If I had to pick the most aggravating part of city life, it would probably be parking — finding a space for your car, moving it when required, and then dealing with the inevitable parking tickets when you slip up. Now an entrepreneur named Aren Sandersen has built a website called Parkzing to tackle part of the problem.
Sandersen is the co-founder of Apptizr, a Mountain View, Calif.-based startup that helps users find mobile applications, but he works several days out of the week at the Dogpatch Labs incubator space in San Francisco. Besides the usual headaches of running a company, Andersen said one of the most common complaints from Dogpatch entrepreneurs is parking tickets — with long, often crazy work hours, and plenty of other things to worry about, Dogpatch residents inevitably rack up parking tickets, then forget to pay them off. That leaves them with big late fees and could even result in having their cars locked in place by a wheel boot.
That’s where Parkzing comes in. Taking advantage of the fact that more cities are putting parking ticket data online, Parkzing asks users to enter their license plate number and email address. Then, whenever a parking ticket with your number shows up in a city database, Parkzing will let you know, then send periodic reminders until you’ve paid it off. And if users don’t want to deal with the tickets at all, they can give Parkzing their credit card info, and the service will pay off tickets and collect a $5 fee on top.
So could this be a real business? Sandersen said he’s open to the possibility, but there are some obstacles, too. For now, the site only supports users in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., and the expansion options are limited to cities with websites that support payment and ticket search by license plate. It’s also not clear if busy entrepreneurs and other workaholics are a big enough audience to build a company around, especially if you’re only collecting $5 a ticket.
Still, I agree that parking tickets are a real nightmare — they’re the main reason I decided to get rid of my car. Plus, Sandersen is part of one startup already, so if it turns out that he’s only built a useful tool for entrepreneurs, it sounds like he’s okay with that.