Flexe Park: Park, Scan, Pay, Go

Local Startup Aims to Change the Way You Park

Writer / Steven Penn

Whether in downtown or Broad Ripple, finding parking spots in the busiest Indy neighborhoods can be difficult, to say the least. One local startup is aiming to change the way we park.

Indy-based FlexePark allows businesses to essentially sell their parking lots, which go virtually unused outside of regular business hours.

FlexePark is the brainchild of Marc Ebtinger, who along with Martine and Michael Dowden and Michael McGinnis, founded the company. The team is rounded out by James Handshoe, developer and ambassador, and Sarah Rae Cote, sales ambassador.

Ebtinger first started conceptualizing the idea in 2015 after struggling to find a place to park downtown for an event. He noticed many businesses’ lots had parking available, but they were all marked with no parking or tow away signs during after-hours. That’s when the team realized there should be a way for these business owners to capitalize on their underused resource – their parking lots.

So, to solve the problem, they turned to tech.

“Being software developers, we turned to technology for the solution,” Martine, who also serves as the user experience developer, says. “

By scanning the QR code on the sign (or just typing the lot number into the website) you can easily pay for your parking for one flat fee. Because it is a Progressive Web App rather than a regular native mobile application, there is no need for downloading software ahead of time. Just park, scan, pay and go.”

All users have to do to sign up for the service is register and add their car by license plate number. Sign in and register options include Facebook, Google or email address, with a credit card and PayPal as payment options. 

Dowden, who also serves as the product architect for FlexePark, says after the idea was conceptualized in 2015, it took about two years to develop the business model, conduct market research and to create and test the application. The first lot was then launched in 2017.

“We launched our Bloomington lot in May 2017 and ran a pilot program for a bit to continue working out kinks,” Dowden says. “By October, we had worked out a process for reaching out to businesses and have since been signing up a new property every two weeks.”

For businesses, the signup process is extremely easy and tailored to meet the needs of each business owner.

“When a business signs up with FlexePark, we work out the specific hours they want the parking to be available,” Dowden says. “We then print and install signs in their parking lot which provides the necessary instructions to drivers. The on-boarding process typically takes 7-10 business days. Each parking lot has its own unique 4-digit code and corresponding QR code that links directly to the check-in page of the application.”

Right now, FlexePark is available in downtown Indianapolis along Massachusetts Avenue, in Bloomington and in Broad Ripple.

The FlexePark lots in Broad Ripple can be found at A Do Hair Design and Salon Flats, Good Earth Natural Food Company and Urban Gypsy.

Martine says Broad Ripple is a perfect spot for one of FlexePark’s initial areas.

“Broad Ripple was targeted because of its many small 9-5 businesses that own parking around a vibrant nightlife,” Martine says.

“This created a perfect ecosystem for the symbiotic relationship FlexePark offers between individuals looking for easy parking and property owners looking for parking management.”

In terms of the future for the startup, the team says they have plans to expand. They are currently exploring more leads locally on Mass Ave and in Fountain Square and Irvington, as well as out of state in Des Moines, Iowa.

To learn more about FlexePark or to sign up, visit their website flexepark.com.

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