- Mar 1, 2008
Driveway rental business growing in North America
By most estimates, there are about 250 million registered passenger cars in the United States (you can drop the number down by a few hundred if you still don't consider the Yugo GV a car). For many motorists, it seems that every single one of those cars is trying to park in their location -- their frustration of looking for parking is only compounded by the countless unused parking spaces that sit empty all day long.
Less than two years ago, a 24-year-old entrepreneur from London, England, launched ParkAtMyHouse with the intent of marrying despondent drivers with unused parking slots. Overnight, the "driveway rental business" was hatched. His site connected drivers with open parking spaces in Great Britain in a rather simple manner. The Internet-based program asked visitors to input either an address, postal code, or area name. The search results displayed on an easy-to-read Google map, with clickable icons representing the parking locations and their associated fees. The clever idea caught on, and their resulting success was the catalyst for recent expansion to the States.
On this side of the Pond, the "driveway renters" won't find themselves alone. Other companies such as ParkingHunter and ParkingSearch have already established themselves in the sector. All of the sites operate in a similar manner, keeping the learning curve shallow for newbies. And, since fees only change hands once the slot is rented, nothing prevents a parking space from being listed on more than one site. Now, if they could just get the system to work at the mall during the holidays...