Parkatmyhouse.com: Anthony Eskinazi
Anthony Eskinazi wants to turn your driveway into a second income
Imagine your despair: you are in the process of starting up a new business and are just putting the final touches to your website when a competitor marches in and launches a business with exactly the same premise.
This is exactly what happened to Anthony Eskinazi of Parkatmyhouse.com, an online marketplace for people to rent and hire parking spaces.
Luckily for Eskinazi, his impeccably timed rival, yourparkingspace.co.uk, didn’t amount to much. The site only gets 10% of the traffic attained by parkatmyhouse.com and if rumours are to be believed is looking to sell. Its offering is completely different to Eskinazi’s site. “They’re effectively like Gumtree,” he says. “They’ve got no booking system, no invoicing system, no messaging system.”
Other competitors, such as parktolet.com, have a strong internet presence but they are not web companies. “They effectively operate a call centre where they process everything manually, whereas everything at parkatmyhouse.com is automated,” explains Eskinazi.
And so this is exactly how the young entrepreneur differentiates his offering. “When I use the internet I like the eBay model; I don’t want to talk to anyone on the phone,” he stresses. “I’m not passionate about parking, no one is. My passion is for technology and using technology to make people’s lives easier.”
It is the technology, or rather the simplicity and effectiveness of the site, that keeps customers coming back in droves. And this is something that Eskinazi can take full credit for, having designed the website from scratch himself. But he has also enlisted the help of his customers; when someone logs out of their account they are asked to fill out a feedback form.
By continuing to innovate and acting upon the comments from its customers, parkatmyhouse.com is able to continue to differentiate itself in an increasingly crowded market. “Because we’re the only company that does our own in-house development, we can add in features as soon as they are requested,” explains Eskinazi.
One of the website’s new features is a direct result of feedback from a customer – when a booking’s confirmed the user gets emailed a print-out which they put in their windscreen and acts as a parking permit.
This is just one of the value added services that the parking space site has introduced since going live in October 2006 in an attempt to overcome the challenge of the ‘grey areas’. “The biggest challenge was the grey markets, the people who try and cut you out and how you overcome that,” admits Eskinazi.
However, this is one young man who is unlikely to be put off by a few minor teething problems. To the contrary, parkatmyhouse.com has recently been launched in Boston and is likely to be rolled out across more American states in the near future. “San Francisco will probably be next because I lived there for a while and have quite a few contacts.” And his plans don’t stop there. “It will work in any major metropolitan city in the world where there’s enough Internet usage,” he says confidently.