Smart Parking System Development Guide: Steps, Features, Cost

A parking system directly impacts your business's conversion rate. While this statement may come as a shock to you, it still has some truth in it. Whether you own a commercial space in a building or a small e-commerce store, having a separate parking space is key to welcoming more customers. With a constant rise in the number of vehicles, offering parking spaces to all of your customer’s cars may be a little challenging. 

Fortunately, AI has entered almost every industry today, and the parking system is one such business. You can bid farewell to park space problems using efficient and intelligent parking systems. Imagine a customer driving to your store only irritated due to a parking spot's unavailability. They may choose to return home without making a purchase. 

Hence, managing parking is one of the crucial components of a successful offline business. Consider this article as your cue if you haven’t considered switching to intelligent parking systems. Whether you own a small store or an extensive showroom, your business needs a parking system to stay in the game. After all, you don’t want your customers to leave your store before entering.

You may find yourself in a pickle if you are new to this concept of intelligent parking systems. The article explains all the critical stages of developing a parking system to address them in detail. Fortunately, this article was written with the help of our transportation software developers.

How Parking App Works

At its most basic form, parking apps are smartphone applications that guide you to parking spots available around a particular location. Additional functions that improve a parking mobile app include interactive real-time parking maps, tools to compare various parking facilities, booking a parking spot and paying for it online, and contactless access to a parking lot. Some cities also have the pay-by-app parking option for metered street spots. These apps are useful for remotely feeding the meter and extending your parking duration.   

Types Of Parking Systems

A mobile app development company can create a parking lot mobile app for you in three primary ways.

Navigation Only

Working merely on the space allotted, a mobile parking app of this kind will only tell you the whereabouts of a vacant spot. This is the bare minimum requirement that such an app can accomplish. The rest of the process, including paying for parking, will be done the conventional way. If a parking lot is full, the app notifies the car owner when a spot is vacated and guides them to the same.

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Navigation + Booking

A more practical parking lot app will allow car owners to book a parking spot and pay for it according to the pricing format of the lot. It is a more time-saving method and makes the whole process more efficient.

Many parking lot apps work on this model. The car owner enters the vehicle number in the app and books a spot. When he reaches the parking lot, a sensor will read the license plate and feed it into the database. The app will then guide the owner to the dedicated spot. Parking fees can be paid through the app itself.

Virtual Valet

A complete solution is available on the go, such an app will make life more accessible than ever. Car owners can reserve a spot before reaching their destination, thus keeping parking chaos at bay. They can also set a time window when a valet will reach a pre-decided spot to get the car keys and do the needful.

When curbside pickup is a practical delivery method, a curbside valet is also a viable option where the car owner won’t even need to wait in the parking queue. The power of automation has made things quick and efficient.

Must-Have Parking Software Features

The software-based solutions for parking management transformed almost every manual task into an automated one.

The following features should be embedded in any parking management software development company.

For Drivers

GPS Tracking and Navigation

GPS tracking and navigation are the most needed element of the car parking mobile app. Without it, the mobile app could not assign or guide locations to the users. It is easy to use and convenient for parking, and by adding GPS tracking, you make the route more manageable. The technology helps discover the car and area location and choose which distance the closest parking area a user can find. Moreover, it navigates users to it so they don't get lost or misled elsewhere.

GPS tracking and navigation are beneficial in many certain ways and helpful for the entire journey.

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Registration and Login

For the mobile car parking app development, you require primary information of the users, and it is possible with registration. It will take place when the users download the mobile app, and the first registration will appear. Information like name, surname, city, state, mobile number, email ID, and others are asked to give them better personalized preferences. Once sign-up is done, the mobile app will save it; only login will be enough. The option of login through third-party integration should be allowed. Without this feature, booking car parking is not possible.

Expected Time

One of the features you could provide in the car parking mobile app is showing the expected time. The user can know how much time there is and act accordingly. Even while the car is parked, it will show how long it was parked there. The time limit presents the information on car parking and will be helpful for the data. The mobile app should specify the arrival and departure time from that parking spot, and it will also help calculate the charge. The expected time benefits those who plan or go according to the plan and decide where to park their car through the car parking app.

