Creating a Parking App: From A to Z Guide

A parking app addresses one of the biggest traffic headaches in urban areas: finding empty spaces and controlling illegal parking.

Creating a Parking App From A to Z Guide

With the ever-growing number of cars, parking capacity remains limited. As a result, finding vacant spots is becoming a real challenge. Illustratively, drivers spend around 17 hours per year searching for empty spaces, resulting in $345 per chauffeur in wasted time, fuel, and vehicle emissions.

Here is when developing a car parking app comes to the rescue. In this post, OpenGeeksLab will discuss on-demand parking reservation app development and how you can drive business growth through its best practices.

Why a Parking App Is the New Black

Gartner predicts that in 2021 almost 90% of businesses will have their app. By creating a good parking app, you have a chance to immortalize your name in the history of mobile app development.

INRIX, a leading specialist in connected car services and transportation analytics, reported that in New York City alone, the hardest-hit urban area, drivers spend around 107 hours (which equals 4.5 days) per year looking for vacant spaces, resulting in a whopping $2,243 loss in wasted time, fuel, and vehicle emissions per driver. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, and Seattle close the top five cities with the toughest parking experiences.

What’s more, every fourth American said they missed an appointment, every third abandoned their trip because of parking lot challenges, and every fifth experienced road rage.

On top of that, the current situation negatively affects the broader U.S. economy: 63% of 6000 drivers avoided driving to shopping malls, airports, leisure, or sports facilities given parking issues.

Such challenges are boosting demand for more novel parking applications to arise. Hence, talking about the global smart parking market, it’s expected growth is some 3.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2023, at a CAGR of 14 percent.

Currently, ParkMobile, Best Parking, and Park Me App are the top three iOS and Android parking apps in the market.

1. ParkMobile

The most popular ParkMobile online parking app helps millions of people across the U.S. easily find and pay for on-street and garage areas without having to use a meter or kiosk. Besides, it offers stadium parking for concerts and sporting events. Reservations are also available in metro zones, allowing people to drive into the city without having to worry about finding parking.

A parking sharing app operates in over 400 cities and is available for both iOS and Android

2. Best Parking

This app takes second place, guiding drivers to the cheapest and most convenient spots in 100 cities and 115 airports across North America.

A parking app can be downloaded for both iOS and Android.

3. Park Me App

Park Me App covers data on 500 cities in Europe, Canada, and the U.S. You can also compare prices and instantly find an already parked car, even in covered areas. What’s more, a reliant parking app will showcase the remaining time.

A parking reservation app runs on iOS and Android.

We mentioned only the most renowned industry players. Other promising services include PayByPhone, Streetline, SpotHero, Parking Mate, Parking Panda.

Of course, COVID-19 slowed down car parking app development given restrictions imposed by local and national governments. But today we can say that almost everything returns to its place. So it’s high time to ride the wave and start developing a parking app.

Issues You Can Solve With a Parking App

Let's figure out what kind of problem your parking app can solve.

First things first. You should clearly understand what challenges mobile parking app development addresses.

1. Locate Free Spaces

Finding a free spot among dozens of cars in an open space is quite challenging. A parking reservation app marks an empty spot making it easy for a driver to find vacant places and park their cars.

2. Multi-Space Parking Meters

Well, dealing with mazes to find a spot that’s already taken is challenging. Meanwhile, discovering some dude occupied two spaces is a whole new level of rage. With an app at hand, staff can see space allocated for a particular car. In case of double parking, they can notify a chauffeur, resulting in better space management.

3. Confusing Rules

Each parking lot operates by its own rules: short-term booking (up to four hours) and long-term booking (more than four hours). Parking applications come in handy for drivers to reveal whether parking lots charge an hourly rate, set rates per evening, day, or month.

Now that we’ve uncovered the core issues a parking app solves, it’s time for revealing principles of how a parking service works.

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How an On-Demand Parking Reservation App Functions

Before starting to code and create this particular app, you should understand the main principles of work. Let's find out!

Long story short, iOS and Android parking apps show vacant lots and help build a convenient route to the nearest one. Additionally, an application should provide an opportunity to pay through multiple options: cash, checks, debit cards, credit cards, mobile payments, electronic bank transfers. What’s more, a car parking app is about to remind a car owner about the time left.

Since you already know some basics, let us reveal what you should consider prior to developing a parking app.

What You Should Know Before the Very Car Parking App Development

Here, let us explain why and how to pass this stage softly.

The prep work is divided into several parts. Let’s get close to them.

1. Create Business Strategy: Count All Risks

At this stage, you and your investors understand whether a parking app idea is reliable, which factors to count, how much money you need and how much you can earn, what risk you may face.

Express assessment takes from several hours to one day and gives a rough idea of costs. A detailed assessment can last from a few days to one week, but it allows you to accurately determine how, when and what application you receive as a result.

2. Meet Rivals in the Face

A deep cut of the market, analysis of existing solutions, study of competitors, and customer behavior models allows getting a full picture. It would be of great help to perform a SWOT analysis to get the best of rivals, avoid the same mistakes as they did, and come up with a unique selling proposition (USP) of your parking sharing app.

3. Legal Entity

This move will help you enter the global market. You can act as a sole trader, become a partner in a partnership, or form a limited liability company (LLC). Your responsibilities depend on how you will operate your business. An LLC is considered the best entity to limit your liability and protect personal assets if any issues arise.

