New site lets home owners charge drivers to park on their property
I never like when writers casually lob mentions of their personal vacations into stories, but here the shoe fits. And I will wear it.
Recently, I got a chance to visit Costa Rica – I know, big whup – and one day decided to explore. We drove off the main road, some seven miles back (do your own conversion!), to suss out a waterfall a local had tipped a member of our party to.
Now here, in the rural sticks along a pockmarked road stuck with rocks the size of volleyballs, was a house, sitting just by a dirt path that led to the tourist attraction du jour.
In the middle of nowhere, where the nearest store is a scooter ride away, what did we see? A sign, in English, directing us to “Pay inside for parking.”
Immediately I thought, “Wait, what?” Moments later, the light bulb went off. That is some business, I said to myself.
Indeed, if a home owner in the backwoods of a Costa Rican forest can capitalize on a driveway for parking, you wonder why we can’t do it more here. Well, make that why we haven’t done it more in the past.
Just launched in North America is a new site called Park At My House. The forum, originally popular in Europe, connects home owners with drivers looking for an alternative place to park their cars.
The inspiration for the site tells the story here: founder Anthony Eskinazi came up with the idea in 2006 after struggling to find parking near the ballpark of the San Francisco Giants. Noticing an empty driveway near the stadium, he thought it would be great to park there, if only there was a way.
Since, the company has more than 150,000 registered drivers worldwide, who connect with property owners that sign up for the site. If you’re a home owner, you put up a listing for day, week or monthly parking privileges on your property and get cash. If you’re a motorist, you find a cheap listing near work, a concert hall or arena and pay a rate to park about 50 to 70 per cent cheaper than meters or garages, according to Park At My House’s figures.
The site isn’t in Canada just yet, but Eskinazi tells MSN it will be by the end of the month. It won’t be just in big metropolis areas, either, rather any Canadian will be able to sign up and use.
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money