Parking Mobile Apps: How to Start a Parking Lot Business?
Number of cars around the world are increasing continuously; however, the number of parking lots are limited. Due to this, car owners or drivers are not able to find the perfect parking lot and hence they park their car at the first garage which came under their view of sight.
Even the statistics reveal some of the issues faced by users in parking:
- One of the studies done by IBM discovered that 30% of the city’s traffic is contributed by drivers searching for parking.
- Average Americans spend 17 hours a year searching for parking, which results in a cost of $US 345 per driver in wasted time, fuel, and emissions. (Source)
Thankfully, the latest technological tools from the IT industry can provide the best solution. Over the years, various parking mobile apps are launched that help to save users time as well as their money.
Let’s deep dive into all of them in detail:
How do Parking Apps Work?
Before developing a parking mobile app, it is very much important to know how it works based on the user’s point of view:
Now, we will look after some of the parking apps that have been highly adopted by users worldwide.
Top 6 Parking Mobile Apps
Here is the list of well-known parking mobile apps:
ParkMobile is the fastest growing parking mobile app in the market. It focuses on providing its services to more cities then the number of locations it serves in a particular city.
BMW acquired ParkMobile app in January 2018 and then the app reached a user base of 22 million users in around 1000+ American and European cities.
The app allows you to park in mainly three ways, which include Park Now, Reserve Parking, and Event Parking. This app is available for both Android and iOS devices.
This street parking app is being featured in popular newspapers like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, etc. It is the best small airport parking finder app.
The app instantly locates all the parking spots available in your area. It allows you to compare with other spots, prepay, and save up to 50%. It provides its services in 110 cities and around 105 North American airports in the United States.
BestParking is being used by around 850,000 monthly users and it is backed up by heavy reviews on both Android and iOS devices.
All the small business travelers who are looking for a cheap parking option can go with ParkWhiz. This app is recommended by Forbes.
ParkWhiz provides a significant discount if you book for the month or a season before the time, up to 60%. The app is available in more than 300 cities, and it enables you to sort based on what you are looking for, such as a specific event, lot, or garage.
It allows you to compare-pricing, reserve, and book your parking lot instantly. It is available for both Android and iOS devices.
4. Parkopedia Parking
It is the biggest parking service app. It allows you to book a parking space in 89 countries & 15,000 cities all around the globe. The app enables you to find a parking lot based on the current location or just by entering the address.
Moreover, Parkopedia follows a navigation system and guides users to reach the desired location. It provides different filtering options like free spots, credit payments, etc. It is available for Android and iOS users.
SpotHero is one of the most popular car parking apps available in the market. It allows you to save up to 50% on an ideal place in their 4,500 partner garages and more as soon as you find it. How SpotHero find such wonderful deals?
They usually buy unsold spots at a monthly price and garages at a heavily discounted rate, and then pass various offers to you.
In case you want to park at a place more than once, you can reserve it for the future and pay in advance. SpotHero app is available for Android and iOS devices.
It is one of the best parking mobile apps available in the market. It serves more than 20 million registered users in 8 countries. Until now, it has transformed parking in around 300 cities.
It allows you to pay for your parking lot remotely and in advance. To use this app, first login into your account, enter location number, and duration. Then enter three digits on the back of your payment card to book in advance.
Moreover, it allows you to extend your time remotely and enter a new registration. It is available for Android and iOS users.
After looking at the most popular parking apps in the market, we will look after the features provided by all these parking mobile apps.
Parking App Features
Parking Mobile App development can have a lot of essential features. These can be divided into basic to advanced.
Basic Features of Parking Mobile App
Parking mobile apps consist of a vast number of features. These can be divided into two parts: basic and advanced.
Basic Features of Parking Mobile App
- Location Tracking
For creating a user-friendly app, it is essential to allow GPS Tracking. It enables users to find the nearest parking lot or parking lots in a specific area.
Searching process should be easy. The app should be able to locate the nearest parking lot in just a tap.
This feature enables users to book a parking spot. The user can find a spot as per their budget and book it on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Comparing Prices
This feature allows users to compare prices with ease and find the cheapest parking lot in their area.
- Different Payment options
It is suitable to integrate different payment options like Paypal, Credit card, and cash, this will make the user comfortable and secure.
Advanced Features of Parking Mobile App
Below list consists of some advanced features.
- Push Notifications
One of the most crucial features to improve user engagement is to send push notification about discount, app updates, cites added, expiry time.
- More Cities
This feature allows users to book their parking spots in a different city when they are on business or travel trips.
- Advanced Filtering Options
By providing different filtering options like filter by time, filter by cost, filter by region, and list of garages and lots.
- Detailed info of garages and lots
Provide a detailed description of parking garages and lots. This includes photos, extra services, regular parking fees, and hours.
- Waiting List
Every car driver has a favorite parking spot. But, it may not be available. Hence notify the user when their parking lot is available.
- Heat map
App provides the busiest route in real-time mode. By this, users will be able to make a proper decision for booking.
- Save Location
This feature enables the user to save the location of your parked car on your device and share it with your friends on social media platforms.
Now let’s check different business models on which a most popular parking app works.
Parking Apps Business Model
Here is the list of three main business models that are followed by leading parking mobile apps worldwide:
This kind of app will only provide details about the vacant spot in a particular city and area.
All other functions from booking to paying can’t be done online. This model is suitable for the MVP version to start a business.
