Parking app allows users to rent out driveways
“So, here we're looking at a lot of our parking spaces,” Albie Brown said, looking at his cell phone, at the app he created.
Brown and Will Newman, both recent college grads, just launched an app called Spotter, as a way for users to find and rent a parking spot in Providence at the touch of a button.
“We want people to be able to choose where they park instead of having to look where they park,” Brown told NBC10.
Drivers using the app park for $1 an hour. They park in driveways that people are willing to rent out when they aren't home or if they have an extra space.
Brown and Newman have also reached deals with organizations that have extra parking spaces in their lots.
The app shows users available spaces nearby, asks them if they want to rent the spot, and then directs them to the space they choose.
“It's a cheaper solution for everybody,” Newman said. “So, we're seeing commuters and we're also seeing tourists.”
Spotter user Emily Wiklund told NBC 10 she heard about the app from friends at Brown University. The college student said she got three parking tickets her first week of school trying to find on-street parking near campus.
Then, she heard about the Spotter app and has been using it since to find parking close to campus.
“I can always find something available,” Wiklund said.
Prutha Patel rents out her driveway when she's not home. She heard about Spotter through a neighborhood email group.
“You're not going to make a ton of money, but it's really cool that you could rent out your spot because it's sitting there open anyways,” Patel said.
Jeff Huang, who was Albie's computer science professor at Brown, now uses his former student’s product. He rents out his extra driveway space.
“I'm pretty happy with the results and I think Albert’s done a nice job,” Huang said.
People who rent out their parking spaces keep 80 percent of the fee drivers pay to park.
“The idea sells itself,” Brown said. “If you can make free money just by letting your driveway sit there all day and letting other people use it to park easier, it's kind of a no-brainer.”
Most of the parking spaces available through the Spotter app are on the east side of Providence. Brown and Newman hope to expand to other parts of the city, especially downtown.