Early last year Longmont native Reese Barracks was in Boulder for a concert and he ended up driving around the Hill in vain looking for a parking spot. He saw many vacant parking spaces in the homes he passed. That gave him an idea: Wouldn’t be wonderful if those unused parking spots were available for short-term parking?
It prompted Barracks, who graduated Silver Creek High School in 2016, to connect with Tyler Cagle, a University of Colorado Boulder mechanical engineering, student to find a solution to the problem he encountered. Cagle developed an app Drivewayz the duo tested last year near Folsom Field.
The iPhone app allows people to sign up as hosts and rent unused parking spaces at an hourly rate, and helps those looking for parking find private parking spots closer to their destination. The app soon will be available for Android devices as well, he said.
Drivewayz provides supplemental, convenient parking options, while decreasing traffic and creating a form of passive income for locals, Barracks said.
“We initially saw a huge opportunity for college students,” Barracks said. “We knocked on the doors to get the word out and to get feedback.
“Everybody loved the concept,” he said.
After several iterations, Barracks and Cagle began thinking big, especially about solving parking problems in major metro areas. The app is available nationwide with 100 parking spots, Barracks said. The company is trying to focus on southern California and Colorado, he said. “We are bootstrapping it.”
Drivewayz placed second out of 35 teams in the IT Track finals, winning $2,500 at the New Venture Challenge at CU in March, he said.
Compared to other available apps, Drivewayz is simple to use, and is the only one that offers surge pricing, he said. Hosts can bump the price up or down as they wish.
Laura Vogel, a marketing and finance senior at CU Boulder, became a host a month ago after seeing an ad on Facebook. She has a parking spot in an alley on University Avenue near the home she rents. She has been able to rent it for few hours once or twice a week. She charges $3 an hour.
It’s nice to make money when the parking spot is not in use, Vogel said. She got paid the next day through the app, which is connected to her bank account.
She knows a lot of people who have downloaded the app. As more and more people get to know about it they’ll really start using the app, particularly during football games, which means more money coming her way, she said.
Hosts can earn up to $500 a week depending on the city and location, Barracks said. Hosts make 75% of the hourly rate. It can take up to 48 hours for hosts to get paid.
Renters need to get a consent from their landlords to make their parking spots available to others, Barracks said. “We try to monitor that as much as we can.”
The company is actively promoting the app via social media, Barracks said, adding it’s gaining traction gradually. “Drivewayz is creating parking for the community from the community.”