With its CTbee package, ComThings has overcome the technical barriers to creating a shared parking business. But shared parking startups still need to get the right business model.
For most parking startups, the ‘low hanging fruit’ is to start off by finding companies who own lots of parking spaces that you can monetise.
By working with companies like hotels, banks, airports or other organizations with a ready made bank of spaces, you get a quick return on investment and can hit the ground running.
But lots of startups find that business model quickly runs out of steam. Once you have secured all the available ‘mono buying’ opportunities … what next?
Suddenly your business doesn’t look all that scalable, and the income projections flatten off.
Private parking owners unlock the future.
AirBNB went from being ‘just another bed & breakfast’ site to a global phenomenon by simply enabling private property owners to monetise their asset. The emphasis is on the word ‘simply’. People tend to take the path of least resistance.
So suddenly homeowners around the world could look at a spare room and think: ‘I can make money out of that’. Simply.
It’s not a huge mental leap to go from renting a room to renting a parking space. So if you can develop an infrastructure which makes it effortless for the parking bay owner, you can increase your bank of spaces by 10 or 100 times.
Which means your income graph stops flatlining and goes into recovery.
Good news. The CTbee ACaaS (Access Control as a Service) package has server and mobile APIs, plus a neat way to open parking barriers from a smartphone. So it enables you to address the lucrative private owner market. But more about our technology later. First, the impact of technology.
Extra volume and the GAFA model.
Once you start to get the higher volume of parking bays, your business dynamic becomes a virtuous circle. More bays equals more drivers, more drivers equals more demand, more demand lets you attract more bays. Etcetera.
Increased volume also takes you from being a niche local startup with little traction, to a company that can step up to the GAFA model.
GAFA? It’s an acronym for the Google Apple Facebook Amazon dynamic. And you can leverage those uniquitous apps to do everything from marketing your shared parking app and monetizing your app with ads, through to enabling secure logins from an interface that consumers trust.
But you need numbers and traction to make GAFA really work for you. In other words, the volume of parking bays you represent can propel you into a new level of functionality and market perception. Your marketing message evolves from being a company with a few well defined spaces to being an organization that can help people park city-wide, state-wide, or even nationally. Maybe even internationally? It doesn’t hurt to think big!
Combining the power of GAFA and Freemium for monetization.
Imagine this scenario. Your business has evolved from having 100 parking bays from a deal with local hotels to having 1000 bays because you attracted private parking owners.
Your app is available on the Android and Apple stores. People can sign-in to your service with their Facebook login, or pay with their Amazon login. The local TV station has covered your story, and you’re starting to feel pretty scalable.
Next you can fine-tune your business model to attract a wider number of drivers. Some drivers with regular parking needs will be happy to pay a subscription. But others will want a freemium, pay-as-you-go approach.
That’s cool. Once again, because of the extra volume that private parking bay owners have unlocked, you can monetize your free app with ads. Afterall, your app is the perfect candidate for local mobile advertising. If someone has parked in a new area of town, they’ll want to know where to eat and shop.
So you make an ad hoc income from the parking bay rental, and from the mobile app opportunity. It’s all part of the GAFA numbers game.
Raising the barrier for private parking owners.
Off course, one of the big barriers to monetizing premium, city-center private parking space owners is in finding an automated way to deal with parking barriers.
In the suburbs, private owners will rent out their driveway … so barriers typically aren’t an issue.
But as you get towards the high-demand, high-value center of a city, parking space owners have a tendency to live in apartments or gated areas, and their parking bays have barriers.
The CTbee solution enables your parking app to open those barriers in one of two ways. Either a) you give your car driver customers our dongle, which takes a bluetooth signal from their smartphone and converts it into the barrier opening ‘clicker’ signal, or b) you put a CTbee wide-range ‘clicker’ in the owner’s apartment … and an SMS from your server triggers our device to the barrier. Or you can combine the two methods.
In either case, the parking spot owner does not have to be present to open the barrier, so your CTbee-enabled package provides them with an neat way to monetize their asset. Simply.
It all means that CTbee is more sublime than just opening barriers from a smartphone app. It’s the way that you can unlock the full potential of your business by dramatically increasing the volume of parking spots you have to sell, so you can enjoy the resources and traction of being a bigger business.