Spacer Technologies was founded in Australia in 2015, before expanding to North America and the acquisition of Where I Park Inc. earlier this year. With more commuters returning to the office, parking has become a more pressing need — and Spacer has been one of the beneficiaries, with Boston receiving more reservation requests in October than any other city on the app.
According to Spacer, one of the factors driving Boston’s surge in users could be the upcoming winter weather. With snow causing headaches for drivers with outdoor parking, some users may anticipate, with requests to reserve covered spots in the Boston area up 77% since July.
Spacer said it has about 300,000 users worldwide and hundreds of locations for rent in and around Boston. He makes money by taking 25% of trades; the remaining 75% goes to users who rent their spaces.
Daniel Vernick, 25, joined Spacer last year to rent their driveway in Somerville.
“It was pretty simple,” Vernick said. “It definitely took some of the rent burden off.”
When Vernick started looking for an affordable apartment last year, his goal was to find an apartment with an empty driveway to rent, to help offset the cost. After some internet research, Vernick found Spacer and a tenant booked the driveway for a full year.
Vernick was able to earn $220 per month. That kind of extra money is what sets Spacer apart from other parking apps, according to Jeremy Zuker, general manager of North America for Spacer Technologies.
“You can actually take something that you’re not using, like your driveway or your garage, and you can just make it a source of income,” Zuker said. “We sometimes joke that we’re like the unsexy Airbnbs, aren’t we? Instead of the chic villa, it’s a parking space.”
Spacer is relatively new to the rental scene and has plenty of competition. Websites like Facebook and Craigslist have long served as platforms for advertising and parking space rentals.
But Janelle Emmanuel, who joined Spacer and Craigslist to rent her driveway last year, says she feels safer on Spacer than she did rummaging through Craigslist.
“I feel like with Craigslist, you don’t always know what’s going on there,” Emmanuel said. “But Spacer, I felt very safe.”
Emmanuel rented his driveway in Watertown, capable of fitting up to three cars, after a friend recommended the rental service as a side gig. Emmanuel said the app adds an element of separation between renter and host, which made him feel more secure.
Residential neighborhoods like Allston, Brookline, Somerville and parts of Cambridge are all popular locations on the app. Spaces in the downtown and seaport areas are fewer and more expensive, but Spacer executives hope the app can help ease parking congestion in the city.
“This idea of efficiency is about both infrastructure and spaces,” Zuker said. “But also just to get people where they need to go without wasting time and fuel.”