Struggling to find a parking space is a day-to-day scenario for any metropolitan citizens. Parking lots are nothing short of a maze, and the exponentially increasing numbers of cars in the big cities add to the trouble. This is where parking spot finder apps come into play. These apps tackle the tough task of finding empty parking spaces near you. With a significant increase in the number of cars a person owns, there is a rising demand for such parking space finding apps.
The business models of parking space finder apps work just like the Airbnb business model, which connects hosts who want to rent out their apartments with travelers who are looking for accommodations. The era has passed when car drivers used to look for available parking spaces desperately. People these days use smart parking management solutions to book parking slots on the go.
With the rising popularity of parking space finder apps among the public, the prospects of business who can provide these solutions are also rising. This makes a perfect time to undertake a start-up under this niche. If you have been looking for a profitable business idea for your next venture, building your own parking space finder app could be a great one. In this blog, let’s cover the basics of building a parking app to offer innovative and convenient parking solutions to your target audience.
Things to consider while creating a parking space finder app
Before building an efficient parking management solution, there are some basic things to consider that will improve the efficiency of your final product. They are as follows:
Before taking any new business decisions, the first step is to conduct market research on the same. The same goes for delivering a parking finder app as well. You need to do thorough research to find out the cities with heavy traffic or parking space availability problems.
After your research, you will be able to find out which areas need a parking app. To categorize, the best parking space finder apps are the ones that show empty parking slots among many filled ones. That is why market research is important as an initial step in developing an application for the same.
The main purpose of a parking space finder app is to make it trouble-free for car owners to find a vacant parking space. If the design of the app is not easy enough to use, it loses the sole purpose. Both UI and UX of the parking space finder app should be easy on the eyes of users. An application with an enhanced user experience will help to bring back your customers every time. The app must be able to complete the whole process in a minimal number of easy-to-follow steps. In short, the parking app must be a smart parking solution for its users.
Start small and expand later
As with any business, it is better to start small and expand gradually once you gain a grip in the market. Start simply by offering the basic functions with unique features to gain the attention of your target audience. Don’t try offering what you have all at once. Once you gain a stable customer base, you can start by offering add-ons and extra perks to your customers to grow your business.
Offer complete information
Parking space finder apps are not just to provide information regarding parking space and free slots, they must also offer other related services. For example, a parking space finder app must show details like multiple pictures, regular parking fees, peak and free hours, and all related information. Your app will gain traction if it can offer other information like gas stations, car washing services or services helpful for car owners. Certain parking apps also inform the users about cheapest times to park, or if there is a hike in parking charges at other times of the day.
How Parking Management Solutions ease parking problems?
Conventional parking management systems tend to focus primarily on quantity. These types of systems consider more is always better. However, smart parking management solutions focus on quality and utilizing the available parking space efficiently to maximize the ease of finding and reserving parking space. Here are some of the common parking problems that parking management systems tackle.
Hard to locate vacant parking spots
This is the first problem tackled by a parking space finder app. Locating a vacant parking slot during peak hours is not easy. A parking lot finder app makes the whole process of finding the vacant spots easy with GPS.
Going through a confusing layout only to find a parking lot already occupied is troublesome. What is more troublesome is double parking where a car owner parking a vehicle near to another vehicle already stopped. With a spot allotted to a car, the parking lot finder app will be able to inform the car owner in case if space is double-parked. This leads to a more efficient parking lot with better parking lot management.
Confusing parking rules
Different parking spaces have their own rules like charge per hour, additional charges after a particular period, etc. A parking management software will help car owners to see the price-related information and other similar details taking unnecessary hassles out of the picture.
The revenue model of parking management systems
Like any other Airbnb-like app, Airbnb for car parking also generates revenue through commissions. Let’s look at different ways by which a parking spot finder app makes money.
No matter how conventional or modern a parking lot business is, it earns revenue through commissions from the parking space owners.
Parking lot management apps take a small percentage of fees from driver’s car owners when the payments are processed.
Parking space management systems can also charge parking lot owners to list their spaces for a price so that their spaces will be given priority. The parking system can also offer premium memberships to car owners to enjoy unique benefits like priority access to parking lots.
Must-have Features in your Parking Spot Finder App
To build an efficient parking management software, there are many essential features to incorporate.
Navigation and booking
A smart parking management solution will allow car owners to find a parking spot, reserve it, and pay for it according to the pricing format of the space. Not only it is timesaving but it also makes the whole process more efficient. Many parking lot apps work on this model. The car owner who registers in the app books a spot, and once he reaches the parking lot, the app guides him to the dedicated spot. Parking fees can be either pay-in-cash or through the app itself.
Parking spot finder apps must have a GPS tracking system that assists users to locate a parking space. Integrating location-based real-time navigation services can be the best way to help your users not just to book the slots but finding a way to reach there as well. Both navigation and booking system must be user-friendly and uncomplicated. When building an Airbnb for parking spaces, these are two important features to include. Apart from navigation and booking, parking apps can also have features like adding extra parking time or navigating back to a car space, etc.
Multiple payment gateways
It is always a smart move to provide app users with multiple payment choices. This comes handy when customers are in need of different payment options they trust and feel comfortable with. Adding multiple payment methods to your payment gateway can increase user engagement and significantly reduce the bounce rate.
A smart parking management solution must feature an efficient control system that provides the car drivers with information like “where to park” and other important notifications. It must also provide up-to-date information on car parking processes, price structure, and payment methods.
As parking spot finder apps utilize sensitive user data like bank details like credit card info, incorporating security features must be the top priority when developing the best parking app. Besides payment safety, the app must also address data and car safety before rolling out. This is extremely important for retaining the trust of your users.
Although it’s an optional feature, offering a comparison list of parking spaces with the price is an excellent add-on feature to include in your parking app. This helps users to find the cheapest option based on the recommendations.
Whenever a user searches for a parking lot, he or she must get notifications about empty parking slots and all other related information. The app can send alerts when the parking time is about to expire to save users from additional charges.
A reliable and safe communication system
Parking management software needs reliable and safe communication. This helps in solving the problems of the car owners while finding the parking slots. The app must include both technical support and notifications via messaging, which makes it convenient for users to enjoy the best services. Users, drivers, and admin must be able to communicate with each other regarding the services they want to avail.
The admin panel is one of the most important sections of the parking app development process. An admin panel must generate reports, manage users and driver panels, add or reject drivers, manage earnings, handle bookings and reservations, etc.
Cost to develop parking spot finder app
The concept of Airbnb for car parking is vast, and it includes numerous factors that make up the app development cost. The total cost to develop parking apps varies based on the features you choose to include. The cost depends heavily on the choice of front-end and back-end development frameworks, technologies, and tools used. It also depends on various other factors like choice of platform, size of the development team, and other complex features the app must have… Developing a parking space finder app from scratch can cost you around $50,000-$2,50,000, 50,000 or even more.
For these reasons, building a parking space finder app from scratch is not a great idea when there are better alternatives in the industry. As smart parking systems work based on Airbnb’s business model, choosing the best Airbnb clone script can be an efficient idea to build parking apps.
RentPark is one such clone script that comes inbuilt with features like communication, GPS, admin dashboard, monetization features, and a lot more. It costs around $1000-$2000 depending on the customizations. You also get free installation, 1-year tech support, etc. as add-ons. Additionally, you also get the source code that you can customize if you want to add any new features in your application.
Real-time parking management software opens the door to innovations and immense business opportunities. Modern technologies like cloud and IoT are playing a significant role in the development of smart parking systems. If you want to develop your own parking spot finder application, leveraging Airbnb’s business model is one effective way to bring your idea to fruition.