The number of cars in the cities is continuously rising, while parking spots are limited. The drivers can spend plenty of time searching for a parking lot.
Guide to Creating Parking Management Solutions
Fortunately, the modern IT industry can provide a solution. Parking apps bring relief to citizens since they save time and nerves. The primary function of such applications is finding and booking free spots nearby. However, they can also offer cashless payments, GPS, and more.
That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive guide on how to build a parking app. We’re going to discuss parking app features and steps to develop such an app.
How Do Parking Apps Work?
If you want to develop a parking app, it’s better to find out how it works from the user’s point of view.
There are six main steps:
- Step #1. Searching. The user locates the car using GPS or enters the necessary address.
- Step #2. Comparing. The app provides several variants of parking spots. The user can filter them by price or distance to find the perfect match.
- Step #3. Booking. The driver reserves the selected parking space and gets an access code.
- Step #4. Paying. The user can pay by credit card in advance or in cash later.
- Step #5. Driving. The parking app offers driving directions to the parking lot.
- Step #6. Parking. The driver enters the parking lot and parks the car.
How does a parking app work?
Steps on How to Build a Parking App
Follow these seven steps to develop a parking app:
- Create a business plan for your parking application.
- Study the competition(e.g. BestParking).
- Hire experienced developers to build a parking app.
- Choose several vital features and launch an MVP.
- Consider an intuitive design of your app.
- Consider advanced features to make your parking app unique.
- Keep it updated regularly.
Steps on how to develop a parking app
There are main steps to create parking enforcement solutions. Below we discuss them more precisely.
Parking App Business Plan: Models to Follow
There are plenty of functions that a parking app can have, from online payments to navigation based on GPS. If you want to build a parking lot software, you need to start with a business idea.
There are three most common ones: navigation, navigation & booking, complete solution. We’ll consider all the details below.
Parking applications business models
Solution #1. Navigation
This option is the basic one since it provides users with one primary function — finding a parking spot near the car’s location. Such an application can’t book the free parking spot. However, parking apps of this type is perfect for an MVP version to start the business.
Solution #2. Navigation & Booking
This type is more complicated than the first one. It allows users to find and reserve the chosen parking spot. Additionally, the app can navigate the driver to the booked place.
This parking service app tends to provide a flexible payment system. So, the users usually can pay by credit card or in cash. There are also such features as adding extra parking time or navigation back to the parked car.
By the way, this business model is the most widespread among existing parking applications like BestParking.
Solution #3. Full Set of Functionality
Developing such a parking app tends to be more expensive compared to the previous ones.
Such applications solve the parking problem completely. They allow users to book the parking spot. Additionally, it’s possible to order door-to-door service. There are valets that can take and park the car.
How does a parking app work? The user needs to pre-book the parking space and choose the time and place to give the car keys to the valet. The valet takes the car, parks it, and returns the vehicle to the owner in the discussed time.
The service is secure since the users can look through the valet’s photo, reviews, and more. Luxe Valet is a perfect example of such a service.
Popular Parking Applications
To create a parking app, you should study your competitors first. Parking management solutions development requires preparations, so we’ve chosen four popular projects from the US and Europe to review.
BestParking assists in finding and booking spots at the best price. The service works in many cities across North America, e.g. NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and more. Additionally, the platform offers to reserve parking spaces in major American airports like LAX, ORD, and JFK.
The applications have such exciting features as pre-booking. So, the users can reserve a parking spot for a specific date and period of time. BestParking provides the final prices on the map to let users choose.
Parking app example: BestParking
ParkingPanda is another parking application providing high-quality services. The platform offers to find a perfect spot near your current location. ParkingPanda cooperates with approximately 2,500 lots and garages.
This application offers to book a parking spot in many big cities across the US and Canada, including NYC, Chicago, Toronto, Boston, and more.
ParkingPanda also guarantees secure payments with credit cards, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.
Parking app example: ParkingPanda
Parkodepia is the largest parking service app. It’s possible to book a parking spot in 89 countries and approximately 15,000 cities all over the world. The app allows the user to find a parking spot using the current location of the car or entering the address.
