Most landlords jump at the opportunity to monetize their properties in creative ways aside from just renting to tenants in the traditional sense. If you’re looking for another clever way to generate revenue from your building’s existing footprint, check out Parkaze.
Put simply, you can think of Parkaze as Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB) for parking. Its platform is designed to connect folks looking for access to parking with people who have extra parking available (the "hosts"). I actually started using Parkaze as a host in the fall of 2020, so I’ll fill you in on my experience, too.
Digging into Parkaze
As mentioned, think of Parkaze as Airbnb for parking. The company was started during a "hackathon" at Boston University by a couple of undergraduates back in 2018. At the time, the founders called the idea ParknGo, but they officially launched under the name Parkaze in 2019. It’s now a website where hosts can list parking spots for rent and, similar to Airbnb, fees only apply on transactions.
Co-Founder and CEO Amal Radhakrishnan said Parkaze was built to help "anyone who has access to parking real estate but who is not in the parking business." Right now the company is only in Greater Boston but will soon be expanding to New York City and Chicago.
Parkaze actually started off targeting one-off homeowners who had an extra or unused parking spot for its supply of inventory. Since then, the company has started working with property managers, religious institutions, and restaurants.
The Parkaze team told me that 30% of the available parking in major cities are non-commercial and off-street. When we say commercial, we mean parking garages and lots (real estate specifically designed for a parking business). This is why the business is so clever. Parkaze can be a nice net operating income (NOI) boost for any landlord who isn’t in the business of parking. Parkaze has a take rate in the 15%-20% range, while there are no listing or other fees.
Radhakrishnan said that he and his founding team just sort of stumbled on the idea:
"We did not start with an idea of starting a startup. … It just happened to happen. I think one of the main important things is being together with the people that you want to be together with and building something, solving a problem."
You may have heard of a company called SpotHero. It operates in a similar fashion on the renter side but has a different strategy for acquiring their supply of parking spots. Instead of targeting real estate with underutilized parking spaces, SpotHero works with parking lot operators.
My experience with Parkaze
I own a condo in South Boston and fortunately have an extra off-street parking spot I don’t use very often. I had heard about Parkaze and wanted to give it a shot. I found it to be very user friendly; all I had to do was take a couple pictures of the spot, create the listing online, and do some identity verification steps.
Parkaze helps with price determination, marketing, payment, and verifying renters’ identities. Within a day of posting the listing, I had my spot rented for the next month for $350. Any other time I’ve wanted to rent the spot since I’ve been able to get it done easily. An extra $3,000-$4,000 annually is hard to argue with.
The Millionacres bottom line: right on trend
Parkaze is pretty much a no-brainer for anyone with extra or underused parking. Its "Airbnb for Parking" platform that allows parking spot owners to act as “hosts” is right on trend with other things happening in the industry related to maximizing underutilized space. Landlords are all ears when it comes to opportunities to generate extra income from their properties. For example, self-storage start-up Neighbor just raised $10 million from Andreessen Horowitz to expand its "Airbnb for storage" model.