Development | 14 min read
A Parking App Development: Steps, Features, Cost
Time is money. Money is a powerful tool. And it is essential to help people save their time and fulfill some tasks faster and more conveniently than usual.
So what are we talking about? We mean daily routines people are engaged in, and some digital solutions that make them more manageable. For example, a parking app. Users can find a parking spot faster, pay with a credit card, and then find their car quickly among dozens of other vehicles.
If you want to know more about car parking app development, you should read this article certainly. You will find here the types of existing parking apps, the principle of apps functionality, development steps, and more. Let’s start our journey!
How Parking App Works
The principle of parking app functionality is rather simple. First, an app starts with searching features. Users may find a nearby parking lot or enter the address where they would like to park a car.
If there are a few options in a particular district, users may filter them and choose the most appropriate one for them. Once they make a choice, it is possible to proceed to book a parking spot. They may pay immediately using online banking or do it after having their car parked by cash (or using a QR code).
And finally, they see navigation from their current location to parking. There is no need to drive a car as fast as possible, the spot is already booked, and no one will occupy it. So, this is a short chain of events drivers should follow. It takes no more than a couple of minutes.
How Parking Apps Gather Data
There are two main ways — either track all vacant and occupied spots manually, or install sensors. Manual work will be more complicated and exhausting, so sensors are a better option.
Sensors are installed around the parking lot (or on the ceiling, if it is a garage), and sensors may represent either ultrasonic distance devices, or cameras. Cameras make it possible to see a vehicle's brand and model, plate number, so it is easier for you and users to find their car then.
Parking App Business Plan
Choosing a business model always precedes the development process. The parking app is not something unique on the market today, so you need to explore what business models competitors tend to use. We will look through three basic models that are used by different parking apps.
Navigation-based model. This is the most primitive option some parking apps use. Users may find a parking lot somewhere near their current location. It is impossible to book a spot in advance, so such apps are useful mainly for finding parking. Besides, your MVP may start with this business model.
Navigation and booking-based model. An advanced model that includes booking processes along with navigation. Users reserve a spot and go there to park a car in a selected place. Navigation shows users the route to a booked spot. These apps include various payment options — cashless by card or by cash upon arrival.
A full-fledged service model. This business model is the most expensive, but it includes all neat services a parking application may boast about. Apart from pre-booking features, users may extend the booking time if they are late, for example. Also, some parking apps offer services of a valet who parks your car. Of course, you can see all the personal details of a valet to know that your vehicle will be safe.
Types Of Apps For Parking
It is vital to figure out what types of parking apps are available on the market and which of them would be useful in your case, if you want to provide your future users with a full range of parking app benefits. If you want to enter the market successfully, don’t skip this section.
Local Parking App
For instance, you’re planning to create an app for one specific parking. Moreover, you may even build the parking lot from scratch. You rent free space, surround it with a fence, mark it up, and so on. Then, you build a parking app with all the necessary features. However, you can make a few parking lots as well around the city, so your app will control each of them.
Broad Parking App
This type is opposite to the one mentioned above. A parking app may be created not for a particular parking lot brand but various parking lots around the country or even in other world regions. Such apps are more common, and they are widespread, so you will need to do your best to compete with them.
Parking Time App
Not all parking apps provide users with a feature to book a parking spot at a specific period. When users are planning a trip to another city or country, they may check available parking lots there in advance and book a spot.
Important! It doesn’t mean that you can create only one of the listed types. Your parking app may include a few types, and we insistently recommend you create a parking app with booking and payment features. Otherwise, it will be too simple and not competitive at all.
How To Build A Parking App: Steps To Consider
We reached the central part of the guide — how to create a parking app step by step. This section will include key steps on mobile app development, so pay your attention to it. However, if you have any questions, our sales team is always at your disposal.
Start With A Business Plan
As for business models, you have already seen this information above. But apart from business models, you should create a business plan where you indicate the most critical factors to take into account. That is, you need to write down the budget expected for the project, target audience, location, revenue models, business name, possible threats, and risks.
This step will help you create a business plan. You need to analyze existing apps, single out their strong and weak sides, and build your development strategy. It will help you stand out among competitors and deliver trustworthy solutions to future customers.
Create A Legal Entity
If you intend to create a parking lot and build an app for it, mind to create a legal business entity. We think that a LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) will be the best option since it protects your business and abdicates personal responsibilities in case of any sues.
Find A Location For Parking
Also, going on with a case when you create a parking lot, you need to find a functional space. Mind to contact a reliable real estate agency in your city, and they will find an area with a good location and potential commercial benefits. For example, spaces near the airport or railway station will always be in demand as there is an increased number of drivers.
Hire App Development Team
There are many software development companies around the world, so a wide range makes you feel embarrassed. However, you should focus on development companies from Eastern Europe since they may provide you with a high-quality service at affordable rates. Software development outsourcing is a widespread practice, so you shouldn’t disregard it.
Choose Necessary Features
Make the list of the essential features for your parking app. Features may vary, and they depend on the parking app requirements, but there are always basic features for a minimum viable product. Mind that MVP plays a crucial role — you may read more about it in our article. As for features, the next section will cover all necessary functionality for a parking app.
