Human and vehicles have had a love-hate relationship, not least when it comes to inherently lazy humans taking care of their hard-working cars. But, perhaps some things are not what they seem. Most of the cars spent is supposed-hard work-life as “lazy mates”. In fact, these perfectly engineered machines are parked for 90% of their lives, and many are parked really badly! No matter where they are, at home in the garage, in a public parking lot or just out on the street, not matter where, they are just seeing the life comes by.
The thing is, people get bored pretty quickly when it comes to taking care of their cars. Sure that taking care of horses in the 10th century was more problematic. But nowadays, fuelling, maintaining, repairing, checking and even the worst activity of all, parking, are among the actions we should to achieve to be sure they are perfect and ready to be used 10% during their lifetime. That means that until cars are able to perform these tasks for themselves (something we actually expect will happen within the next 5-6 years, thanks to advances in autonomous capabilities) we have to do this work whether we like it or not. Do it lazy owner! they would say to us. But humans, have a plan. the plan involves other humans (What else!), but it is already proving successful. The key behind this success? The movers and the valets.
Today, we are taking care about driving, but tech, mobility and well-designed processes giving human a chance to avoid parking and the many another boring task. And as our When laziness grows, business exploding. We are all used to seeing valets on the parking Malls or Restaurants parking lots. Maybe we saw it as a commodity, but it was a very useful service we miss you much when is not offered. So as human needs evolve, so too do valets service.
Valets are now benefitting from the opportunity to evolve from groups of freelance parkers (with big smiles as they attempt to earn decent tips), to tech-engineered companies, with an army of well-trained drivers, ready and able to do anything and everything our cars need.
Valets are the new car services providers. And this is a good thing for lazy owners. Parking, picking up and dropping off cars, EV charging, long stay parking, maintenance assistance, test drives, home delivery of new car purchases…a whole load new services that are proving irresistible to drivers when they weigh up the price of convenience against the cost of their most valued and finite possession: TIME.
Today, the market is full of start-ups like Bumper (for fuelling), YourMechanic (repair), some of them evolving or pivoting like FlightCar, Zirx, Luxe, Valet Anywhere, Dropcar. And these new players are not limited to USA (China: Ubo, / EU: Valie, TravelerCar/ South America: Joldit).
Most these companies have learned valuable lessons from other gig generation start-ups, such as Postmates or Instacart. One of the key takeaways that they are all incorporating into their strategies is the crucial mix between demand generation and a qualified and outstanding workforce. That’s the reason why they are moving from contractors to employers and also why many of them prefer B2B and B2B2C partnership models rather than pure on-demand B2C setups.
It is well known that automotive companies are working closely (Luxe – Testa) and even investing in these rapidly developing valet companies.
Even logistics and car rental companies sees these services as a solution for increasing user satisfaction and reducing friction. Skurt and Virtuo are renting out and moving cars for car rental companies, whereby generating value for users who are delighted to avoid queuing up at desks in the airport or train station (who wouldn’t be?). Didi or Uber are delivering test drives for big automakers and Zirx is moving cars for automotive retailers. It’s becoming clear that valets are the best professional drivers and they interact with users-customers as the best user support managers. If we add a good product and perfect real time tools to this perfect profile, then we end up with the perfect partner for improving efficiency and optimising the customer experience in any mobility ecosystem. These companies are already playing a major role in the automotive ecosystem when it comes to providing new and better existing services.
But if we go back to the beginning of this post for a moment – the stat that cars are parked for 90% of their lives. Then, we see that many valet companies are working to generate value from that downtime for users and automotive players. Flightcar and Tripndrive park your car, rent it out and drop it off for regular maintenance when you are not using it. Automotive players should regard these companies as car service companies, rather than mere valets or drivers. They are the people who give us all the opportunity to better care for our cars, what means more transactions and more money generated per car. A perfect example is Luxe. An Austin-based valet company that sees itself as a pure service provider; way more than a valet company. In the words of Curtis Lee, CEO of Luxe: “So we really saw an opportunity to extend beyond parking for commuting purposes. How do we help the person who has their car, had some drinks, and can’t decide if they want to take an Uber home, which would especially be an issue the next day for the commute?” and go on Eventually, the company hopes to provide everything from mechanic services to smog checks: “Basically, anything that you’d spend money on for your car”, he said. Already, Luxe offers things like car washes, gas refills and even electric vehicle charging and hopes to continue to automate this in the future. According to Lee´s vision, this is the normal evolution of a SERVICE company not VALET company.
At B4Motion, we are committed to be on board:
We are fully committed on taking part and build this ecosystem. That is the reason we recently invested in llollo, which is also our first investment. llollo is also an evolved company from an on demand valet company to a specialist car service provider. It focuses on a very specific market niche, travellers in major transport hubs. This allows the company to better harness its value proposition and generate value by parking, cleaning, maintaining and repairing your car while you travel. The company combines its clever vision of B2B2C’s business growth strategy with the smart decision to focus on travellers’ idle cars; right at the moment when convenience is valued most. We are proud to be partnering this company and supporting it in its mission to become the leading car service provider at major transport hubs around the world.