The majority of players in the market prefer to first deploy an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) app with primary features and later update with most advanced features.
To know more about MVP, read our post on the Importance of MVP app in mobile app development.
This model is complex as compared to the previous model. It allows car owners to find the parking lot online and reserve a spot. Moreover, the app will navigate the user to the booked place.
This kind of parking service app follows an effective payment system. It contains various easy-to-use payment systems like credit card, PayPal or Cash.
It contains some additional features such as adding extra time for parking or navigation back to the parked car.
Currently, this type of model is being used by parking applications like BestParking.
This is the best solution available as of now, as this app will solve all your parking issues. Using this app, car owners will be able to reserve their spot before reaching their destination.
Moreover, it offers door-to-door service. There are valets that take your car and park your car at the desired spot.
How does this kind of app work? Users have to first select the parking space and select the time and place to give car keys to the valet. The valet will collect the car, park it and return the vehicle to the owner in the decided time.
It is highly secure as users can check valet’s photos, reviews, and other things. An example of such an application is Luxe Valet.
After checking all the features, and business models of the parking mobile apps, now we are moving towards the most important part of our blog, i.e. understanding the detailed process of starting a parking lot business. So, let’s get started:
How to Start a Parking Lot Business?
Follow the 12-step process given below to start the parking lot business:
1. Create a business plan
A highly-organized business plan will help you to achieve success in the parking lot business. This will help you to discover various specifics, such as the opportunities and threats to your business.
Some of the essential things which you should consider:
- What are the initial costs of opening a parking lot business?
- What will be the cost of operating a parking lot business?
- Who is your target audience?
- How much time will it take to reach your profits equal to your costs?
- What will be the name of your business?
Here, you have to define all the above things. Out of all, the business name is most important. Hence, we suggest you to do proper research and purchase a domain name based on your industry. After this, you have to also buy hosting.
2. Form a legal entity
Build a legal business entity like LLC. This will prevent you from being personally accountable if your parking lot is sued. For this, you can take the help of a registered agent, which will protect your privacy and stay compliant.
3. Find Funding
Firstly, you should collect information about the average selling price for parking spots where you want to provide car parking services.
Reach to a loan officer or a credit union to check whether you have sufficient credit scores to qualify for a commercial loan. Also, you can contact small business administrations that provide low-interest loans to entrepreneurs who want to start their venture.
4. Find Location of your Parking Lot
For this task, you can hire a real estate agent who will help you to find the best commercial property at the best price in a specific area.
It is clear that a parking lot near a harbor will be much in demand as travelers face issues while finding a space to park their cars.
5. Register your taxes
You are required to register for different types of state and federal taxes before you even start your business. For example, in Seattle, Washington, commercial parking lot owners have to pay 12.5% tax on the total parking fee.
6. Design all the Specifics
You should plan properly whether you want to rent spaces to the tenants on a monthly or yearly basis or you are looking to rent out the parking area on an hourly or daily rate.
One thing you should consider is to estimate the price you want to charge the user at the parking lot. Also, ensure that the price is suitable plus fair enough to cover all your expenses.
7. Organize your parking lot properly
You should present your ideas for the parking lot to an architect. They have expertise in designing parking lots to make sure all of your requirements are met. It is vital to verify that your parking lot possesses the maximum number of spaces as per the layout and size.
To check this, you can also construct a lot properly and paint the line to properly divide spaces between cars. If you are planning to rent out the spaces, it is highly recommended to assign numbers. This will help tenants to quickly find and use their space.
8. Provide Best Safety and Security
Install security cameras to track all the activities in your parking lot. You can also keep a passcode gate or an attendant at the car parking lot who will look after all the people who don’t have access to park their car.
You can also hire a security guard who will control all the activities of the parking lot when all the users are enjoying their day.
9. Open a Business Bank Account
Using specific business banking and credit accounts for all your business transactions is crucial for personal asset protection. By doing this, you will keep your account safe.
When you merge your business and personal account, your personal assets like home, car, etc are not safe and your business might get sued.
10. Obtain Business Insurance
If you have business insurance, then you will be able to operate your business safely and lawfully. This insurance safeguards you financially in case of loss. For example, if any damage has happened to a person’s car in your parking lot, then it will be covered.
Different insurance policies are present for different businesses. If you are not familiar with them, then you can choose to go with General Liability Insurance.
Apart from this, you can also purchase Workers’ compensation Insurance. This insurance is helpful to cover losses of any employees that are working at the parking lot.
11. Develop a Parking Mobile App
After deciding all the above things, it’s time to take your parking lot business online. For this, you need to develop a mobile app for your parking lot business.
To develop an app, we recommend you to hire a mobile app development company. They will help you right from the ideation to the launch of your parking mobile app.
12. Promote your Business
After you have developed your parking mobile and deployed on the Play Store and App Store, it must reach the potential customers.
To promote your brand or business, you can contact a leading digital marketing agency, they will create an effective marketing plan for your parking mobile app and then promote it accordingly.
If you have an idea for a parking app, you can contact us. We would understand your project details and provide you with a free quote.
Lastly, to develop a successful app, you have to keep in mind a lot of important factors such as business model, target audience, market growth, revenue streams, customer experience, etc.
All the apps that we have mentioned above are serving a wide number of customers worldwide. Now, it’s your turn to join the market and help car owners to find their parking lot with the tap of their screen.