If you drive to work in San Francisco, you probably know how difficult it can be to find an affordable place to park. Unless your office has its own parking, you’re likely paying to leave your car in a garage that’s not terribly close to where you work. And if you happen to work in SOMA, good luck paying less than $35 or $40 during Giants game days.
Vatler hopes to offer an alternative to having to deal with all that. It provides a way for you to order a valet through a mobile app, enabling you to drop your car off in front of your office and then request it whenever you’re ready to leave.
With the Vatler app, users denote where they plan to leave their car and a valet meets them there. The valet then drives the car to a secure parking lot where it stays for the rest of the day. Later on, the customer requests their car to be dropped off where they’re leaving and the valet drives it to them.
Co-founder Hamza Ouazzani Chahdi said the team decided to start working on Vatler after seeing how bad the parking situation is not just in San Francisco, but in other cities around the world. They are working to solve the problem for commuters at first, but see a much bigger opportunity to offer on-demand valets around the city for when users want to go out to eat or even when they go to a ball game.
To start, Vatler is offering one-time and subscription pricing for users. Those who just want to use the service once will pay $20 to park in SOMA or the Mission, and $35 for the Financial District. Monthly subscriptions start at $300 for SOMA and Mission drop-offs, and $500 a month for those who work in the Financial District.
At those prices, there’s no doubt that Vatler will be able to make money with the service… The question is just how wide of an appeal on-demand valets will actually have. The founders say they’re targeting the 200,000 people who drive into the city each day, and surely some fraction of them will be willing to pay for the convenience. It’s just a matter of how many of them are willing to part with that much just to have a valet park their car for them.