Where did the idea for YourParkingSpace come from?
In 2006, Charles Cridland, one of our co-founders, noticed a number of empty parking spaces whilst walking to Kew Gardens Station. He realised that train station parking was in short supply, and that people could rent out their private spaces to remedy this situation. In July 2006, he launched YourParkingSpace from his bedroom. Our other co-founder, Harrison Woods, invested in YourParkingSpace at the close of 2013 after appearing on the BBC’s Dragons Den. Together they re-launched the business as an all-encompassing booking platform, with the business now earning almost £10million each year for its parking space owners.
How does YourParkingSpace work, and what’s the benefit over parking in a normal car park?
There are three main advantages to using YourParkingSpace over the traditional ‘drive to your destination and look for parking’ approach. The first is that 90% of the parking spaces on the platform and exclusive to YourParkingSpace, simply because they are owned by private individuals. Many of these spaces will be located closer to where you’re going than the traditional car parks. Secondly, the traditional car parks we have on the platform are often priced at exclusive rates, giving you a saving on the drive-up rate, similar to how you save when you’re pre-booking tickets for an event rather than simply turning up at the door. Thirdly, when you simply drive to a destination and look for parking there’s often no guarantee that there will be a space available for you. By booking via YourParkingSpace you’ve reserved a space that will be vacant and available for you on arrival.
Does it cost money to list or book a parking space on your platform?
Owners can list their parking space for free, set the availability and price, and also easily update their listing for free. We make our money by adding a commission on top of the price that the space owner enters. On the driver side, there are no hidden fees — the price you see for a space is the price you pay.
Can you tell us more about your booking guarantee?
Every booking is covered by our booking guarantee. In the unlikely event that there’s an issue with the parking space a customer has booked, we’ll provide them with a full refund as long as they let us know within 48 hours. When contacted in a timely manner, we will book drivers into an alternative parking space within our inventory, free of additional charge.
What’s the vision for the business?
Everybody knows online businesses like Airbnb, Skyscanner and Match.com. They are often the first businesses that spring to mind when you think of booking holiday accommodation, reserving a flight, or finding a date. Our aim is for YourParkingSpace to be the online platform that springs to mind the next time you want to park your car.
What’s been the biggest challenge with growing the business?
Without doubt the biggest challenge has been growing the parking inventory. Customers are looking for good value parking spaces in convenient locations, the challenge has always been finding a way to reach the people who own these parking spaces to let them know about the concept. Our background, having originally launched back in 2006, has really helped here as it’s enabled us to organically grow a huge database of private individuals with parking spaces to rent out.
How popular is parking space sharing in the UK?
Over the past few years it’s grown hugely in popularity, assisted by the likes of Airbnb normalising the concept of the sharing economy. We currently have over 35,000 registered space owners spread across every city within the UK, with some of these individuals earning over £300 per month from vacant parking spaces that they own. It’s also increasingly being embraced by businesses, particularly the hotel sector, who are starting to see vacant parking spaces in the same way as they see empty rooms — a lost revenue opportunity.
What parking spaces are in highest demand?
If you own a parking space close to a town centre, offices, train station, stadium or airport then you’ll be able to earn an additional income via renting it out. In effect, if there are any traditional car parks on on-street parking meters near you then you know there’s a demand for parking, and that if you price your space competitively then it will receive bookings.
How can people get involved?
You can go to YourParkingSpace.co.uk and sign up for free as a driver or owner. You can also join us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to join the conversation with fellow drivers and parking space owners!