Parking App Development: From A To Z Guide

A parking app development addresses one of the most common headaches in urban traffic: finding vacant car-park spaces and regulating illegal parking lots.

Creating a Parking App From A to Z Guide

Illustratively, drivers spend around 17 hours per year searching for empty spaces, resulting in $345 per chauffeur in wasted time, fuel, and vehicle emissions.

With the ever-growing number of cars, parking capacity remains limited, resulting in challenges in finding empty spaces. Considering all these points, questions about how to build a parking app arise more often as the market will be expected to grow in 2021-2031 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 17%.

Here is when parking software development comes to the rescue. In this post, OpenGeeksLab will discuss how to create a parking app 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 parking app development, transportation analysis, connected vehicle services, and more, 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 car-park 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 for shopping in malls, airports, leisure, or sports facilities given car-park issues.

Such challenges are boosting demand for more novel products of parking app development to occur. Hence, talking about the global smart parking market, its expected growth is some 3.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2023, at a CAGR of 14 percent.

There are the ten most popular car-park apps in the market so far that you can look at.

1. ParkMobile

One of the topmost examples of how to make a parking app is ParkMobile, it helps millions of people across the U.S. easily find and pay for on-street and garage areas without using 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 worrying about finding car-park.

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

2. Parker

Utilizing their own innovative GPS technology, Parker explores available garages, lots, or street-side spots based in different locations. Users have access to car-park data in real-time without discovering the area and driving around.

When the platform guides users to an available spot, it indicates the location, where the car is, or people can manually save this spot. When clients are ready to leave, it can provide them with walking directions to their vehicle.

Parker is an excellent example of how to build a parking app integrated with various mobile payment options, thus providing users with a seamless transaction experience.

An app is available for free at Google Play and Apple Store.

3. Park Me App

ParkMe is a free app containing car-park spots in more than 500 cities worldwide, covering the USA, Canada, Europe, and more. Users can see the rates of thousand parking facilities on the map and compare them for choosing the cheapest and closest ones.

The app allows consumers to reserve and pay for spots in advance, thus saving time. There is a live map showing available street parking for some selected cities. The timer feature helps avoid overpaying for a lot or getting a ticket. On top of that, people can check the real-time occupancy of spots and garages in a growing number of subway areas across the United States. Turn-by-turn directions assist drivers to quickly find the desired lot.

This car-park reservation app runs on iOS and Android.

4. Best Parking

BestParking has a simple interface and helps people find cheap car-park. At first, this app was a small airport parking finder, whereas today, it covers over 100 cities and 115 airports across North America, with more than 40 million users. With a tap of a finger, people can see nearby spots to park and easily compare their rates. After choosing the most convenient option, the app provides consumers with an interactive map navigating them to find this parking spot quicker.

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

5. Parkopedia

Parkopedia ambitiously aims to cover every parking spot worldwide, which answers the app’s name. Thanks to drivers’ contribution, it includes 70 million lots in over 15000 cities – and it is growing.

The platform allows users to find parking spaces and opening hours, up-to-date costs, payment options, get directions, and more.

Users with premium accounts can see spots available in real-time and have advanced search features.

If a driver can’t find a spot in the desired area, they can email app support to include this place to the platform, or drivers can add space by uploading a photo of a price list or a car-park sign.

Parkopedia is available in Google Play and Apple Store basically for free, but with a premium upgrade option.

6. Parking Mate

Parking Mate is an app that provides clients with open car-park locations around the city. Added to the main screen map shows the nearest and most secure spots to park. When parking time is running out, the platform notifies the user about it. What’s more, people can share car-park regulations of specific lots with other users.

Parking Mate is free and available for iOS.

7. ParkWhiz

ParkWhiz provides users with efficiency in saving a proper booking spot for a preferred destination. Consumers must enter their destination to see available lots around their area. Additionally, it helps people save up to 50% on car-park providing them with reduced rates for booking spots in advance.

You can download it for free in Apple Store or Google Play.

8. SpotHero

SpotHero is one of the top-rated platforms for car-park. It allows consumers to lower their drive-up expenses up to 50%, so users who are looking for good discounts will prefer this solution if they are ready to pay for spots in advance. The platform gives access to thousands of valets, garages, and lots nationwide.

Business people who travel a lot for work can upgrade their profile to split parking bills into different accounts. Even though users must pay for spots in advance, there are no ads within the application.

Available for free in Apple Store or Google Play.

9. JustPark

JustPark is a leading platform with a high user rating of 4.5 at Google Play and thousands of users as a whole. Using this solution, people can find a spot within seconds or use some reservable lots. It provides clients with directions, instructions, or restrictions according to drivers’ desired lot. Also, people can pay for car-park services using this application.