Availability and Waiting List Feature

It is essential to show users about the waiting in parking spots. If the user wants a particular spot, they can check whether it is available or not. Before booking, they check locations and nearby spots, so it is vital to show a waiting list. Whenever the post is vacant, the mobile app will notify them about it. The mobile app will help users save time and look for another spot instead of waiting for the same one.

Management Panel

The panel will monitor and manage the interface. The users should not face the user interface in the car parking app; otherwise, they would leave and never return. The panel will handle booking, cancellation, delay, waiting, and others. The interface should also be easy to use so they do not face any complexity and control the entire parking operation. The management panel takes control of the whole panel and operates it effortlessly.

Payment Method

A car parking mobile app is incomplete without a payment method feature. For reserving a spot, users need to pay through third-party integration to confirm their booking. The payment method can be through debit, credit, UPI, and other payment mediums. Users can pay drivers according to the per km they travel while parking the car and pay certain parking charges.

AI-based Location

Adding advanced technology features will bring superior results to your parking car mobile app. The AI-based location feature will show you the spots where you can identify surrounding locations and help users know where they are parking their cars. The AI-based locations will help save the spot or area so the driver traveler knows where to go next time. The AI-based location is the future of mobile car parking apps, so do miss out on this.

Search Options

We need search option features for car parking apps to search for the specific place they want to opt for. The search options will help users save time and go to the place directly they want to and can go further. The options should be extensive so they can search wherever they want, making the mobile car parking app easier and more flexible.

For Parking Owners

Statistical Reporting 

The best way to understand the usage and revenue generated by a parking facility is through reporting software. These statistical programs can take the hard work out of data analysis and generate easy-to-read graphs and charts to understand the functionality of the parking facility. Looking at the use, length of stay, violations, incidents, and more are essential to the success of a business. The reporting allows management to make effective and efficient decisions to allocate the proper funding and attention.

Security and Surveillance 

A safe and secure environment is essential to owners and users of a parking facility. More so when the parking areas are open 24/7 and have a change in parking throughout the day and night. A manager can survey the parking areas in real-time with cameras and sensors. With cameras and recording software, in the case of an insurance claim or an accident in the parking facility, the authorities can see what happened quickly and efficiently. Some systems also offer real-time viewing of the parking space for clients to check on their cars, which benefits long-term parking clients at areas like airports. 

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For Car Parking App Managers

Online schedule of vehicles and employees 

Let's consider an organization with an obvious parking facility available. The software has to have the data for all the in-house employees and the space arrangement set for everyone accordingly. As per their time shifts, working hours they usually spend in the office, when they arrive and leave the premises, their position or space reserved per their priorities, etc. A custom application development of a parking management system would allow these features to be customized.

Automated Ticketing for violators

An online application system empowered with an online positioning system could charge tickets online for those who violate the rules or go overboard with any other guidelines pre-decided by the organization.

Online ticketing can be helpful for the driving person as it could pre-intimate the driver for such violations through a notification. After all, that’s the most praised advantage of a mobile-based application.

Tracking public as well as private parking spaces

An agile parking management software must be able to track vehicles for available spaces and navigate the seeking one to the appropriate space. The more accurate and precise the synchronization of the positioning system with the software in real-time, the more efficiently an application would guide the seeker.

Scalable software: Should work with minor as well as large entities

A successful parking management system should be scalable and work smoothly with and for any business scale, whether small, micro, medium, or large-sized. Many online parking management solutions are available in the market with certain limitations but with hefty charges to pay for.

However, it is undesirable for any purchaser if the software has limitations over scalability.

Manage visitors smartly

There must be some buffer space or redundant parking slot feature for emergency or contingent situations. It could manage a sudden rush with redundant rooms available and more intelligent management with agile analysis before any rampant or over-crowded possibility.

Also, the software may guide the visitor for an easy exit or entry if the other one tends towards massive movements at once. If the software does so, it could be termed as smarter management of a visitor by a more innovative parking management software. One should have to hire dedicated developers for such customization as well.

To be usable on all platforms with interactive UI

Compatibility is a case in which many enterprise solutions fail. However, most of the solutions nowadays come out with full-fledged compatibility. Yet this factor is the one that has seen some ingenious applications lose their massive customer base just because of their compatibility issue with other platforms.

