We spoke with YourParkingSpace, the company unlocking the earning potential of your driveway, about startups and scaling a sharing economy rental marketplace.
Can you tell us a little about YourParkingSpace?
We’re an on-demand parking marketplace. The YourParkingSpace website and app allow drivers to search, book and park at their convenience, for an unbeatable price. Originally, we were based around the concept of peer-to-peer driveway rentals, and parking space owners can obviously still make a great side income by listing their driveways or garages with us. But now, we also have a large number of corporate clients who rely on us to increase revenue at their commercial properties by renting out spaces they wouldn’t normally fill. Since launching the company in 2014 with our co-founder Charles Cridland, we’ve built a business which parks over 6000 cars a day.
Why do you think the sharing economy provides such a great opportunity for start-ups?
The sharing economy offers huge, untapped potential. Resource-sharing between peers has proved hugely successful already: just look at companies like Airbnb and Uber. They’re just a few years old, but they’re already the go-to option for many of us looking to rent a room or catch an affordable ride. When I founded YourParkingSpace, I wanted it to be as simple to secure parking through my app as it is to use theirs. Tech is the future. Sharing goods or services makes sense due to price, convenience and environmental concerns. If your technology enables a positive experience for customers, you can encourage them to share almost anything… even the Gandalf costume on Fat Llama’s site!
How did you find the experience of starting your own company?
It was extremely challenging. We had to take on board users’ and clients’ feedback constantly so that we could provide a service that was actually useful and a business model that investors could get behind. This meant that we had to be bold about making changes to the initial concept. We also faced the challenges of raising investment. The growth of a business absolutely depends on this, so I had to develop a tough skin to deal with the setbacks and persevere with pitches.
What advantages does YourParkingSpace offer compared to renting your driveway direct?
Firstly, it’s convenient – our site is a popular shop window with a broad audience looking to search, book and park. Advertising your space is effortless. Secondly, it’s safe – we take a deposit from drivers to deter them from overstaying and our guarantee protects your payment. Thirdly, our customer support staff are on hand with advice to help space owners price their garages and driveways competitively and to earn the 5-star ratings that ensure repeat custom.
How do you reassure customers who have misconceptions about YourParkingSpace?
We tell people to try our service and see for themselves! Right now, we have a 9.1/10 satisfaction rating on Trustpilot. We work to save money and provide unbeatable convenience for drivers as well as to help parking space owners earn a substantial income, which should be a win-win situation for all involved. If a driver or space owner has a negative experience, we actively encourage them to submit feedback – this allows us to iron out any issues, so we can provide a truly exceptional customer experience in future.
How have you managed to grow the number of YourParkingSpace users in a highly competitive business landscape?
The great thing about YourParkingSpace is that the platform effectively sells itself. If a driver understands all the possible benefits, and a space owner realises how simple it is to earn a side income through us, it’s a no-brainer. We have a great marketing team who help spread the word, but word of mouth is also hugely powerful. We count on our Customer Happiness Executives to turn first-time users into raving fans, who leave great reviews and introduce their friends. We also offer special promotions or referral rewards when we want to give an extra push!
What’s the biggest challenge YourParkingSpace faces today?
Currently, our ambitions within the industry are not matched by the inventory we can list. We’ve finally got the product – our website is highly scalable, so there’s no problem listing hundreds more spaces – and a fantastic, capable team of staff, but it’s hard to register new spaces at the same rate we’d be able to get drivers booked in. Securing new commercial property partners seems to hold most potential. It’s difficult to convince some car park operators that the commission we charge still ultimately results in added value – we’re always explaining that the incremental revenue YourParkingSpace brings in can never take away from overall profitability! We also have strong competitors within the market, although I’d argue that rivalry is healthy for promoting innovation.
How do we get involved?
To check out what parking spaces are available near you or to list your driveway, car park or garage, go to YourParkingSpace. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news.