You can get it for Android or iPhone free of charge.

10. Parclick

Parclick can be called one of the most renowned platforms across Europe, covering more than 250 cities and helping find an available spot even in crowded places. Users can discover lots before they go to some area and book it beforehand. Application has many filters for choosing the best location and showing offers to get a lower price. Also, recommendations vary depending on the driver’s vehicle.

Parclick has easy-to-use intuitive navigation, and when people arrive at the lot to park the car, they need only a parking code.

It is free and available for both Android and iPhone.

We mentioned only some of the promising industry players, however, there are many more platforms. Even though there are various car-park apps, 63% of users prefer having one platform on their smartphone.

Of course, COVID-19 slowed down 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 car parking app development.

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Parking App Types

The car parking mobile app development process requires understanding of car-park app types to help decision-makers choose the appropriate strategy for their project. However, software solutions may step away from this division, combining an unusual set of features or innovating their own functional ways.

Let’s look at car-park app types in more detail:

Global Coverage

Usually, when startups think of how to create a parking app they aim to be launched around a specific city or region. However, with time, they can spread around the continents, or, at least, countries.

ParkMe stands as an example of a worldwide solution covering more than 64 countries and seven continents.

Local Coverage

Unlike the international solutions, local ones can operate in certain cities, districts, or even specific parking lots. This option can be handy for car-park businesses to provide their clients with an easy-to-use simple app for booking a spot in advance or permanently.

In such cities as New York local car parking app development is of high demand, and we can look at ParkNYC that represents this type of solution. The platform was created by ParkMobile company which includes leading apps in this industry in the US.

Purpose

Based on the functionality, there are two types of software that users utilize while they park:

  • Car-park management platforms offer drivers searching, reserving, or paying for spots. SpotHero and JustPark are great examples of such solutions.
  • Car-park assistance apps help drivers park in a particular space using sensors. As most cities are crowded with vehicles, such solutions are also interesting for businesses. For example, Fensens represents this type of project.

It can be helpful when you know that these two types require a totally different tech stack.

Parking Management Tools

As we mentioned above, companies often mix features, but choosing a specific primary tool is also an option. Let’s look at some elements that can play a leading role in your app:

  • Reservation tools offer drivers the nearest time for parking and allow them to book a spot in advance for a week, month, or more. On top of that, these apps often include payment options so owners of the car-park spaces can be sure they get their money. Parclick is an example of such a solution, and it can be called a park booking aggregator, thanks to its size.
  • Payment features can stand as the core of a platform providing people with the most convenient options to pay for spots. Pango platform was created for this purpose.
  • Last but not least, tools for finding available car-park spaces often stand at the top of the list, solving drivers’ most vital problem.

You can combine all these tools in one platform while parking app development.

There are more categories to differentiate car-park applications. Now, let’s look at a brief overview of the challenges that such platforms can address.

Issues You Can Solve With a Parking App

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

Car parking mobile app development solves four common issues. Let’s explore each of them below.

1. Locate Free Spaces

Finding a free spot among dozens of cars in an open space is quite challenging. Parking app development products mark an empty spot, making it easy for drivers to find vacant places and park their vehicles. It can show turn-by-turn directions to the nearest car-park lots with real-time information on availability, fees, rules, and fines. Moreover, if an app has a parking reservation feature, drivers can pay and book a space in advance.

UCLA parking specialist Donald Shoup has found out that from 15% to 74% of traffic problems result from inability or time-consuming car-park search. Parking app features that allow finding nearby parking lots or reserving them in advance help reduce traffic jams.

2. Multi-Space Parking Meters

Well, dealing with mazes to find a spot that’s already taken is challenging. Meanwhile, discovering some fellow settled in two spaces is a whole new level of rage. With a car-park solution at hand, staff can see space allocated for a specific car. In case of double parking, they can notify a driver, resulting in better 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). Car-park applications come in handy for drivers to reveal whether parking lots charge an hourly rate, set rates per evening, day, or month.

4. Decrease Air Contamination

With products of parking app development, drivers don’t need to spend much time circling for a free parking lot deviating from a straight road direction and thus causing air pollution. Commercial vehicles spend up to 28% of the trip time cruising to find a free parking space, so such platforms can help cities lower the ecological footprint.

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

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: credit and debit cards, cash, checks, e-banking, mobile payments. What’s more, a car parking mobile app development is about reminding a car owner about the time left.

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

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 car parking mobile app development idea is reliable, which factors to count, how much money you need, how much you can earn, and 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 to create a parking app, when and what application you receive as a result.

