Car Parking App Development: Expert Tips

The process of looking for the nearest parking spot can be overwhelming and annoying. Some people even prefer to avoid driving around the city and visiting any establishments out of fear there will be no place to leave a car nearby. 

Therefore, we should all thank the one who came up with the idea to create an app for finding parking spots. And given that the number of cars in large cities is constantly growing, such applications are likely to gain more and more popularity every year. 

Are you ready to take the risk and launch your own solution of this kind? Then we advise you to carefully read our new article. We're sharing our experience and giving a few useful tips on the issue. You'll learn how to build a car parking finder app able to compete with other similar services.

What is a Car Parking App?

Perhaps there is no field of activity, which could not be automated using a mobile application. And the parking industry is no exception.

Why Start Mobile Parking App Development?

Did you know that the inhabitants of metropolises spend up to five days annually trying to park? At least, these are the data of a study conducted by the American company INRIX several years ago. What’s more, the economic losses from such parking searches can reach $ 4.3 billion (just imagine!). 

By the by, to get a better idea of the number of hours citizens spend each year trying to park, check out the infographic below.

Car Parking Finder App

Where did such a huge time waste come from? The thing is, we just don't know in advance if there is a parking space near our destination... and even if there is such a space we're not sure there will be any free spots left. As a result, we’re roaming around the city in the hopes of finding a safe place to leave our car at ease.

Fortunately, the problem can be solved using special apps for parking. They have tons of great benefits… let's discuss?

Benefits of Smart Parking Solutions

  • Optimized parking places. Digitalization perfectly organizes the parking space and leads to its efficient use. And it brings significant benefits to parking owners.

  • Fewer traffic offenses. The above advantage (space optimization) implies that motorists have more free spots to park... which means fewer traffic offenses (after all, some of them are caused by drivers desperate to find a place to leave their car).

  • Reducing the time spent parking. The car owner can easily determine where the nearest free parking space is and even book it if desired.

  • The opportunity to save. In addition, the driver is able now to find the cheapest parking spot (besides the closest one). The issue of cost matters a lot too, don’t you agree?

  • Environmental friendliness. Oddly enough, but parking app technology also helps reduce air pollution and has a good effect on the environment.

How Apps for Parking Work

To start using the application, the driver needs to sign up and then verify his identity. After that, all the features of the parking app (which we'll discuss below) become available to him.

Our team has a lot of experience in developing successful projects. Learn more about our expertise.

Such applications determine the user's location, check for free parking zones, and suggest the nearest ones (with the possibility to get directions to the selected location).

More specifically, users of the parking spot finder app (drivers) can access a lot of cool features, such as:

  • finding a free parking space in accordance with the specified criteria;

  • getting full information on parking, including price, opening hours, user reviews;

  • viewing the map with the parking lots displayed on it;

  • managing your parking spot from a distance.

Basic Structure of Best Parking Apps

All information about parking is stored on a server with a database. Owners and maintenance personnel of parking systems get access to it using a special application panel (once again, we’ll discuss it a bit later).

The server provides the following features:

  • the ability to administer the parking space system;

  • recording and processing the necessary data on parking;

  • control of payments by drivers by vehicle number;

  • managing the access of various users to the system;

  • storage and archiving of information.

How Parking Reservation Apps Make Money

It's not enough to know how to create an app for finding parking spots. It's also important to understand how to make it profitable.

In general, you have a few main opportunities to monetize such an application:

  • Payment from the users (drivers). The driver must pay you if he wants to simplify the process of finding parking spots. You can also provide a monthly subscription option or offer additional paid functionality (complementary to basic free features);

  • Fees from parking owners. You get your commission, and parking owners improve the quality of service and, as a result, increase the profitability of their business. It's a win-win situation, as they say.

  • In-app purchases. It's not so easy to figure out what kind of real or virtual products you may offer users of smart parking solutions, but if you handle the task - go right ahead! 

  • In-app advertising (optional). Why not? It’s always a good way to make money.

Car Parking App Development

So, it's time to give you a rough outline of how to build a car parking finder app. In general terms, so to speak.

Problem analysis

First, you need to properly analyze the problem and identify the main places in which people often face a lack of parking spots. Usually, these are shopping and sports complexes, popular restaurants, etc.

Car Parking App Development
Wondering how to build a car insurance app? Click here and read our detailed article on the topic!

Make sure your app has a chance to be demanded and drivers would be happy to use it. Otherwise, it makes no sense to start a fairly complex process of creating a parking finder app.

And if you think the game is worth the candle, answer a few questions:

  1. What is the global parking management market today? What does it need?

  2. What should your application be like? What tasks will users be able to solve with it (besides the obvious one, namely, finding parking)?