It is ideal for embedding compatibility within the solution to run smoothly in any operating system, whether Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS.

Standalone application feature

It is data mined that most such parking management applications come as a standalone application. Those applications that do not require any other service installation to run or run without internet connectivity are Standalone applications. However, the parent organization or management team must develop it as a standalone application. There would be many extraordinary features that would get suspended without an internet connection.

Note that we have just highlighted an ideal parking management software over how better and more advanced it could be. It is also to be noted that if most of such applications are coming out in the market as a standalone application mode, there must be some reason behind it, which could be covered with the help of technology.

Or, say, the complexities raised due to technology can be avoided in two ways only. Either through not going with technology anymore or through advanced technology, this time with better results and lesser complexities.


Although the concept of chalking the tires is unconstitutional in many places across the globe. Yet, there is some purpose with the concept, and if the issue with physically chalking the vehicle can be replaced with an electronic chalking method, why should we not implement that?

The government considers physical chalking of a vehicle's tires as interfering without a warrant with someone’s private property. Thus, online parking management software nowadays is developing an e-chalking feature that helps mark a vehicle with overtime space occupation.

Tech Stacks To Build Parking Apps

Another significant step in parking app development is choosing the universal technology stack for building future products. The viability, competitiveness, and the range of scalability of the mobile app mainly depend on the tech stack. The application can be native, hybrid, or cross-platform. All those types of apps can solve different business problems. For example, native apps provide the best user experience, but at the same time, they are more sophisticated in development.

Next, we listed the most common tech stacks for parking software development (in the SpotHero app example): 

  • Applications and data (it can be nginx, backbone.js, or underscore);
  • Utilities (such as Google Analytics, Amazon CloudFront, Twilio Send, Mailgun, Mixpanel, Optimizely, Mandrill, or Crazy Egg);
  • DevOps (for example, New Relic);
  • Business tools (G Suites, Zendesk, Zopim, or others). You can read even more about the role of a business analyst in our recent article.

The tech stack can depend on the type of app, operational system, or functionality. One legal advice in choosing the stack is to build a simple prototype or minimum viable product. Then, after you launch the product, you can start improving it by adding new features and functions. It will help you begin in time, test the app, and find effective development solutions for the best parking app. 

How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Parking Solution

Сar parking app development process may take from a few months to a year. It depends on the list of features you will add there. We suggest starting with the first set, such as registration, Google map integration, and the “Book now” option. With the user’s app and admin panel, such MVP might cost even less than 10,000$. Creating an app for parking cars with all three modules listed above will require from 20,000$ to 150,000$. 

transportation software developers

Consider that you will make a parking mobile app in several stages, starting from the prototyping, where the primary requirements will be gathered. Then, you will need to design an app for iOS and Android. If there is a web admin panel, creating it is also costly. After the UI is ready, the app and web developers will code it. To ensure your development process is going smoothly, develop a car parking mobile app with a dedicated team of professionals.

We suggest working with the in-house team to get quality service on time.

Ardas' Experience in Building Parking App [Case Study]

Our team had experience in developing a parking management SaaS system with plate number recognition software, payments, SMS integration, financial reports, and a comprehensive back-end management panel for city operators such as municipalities and parking companies.

transportation software developers

Our goal was to help drivers pay easily with SMS and be informed when the paid time slot is about to be over, help attendants check and validate car plate numbers, monitor car stats and accept cash payments, help parking operators monitor all processes happening on the parking and be able to act adequately, finally to help CFO to get immediate and correct financial information for better business control.

Having analyzed all the client's requirements, we decided to take the safest development path. We created a POC before creating an MVP to avoid getting into technical risks. Therefore, initially, we created only a system for recognizing vehicle numbers. We started working on the MVP when it became technically clear that our development was successful.

transportation software developers

The database model was designed and improved during four sprints. Since this software is an enterprise-level SaaS, we had to make it a multi-company. Every company will have hundreds of users, which are either operators or attendants. A car is parked and validated in a certain zone, so we always know all information sliced by either zone, car, or attendant. We designed storage for tons of incoming validation requests.