Additionally, Parkopedia works as a navigation system and provides users with the direction to the chosen lot. Users can filter parking spaces by free spots, credit card payments, and more.
Parking app example: Parkopedia
This service offers parking spaces in more than 250 cities in Europe like Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Faro, and so on. Parclick can find parking spots for cars, vans, motorbikes, and more. Additionally, it’s possible to pre-book a space to park for a long time. For instance, you can reserve a place according to your schedule for several hours or days.
Parclick offers a flexible bonus system: there are discounts for monthly subscriptions or a 5% discount if you install the app. The service can satisfy the needs of any client as it allows to find a parking spot by price, distance, car type, and more.
Parking app example: Parclick
Parking App Features
Parking app development requires a defined set of features. Usually, they are divided into two types according to their complexity — basic and advanced. It’s common to create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) with some basic functions and, after that, add some advanced and unique features.
MVP allows you to launch an app and get some feedback from users. Based on this data, you can decide what features to add.
Basic Features of a Parking App
MVP features for a parking app
To make the application more easy-to-use, it’s necessary to enable GPS tracking. This technology allows to find the location of the car and determine the distance to the nearest parking lot.
The searching process should be as easy as possible. For instance, the app can offer to find the nearest spot in one tap.
This feature allows reserving a parking spot. The user can find a place that fits the budget and pre-pay it on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. It allows for avoiding everyday reservations.
Parking applications tend to provide an opportunity to compare prices. So, it’s easy for users to find the cheapest place nearby.
Users should have several payment options to feel comfortable and secure. So, such services as PayPal should be integrated.
Advanced Features of a Parking App
Basic features are enough to launch the parking app. However, to gain loyal users and make your application unique, it’s necessary to add some complex functionality. There are some ideas below that you can use during parking app development.
Advanced features of a parking application
One of the most prominent features for user engagement since it’s possible to send notifications about discounts, application updates, and more. Additionally, it’s useful to notify the users 15 minutes before the parking spot expiring. Users can prolong the place or come back to the car in time.
An opportunity to choose parking places in other cities is necessary while traveling or business trips.
Every driver has a favorite parking lot. However, it can be full. So the user can be notified when a parking spot becomes available.
The application can show the busiest routes in the real-time mode. Based on this data, users can make decisions about their booking.
This feature allows saving the place where you’ve parked the car. Additionally, the user can share the parking location via social media or messengers.
There are various exciting features to implement during parking app development. However, it’s always better to start with basic functions and add advanced features gradually.
What to Consider Before Building a Parking App
Several more aspects should be taken into account before the parking services app creation.
Team of Mobile App Developers
If you want to create an app, you need skilled and experienced developers. There are two reliable variants — hiring an in-house team or outsourcing company.
Outsourcing has become popular these days. Outsourcing companies offer affordable prices along with the high quality of the final product.
People pay a lot of attention to the application design, so it should be user-friendly and convenient. Users don’t want to spend time trying to understand how the app works. Design can assist in gaining users and their loyalty.
Creating a UI/UX design can take plenty of time, depending on your requirements and it's complexity.
Tech Stack of the Parking App
The tech stack of your future app is more important than you may think. It’s responsible for the stability and scalability of your project. Applications can be native, hybrid, or cross-platform. Each of them has certain peculiarities that you need to consider beforehand.
For instance, native apps are the most stable and provide the best user experience. Additionally, such applications offer the high-security level that is vital for parking apps. However, their development requires more time.
Below we’ve listed the approximate tech stack to develop a parking app.
- Kotlin for Android
- Swift for iOS
- Google Cloud Messaging for Android
- Apple Push Notification Service for iOS
- MongoDB or SQL
- Google Maps
- Amazon CloudFront
Parking app development requires preparation since there are a lot of factors to pay attention to and features to implement. The final result depends on your imagination and development team.
Cleveroad is a software development company from Eastern Europe, Ukraine. We provide full-cycle mobile development services and have expertise in various industries, e.g. Logistics, FinTech, and more.