  3. Do you have any competitors? What do they offer?

  4. What is the portrait of your average user?

Did you answer all these questions? Then it's time to move on to the next stage, namely…  

The creation process

We won't go into all the details (car parking app development isn't easy, as we've said). Let's give just a couple of important tips:

  1. Remember the most important thing, which is mobile navigation. The fewer steps (clicks or taps) the user takes when looking for a free parking space, the better. Therefore, pay special attention to the parking app design. The UI of your program has to be intuitive, user-friendly, and clear. 

    1. By the way, the ideal option is to gather a special focus group willing to take part in the final usability testing.

  2. Focus on details. Think about how you can surprise and delight your users. Say, it would be great if your application not only shows available parking spots but also provides all the details on each one (cost, photo of the area, type of parking, etc.).

  3. Test constantly. We've already mentioned the need to involve a testing focus group. However, usability testing isn't enough. It's also important that your program runs without errors or crashes. And it's up to QA engineers to make sure your parking reservation app works smoothly.

  4. Think about what devices the app is going to run on. In other words, what platforms, Android or Apple, would your service support?

  5. Start small. If you don't have enough money to develop a fully-featured application, don't give up the idea of ​​building a car parking finder app entirely. Just start with the MVP model (which we've covered in one of our articles).

  6. Find a good developer company. This is perhaps the most important point in the entire development process. Not being a developer, you cannot cope with the task of such a high level on your own. So, you have no choice but to hire experts who know how to create an app for finding parking spots.


To bring a matter to a successful conclusion, you need to reach an agreement with the owners of the parking areas. You can cooperate with both individuals and legal entities.

And don't be in a hurry! First, you have to establish contacts in one city. If everything goes well, feel free to start exploring other regional centers. 


Let's say you've finished creating a parking finder app and forge some useful partnership connections. What's next? How do you get drivers to become your users?

The answer is simple: you should initiate a full-scale marketing campaign (the costs of which you must also budget in advance).

By the by, do you want to know how much money it takes to start digital marketing? We've prepared an answer: follow the link and read it.

Features of Parking Apps

Developing a parking app means the creation of 3 separate panels with a different set of features each:

  • Driver access;

  • Parking Inspector functionality;

  • Administration panel.

Feature set #1. Driver access

First of all, the application is aimed at drivers, and its key goal is to help them find the cheapest parking spots without wasting time. What features should we consider to achieve this goal?

  • Registration & Authorization. We’ll hardly surprise you by saying that your application must necessarily offer a sign-in/sign-up feature. Surely, there are many ways to register, including through social networks, but in the case of the parking reservation app, it's imperative to take appropriate security measures and verify the user (say, with an SMS code).

  • List of vehicles. The feature isn’t a must-have, but it is desirable. The driver must be able to add a list of his car(s) with an indication of the details of each (car model, state number).

  • Map. It’s about a special navigation screen, which displays a city map with marked parking lots.

  • Parking Search. Of course, it's important to provide the driver with the opportunity to find one of the nearest public parking spaces. It's also great if your parking spot finder app can get directions to any location the driver chooses.

  • Parking spot details. To finally decide on the choice of parking, the driver must be able to learn the details of every place: the price per hour, its location, the number of parking spots, etc. That's when this feature would come in handy.

  • Parking spot booking. Everything is clear here, isn't it? The feature would be especially useful if the driver wants to pre-select and book a convenient parking spot to leave his car in the near future (more precisely, in the time interval he sets).

  • Payment. Let’s say, the driver has parked his car; now it's time he paid for the provided service. Hence, your parking management software cannot do without a secure payment solution.

  • Parking history. That's not to say that the feature is mandatory, but a driver may find it helpful to recall where and when he used to park his car in the past (and how much he paid in each case).

  • Reviews & Ratings. Choosing a place to park the car would be even easier if the user can find out the opinion of other motorists about a particular parking zone. This means you need to provide an opportunity to leave feedback and set a rating.

  • Instant parking extension. It's not always possible to predict how long a certain task might take (during which the car should be parked). Therefore, it's smart to supplement your app functionality with the possibility to extend the parking time remotely.

  • Offline mode. Of course, the parking reservation app will only benefit if it works in offline mode as well (Internet access is sometimes unavailable, as you know… but you need to park anyway!).

  • Notifications. Of course, it would be helpful to keep users informed of what is happening and send them all kinds of notifications. What to inform drivers about? There are many options, such as:

    • warning that parking time will expire soon;

    • informing on changes in the conditions of use of a particular parking lot;

    • a reminder that you need to renew your subscription;

    • and so on!