You can read the full parking management app case study to learn about the rest of the features that we developed.

Challenges of Building Custom Parking

There are some pros and cons to everything. Similarly, with the side-by-side easiness, hundreds of challenges are making the path of the digital world more complicated. This is creating problems for the developers.

Wrong Assessing and Development Directions

There are some reasons for mobile application development. Try not to avoid them and to think from the user’s perspective. The developers often do not know the targeted audience, which causes the problems.

Everyone wants innovation these days. Making the users friendly by asking several questions before finally getting into it is significant.

Questions like these will help:

  • What Is the fundamental reason for developing it?
  • Does the application fulfill the purpose?
  • Which feature makes it stand out from the crowd?
  • For whom is the application created?
  • Is it effective and comes with guidelines?
  • All these queries will solve half of the problems.

Compatibility Problems with Certain Devices

The application idea should be equal for all devices. It is such a big no for all those applications that are easy to download on one and refuse on the other version. 
An essential factor for companies is ensuring that working efficiency is acceptable. Also, they are compatible with Android and iOS both. This doubles the reach of applications by becoming the most used ones. If any app lacks this, it might face significant drawbacks in getting successful.

The outdated sizes and unsupportive bug fixation features make it challenging for the users. However, to avoid this in the long term. The size, resolution, dimensions, and pixels should be considered for each application.

Fail to Come Up with New Ideas

To make the user used to any application is an arduous task. It happens only when every characteristic is up to the mark and fulfills the requirements of the modern digital world. 

Understanding and implementing some rules is crucial to get a high response and bring it under the top ten list. Also, research the competitors that now engage the users at its level fest. These are some tricks that will be more than beneficial practically. It will boost its reach and make it famous in no time. 

When they don’t improve and make confident innovations in the design plan, then the downfall is the only outcome.

Does Not Have Enough Funds

Money becomes the most challenging thing if not planned, organized, and studied carefully. A person with no prior experience is allowed to make mistakes. The main objective is to learn and build technical insights.

This will improve the overall hiring methods for mobile application development with a minimum budget.  

Funding is undoubtedly one of the mandatory resources to meet the requirements and market demand. This is why make a proper calculation and finalize.

Selecting Outdated Technology

Developing the right and valuable app can sometimes be challenging. The worst decision is to go for the old development technology. Ensuring the application works fine with the other devices at any cost is mandatory. 

There are thousands of mobile applications working at higher frequency levels. Match the efficiency with those to get the best results. Develop unique applications that can function everywhere and perform well.

How To Monetize an App

Discovering which monetization methods are best suited for your mobile app can be complicated, but it’s also a critical step in your journey to profitability. Below, you will find several available monetization methods, how they work, and how to use them to reach your company goals.

  • In-app purchases;
  • Subscription services;
  • Monetize your app with ads;
  • Sponsorships and partnerships.

Parking App Development with Ardas

In this article, we’ve briefly reviewed how to develop a parking app. As we saw, there are many types of these tools.

Most are parking management (parking finding and other) apps, but parking assistance applications also seem to have big prospects. Some tools work globally, but many are successful in their specific region or country. Most parking management apps usually have four key features: search and navigation, booking, payment, and notification. As for how much parking app development costs, $40k would be the price of a basic-level tool (provided you choose a trustworthy development company from Eastern Europe).

Whatever app you are up to creating – just a parking finder or a top-notch tool for automated vault parking, Ardas is here to assist you. Our vehicle tracking software development expertise allows us to take on the most sophisticated projects and work with the latest technologies. Let us help your big idea come to life! 


How Long Does It Take to Develop a Custom Parking App?

MVP is developed for up to 3 months. As for a full-fledged product, it all depends on the requirements for functionality and technology. On average, about a year.

Do You Have Experience in Building Parking Apps?

Yes! In our article, we describe the parking management app case study that turned out to be very profitable for its owners.

What is the Work Process in Your Company? 

After the application, we will contact you within one working day and conduct a call with an account manager and a technical specialist, where we will find out all the requirements for the parking application. Therefore, within a few days, we prepare a proposal describing the team, technical stack, terms and cost of work, and a step-by-step plan.

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