4. Cooperate With Local Services

Being in touch with local businesses will bring you an opportunity to gain new customers who are interested in increasing their income on behalf of your on-demand parking reservation app.

5. UI/UX Design Matters

At this stage, UI/UX designers create static and interactive application prototypes, showcasing how your online parking app will look and feel. Also, it will be great if you create a customer journey map to visualize how various personas will interact with your service.

6. Choose a Software Vendor with Relevant Expertise

Of course, you can use ready-made template solutions, but it will be challenging to enhance your service, scale your app, and add new functions in case of your business growth. To ensure a frictionless experience, partnering with a trusted mobile app development team that can deliver custom parking applications to meet your particular targets appears the right thing to do.

7. Launching Process

When a series of tests and app modifications is completed, and developers, analysts, testers, designers all agree on the result, it is time to publish your parking management app to app stores.

After its public release, a parking reservation app story does not end. Within the first months of the application’s life, it becomes clear where and what needs to be finished or redone. Afterward, two options are available: conclude a maintenance contract or start a new development phase taking into account new variables.

Now, finally, we move to the very development process. Give yourself a hand! And keep on reading to learn more about functions a reliant parking app should include.

Major Functionality of a Parking Reservation App

Check out some hints regarding basic and advanced features.

A parking sharing app should cover three distinct user groups: drivers, parking owners, and service managers. Let’s take a look from the side of each part.

For Drivers

Now, allow us to unlock basic options a parking app should deliver for drivers.

1. Two-Factor Authorization

Chauffeurs should sign in, passing password authorization via email or phone number to ensure proper data protection.

2. Location

For users’ convenience, geolocation helps drivers find their car, vacant spots, and show the distance.

3. Searching Process

An app should be able to find nearby spaces in a particular area in a matter of seconds.

4. Time Range

This function helps users calculate when time is running out and how much money is needed to pay for a parking ticket. What’s more, this option allows calculating the time needed to reach a parking lot from the current destination.

5. Booking

Truly a must-have function if an app provides an option to book spots in advance.

6. Multiple Payment Methods

Give consumers the ability to choose among diverse options like Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, Google Pay, or cash. What’s more, multiple payment methods will help cover wider audiences.

7. Parking History

Adding a parking history will allow users not to remember addresses and costs paid, Google them, but save favorites and simply return to them. This saves time and increases customer satisfaction.

8. Rating/Reviews

Sometimes the picture does not display the reality. So it would be great to provide ratings and reviews so that drivers could share their feedback on a particular lot to help others in making decisions.

9. Customer Support:

Ensure customers can get client support immediately in case of emergency or if they just want to share with you their experience.

10. Push-Notifications

This feature keeps clients up-to-date with vacant spots, service updates, available discounts.

For Parking Owners

Here we collect some basic options a parking app should deliver for app admins.

1. Sign-In

Parking owners, as well as drivers, should sign in, passing password authorization via email or phone number to ensure proper data protection.

2. User Management

This option allows owners to track and edit the number of users, see the details regarding transactions or additionally ordered services.

3. Parking Lot Management

Parking owners can keep track of spaces: add new ones or remove, as well as manage the number of lots.

4. Price Management

Parking owners should have the ability to set and manage prices, increasing or decreasing them, depending upon the circumstances

5. Booking Checking/Management

Parking owners should be able to monitor bookings, as well as confirm or decline new booking requests.

6. Revenue Management

Parking owners can process billing, invoicing, referrals. driver commission.

7. Reviews/Ratings

Customers’ reviews will allow owners to know their business pain points and encourage them to provide better services.

For Car Parking App Managers

Last but not the least, these are major options an admin panel for service managers should have.

1. Content Management

App managers should be able to create, store, modify in-app content.

2. User Management Module

This module helps admins track the number of users, add/delete users, see payments received, monitor transaction history, along with additionally ordered services.

3. Parking Owners Control

Since parking owners may have several facilities with different prices set, an admin should be able to check their status, the number of spaces, the amount paid monthly, etc.

4. Payment Module

Managers should be able to process billing, invoicing, transactions, referrals across both app versions: for drivers and parking owners.

5. Booking Module

Service managers should be able to check and manage bookings, see incoming offers, as well as manage bonuses for drivers/parking owners.

6. Push-Notifications

App admins should be able to send notifications to drivers/parking owners.

Taking into account all these features you can be the new star in on-demand parking reservation app development. All that’s left is to choose how your app will generate income.

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How To Monetize an App

Now, learn more about app monetization.

There are five ways a city parking app can make money. Let’s disclose each of them.

1. Commissions

It is obvious, you will charge fees from every order users make within an app.

2. In-App Advertising

Displaying advertisements in a pre-allocated space in the interface gives profit per a certain number of views and clicks.

3. Premium Membership

In-app purchases work by allowing users to purchase additional features or bonuses. However, this type requires genuinely dedicated followers of your product who would be willing to give money for some extra options.

As you can see there are multiple methods of monetization, you can choose what will suit your case, considering all pros and cons.

Get Started Right Away

As you can see, car parking app development offers notable benefits. When done properly, you get a solution when everybody wins. Parking applications will only thrive. If you’re (still) mediating on whether it’s the right choice to digitize urban parking, you better start moving now. We at OpenGeeksLab will gladly come alongside you and share our technical knowledge of developing mobile applications. Don’t be shy to contact us. If you still have second thoughts, you can book a free online consultation with one of our managers.

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