  • Favorite parking lots. Let drivers add frequently used car parks to the “Favorite” category. Then the user would be able to see these spots on the map marked with a different color (or in another way).

  • Settings. And the last mandatory item on our drivers-focused list of features of parking apps should be Settings. Drivers will be happy with the opportunity to choose the UI language, change personal data (if necessary), etc.

Feature set #2. Parking Inspector access

Another stage of mobile parking app development is creating a functional panel the inspector would need. It must include the following features:

  • Registration & Authorization. And again, it all starts with registering a user and creating his personal account. And don't forget to verify his identity in the same way as you did with the driver.

  • Viewing parking spots. If a parking employee wants to get information on a certain place, he'll only need to select the desired location on the map and access the data he requires (such as the number of reserved parking spots, details about the car occupying a specific place, etc.);

  • Notifications. When developing a parking app aimed at inspectors, you should also add a notification feature to warn them about possible complaints from users or their need for help (and everything, which might be relevant!).

Feature set #3. Administrator access

Well, we finally got to the third and last stage of building a car parking finder application (that is, building a functional part of it). This panel is targeted at the person who will manage the application.

  • Parking spots. First of all, a user with administrator access must be able to manage parking spots: add new ones and delete those that are no longer relevant. Also, he should have a chance to edit existing spots, if the need arises.

  • Users. The administrator must also manage data on users, and this is not only about drivers, but also parking inspectors.

  • Bookings. The user in question is obliged to manage the bookings made, which means the parking spot finder app has to provide him with such an opportunity. What spots have been reserved? Which ones are paid for? The administrator will be able to answer all these questions and get the information he needs (including available data on each driver who has booked a certain spot)

  • Payment. And, of course, let's not forget about the payments received (parking fees, subscriptions to services, etc.). They also require proper management!

Best Parking Apps

We think it would be useful to study a few of your competitors. You have to know who you have to deal with in the market!


Let's start a competitive analysis of the best parking apps with Spothero. The mobile service finds and reserves parking spots and thus saves the driver's time. The application operates in New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Baltimore, and Milwaukee. However, the company is gradually taking over more and more territories.

Finding suitable parking lots is simple and requires the driver to complete just a few steps:

  • The driver indicates the time interval during which the car should remain parked (it can range from several hours to several days);

  • The map shows all available parking spaces (with price indication) corresponding to the time interval selected by the user;

  • The driver selects and reserves a suitable spot using the parking management software. It is also possible to immediately pay for the provided service.

By the way, SpotHero is powered by the built-in google maps frame. 

parking spot finder app


Parkopedia is a top parking spot finder app, one of the market leaders. Its database includes over 75 countries and at least 40 million parking spaces. 

Parkopedia is the perfect application needed to… 

  • find parking by location (or specified address);

  • get complete information on parking (including the number of free spots, payment methods, opening hours);

  • get directions to the selected parking space.

Features of Parking App



Another example of successful apps for parking is ParkMe. It’s available in major cities in the US, Europe, and even Canada.

ParkMe greatly simplifies the search process and offers various great features, such as:

  • a precise definition of the location;

  • informing about the nearest free parking lots;

  • providing data on a specific parking spot (in particular, its cost);

  • help in finding a parked car (say, if the user came back too late the day before and didn't feel like driving). Also, the user can find out how much money he already owes for over-parking.

building a car parking finder app


What Users Don’t Like about Apps for Parking

To compete successfully with the market leaders, you need to avoid the basic mistakes that other developers sometimes make when creating a parking finder app.

Let's briefly list what exactly annoys users:

  • Irrelevant price data. There is nothing worse than an app displaying the wrong cost of services! Imagine: a driver expects to pay $ N, and when he starts booking a spot, he discovers that the price is actually higher... it can't help but annoy him, right? 

  • Poor selection of parking spaces. The driver will only use your app if it makes parking easier and faster. Therefore, the choice of parking lots must be large enough... which brings us back to the need to conclude partnership contracts with the parking lot owners (the issue we've already mentioned above). If you aren't sure you can make useful connections, don't start developing a parking app.

  • Ineffective parking search. The search engine should be supplemented by filtering and sorting systems. The user must be able to enter search parameters and get the result. It'll also be great if he can compare multiple parking options.

  • Little data on parking space. The driver will give preference to an application, which provides maximum information on each parking space. The more data, the easier it is to make a final choice.

  • Poor parking app design. When discussing mobile parking app development, we talked about the importance of an intuitive, visually appealing program UI. Keep this in mind throughout the development process.

Are you ready to start car parking app development? Our experts are at your service! We would be happy to take on your project.


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