2. Meet Rivals in the Face

A deep cut of the market, analysis of existing platforms, competitors research, and clients behavior models help to get the whole picture. It would be great if you could perform a SWOT analysis for getting 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 your parking finder app development enter the global market.You can do business as a sole trader, form a limited liability company (LLC), or find a partnership. Your responsibilities depend on how you will operate your business. An LLC is considered the best entity for limiting your liability and protecting personal assets if any issues arise.

4. Cooperate With Local Services

You can gain new customers by being in touch with local businesses interested in increasing their income on behalf of your on-demand parking application. For example, fuel stations, electric vehicle charging stations, rest stops, and so on.

5. UI/UX Design Matters

At this stage, UI/UX professionals create car parking app design making 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 for visualizing how various personas will interact with your service.

Why does it matter to create an outstanding car parking app design? According to the research, every 1$ spent for UX returns 100$, making an impressive ROI of 9, 900%. With a good mobile UX, 74% of people are expected to come back to your product.

6. Choose a Software Vendor with Relevant Expertise

Sure thing, you can use ready-made products of parking finder app development, but it will be tough to scale your app, enhance your service, and add extra functions in case of a need. For ensuring an easy-flowing experience, cooperating with a trusted parking app development team that is expert in delivering custom applications appears the right thing to do.

7. Launching Process

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

After its public release, an 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, you can start a new parking app development chapter or sign a maintenance contract considering new variables.

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

How to Build a Parking App: Major Functionality of a Parking Reservation App

Check out some hints regarding basic and advanced features.

A parking 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 of how to build a parking app profile for drivers.

1. Two-Factor Authorization

Chauffeurs should authorize using password sign-in via email or phone number to ensure proper data protection. SMS-based authentication is the most attractive for 72% of users who chose it as the most preferable in 2021—followed by email and callback respectively 57% and 30%.

2. Location

For users’ convenience, geolocation helps drivers find their car, vacant spots, and see the distance to the parking lot. Calculating the position of the users’ location if the GPS signal is unstable or unavailable is a must, especially while traveling.

3. Searching Process

When business owners think of how to create a parking app, this feature stands on top of the list. The parking platform should be able to search for nearby spaces in a particular area in a matter of seconds.

4. Time Range

This function helps users calculate when parking 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. When people travel to favored locations, this option can save their day. Still, usually, it requires prepayment.

6. Multiple Payment Methods

Give consumers a choice among diverse options like Visa, MasterCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay, or cash. Additionally, consider multiple payment methods in your car parking mobile app development to cover wider audiences. User experience shows that 76% of people who have paid for parking using the app prefer this option to others. Moreover, 81% of these consumers pay with the mobile app at least half from the time when they park.

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 expectations of customers do not meet reality. So it will be great if you allow users to leave ratings and reviews while car parking app development so that drivers can share their feedback on a specific lot to help others make 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. Over 65% of millennial users expect real-time interactions and responses, whereas more than 60% are ready for sharing their data to improve their experience. Not less, but 75% of overall customers expect to get help within five minutes, and 72% share a positive experience with others.

10. Push-Notifications

This feature keeps clients up-to-date with vacant spots, service updates, and available discounts. Push-notifications can increase user engagement up to 88% and boost retention rates from three to ten times.

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For Parking Owners

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

1. Sign-In

Owners of parking spaces should authorize via mobile number or email 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

With this feature, parking owners get the ability to manage car-park lots more efficiently. It allows keeping track of spaces when there is a need to remove or add new ones.

4. Price Management

People who own parking businesses should be allowed to manage and set prices according to 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 of how to build a parking app admin panel for service managers.

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 need tools for processing 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, set incoming offers, as well as manage bonuses for drivers/parking owners.

6. Push-Notifications

App admins need tools for sending notifications to drivers/parking owners.

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

How To Monetize an App

Now, learn more about app monetization.

There are five ways of how to make a parking app monetization. Let’s disclose each of them.

1. Commissions

It is obvious, you can charge fees from every order users make within an app: payments, spot reservations, or bookings.

2. In-App Advertising

Showing advertisements in a pre-allocated space of the car-park platform gives revenue per a specific number of clicks or views. So instead of paying for the platform directly, users can pay with their time and attention.

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 car parking mobile app development product who would be willing to give money for some extra options.

4. Paid app

For using such an application, users must pay beforehand. Sure thing, the platform functionality must be perfectly polished. This is not the most popular way for monetizing apps since free apps distribution in 2021 took over 94% and only around 5% of distributed solutions are paid apps.

As you can see, there are multiple methods of how to make a parking app monetization. You can choose what will suit your case, considering all pros and cons.

Get Started Right Away

As you can see, parking software 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 car parking mobile app development. Don’t be shy and contact us. If you still have second thoughts, you can book a free online consultation with one of our managers.

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