you’ll also be less pressed for time.

2. Compare and Contrast

Never accept the first parking garage that you see. Even if it looks reasonably priced or centrally located, you never know when a better deal is just around the corner. For example, there might be a free parking lot a couple of blocks from your destination, and you might not mind the walk if it’s a gorgeous day outside. Comparing and contrasting is a valuable process for any purchase, and that includes the purchase of parking space.

3. Check Their Online Presence

Some parking garages let you claim spots, check prices or look for available openings online. Others like UK Parking Control allow you to virtually pay for parking charges. It’s the 21st century, so don’t limit yourself to hand-painted signs outside of a parking facility; jump on the web and see what amenities are there.

4. Ask for an Upgrade

Office workers, this one is for you. If you’re tired of parking a million miles away from the front door, ask your manager if anything can be done to get you closer to the action. They might be willing to trade, negotiate or even gift you a better spot if you meet certain quotas or deadlines. You’ll never know until you inquire, so don’t be shy! The worst that they can do is say no, and you won’t lose anything if they do.

These are just a few things to keep in mind as you search for a better parking space. Whether you’re unloading in a commercial garage or just stashing your vehicle someplace while running into the store, use these tips for avoiding some of the frustration of your usual parking space hunt.