Best Parking, Parker, SpotHero, ParkMe, Parking Mate, Parking Panda… the list goes on.
At a time when startups like Lyft would offer everything – including money – to convince customers to rely on ride-hailing services, a large pool of companies is eager to solve one of the main problems of customers who would never ditch their cars: parking.
The idea of connecting those with parking spots to those seeking space through an app, letting owners rent their space and pocketing a fee for each transaction is not new—and Hasty Parking, a new local parking app launched at the end of August, follows the same playbook. The seven-people team even bills itself as “the Airbnb for parking,” to remark how their business model is similar to the community of home hosts and guests.
What’s different about Hasty Parking is how it helps space seekers locate their pre-booked spots.
While waiting for their daughters in the school courtyard, Hasty Parking co-founders Hope Beckman and Rebecca Comjean, two Concord, Mass. residents, started thinking about why parking apps weren’t as popular as they could be. The answer they came up with is that many users couldn’t actually find the space they were looking for.
To complement their app, Beckman and Comjean developed a numbered space marker that serves as a physical locator for the parking spot. Space owners place the markers (Hasty Parking provides these to owners for free when they create a listing) on the front-west corner of their parking spot. About 48 inches high, the marker also works as an ID for the parking space; by spotting the marker, parking space seekers also find their spot.
“It doesn’t matter if you place it in a grass field,” Beckman said. “You always know where the car is supposed to be.” Text messages, also, confirm bookings and remind users when a reservation is 15 minutes away from activating and expiring.
Using Hasty Parking, seekers can rent a space monthly, weekly, daily or hourly, depending on the agreement they have with the spot owner. The system is meant to encourage flexibility: if an owner needs the space back, all he or she needs to do is remove its listing from the app. Especially in highly-crowded urban environments, even short-term listings can make sense.
“If you live in Back Bay, Boston behind Newbury Street and you’re leaving for the weekend, you could actually list your space while you’re away,” Beckman said.
Since its launch in August, the app was downloaded 200 times, Beckman said, adding that the company is not currently looking for funding (and declining to disclose their investors). With offices in Boston and Concord, Hasty Parking hopes to increase its headcount in marketing and sales.
“Our No. 1 mission right now is to get the word out and let people know that we’re on a mission to create an equilibrium of parking,” Beckman said.