Homeowners Rent Out Driveways for Money
Anthony Eskinazi, CEO and founder of ParkatmyHouse.com wants to bring convenience to drivers and dollars to driveway owners across America.
More than 150,000 people in the U.K. have earned more than $5 million from the site, Eskinazi said. Its marketplace is supposed to allow anyone with an address or geographic point with a latitude and longitude to list their parking space, whether in Antarctica, Australia or Africa.
Eskinazi, 28, launched the website in 2006, focusing on his local area in the U.K. But Eskinazi conceived of the idea while he was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. Eskinazi remembered one particular time when he had trouble finding parking to watch a San Francisco Giants baseball game.
"You don't want to go to an official parking lot because it's expensive and you have to leave a game early to avoid traffic," he said.
But he saw a business opportunity in the nearby parking spaces reserved for residents and businesses.
The website collects 15 percent of the parking fee driveway owners take in.
Before ParkatmyHouse launches a full-scale marketing campaign in the U.S., the company is focusing on building a database of customers' driveway locations.
"When we have enough inventory, we're going to open up the site properly," he said.
Eskinazi said the company plans to release a mobile app in the first quarter. The company received a round of financing from BMW i, a venture fund based in New York City under the umbrella of the luxury car company.
Eskinazi hopes to hire more sales and marketing employees, most likely in New York, to add to the current team of five.
The company is beefing up its workforce to expand globally. It's not just homeowners who can list their available driveways. Garage and business owners can also list their available spaces. Eskinazi said a number of religious institutions, which usually have spaces available on weekdays and evenings, list their parking spots in the U.K.
One church near the busy Kings Cross Station in London has earned $180,000 from the website in the last three years, more than half of the church's annual income, Eskinazi said. That extra income has helped boost the church's services at its daycare and rehabilitation center.
"This has not just helped them but has helped drivers," Eskinazi said. "We see ParkatmyHouse as a win-win situation."
He said drivers and property owners have been using websites like Craigslist as a parking marketplace for years. But while Craiglist is a "great service," ParkatmyHouse offers more, such as marketing your spot on the website, a payment process, a secure booking and payment system, and extra insurance.
Users do not have to exchange personal information or even communicate. All transactions for a pre-booked space can be accomplished through the website.
Eskinazi also hopes to decrease the emissions and time wasted when drivers circle around a block on the hunt for a parking space.
"It doesn't matter if you are driving electric vehicle or gas guzzler," he said. "Every journey begins with a parking spot. "