Available in Chicago area, company looks to expand reach of service
Ask an over-the-road truck driver what their biggest concerns are and you won’t have to go far down the list before finding a safe place to park appears.
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) says that truck drivers lose an hour of driving time a day on average just looking for a place to park for the night.
Some states are now posting available spots on signage. A test in Minnesota also delivered availability through in-cab communication devices or via websites. A TruckerPath report found that drivers lose approximately $600 in wages per month in lost miles because they were looking for a place to park and 79% violate hours-of-service rules because they could not find parking.
There is also some evidence that there are enough available truck parking spots in the country - they are just not in the areas where truckers need them.
It is a problem in search of a solution, and that is what Anthony Petitte is hoping to do. Petitte serves as CEO of TruckPark, a company he launched to ease the process of finding a spot by allowing truck drivers to reserve spaces and lot owners to generate revenue in the process.
“I saw a problem and that’s pretty much what brought me to TruckPark,” he tells FreightWaves. “I met with a lot of truck drivers, ran some focus groups.”
The 26-year-old with a background in technology and SEO/marketing says he’s always been a problem-solver, so the business, which he founded and is building along with Joshua Walls, COO, is a natural fit.
“I’ve always been an entrepreneur,” he says. “As a young kid, I was walking dogs – at one point I was walking six or seven dogs and making $180 a week. I’ve always had the desire to solve problems and right now it’s truck parking. There are other issues [in trucking that I’ve considered] but right now it’s truck parking.”
Petitte is still building out the platform for expansion, but it is currently operational in the Chicagoland area, where there are eight locations and about 5,500 parking spots available. Right now, TruckPark is only a website, but there is an app in development. Petitte also said he is hoping to expand into Indianapolis soon and go from there to other locations where parking is scarce.
Here's how the system works: A driver in need in parking goes onto truckpark.com and enters their zip code. A map (and detailed list) shows up listing locations that have available parking. The driver enters their credit card information (or logs in if they are already on file) and reserves a space. Once the driver arrives at the lot, they confirm the space with the attendant and are allowed to park their truck.
The cost is $15 for 12 hours of parking time. Petitte says TruckPark receives $5 and the lot owner receives $10, but most importantly, the driver is assured a safe place to park for the evening.
“Reserving a spot for truck drivers is huge for them,” Petitte says. “An app will tell them a location is 40% filled, but by the time they get there, it’s completely filled. With the reservation, they are guaranteed to have a spot.”
One way that TruckPark expects to help drivers is with the Dec. 18, 2017, electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. The ELD rule will require truckers to shut down once their driving hours are exhausted. No longer will they be able to continue driving looking for a safe place to park. With TruckPark, drivers can estimate where they will be as they approach the end of the drive time, reserve a spot at a local lot, and be assured of having a safe and legal place to park.
Petitte says he’d like to work with locations that offer other services to truckers, such as truck washes or maintenance shops, for instance. There are also plans to offer membership cards in the future that may entitle drivers to additional benefits, such as discounts at hotels or retail shops.
Petitte also says the lot owners make out. In addition to a cut of the fee per truck, they can use their lot as branding for their other businesses, particularly if they offer driver-related services, and bring in new customers.
For Petitte, he believes TruckPark is the solution for which drivers have been waiting. All they need to do is log on and reserve their spot.