Don’t Forget About UI/UX Design
A parking app is an application that is often used in a rush. That is why its user interface, as well as user experience, must be built thoroughly. Mind that parking app users usually have no time to puzzle out how the app works. It should be simple, contain big fonts, large and visible buttons, night mode to improve surfing when it is dark outside. Cadabra Studio is proficient in the development of parking apps, so if you drop us a line and describe your project, we’ll consult you about all the required peculiarities.
Updates, Updates, Updates One More
And the last step is to make regular updates. Keep it updated to provide a driver with actual information. Besides that, if there are any bugs, even minor ones, developers should fix them immediately. Otherwise, it will lead to users’ dissatisfaction and app failure.
Parking App Features
Let’s discuss what features your parking app should include. It is worth noting that the parking app should be built in two versions — one for users and one for parking owners. We will consider both options and describe them.
Features For User Panel
Registration. Users should input their credentials to register in the app and use it fully. Today social sign-in is more popular — users may enroll via their existing profiles on Facebook or Google.
Geolocation. This feature helps drivers find their car, find a parking lot nearby, use the navigation to estimate the distance between them and the parking lot.
Search. Search bar with filters allows drivers to find a parking lot in a particular city or area, considering other requirements for parking (cashless payment, the number of vacant spots, etc.).
Time range. Users should see how much time is left till the end of the parking deadline, so it makes it possible for them to extend the time if it is necessary. Also, this feature estimates an approximate driving time from the current driver’s position to the required parking lot.
Booking. Users can book the spot they like and park there. A pre-booking feature is also beneficial since users may reserve the right spot in advance. However, a pre-booking feature may be removed in an MVP version.
Payment. Payment options may vary, as we noted. It is better to include both cashless and cash options. Moreover, some parking lots provide QR codes to pay for parking right there. Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal — all these options must be available to ensure a wider audience.
History. Drivers may monitor their parking history, see their favorite spots, costs paid for each spot, etc. It allows drivers to park on a favorite spot again.
Rating/reviews. It is very convenient when users may see everything about a specific parking spot, whether it is comfortable, dirty or not, etc. Thus, new drivers make their decision having checked feedback and rating.
Features For Parking Owners
Registration. The same as with users, parking lot owners may register via social media to manage their parking easily.
Parking spot management. The owner may add or remove parking spots, manage their number.
Price management. If one or the other spot is more popular, a parking owner can manage the price and increase it. Or, for example, extended parking may cost less than short parking periods. Also, parking spots for certain vehicles may be expensive (e.g., oversized vehicles).
Booking checking/management. An owner may monitor the number of bookings made on their parking lot. Besides, owners may decline/accept requests, depending on priority. That is, if regular customers want to park their car, their request will be prioritized.
Accept payments. Using an integrated payment gateway, a parking owner may manage payments, accept them, and look through the history of payments.
Reviews/ratings. An owner should have this feature to see all comments and feedback to consider it and improve the service quality.
User management. It allows an owner to edit the list of users, add/remove them, see their details, and provide them with improved customer experience.
Examples Of Top Parking Apps
There are thousands of parking apps available on the market, but we won’t review all of them. Let’s get acquainted with a few top examples to know what features they have and why they became popular.
Parkopedia got its name from the combination of parking and encyclopedia. Yes, it is a real encyclopedia of available parking lots. At the moment, the app contains info about 70 million parking spaces in 15,000 cities around the world, which is quite impressive.
Drivers may add all the information, so Parkopedia is some kind of social media where each driver may contribute to app growth. Using Parkopedia, you can build a route, find parking spaces, see opening hours, narrow down the search using filters, and many other features.
The app positions itself as the most accurate parking app. Apart from street parking spaces, you may find available garages using the map. The comparison feature allows you to compare prices on various parking lots, and an integrated timer will prevent you from overstaying and overpaying. ParkMe provides info about the parking spaces in more than 500 cities around the world.
Another parking app on our list is BestParking. Its main feature is the capability to find and book parking at the best cost. When you find an optimal parking space for you, you save it to the favorites. BestParking is built for North America, and it is available in 105 cities around the region. Monthly the app numbers about 850,000 users.
How Much Does It Cost To Create A Parking App?
Finally, we reached the conclusion part that plays a vital role for any entrepreneur since they need to estimate their budget and figure out whether the game is worth the candle. As for car parking app development costs, it is rather complicated to provide you with accurate prices.
First, everything depends on your requirements, as you know. On the number of features, selected business model, particularities of UI/UX design, mobile platforms (Android, iOS, or both).
Second, the cost will vary depending on the world region where a software development company is located. Hourly rates in North America start from $100, whereas in Western Europe, rates may be from $75 to $100. Eastern Europe provides $25 - $50, but anyway rates may be different considering various factors.
That is why your parking app may cost either $10,000 or $50,000, and its initial cost cannot be predicted in advance. If you need precise figures and you need developers to build a parking app, feel free to contact us at any time — we will provide you with detailed information after you share your visions and demands. We will be glad to help you and solve the problem!