60: Second Interview : Stephen Hall, Managing Director, Parking Space Rentals Ltd
Thursday 5th April 2012
As Parking Space Rentals continues to make strides in the estate agency field, we speak to Managing Stephen Hall about this unique service.
Interview by Lee Dahill, Angels Media
Q: Who is Parking Space Rentals?
Parking Space Rentals is a market-leading specialist in the rental of parking spaces in residential and business developments at competitive prices. We are now covering the whole of the United Kingdom including cities such as London, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham and Bristol.
We have previously been described as the ‘dating agency for parking spaces’ as we match people up with parking spaces.
Q: How did it all start?
We launched the company in 2003 as City Centre Parking before rebranding as Parking Space Rentals in 2007. Since launch, the company has experienced significant growth year-on-year with a33% growth in rented spaces in the last year alone, which is a big achievement.
Whilst I was at university studying for a business degree I was always getting my car towed away for either parking on yellow lines or just missing the meter running out. There was a clear opportunity to launch a unique service that would ease the headache of restrictive parking measures and allow people to monetise their unused parking spaces. My experience turned out to be a blessing in disguise as this inspired the launch of the company; however at the time it didn’t feel that way!
Q: How can we help estate agents let more properties?
Many agents have to turn potential tenants away as the property they are interested in does not have sufficient parking. If the tenants need a space or an additional space for a second car we can help as it is likely there’s a vacant space nearby they could rent from us. Adverts can say parking is available nearby at an additional cost. A parking space to complement the apartment generates more interest, more sales and more commission for the agent.
We supply the chance to rent a car parking space from us monthly for any use- this could be for your work, a tenant or for sporting events (such as the Olympics). For example, where a tenant may occupy a property where they don’t require the parking space this could be turned into an additional source of income.
Q: How can we help landlords increase their rental income?
Many tenants living in or close to city centres don’t have cars and often don’t need the parking space allocated to the apartment. Letting agents often undervalue the price of a secure parking space every month and so landlords can give tenants the option of paying extra to take the space with the apartment, or rent the space separately, as this can be much more profitable. The space can be rented to residents in the same development, those living nearby or even commuters who need a secure space near their workplace. If the agent wanted to take a fee for finding a space user that would be between them and the landlord.
Q: Why choose Parking Space Rentals?
We have invested tens of thousands into our website in the last 18 months and as a result of this we believe it’s the most advanced in the field with an unparalleled level of automation to reduce the delays caused by the need for human input. We understand how busy people can be and have tried to make our site as user friendly as possible offering clients a good visual image of which spaces are available to you in your area. When we launched in 2003 under City Centre Parking Ltd, our company’s predecessor, we were the only company in the market supplying the model and product that we were offering.
Q: What are your three unique selling points?
Our website is fully automated and space application and listings can be done at anytime and its available 24/7, even if a human isn’t. There are Regular emails to confirm availability – minimising workload for agents.
Our working hours are Monday to Friday 9 – 5 but we operate a 24 hour out of hour’s number and also meet clients weekends and evenings to provide a new space or replacement remote control, so we are very flexible.
We undertake pro-active marketing campaigns, like on-street flyer distribution, mailings, e-mail shots, personal visits to local business to promote spaces which other companies don’t.
Q: How do you overcome your competitors?
We have researched what our competitors are doing and have seen what areas we can gain a competitive edge by delivering an even better customer experience. We provide a very friendly bespoke service and have the most user-friendly and versatile website in the market which makes it easy for anyone looking to buy or rent a space. This year we have expanded the size of our business and we have also launched overseas in Australia due to the success of the service in the UK.
Q: What is your greatest achievement and what made it so special?
My greatest achievement has been to grow the business to its current level under very challenging economic circumstances. When I first started the company we had availability in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield. The website allowed us to fully expand and go nationwide before eventually taking the business to the international stage.
Q: What do you feel it takes to be successful in the industry?
To be able to keep existing customers and treat them the same as your friends and family, this is the standard of service that we carry out throughout the company. Going the extra mile for your clients is important; I was leaving to go on holiday in the morning when I got a call at 4am from one of our clients who was also about to go away only to find his space was occupied. I went to meet the client in person to organise a replacement space and thus ensure he was able to catch his flight.
Editorial Contact Details - Rosalind Renshaw